If films like Paranormal Activity or last month's Insidious have proved anything, it's that low-budget horror/thriller pics that involve the supernatural can turn a tidy profit at the box office. Hence why there are now two higher-profile projects - Backmask and Spectre - which definitely fit that mold, being actively developed.
Paranormal Activity franchise and Insidious producer Steven Schneider is also working behind the scenes on Backmask. Meanwhile, Rick Schwartz (Black Swan) will co-produce Spectre with Nicole Kidman's Blossom Films.
Deadline is reporting that Marcus Nispel (this summer's Conan the Barbarian) will sit in the director's chair for Backmask - the plot of which is said to involve "paranoia, possession, and the paranormal." Insidious helmer James Wan (who also directed the original Saw movie) will call the shots on Spectre, which Variety says Kidman is currently eying as a potential starring vehicle.
Both of these films are budgeted at around $10 million and are expected to begin production well before the year is out - so look for casting on both titles to get underway in the near future.
Wan should be accustomed to working on cheap horror projects by now, having done it before on titles like Insidious and Dead Silence. He's proven himself quite good at delivering effective scares in his previous directorial efforts, which also bodes well for Spectre. Plus, potentially having Kidman as the film's leading lady shouldn't hurt either.
Nispel, by comparison, was previously responsible for the new versions of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th. Generally, lower-budgeted supernatural-horror flicks are more about building up creepy atmosphere and tension through more subtle tactics - and not just racking up gory kills in the hopes of freaking out moviegoers. So we'll have to wait and see if Nispel does better with an indie scarefest like Backmask than he did with the aforementioned studio horror movie remakes.
We'll keep you posted on the status of both Backmask and Spectre as more information is released.
Source: Deadline, Variety