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AOL Teen Site Has Direct-to-Download Horror Flick

19 Sep, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

AOL's nascent teen community Web site, B-Red.com, starting Halloween for one month will sell the full-length independent horror film Incubus, starring Tara Reid, as a first-ever direct-to-download purchase for $7.99.

The film, about six teens who seek shelter and then become hunted by a crazed killer in what they think is an abandoned factory, also will be available for five-day rental for $3.49.

The DVD release is slated for November from distributor Automatic.

Ever since an online promotional campaign helped catapult the 1999 horror classic The Blair Witch Project to theatrical success with teens, studios have been trying to replicate the achievement — most recently with teen community sites.

“Horror films traditionally have been very popular among teenage moviegoers, and we felt that AOL Red represented a unique and effective way to directly target our key demo audience,” said Adam Shapiro with Automatic.

His partner, Sherman Sall, said the Internet provides a clear alternative to the traditional in-theater experience.

“We think the Internet will emerge as a viable distribution method for new films, and we're very happy to be at the forefront of this movement," said Sall.

In conjunction with the movie release, AOL Red is unveiling its Scary Movie Contest, whereby aspiring filmmakers can submit their horror films. Submissions will be voted upon online and a winner declared.

The direct-to-download distribution model bowed earlier this year with limited results on Google Video, which offered streams of the bio-terrorism-themed Waterborne for $4.99.

The Los Angeles Times reported Waterborne recorded just 300 download sales prior to its DVD release by MTI Home Video.

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