La Puerta Roja Preps ‘The Oxford Murders’ Author Guillermo Martinez Story, Sneak Peeks Demián Rugna’s Next (EXCLUSIVE)

Argentina’s La Puerta Roja, a fruitful production venture between Roxana Ramos’s Aramos Cine (“The Silent Party”) and Fernando Díaz’s Machaco Films (“Terrified”), have secured rights to the short story “Un Gato Muerto,” by esteemed Argentinian author, Guillermo Martínez. 

The film adaptation, “The Cat’s Scream,” a co-production between Argentina and Uruguay, will be directed by Jorge Caterbona, who helmed Argentine cult telefilm “La Casa De Tourneur.” 

News of the acquisition comes on the heels of a Ventana Sur preview of Demián Rugna’s (“Terrified”) diabolical possession thriller, “When Evil Lurks (“Cuando Acecha La Maldad”),” another La Puerta Roja title.

Co-produced by Shudder, the film elicited a strong response from audiences during its Ventana Sur special screening in the Blood Window section and aims for a broader debut in the coming year upon completion in January.

“The Cat’s Scream” will build around the bones of the original material and plots an unnerving and atmospheric cinematic event. With a narrative that follows a college science professor who becomes the target of a sect of cat-obsessed elderly women, the film will provide a dive into the expanse of the protagonists’ psyche along an urban and fantastical divide.

“According to Tarantino, there’s a difference between suspense and terror, ‘one is as thin as a blade, and the other as wide as the Grand Canyon,’” Caterbona relayed in a statement. “We will walk the line through both the thin edge of the blade and the vast extension of the Grand Canyon.”

Caterbona has previously directed video clips for highly-lauded musicians Fito Paez, Mercedes Sosa and Virus and, in 2002, founded Lima-based advertising and film production company, 7Samurai.

“We think it’s a great bet to shoot in 2023,” Ramos relayed. “We’re very confident in the adaptation that’s been achieved of the story from prestigious writer Guillermo Martinez, whose other works have been adapted and taken to the screen by Alex de la Iglesia in his film ” The Oxford Murders,” and also Netflix, who adapted a novel by Martinez in its series “The Wrath of God.”

‘When Evil Lurks’

La Puerta Roja, which prides itself on a burgeoning  alliance that allows them to competitively acquire and produce key Latin American horror and fantasy films, also presented rural possession thriller “When Evil Lurks,” to a packed theater at the vital South American film market, Ventana Sur, in luxe Buenos Aires barrio, Puerto Madero. Co-produced by Shudder, the project will wrap in early 2023.

Two brothers find a mutilated corpse near their property and convene with the locals to suss it out. They learn that the odd happenings in their village are the cause of a spirit that’s found its way into a local man waiting for the proper protocols to rid his body of the festering demon.

An escape attempt ensues as the film keeps its protagonists on-edge, racing against imminent danger to shake the spirit’s relentless clutches. A highly inventive play on a common horror theme, the film aims at fear itself and its manifestation within us. Chaotic and tense, Rugna achieves infinite momentum throughout the maelstrom, never a lapse in on-screen frenzy.

“It was a very difficult production to make but we were convinced of the script we had and of the realization of Demián Rugna,” Ramos told Variety. “We’re very happy with the film!” 

The effort earned the runner up prize at Sitges Pitchbox in 2021 and snagged this year’s top Blood Window Screening Award at Ventana Sur, which ensures its participation in the next edition of the Blood Window Showcase at the Marché Du Film in Cannes. 

The prize is in collaboration with the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia and will be endorsed by Sitges, and considered for the next edition of the festival.

“When Evil Lurks” marks Shudder’s first Spanish-language original. AMC Network’s premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, will see the film through its final touches and distribution, their involvement lending a substantial boost to its production value. 

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