EXCLUSIVE: Mario Bava’s cult crime movie Rabid Dogs is getting an English-Language remake from in-demand Hollywood scribes Samuel Franco and Evan Kilgore.

The film’s original producer Alfredo Leone is aboard as exec-producer.

An adaptation of short story Man and Boy by Michael J. Carroll, Rabid Dogs was a departure for Bava from his colorful horror films. The film had a challenged journey to screen. Mid-shoot, producer Roberto Loyola declared bankruptcy, resulting in the-then incomplete film being shelved. The movie remained unseen for more than two decades, but has since been released in multiple home ent versions, with various scenes being partially re-shot, added or removed for continuity. One of the versions, titled Kidnapped, was supervised by Bava’s son Lamberto and his colleague Alfredo Leone. A Franco-Canadian remake with Lambert Wilson and Virginie Ledoyen was released in 2015.

The U.S. scribes have been working out the original film’s sexist tones to reimagine the film as a present-day thriller and the first in a trilogy. Franco will produce; Franco and Kilgore will write, with plans to shoot in 2022 for a 2023 release; Kilgore will also serve as exec producer.

Genre director Bava, known as the “Master Of Italian Horror”, has long been considered an important, but overlooked, figure in Italian cinema, and a cult favorite of Hollywood filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, John Carpenter, Tim Burton  and Quentin Tarantino.

Franco and Kilgore have written and sold multiple buzzed-about film and TV projects, including The Fall of the House of FIFA to FX Networks, Camelot to Peacock, and Keeper Of The Diary to Searchlight Pictures. They were recently tapped to write and executive-produce Star of Persia, an epic take on the biblical story of Queen Esther, for M.E.G.A. Films. The duo are also working on a project about a prominent international whistleblower.

Franco is known for producing the indie movie Affluenza, starring Nicola Peltz and Grant Gustin. Under his banner Franco 4 Entertainment, he is set to produce the upcoming feature films Six Minutes To Freedom and Containment. Rabid Dogs marks the writing team’s first venture as producing partners.

Said Leone: “Samuel and Evan are bright and have creatively mapped out an exciting new way to breathe new life into this film. To modernize it as an action-packed thriller. Something Mario would have loved. I can’t wait to see it come together.”

“Bava was a master at creating these unforgettable moments in the film, and Rabid Dogs, which unfolds in the aftermath of a crime is not only suspenseful but filled with fascinating characters,” commented Franco.

“We love thrillers, and this story has got a final plot twist that really shakes you. It’s genuinely shocking, and we’re excited and honored to be given the keys to remaking this classic, and to partner with Mr. Leone,” added Kilgore.

The deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, was brokered by The Gersh Agency’s Scott Yoselow for Alfredo Leone, Spartan Media Partners on behalf of The Mario Bava Estate, and Ryan Goodell of Morris Yorn Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner LLP, for Franco and Kilgore.

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