Redbus Pictures has stepped up its commitment to horror films, following the huge success it has had distributing Cabin Fever in the UK.

Redbus has greenlit new horror production The 9th Passenger and has taken a co-producer credit on Madhouse with Lakeshore Entertainment.

Budgeted at $10m, The 9th Passenger is set for a March 1st 2004 start date and is to be directed by Ellory Elkayam (Eight Legged Freaks). Written by Paul Staheli, it tells the story of eight students who are stranded on a yacht with a mysterious 9th passenger who may or may not exist.

Redbus co-chiefs Zygi Kamasa and Simon Franks will produce along side Peter Shaw of UBA with shooting taking place in South Africa. Lakeshore Entertainment will handle international sales.

Redbus Pictures has also announced another horror co-production with Lakeshore Entertainment called Madhouse, which completed shooting in July in Romania.

Madhouse starts Jordan Ladd (Cabin Fever) and Joshua Leonard (Blair Witch Project) and is about a graduate who discovers a series of grizzly murders at a local mental asylum.

Henry Winterestern, Tom Fox and Mona Vasiloiu produce madhouse. Kamasa and Franks will take Executive Producer credits alongside Robert Bernacchi and under the deal Redbus has acquired UK, French and Australian rights.

The low budget Cabin Fever, which Redbus acquired last year, grossed £1,050,000 ($1,700,000) in its first three days on 277 screens and is expected to reach £4million ($6million) by the end of its run, making it one of the most successful independently financed films of the year.