Good morning film fiends!
Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? If you’re feeling in need of some tasty hors d’oeuvres before the main course of this summer’s JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, look no further than  Uncork’d Entertainment’s THE JURASSIC GAMES clawing its way on to VOD this June –

Win the games. Win Your freedom. Every year, 10 of the world’s most lethal death row criminals are chosen to compete for their freedom in The Jurassic Games, a television show where contestants must survive against a variety of ferocious dinosaurs.  The players all die gruesomely in the game zone except for one, the last one standing, the winner, who is granted not only his freedom, but fame and fortune. Survive the dinosaurs. Survive each other. Survive…The Jurassic Games.

Starring Ryan Merriman (FINAL DESTINATION 3) and Perrey Reeves (ENTOURAGE), the film imagines a world set in the near future wherein ten Death Row convicts are chosen to compete in The Jurassic Games, the ultimate virtual reality game show that pits its players against dinosaurs and each other. However, there is a catch… If you die in the virtual game, you also die in reality; and for Anthony Tucker (Adam Hampton), survival is his one chance to be reunited with his children after having been wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of his wife. As the devious The Host continues adding improbable challenges, the characters will find the odds stacked against them as only one victor can emerge as winner and reclaim their freedom.

THE JURASSIC GAMES is the third film from Emmy Award-winning director Ryan Bellgardt (GREMLIN, ARMY OF FRANKENSTEINS). 

THE JURASSIC GAMES will be available on Digital 6/12 and DVD 7/3 (US release dates)

Fan favourite Lance Henriksen stars alongside THE SHAPE OF WATER’s Doug Jones in GEHENNA: WHERE DEATH LIVES, the feature directorial debut of celebrated effects master Hiroshi Katagiri (JURASSIC PARK III, PACIFIC RIM), who also provides the film’s impressive effects, GEHENNA co-stars Eva Swan, Simon Phillips, and Justin Gordon.

Encompassing horror, suspense and a twist that will blow your mind, GEHENNA fixes on five people who enter a hidden bunker from World War 2, only to realise it’s way more than a bunker. Some fates are much worse than death.

Spectral Motion, known for award-winning work on such films as HELLBOY and LOOPER, did the makeup effects on the creature played by Jones.

For any readers stateside GEHENNA is playing in the following cities from 4th May –

Los Angeles – Laemmle Monica

Philadelphia – PFX Roxy Theater

Atlanta – Plaza Theater

Cleveland – Tower City Cinemas

San Francisco – The Roxy

Dallas – AMC Grapevine Mills 30

Detroit – AMC Fairlane 21

Houston – AMC Gulf Pointe 30

Phoenix – AMC Arizona Center 24

Washington D.C. – AMC Hoffman 22

GEHENNA : WHERE DEATH LIVES is released on digital Friday 4th May distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment.

World renown cult filmmaker and former Gloan Globus alumni Albert Pyun (THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER, RADIOACTIVE DREAMS, CYBORG) is back and seeking funding for his 47th feature film BAD ASS ANGELS AND DEMONS! Pyun, whose diverse and innovative career as a filmmaker goes back before the days of Cannon Pictures, where he directed the fondly remembered Van Damme classic CYBORG, as well as DOWN TWISTED, JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, and ALIEN FROM L.A. With a highly prolific career as a genre specialist, Pyun has been stricken with dementia, and has made several films with this debilitating disease. His fight to overcome his disability goes on, as he seeks funding for his latest effort, set in a post-apocalyptic era where angels and demons duke it out for what’s left of earth. His latest films INTERSTELLAR CIVIL WAR, THE INTERROGATION OF CHERYL COOPER, and ROAD TO HELL were completed while he’s been battling his condition.

Visit Albert’s Go Fund Me page and hear him talk about his new project and how his disease is shaping his creative process.

On a final note –  to any aspiring independent filmmakers, podcasters or film related writers out there out there reading this, let me know if you’d like me to publicize and/or review your projects, The Stricken Land is always happy to promote new talent and ideas! And as ever, please feel free to share this post and any others on here that you like, far and wide.

Spread the Word!


Demon Protocol (USA 2018) Dir: Kelly Parkes
Gary Graham, Bethany Regan, Caroline Amiguet

If The Exorcist and The Thing got together and had a love child, the result would be Demon Protocol.
Somewhere in suburban America, a team of exorcists from s secretive religious order attempt to banish a demonic presence from the home of a young couple. When the exorcism goes awry and a team member is killed, the entity possesses one of the individuals now trapped in the house. The team led by grizzled priest Prester J Bedford (Graham) must discover who among them is harbouring the demonic entity before all their lives are forfeit…

Demon Protocol is a nicely executed zero budget little horror flick centring around its supernatural twist on the paranoid ‘the enemy is among is’ plot that was done so well in films The Thing and Reservoir DogsBookended by a superbly effective opening scene and a nasty little twist at the climax, writer and director Kelly Parkes works in some subtle world building into the proceedings, and it would be great to see these elements expanded upon in one of more sequels. This little gem of a late night horror flick certainly lays the groundwork for more demon hunting mayhem. Give this a look on Amazon Prime, every hit makes a sequel more likely!

