In a couple of distribution deals that were just announced, the Magnolia Pictures’ genre arm Magnet Releasing has acquired worldwide rights to John Dies At The End, described as a “phantasmagoric new sci-fi/horror film” directed, produced and written for the screen by auteur and cult legend Don Coscarelli (Bubba Ho-Tep, the Phantasm series). Paul Giamatti stars (and is exec producer) with Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman and Doug Jones. The film is produced by M3 Creative’s Brad Baruh, Andy Meyers and Roman Perez, and based on the bestselling book by David Wong. Giamatti plays a shadowy figure investigating a street drug known as Soy Sauce, which promises an out-of-body experience with each hit, causing users to drift across time and dimensions.

Unfortunately, some return as no longer human. The film premiered as a work in progress at Sundance and SXSW and will be in the Midnight Madness section of Toronto before Magnet releases in late December through its Ultra VOD program.

Meanwhile, Indican Pictures has acquired North American rights to the late Ernest Borgnine’s final film, The Man Who Shook The Hand Of Vicente Fernández.  The pic will be released theatrically in Los Angeles this October, with additional select cities to follow, and will launch an awards campaign centered on Borgnine’s final performance, which won an award when it played at the Newport Beach Int’l Film Festival in April. It was written and directed by Elia Petridis, and produced by Darren Brandl and Dave O’Brien. Additional cast members include Barry Corbin, Carla Ortiz, Dale Dickey and Tony Plana. Borgnine plays a stubborn man who becomes the local hero of his nursing home upon leading the Latino staff in a revolt against the home’s tyrannical owner.