Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi, producers of the New Zealand shot Xena: Warrior Princess, have returned to the country to shoot the horror pic Boogeyman.

Tapert and Raimi say they have produced over 300 hours of action drama in New Zealand from 1993-2001 under the Pacific Renaissance Pictures banner and have injected more than US$400 million into the New Zealand economy

They have also signed Lucy Lawless, who plays Xena, for one of the main roles in Boogeyman.

Boogeyman is the first film produced by Ghost House Pictures, the commercial horror/sci-fi/fantasy label formed by the pair alongside Senator International. Sony's Screen Gems will release the film in North America and Roadshow has local and Australian rights.

It is being directed by Stephen Kay (Get Carter). The cast also includes Barry Watson, Emily Deschanel, Tory Mussett, Charles Mesure and Philip Gordon.

New Zealand post house Oktober is doing extensive visual effects work, including the creation of the Boogeyman himself, and shooting will take place in and around Auckland until late August.

"We want to make visceral, dynamic, kinetic, horror movies designed as a series of scares; shocks where the audience drops their popcorn," says Tapert of Ghost House Pictures. "Boogeyman is exactly that kind of roller-coaster ride of screaming horror."

Other pictures on the Ghost House Pictures slate include The Grudge, the English-language remake of the hit Japanese film Ju-on, and the vampire thriller 30 Days of Night, which is being co-developed by Columbia Pictures.