Kate Davies Speak is a British thesp hailing from sunny Bristol, who has been busy making a name for herself in several genre pictures and tv series as a bona fide ‘Final Girl’ and all round kick ass heroine. Her recent credits include the VOD alien invasion series HORIZON, the dark fantasy romp KNIGHTS OF THE DAMNED and three exciting upcoming releases from new British production outfit Dark Temple Motion PicturesESCAPE FROM CANNIBAL FARM, THE HOUSE OF VIOLENT DESIRE and THE BARGE PEOPLE. As well as all this, Kate is a qualified Personal Trainer and fitness instructor and is the founder and manager of  ‘Showreel Share Day’ via Twitter (@ShowreelShare) an initiative set up to aid her fellow actors in finding work.

In between fighting off marauding cannibals and mutated amphibians, Kate graciously agreed to talk with The Stricken Land about her career in film.

TSL What gave you the acting bug? Is your first love theatre, or film?

KDS Thanks for your questions! I originally got bitten by the acting bug many years ago when I became interested in musical theatre (prior to that I had wanted to be an illustrator and creator of video game characters). I was just finishing my A-Levels at college when I joined a production of West Side Story, I fell in love with performing and decided to embark on a career change. After performing on stage for roughly 10 years, I then decided it was time to chuck myself into working in film, I started on lots of small projects to gain experience and to fundamentally understand the difference between stage acting and screen acting. From that point onwards I became obsessed with screen work, I adore the film industry and literally love every second of being on a set. I sometimes miss being on stage but for now I am happy to work mainly in film.

TSL I’ve always been fascinated by the process behind making films and how actors approach material. What are the big differences between film and theatre acting?

KDS In the theatre the actor must perform to a huge space, therefore every ounce of energy they use must go into projecting their voice, movements, intentions, expressions. Everything appears pretty ‘big’. When you work on screen you have to pull the performance back so much, internalise everything, think the thoughts of your character without necessarily showing them. It’s the eyes of the viewer who will really decide what is going on in your character’s mind, much like real life when you read the emotions and expressions of the people you interact with. It can be so delicate and enjoyable to do. I love it. Working in horror is a little tougher as you are in such extreme and frankly ridiculous circumstances yet you must find an element of truth in order to tell your character’s story. Within any acting (theatre or film) it’s really all about listening to the other characters, whether you chose to show that is a different matter but it must always be done. If you’re truly listening, you are acting.

TSL As noted in the intro you’ve starred in several horror/sci-fi/fantasy pieces. Are you a fan of these genres yourself? What attracts you to these kinds of projects?

KDS I have many genres that I enjoy to watch but I have always been a fan of horror, sci-fi, action and thriller. Some of my favourite movies of all time are films in those genres from the 80s/90’s such as THE TERMINATOR, ROBOCOP, ALIEN, HALLOWEEN, SCREAM… Too many to mention! I am mainly drawn in by my love of simply being involved in the types of films I would go and watch at the cinema. If I read a script and I know that it’s a film I would wish to see, there’s every chance I will accept the role. I am also a sucker for a tough female lead, with idols such as; Lara Croft, Sarah Connor and Ripley – it’s often important for me that the women I portray show a toughness or strength (not just physically) that I hope will go on to inspire a new generation of young women.  Not all horror films have to have weak women in them. I really enjoyed THE DESCENT for the fact that it was a great horror with an all-female cast and some really interesting characters.

TSL It’s often noted that the horror genre in particularly puts its women characters at the forefront, and the best examples feature believable, well written characters (Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, Laurie Strode), usually placing them in very extreme situations. Jessica Harver in ESCAPE FROM CANNIBAL FARM and Kat in THE BARGE PEOPLE look set to join this pantheon. What do you think it is about the horror genre that makes it lean towards female characters fighting against the odds?

Kate Davies Speak as Jessica Harver in ESCAPE FROM CANNIBAL FARM (2018)

KDS I think people genuinely like to see a female protagonist put through her paces and hopefully survive and come out fighting. I think that many of the classics (HALLOWEEN, THE FOG, CUJO) do focus on victimising women more, I remember really enjoying Sidney Prescott in Scream as she had an edge, a toughness to her that stood out at the time. We learn to engage and connect with these characters, then they are in peril and we truly want to watch them survive so it’s very cathartic when they get the better of their enemies. I can’t wait to see Laurie Strode return to take on Michael Myers once again this year. I hope that people enjoy both of my roles that you mentioned, both are very different; Kat is certainly more of a victim than Jess but I tried to make her as believable as possible, she doesn’t do stupid cliche things (like falling over when running away) but at the end of the day she’s scared, vulnerable and has no experience of confrontation. Jess is broken, damaged and a bit unhinged, she counteracts her victim status by turning the tables and losing an interest in doing the right thing.

TSL I have to ask; with you being a qualified personal trainer fitness enthusiast, do you do your own stunts? Have you ever had any near misses or anything go wrong during a shoot, a lot of your characters find themselves in physically demanding situations?

