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HD-DVD AND BLU-RAY NEWS:

On Disc Today: 'Shaun of the Dead' HD-DVD

July 31, 2007 -- It's a big day for horror fans with HD-DVD players. One of the best horror titles of the past five years is striking HD-DVD: "Shaun of the Dead"!

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Huge Blu-Ray News: 'Dawn of the Dead', 'Halloween' and 'Evil Dead'

July 6, 2007 -- This just in: In addition to releasing the first season of "Masters of Horror" on Blu-Ray later this year, Starz/Anchor Bay will be releasing "Dawn of the Dead", "Halloween", "Evil Dead" and possibly "Evil Dead II" in the high-def format as well! The titles should be hitting store shelves this Fall. They'll be released under the MGM banner with no release set for HD-DVD. Looks like Blu-Ray has won the format wars for horror fans.

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Horror Goes High-Def

June 21, 2007 -- Starz has announced that the "Masters of Horror" series will be released in Blu-Ray this year. If you haven't caught this excellent horror series in High-Def already on Showtime, you'll be amazed. Expect to see classic episodes like Joe Dante's "Homecoming" and John Carpenter's "Cigarette Burns" in high-def on your Sony Playstation 3 soon. Plus, Warner's has announced direct-to-video horror titles in the HD-DVD format. Warner Home Video has announced a new pact with Joel Silver's Dark Castle Entertainment to produce a series of direct-to-video horror sequels for release on Blu-ray and HD DVD, starting with the sequel 'Return to Haunted Hill' this Halloween.

As part of a multi-year deal with the studio, Dark Castle will produce between two or three films a year for video release on DVD, Blu-ray and HD DVD, as well as other digital delivery media, including the Internet.

First up in October (exact street date TBA) will be 'Return to the House on Haunted Hill,' a direct-to-video sequel to the 2000 theatrical hit 'House on Haunted Hill.

While 'Return' will be released to standard-def DVD as well, the next gen versions of the film are set to exclusively include a new interactive "navigational cinema" technology that sounds like a high-tech form of the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, allowing the viewer to make seven choices as the story unfolds, leading to over 90 different iterations of the film.

"We are continually looking for fresh and edgy ideas for our films and for our fans to experience," Dark Castle co-founder Joel Silver told Variety.

Exact specs and further supplemental details are not yet available for 'Return to House on Haunted Hill,' nor any pricing information.

Competing with the HD-DVD format, Blu-ray has an unexpected new backer in the high-def format war, with Starz Home Entertainment announcing exclusive support of the format with its first release 'Masters of Horror.'

The news came from the Sixth Annual Home Entertainment Summit, held in Century City, California, where Starz Home Entertainment President Bill Clark revealed at a press conference that the network would begin releasing its first Blu-ray-exclusive titles this fall.

For its maiden release, Starz will unleash the popular made-for-cable horror anthology 'Masters of Horror' in the fourth quarter of 2007. Exact pricing, supplemental details and street date have not yet been announced.

Other Starz catalog releases are set to follow 'Horror' in the coming months, although no other titles were announced at the Summit.

The news is even more noteworthy for Blu-ray as Starz controls the home video catalog of Anchor Bay Entertainment, one of the most popular suppliers of independent genre titles on standard-def DVD. Among the classics in the Anchor Bay library include 'Halloween,' 'The Evil Dead,' 'Re-Animator and the original 'Night of the Living Dead.' Should 'Masters of Horror' on Blu-ray score with consumers, it seems likely that at least some of these genre staples would follow.

Clark went on to say that the company has no current plans to release on rival next-gen format HD DVD.

'Masters of Horror' -- along with all future Starz Blu-ray releases -- are set to be distributed under the MGM Home Entertainment banner.

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