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Screamfest, XLrator Launch Two Horror Labels

"Paranormal Activity" premiered at the festival five years ago

As “Paranormal Activity 4” begins to tear up the box office, the film festival that helped launch the horror franchise is getting into the distribution business.

The Screamfest Horror Film Festival has launched an eponymous new label with XLrator Media, one of two new multi-platform labels XLrator has formed. The labels, Screamfest and Macabre, will distribute horror and other genre films in North America.

“We are proud to join forces with Screamfest, one of America’s leading horror film festivals for over a decade,” Barry Gordon, CEO of XLrator Media, said in a statement. “The festival has served as an authentic, fan-approved launching pad for dozens of talented filmmakers who have gone on to redefine the possibilities of the modern horror genre.”

The first two films released by Screamfest will be “Outpost: Black Sun” and “Thale,” a Norwegian thriller that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. 

Gordon told TheWrap that Screamfest will have curatorial control over the label's movies while Macabre will acquire slightly different projects and determine its own films. 

"We have two distinct visions and labels," he said. "One is curated by Screamfest and is more of the future-looking horror stuff, something unique that you've never seen before. Macabre will be fan favorites, things fans will gravitate to."

No additional staff will be needed for either label given that much of XLrator's staff has a background in horror and Macabre's first two films will be “Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes” and “The Thompsons.”

Gordon said the films will vary in scope and scale, but they will all be released on VOD, DVD and most will receive theatrical runs. Typically, they will release the films on VOD to build awareness and then play in select theaters.

Screamfest Horror Film Festival is a Los Angeles-based event that claims to be the largest and longest-running horror fest in the United States. In 2007, it premiered “Paranormal Activity,” the film that launched a blockbuster franchise for Jason Blum and Paramount Pictures.

Gordon said XLrator Media would like to put Screamfest in other places, recreating the festival digitally in other venues and on other platforms.

"The horror and genre business is so mainstream now, evidenced by strong ratings on 'American Horror Story" and 'The Walking Dead,'" he said. "We recognized that in a multi-platform universe, there's a strong appetite for well-curated and high-quality horror and genre films. We really want to be the best of breed supplier for the horror genre."