KDS I always do my own stunt work so far, most of the time my combat sections are given quite a good allocation of time for me to learn the moves, meet the other actors, rehearse loads and refine until we are all happy. Over the years I have had a couple of mishaps, my first ever short film involved me and another actress fighting and we (foolishly) decided to keep practicing when the crew had gone on their lunch break, we moved too fast and got a bit sloppy, I accidentally punched her square in the face. That was definitely a lesson to me to be more cautious.  I hurt myself last year shooting THE HOUSE OF VIOLENT DESIRE when one of the cushions that had been set in place for me to land on when I had to fall backwards down the stairs was moved by a crew member as it was intruding into the shot, I just hadn’t been aware and ended up cracking my head against a brick wall, that hurt and definitely taught me to be more careful. I will have lots of stunts in my upcoming film OFF GRID, I will therefore be having several meetings and talks with the film stunt team before we do the shoot. I think sometimes I forget that you get a bit more fragile as you get older it’s only when I hurt myself I remember to take it steady lol!

TSL I remember Emma Thompson responding to the criticism of the film industry not offering interesting roles to older actresses, by telling her peers to go out and write their own films (I seem to remember that she was promoting her self penned project NANNY MCPHEE at the time.) Have you, or have you ever been tempted to put pen to paper and write your own screenplay with a role for yourself in mind?

KDS I prefer not to write as it’s not my greatest skill (although I used to when I was in my teens) however I often have a ton of creative ideas which I love to talk over with filmmakers, I love nothing more than to meet up with my screenwriter friends and bounce ideas around. I often meet with Christopher Lombard (the writer of THE BARGE PEOPLE) and talk about our next film projects including ideas for a sequel to the film…They are all just ideas right now but then again THE BARGE PEOPLE started out that way originally so who knows?

ESCAPE FROM CANNIBAL FARM (Dark Temple Motion Pictures 2018)

TSL Social media and the internet seem to be revolutionising how creatives make and market their material to the wider world. For instance, platforms like YouTube and Vimeo give indie and DIY operations a way to channel and promote their films. As a working actress do you see this as a big positive, in that it lowers the barriers to entry into the industry for filmmakers, special fx people and performers themselves?

KDS I think that although it can be a good way to open a few doors and get people on the radar I also think that it makes it a little harder to really establish the difference in quality for projects, it seems that almost anyone can go out and shoot a film now, which is of course both good and bad. I believe that a valuable way for anyone to learn their craft is to go out and work at it so it’s important that people are able to do so. I know that when the team I worked with on HORIZON set out to make the show we were just thankful that we were able to have an online platform to generate an audience, it would have been tough to do all of that work and not have a way of sharing it with the world.  The audience was more important than the revenue, a true passion project.

TSL Tell us about #showreelshareday and the work you do helping to get the word out there about your fellow actors and actresses.

KDS #showreelshareday happened almost by accident on a day when I was sharing my showreel on Twitter. I had finally made myself a reel that I was happy to share (I’d always been very insecure about sharing my acting work) but on this occasion I think I’d figured that after all of the work myself and the filmmakers had gone to creating it that it deserved an audience, but I still felt a little awkward about just putting it out there for all to see. So I tried to make it a little more inclusive by inviting friends and followers to join in with the hashtag #showreelshareday. The next thing I remember was friends saying to me ‘do you realise that your tag is trending on Twitter?’ I couldn’t believe it! Thousands of actors were coming together to join in. It was brilliant – actors, agents, casting professionals all joining forces in sharing and watching each other’s work. It generated a real positive energy of creativity and I loved every second of it. I have now run 5 of the #showreelshareday events and will continue to do so if the actors are still enjoy themselves…

TSL Your IMDB profile states that you have a hashtag trending on Twitter – #katedaviesforbatgirl that campaigns to get you an audition for Joss Whedon’s upcoming addition to the DCEU. Have you had any comeback on this? The Stricken Land thinks you would make a fine Barbara Gordon, are you reading this Mr Whedon?!

KDS Aw that’s very kind of you! That whole thing was such a wonderful example of what can happen when you get a nice bit of support from friends and followers. It was doing well for some time however sadly even Joss is no longer attached the movie, it’s all gone a little silent. I can always take the traits of Barbara Gordon and many other iconic ladies and implement them into my future roles.

TSL Finally do you have any upcoming projects that you’re allowed to tell us about?

KDS This year I am looking forward to the releases of THE BARGE PEOPLE, WINTERSKIN, DEAD AIR, season 2 of HORIZON, MINDING MAMA, THE HOUSE OF VIOLENT DESIRE and the UK release of ESCAPE FROM CANNIBAL FARM. My next film project will be OFF GRID (I’m so excited to be working alongside acting legend James Cosmo), and several more projects with Dark Temple Films… Watch this space! 🙂

TSL Thanks for taking the time to chat, and all the best for the future!

KDS Thanks for taking the time, much obliged, stay cool x

Good morning film fiends!

First up is the great news that TSL has backed the splendid looking IT’S WATCHING film on –

IT’S WATCHING is an original horror film from writer/director Anthony Cole. Based off his original feature film script of the same name which is currently doing the rounds with producer’s in L.A and London,  that aims to do bring something truly original to the horror genre, to create a horror film where the demon itself knows that it’s in a film, and is the creative force behind the film itself.

Says Anthony; “With this project our team is pooling over ten years of experience to conjure up a terrifying film that will combine a unique story-line reminiscent of films like Memento and The Shining with the 4th wall breaking, meta techniques of films like Deadpool. Think a man with no memory, possessed by a demon that is the creative force behind the film itself, subtly targeting the audience itself. We are committed to bringing revolution to the way audiences see “demons” in popular horror film culture.”

Currently Anthony and his team are on 9% of their goal with 23 days left. Take a look at the project here, and see if you can throw a few quid at it. Failing that, please spread the word on social media, and let’s see if we can help Anthony and his team get over the finishing line!

THE SHAPE OF WATER meets GET OUT in the unique Sci-fi Horror SOFT MATTER, premiering on VOD 5/22 from Wild Eye Releasing.

Jim Hickcox’s feature debut tells of two graffiti artists that break into an abandoned, reportedly haunted research facility in hopes of creating an art installation, but stumble upon a team of demented researchers who are in the process of resurrecting an ancient sea creature – who they now must fight in order to not become their next experiment.

Ruby Lee Dove II, Hal Schneider, and Mary Anzalone star in a “fiercely original and incredibly entertaining masterpiece” (A Word of Dreams) out May 22.

The popular superhero comic book series OMEGA 1 is eyeing a relaunch in print– and with it, a new-live action series!

OMEGA 1 is an action/adventure comic book series featuring female superhero “Meg Vasalie” aka “Omega 1”, a genetically modified she-weapon that protects and delivers information in these new times.

Launched on Kickstarter (at, a crowdfunding campaign that will ideally result in the long-awaited fifth and sixth issues of OMEGA 1 and an overdue catch-up with the hero we need right now, Meg Vasalie. If that comics crowdfunder is successful, it’ll help pave the way for a new live-action series!


The OMEGA 1 franchise, which was developed in 2007 by Mark Edward Lewis and Alina Andrei, was a bonafide sensation – with those early comics selling out at various conventions around the globe.

Says co-creator Lewis, “We were at a Denny’s restaurant bemoaning the state of affairs we found ourselves in back in 2006. We knew the hacking of our private and banking information was only going to get worse – and at the same time – we hated how female superheroes and role model television shows were being scoffed at and cancelled after a few episodes. The two issues didn’t really have anything to do with the other until we decided to make a series that addressed both. And so Omega 1 was born. We created a world which exists post World War III – a war of information theft and manipulation instead of bombs and bullets. In this world, women have to fight like men to live and work, and femininity is something which has been lost. Our lead characters discover both the secrets of the hackers and of how to be powerfully female in a world that demands male results. We’re very proud of how this story brings awareness of the hacker situation which is now, here in 2018, far worse than we ever imagined back in 2006, and how the time for female empowerment in media has finally arrived. The time for Omega 1 is now.”

OMEGA 1 brings together the talents of Hollywood veteran Mark Edward Lewis, with DC, Boom, and Dark Horse artist Emmanuel Xerx Javier, and dynamite Hollywood actress Alina Andrei. Together, they span franchises like Marvel’s AVENGERS S.T.A.T.I.O.N., STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES, KNIGHT RIDER, THE ORVILLE, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD and comics such as DOPPLEGANGER, EXECUTIVE OUTCOMES, THE REST OF HEAVEN WAS BLUE and NIGHTBREED.

Synopsis :  2023 saw the advent of World War III, but it was a war of information: the Hacker War. Now, the only way to securely transmit data is hand-delivery via highly skilled couriers. Working for the premiere courier company is OMEGA 1, a genetically enhanced she-weapon who is deadly with a sword, fist fights with firearms and can draw metal to herself. She searches for her lost identity while trying to keep herself and her clients’ data in tact. Along with her extraordinarily gifted friends in the company, she must piece together her past to uncover a conspiracy for global control and Aryan genocide. But when she discovers the people responsible for the Hacker War are family, Omega quickly finds herself in ongoing dilemma that juxtaposes her incredible ability to kill and destroy against her heart for love and care.
Like the look of this?you can donate to the kickstarter here –

UK based independent Lumino Films has an intense looking psychological thriller in production called Swiperight. You can see the teaser trailer here –

You can follow the film’s progress on Twitter @luminofilms

On a final note –  to any aspiring independent filmmakers, podcasters or film related writers out there out there reading this, let me know if you’d like me to publicize and/or review your projects, The Stricken Land is always happy to promote new talent and ideas! And as ever, please feel free to share this post and any others on here that you like, far and wide.

Spread the Word!

Good morning film fiends!

Last week saw the the release of the the long awaited trailer for THE MEG, the long in gestation adaptation of Steve Alten’s pulptastic potboiler about a prehistoric Megalodon shark. Needless to say this has me agog with excitement, especially as it stars Brit action god The Stath headlining the proceedings. For those who somehow missed the trailer, here it is. Don’t say I never think of you…

While we’re on the subject of finned monstrosities, my old pal at The Painted Dragon found this little z-movie bottom shelfer that looks like it has potential to be great fun. A diseased shark that spits acid at it victims as well as chomping down on them? I’m in.



The latest screener to drop in to my inbox from High Octane Pictures is DEAD LIST –

A struggling actor conjures a dark force in order to win a movie role in a terrifying new movie experience from filmmakers Holden Andrews, Ivan Asen and Victor Mathieu.
High Octane Pictures unveils the DEAD LIST on VOD this May.

Calvin is competing with five other actors — Zander, Scott, Kush, Jason and Bob — for a major movie role. Stopping at nothing to win the role of a lifetime, he uses a demonic book to curse his fellow actors, with each actor being killed off in their own separate unique and terrifying chapter.

DEAD LIST available 1/5/18 on VOD, DVD 3/7/18 on DVD, and SVOD 4/9/18 (US release dates, I’ll try and find out if there are UK and RoW dates and include them when I post a review.)

Finally, TSL is proud to announce that I’m backing two great looking new horror flicks on Kickstarter. The first is Brit production NEFARIOUS, billed as ‘a home invasion horror/thriller, from the Ash Mountain Films, the studio that brought us DOGGEDCheck the details out here

Second we have REVIVING CAMP BLOOD, a Friday the 13th fan film (and oh, how I am a fan of Mr Voorhees.) This project is being put together by Nic Christian and Riley Lorden of the Slash ‘n’ Cast horror podcast. Check their Kickstarter page here.

Both these projects have lots of talent behind them along with a treasure trove of goodies for backers, so take a look if you’re so minded, and show these indie producers some love (and money!)

On a final note –  to any aspiring independent filmmakers, podcasters or film related writers out there out there reading this, let me know if you’d like me to publicize and/or review your projects, The Stricken Land is always happy to promote new talent and ideas! And as ever, please feel free to share this post and any others on here that you like, far and wide.

Spread the Word!

The Ferryman (2018) UK Dir: Elliott Maguire
Nicola Holt, Garth Maunders, Philip Scott-Shurety


Following a failed suicide attempt, a young woman named Mara awakes in hospital and is greeted by her estranged father Roland, who she initially rejects. Confused, angry and resentful she agrees to live with Roland while she recovers and attends a therapy group. Very soon, anyone who gets too close to Mara inexplicably takes their own life, and she finds herself stalked by a mysterious spectral figure…

Filmed in the city of Manchester using iPhone 7’s, THE FERRYMAN is the debut feature of writer/director Elliott Maguire, and an assured piece of work it is. Deftly constructing a cold atmosphere with a restrained use of light and building a mounting sense of dread, the lean script is abetted by a bravura emotive performance by Nicola Holt as the disoriented Mara, with Garth Maunders in support as the increasingly confused Roland. This little homegrown indie gem reminded me the 70’s BBC MR James adaptations and the short lived Hammer Horror anthology tv series, with  its very British restraint in instilling in the viewer an increasing sense of unease as the story unfolds.

Give this one a go and support indie filmmakers.Horror fans in particular will find much to admire here. I’m already looking forwards to what Mr Maguire does next. THE FERRYMAN goes on release to Vimeo on 13th April, and you can pre-order it here to rent for a bargain 99p. Get those pizzas in.

The slasher film is a well worn sub genre of the horror movie, but with last week’s release of 4/20 MASSACRE (dubbed ‘the first stoner-slasher’) indie director Dylan Reynolds and his team have managed to put a fresh spin on the concept and delivered a tightly paced character driven entry into the horror pantheon that has already received much praise in the genre press (you can read The Stricken Land’s review here.) To celebrate the movie’s release, I sent a bunch of questions to director Dylan Reynolds, who was only too happy to wax lyrical about filmmaking, the state of the industry and his love of movies in general. Let’s kick it off! –

TSL: Growing up I remember the ‘video nasties’ furore in the 80’s that gave the genre even more of an aura of ‘forbidden fruit’ Did you enjoy watching horror movies growing up?

DR: For sure- I would say I have a particular fondness for horror and exploitation cinema of the 70s and 80s. I knew I wanted to direct a horror film for my third feature and I gravitated towards the slasher sub-genre because some of my fondest “movie watching” memories from childhood came from late night viewings and VHS rentals of FRIDAY THE 13TH and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET sequels.

TSL: What movies would you say were your formative influences as a filmmaker?

DR: I love cinema in general- so it’s always tough to pick one movie because my tastes and “obsessions” change from month to month. I was born in 1980- so I grew up on Spielberg and Lucas movies as a kid and then in the late 80s/early 90s came the big wave of Sundance indies- and like many filmmakers of my generation I assume we’re all in one way or another inspired by Richard Linklater, Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino.  I’m also a big fan of “maverick auteur” filmmakers like John Cassavetes and John Carpenter. But if I had to pick “my favorite movie of all time” I usually go with MONSTER SQUAD.

TSL: I’ve long been of the view that the communications revolution heralded by the internet will enable the next generation of filmmakers and weaken the big studios hold over creatives. The proliferation of YouTube and other VOD sites means they can bypass traditional means of distribution to get their visions out there. As an indie filmmaker yourself, what are your thoughts on this?

DR: I would say that’s partially true- but also not totally accurate.  On one hand- yes there are more platforms/ outlets where one can distribute your movie and more and more you don’t necessarily need a rep/ sales agent, or distributor to secure placement.

However- the revenue continues to shrink with these outlets- most recently Amazon cut down how much they were paying out for Prime by nearly half.  Places like iTunes, Amazon etc may take an indie title- but they aren’t going to put that title “up front and center” like a studio movie or one of their originals- thereby effectively “burying” your little indie film and thus making it more difficult to find an audience.

Also going back to Amazon (YouTube has done something similar) where they basically “censor” indie horror movies because it broadly doesn’t “fit their standards” (whether it be violence, nudity etc) but ironically they don’t apply the same criteria to the studio or their original productions.

I guess my point is that for every perceived opportunity- the actual trend is that media corporations are getting bigger, merging, and becoming more influential/ controlling.  And usually that means the true indies will be squeezed out or marginalized more.

TSL: Back to the movie itself; what was the location shoot like? Did you have a continuous shooting schedule or was it done mainly at weekends?

DR: We shot the film in a town outside of Big Bear, CA like a true “low budget indie horror movie” in 10 days straight.  People like Roger Corman and Charles Band have been known to make movies with tight schedules like that- for us it was a necessity based upon our budget and resources… but it was also kind of perfectly fitting I think.

TSL: As a director, I think you managed to coax very naturalistic performances from the very talented actresses which contrasted nicely with the larger than life performance by Jim Storm as Ranger Rick. Did you intend this in the script? How much input did the cast give to the characters?

DR: Thank you for saying that…  I’m not sure what works for other filmmakers but the method that I find works (as far as getting believable/ naturalistic performances) is number one- cast good actors that are open to exploring and being creative.  Then I try to have conversations with each individual actor prior to filming- i.e. talking about their characters and sharing ideas/ questions etc. Then we have some readings/ rehearsals- but I find it’s best not to overdo those because you want to capture the “real magic” on set.

Then when we get out to set I try to create the atmosphere and freedom for the actors to have fun and be creative.  That means allowing some room for improvisation- either “between the lines” or doing extended takes and letting the opening and ending of scenes play out.  I also encourage the actors to “give me some options” from take-to-take… and then in editing I just go through and “cherry pick” the moments.

With Jim Storm- he was in my first film Chain Link and I basically wrote the role of Ranger Rick with him in mind.  So I definitely wrote the character as a “scenery chewing monologuing bad guy” and just had fun with it. But when it came to the other characters I tried to ground them and make them “characters that you would care about before they die”.  So in many ways 4/20 MASSACRE can be described as an “indie drama… and then a slasher shows up”.

TSL: The film is lucky to have such a talented cast. You are married to Vanessa Rose Parker who plays Aubrey, was she instrumental in casting the other parts? What attracted the other cast members to the project?

DR: Yes- Vanessa also produced the film and was instrumental in crafting the whole project… from script to casting.  She was friends and worked at a restaurant with Stacey Danger- who played the “stoner chick” Donna- and she did a reading early on and really brought a cool angle to the character- so we knew we had to have her in the film.  Stacey helped attract Justine Wachsberger (who played “Rachel”) to audition for the role and we found Marissa Pistone during the casting process… I think having the whole “strong female characters in a genre film” made the film a little unique- therefore we attracted some very nice talent.  

TSL: John Carpenter said that horror movies were always the most fun type of films to make. I always imagined playing ‘the masked killer’ role to be the best bit of making a horror film. How was it working with James Gregory who plays ‘The Shape’ (nice nod to HALLOWEEN by the way!)

DR: James I’ve known for a number of years and he was one of the first people I approached when 4/20 MASSACRE was going into production.  As well as playing “The Shape” he was also the Stunt/ Fight Coordinator on the film and he even designed the cool gillie suit/ costume.  He’s a super talented dude and I consider him to be an asset that can elevate any film set he steps onto.

TSL: The movie features some great kills and gore effects. How easy/expensive is this sort of thing to stage? I remember reading an interview with the great Tom Savini where he said in the early days you had to get the whole thing done in one take or the effect would be ruined and they’d have to start again, and the director would be on his back!

DR: Our Special FX Make Up Artist was Brennan Jones… going into the project we didn’t have a big budget so I went around to some fx make up schools and asked for some referrals.  Brennan was one of the people I interviewed who was young/ hungry and got all the references I had (yes- Tom Savini’s name/ work was definitely discussed). I think we both wish we gave him more time to craft the “gags” and get them right- but as often is the case with low budget/ indie stuff Brennan would ask for 30 minutes and we’d tell him he had 10.  Considering the circumstances/ schedule I think he did an awesome job and came up with some cool/ unique stuff.

TSL: I read that Steven Soderbergh shot his latest film UNSANE solely using iPhones. If you were to give any advice to a kid with a video camera/phone wanting to make his own movie what would it be?

DR: I’d say “screw it- don’t listen to any naysayers… in the words of Lloyd Kaufman- just make your own damn movie”.

TSL: Finally, are there any plans for a 4/20 MASSACRE sequel?

DR: I have some ideas- it would be real fun if we could do a sequel…  my plan is to do a different “slasher sub-genre” with each instalment.  Part 1 was more of a “backwoods slasher”- part 2 would be an urban-set “Giallo- influenced” mystery… a ‘who- done-it?” with slasher overtones.

TSL: A big thank you for speaking with me, all the best for the future!

DR: You too- and thanks for the time and opportunity!

NB – At the time of writing 420 MASSACRE is only available in the US market. I’ll post an update when the movie will be availale in other territories –  TSL

Good morning fellow horror hombres and hombrettes! I have a triple whammy of upcoming movie goodness to impart to you on this fine spring dawn –


First up is sci-fi actioner Cartel 2045 starring cult movie legend Danny Trejo –


One last mission. Retrieve the asset. Go Back to Your Family.

The year is 2045, the continuing drug war has caused havoc between The United States and Mexico. Gear Side International, a robotics engineering company on the brink of bankruptcy, sells off their technology to the Cartel on the black market. With the advanced military robotics technology in the wrong hands the cartel uses it to their advantage; replacing their enforcers, hit men, and soldiers.

From director Chris Le, and starring screen sensation Danny Trejo (Machete, The Devil’s Rejects) with Alexander P. Heartman (Power Rangers Samurai), Brad Schmidt (House of Lies), and Blake Webb (Colony), Cartel 2045 premieres on VOD May 1 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

If that isn’t enough to get you buzzing, check out The House on Elm Lake

In the tradition of The Conjuring comes a critically acclaimed and genuinely frightening feature “chock-full of superbly scary imagery” and “oozing with atmosphere” (The Schlock Pit).

A young couple moves into a lake house that was the site of a ritual murder, and soon realize an ancient, dormant evil has awakened to prey upon them. You’d think people would have learnt to stay away from properties with the word ‘Elm’ in the title.         

Directed by James Klass (Mother Krampus), and starring Becca Hirani (Unhinged, Mother Krampus), Oliver Ebsworth (Curse of the Witching Tree, Mother Krampus), and Tony Manders (Darker Shade of Elise, Fox Trap), House on Elm Lake opens for inspection on VOD April 10.


Last but not least, we have independent British chiller The Ferryman from writer/director Elliott Maguire. UK Horror Scene has the lowdown –

After a failed suicide attempt, troubled and lonely teen Mara finds herself stalked by a malevolent entity.

From Director Elliott Maguire:
As much a psychological drama as a horror film, The Ferryman explores important themes such as depression and alienation in the modern world, while also delivering a truly terrifying cinematic experience. In the writing process I took inspiration from classics such as Let The Right One In and Candyman, to create that deep sense of evil, while creating characters that the audience actually care about”.

The Ferryman will be released to VOD on Friday 13th April and is available to pre-order here – 

Needless to say, reviews of all three of these great looking flicks will be featured on The Stricken Land in the next few weeks. Keep your eyes peeled on those inboxes and social media feeds!

On a final note –  to any aspiring independent filmmakers, podcasters or film related writers out there out there reading this, let me know if you’d like me to publicize and/or review your projects, The Stricken Land is always happy to promote new talent and ideas! And as ever, please feel free to share this post and any others on here that you like, far and wide.

Spread the Word!


4/20 Massacre (USA 2018) Dir: Dylan Reynolds
Jamie Bernadette, Vanessa Rose Parker, Jim Storm, James Gregory

For lovers of Mary Jane, the twentieth day of April has become the one day of the year marked for activities involving a certain plant related substance. Legend has it that the date was picked due to numerous malign events occurring on the 20th April, including the birthday of Adolf Hitler and the Columbine School massacre. Allegedly, the idea of making the date synonymous with marijuana culture was to associate it with the passive effects of smoking cannabis, thus supposedly restoring some measure of karmic balance to the world (or some such new age hippie nonsense!).

With his fourth feature 4/20 Massacre, director Dylan Reynolds has exploited these ideas behind the stoner holiday, and combined it with the phenomenon of ‘guerrilla growers’ to come up with a splendidly entertaining take on the well worn stalk and slash horror sub genre.

Part homage, part reinvention of those beloved VHS bottom shelfers of the 1980’s, 4/20 Massacre tells the story of five young women who set off to the California hills on the titular weekend to camp out and get stoned. They are warned by the local Park Ranger, Rick, not to stray too far from the trail due to reports of illegal cannabis farms operating. The women later encounter a seemingly crazed young man who warns them of a bloodthirsty killer who is pursuing him after he stumbled across just such a farm whilst hiking. The intrepid bunch of course ignore such ravings and proceed to set up camp, soon after which, said killer (James Gregory) begins to make his presence known.

So far, so slasher. But what really sets 4/20 Massacre apart are the performances by the actresses (Jamie Bernadette, Vanessa Rose Parker, Stacey Danger, Justine Wachsberger and Maria Pistone), which lend real depth and pathos to their relationships in what could so easily have been cookie cutter victim roles. Kudos is also due here to Dylan Reynolds who also wrote the script that gave the cast such rounded characters to work with. Jim Storm also seems to be having a whale of a time in his scenery chewing turn as Ranger Rick.

The quality of the cinematography is also striking, not least given that it is not an element usually associated with this genre, and the audience really gets a sense of place due to the level of attention given to it.

But what about the horror? Well, gore fans needn’t worry, there are several inventive kills here to satisfy afficionados. My favourites being the bong through the brain and the stogie in the eyeball, along with the de rigeur disembowellings and decapitations, all leading to a suitably grand guignol finale. Although the film features some elements of black comedy it wisely steers clear of the self referential approach that was much popularised by Scream and its many imitators. This may be a cut above your usual stalk ‘n’ slash but it’s still a balls out horror when the chips are down, and it’s clear that Reynolds has a love and reverence for the genre.

The writer/director has stated that he does have a sequel in mind, and The Stricken Land fervently hopes his labour of love gets a follow up!

You can get more on 4/20 Massacre from our friends over at the Horror of the Remake podcast where they also have an interview with Dylan Reynolds. Check it out here –

(Horror of the Remake is also available on iTunes and all good podcast apps).

We also hope to publish our own interview with the writer/director very soon, so watch this space!

4/20 Massacre is released on DVD, Blu-Ray and VOD on 3rd April 2018.


Good morning film fiends! I hope you are all enjoying the Easter break and finding time to indulge in a bit of film watching amidst all the chocolate munching.

And what delights, pray tell, have emerged from the celluloid wastes of The Stricken Land this week?

Worth checking out are Dark Temple Motion Pictures (, a new independent outfit dedicated to making retro science fiction and horror flicks, headed up by director Charlie Steeds. And their output looks right up our street. The studio’s big horror opus Escape from Cannibal Farm is due for DVD release on 16th July 2018. You can check the trailer out here –

But it’s the feature planned for late 2018 -early 2019 that really caught my attention. Check out the poster and trailer for The Barge People, this looks completely incredible!


Both films star Kate Davies Speak, a British actress is who is busy carving out a career for herself as a bona fide Brit horror icon. Check out the interview with her on Dark Temple’s website. Both Kate and Dark Temple can be followed on Twitter at respectively; @KateDaviesSpeak and @DarkTempleFilms. I really am liking the cut of this company’s jib, even their logo reminds me of 80’s exploitation film labels! Onwards and upwards as they say, and be sure to lend these good people your support by buying their movies! Escape from Cannibal Farm is already on my pre-orders!

Next up we have the dark fantasy Knights of the Damned (also starring Ms Davies-Speak and martial artist/action star Silvio Simac.) Look out for my review coming soon!

Back to the horror genre we’ve got two upcoming features fo review. Firstly we have Hell’s Kitty. Here’s the press release to give us the lowdown –

Doug Jones (The Shape of Water), Dale Midkiff (Pet Sematary), Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Courtney Gains (The Children of The Corn), Lynn Lowry (Cat People), Kelli Maroni (Night of The Comet), Ashley C. Williams (The Human Centipede), Barbara Nedeljakova (Hostel), Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog), John Franklin (The Addams Family) and a ‘Killer Klown’ team up for some Pawplay this March!

Based on the web series and comic book of the same name, and inspired by writer-director Nicholas Tana’s experiences living with a professedly possessed cat, Hell’s Kitty tells of a covetous feline that acts possessed and possessive of his owner around women. The results are as funny as they are frightening!

Nick (Tana), a Hollywood screenwriter, discovers his cat has become murderously possessed, and will stop at nothing to rid him of any women in his life. As his life unravels out of control, Nick must find a way to have his kitty exorcised of the demonic spirit haunting her and creating a body count.

With characters named after classic horror movie characters (Jones plays Father Damien, Berryman is Detective Pluto, Nina Kate is Dr. Laurie Strodes, Barbeau is Mrs Carrie), and a tone reminiscent of some of the ‘80s greatest horror-comedies, Hell’s Kitty is undoubtedly the horror hiss of March!
Hell’s Kitty is written and directed by Nicholas Tana and produced by Denise Acosta.

Need more? How about At Granny’s House

Bill Oberst Jr and Rachel Alig are At Granny’s House in writer-director Les Mahoney’s award-winning indie horror, now available worldwide on VOD.

A Hitchcockian thriller with twists and turns, made for the YouTube generation with it’s depictions of the ubiquity and downside of cellphone usage and connectivity thru social media, At Granny’s House is the story of a young caregiver with a dark agenda moves into an elderly woman’s house. Soon, Granny’s house becomes a macabre place of death – and love.

That’s all for this week folks. Look out for my review of the soon to be release ‘stoner slasher’ horror 4/20 Massacre posting later this morning. On a final note –  to any aspiring independent filmmakers, podcasters or film related writers out there out there reading this, let me know if you’d like me to publicize and/or review your projects, The Stricken Land is always happy to promote new talent and ideas! And as ever, please feel free to share this post and any others on here that you like, far and wide.

Spread the Word!