Hello there film fiends! Apologies for being off the reservation for the last couple of months, I’ve been busy with lots of life admin and other assorted ephemera. However, normal service is now resumed!
A lot of movie goodness to catch up on, not least of which have been the double whammy of announcements by director Duncan Jones (MOON, SOURCE CODE) that his next project will be a live action adaptation of the classic 2000AD character Rogue Trooper, and also that production on the MEGA CITY ONE tv series continues apace with long time 2000AD and Judge Dredd scribe Rob Williams is now attached as creative lead and has revealed that the plot for the first two seasons has already been worked out.
In other news giant prehistoric shark thriller THE MEG looks to be cleaning up at the late summer box office. As a confirmed fan of killer shark flicks, I’m nearly bursting with fanboy excitement to get down the local picture house and see The Stath in action against his toothy nemesis!
Time to dive in and see what goodies are on the slate this week –

BAFTA-award winning supernatural thriller THE LIGHTHOUSE, starring Michael Jibson (HUNTER KILLER, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) and Mark Lewis Jones (STAR WARS : THE LAST JEDI, GAME OF THRONES), is now available on VOD.

“A dark and disquieting journey into the heart of madness” (Starburst), the film, inspired by a terrifying true story, tells of two men trapped in an isolated lighthouse, surrounded by the deadly Irish sea, with both their minds ultimately pushed to the limits.Directed by Chris Crow, and nominated for five BAFTA awards including Best Director and Best Actor, winning Best Visual Effects, THE LIGHTHOUSE is available on VOD.


A film crew is ravaged by a demon in the unique new horror film DARKNESS REIGNS, premiering from Wild Eye Releasing on VOD 7/10/18.
Genre icon Casper Van Dien (STARSHIP TROOPERS, ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL) plays himself in a clever spookfest from Emmy nominee Andrew P.Jones about a group of filmmakers shooting a movie in a reportedly haunted hotel that are faced with an unfathomable demonic force that possesses and attacks both the crew and the film’s star, Casper Van Dien. Will the film’s director be able to escape with the paranormal proof he has captured, or will he succumb to the hellish plans of the demon who has surfaced?

From the director of HAUNTING ON CELLBLOCK 11, and starring Casper Van Dien, Zachary Mooren (AQUARIUS), Linara Washington (GREY’S ANATOMY) and Jennifer Wenger (TALES OF HALLOWEEN), DARKNESS REIGNS out now on from Wild Eye Releasing.


From visionary new director Royce Gorsuch, a film that captures the voice of the ultra-connected generation, MAD GENIUS, available on VOD now from Film Mode Entertainment.
Mad genius and hacker, Mason Wells (Chris Mason, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS : THE PERFECTIONISTS) has a mission to “hack the human mind” in order to save humanity, but first must reconcile his multiple alter egos. His most threatening alter ego, Finn (Scott Mechlowicz, EURO TRIP) pushes Mason to do whatever is necessary to accomplish their mission including theft, bribery and intimidation.
As their mission reaches the brink of danger, they become hunted by a nihilistic madman named Eden after they steal his technology and discover that he is working on the exact same project that they are. Ultimately, Mason discovers the only way to defeat Eden may be the ultimate hack, one he never thought imaginable.

Featuring a superlative cast, including Spencer Locke (INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY) and Farin Tahir (IRON MAN, CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR), MAD GENIUS is a visually-arresting and exhilarating depiction of the modern-day geniuses who risk everything to change the way society lives through science and technology.
Available now on VOD and on Demand from Clay Epstein’s Film Mode Entertainment.


Rogue Trooper

Horror icon Jamie Bernadette stars in FACE OF EVIL, now available on VOD and DVD from Gravitas Ventures.Infect yourself with a plague of horrific entertainment from award-winning filmmaker Vito Dinatolo.

On July 4th, private Jay Williams returns home from the Middle East, but a mysterious epidemic breaks out and infects his friends at his party. On the road to salvation, Jay is joined by his ex-sergeant, who reveals chilling secrets leading to a conspiracy. The night has just begun, as they embark on a survival quest for the ultimate truth.
Scott Baxter, Chad Bishop, Jamie Bernadette and Janet Roth star in FACE OF EVIL, now out from Gravitas Ventures.

Don’t be ‘Split’ on your decision to see THE BASEMENT this September!
Mischa Barton (THE OC, THE SIXTH SENSE) stars in a unique new horror film from Brian M.Conley and Nathan Ives, premiering on digital from 9/15 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Craig is abducted and wakes up in a basement. His captor, Bill, is a twisted serial killer who wishes to reenact his own capture, with Craig playing the part of Bill and Bill playing everyone else. As Bill tortures Craig, he cycles through a number of personas, all while Craig tries desperately to find a way into Bill’s pathology in order to save himself.
Featuring “stellar lead performances” (Dread Central) from the cast – which also includes Jackson Davis, Cayleb Long, Tracie Thoms, Bailey Anne Borders and Sarah Nicklin – THE BASEMENT is ripe for exploring this fall.
THE BASEMENT gets a 10-market theatrical and digital release on September 15 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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!


Joby Stephens and Adam Kirley are the producer and writer/director respectively behind the recently released short fan film ROGUE TROOPER: THE QUARTZ MASSACRE. Based on the classic comic strip written by Gerry Finley-Day and drawn by Dave Gibbons, Rogue Trooper first appeared in the the legendary British anthology comic 2000AD in 1981.

Set in the far future in the midst of a galaxy spanning war between two rival human factions, the Norts and the Southers, the strip centred on the exploits of the eponymous character, a ‘Genetic Infantryman (GI) bio engineered to survive the toxic environment of Nu Earth, a strategically vital planet poisoned by decades of chemical and biological warfare. When his fellow GI’s are wiped out in a Nort ambush, Rogue is left to wander the ruined landscape in search of the traitor responsible accompanied only by his bio-chips – the downloaded personalities of three fallen comrades.

Here at the The Stricken Land, we are big 2000AD fans, and after the success of the JUDGE MINTY and STRONTIUM DOG fan films, we got very excited when we heard about a Rogue Trooper short being in the works, and both Adam and Joby kindly agreed to our interrogation. Read on…

TSL We think THE QUARTZ MASSACRE really succeeds in distilling the spirit of the original strips from the early 80’s. Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you came to put together a Rogue Trooper short.

AK I’ve worked in the film industry for 18 years in the stunt department. 12 years as a stunt performer and the last 6 years as a stunt coordinator. I was a big collector of comics as a kid, In particular 2000AD characters. I always thought Rogue Trooper was a great character and would make a great film. Myself and Joby have talked for over 10 years about making a short film of the character and then we both had a window of time between projects so we fast tracked the production.

JS I’ve worked in various roles in the film, tv and games industry for over 15 years and first worked with Adam on a short film called Project One about 14 years ago. Adam has always mentioned and talked about Rogue Trooper as one of his favourite comic books. Seven years ago we found a location that could potentially work and then two years ago we recce’d the location with Damien to talk ideas through. Schedules and timings dictated the rest and when we saw a window of opportunity early last year we decided to go for it. No production is easy, but this one certainly was a challenge we enjoyed!

TSL Considering it’s a 6 minute independent fan made film, THE QUARTZ MASSACRE has some impressive looking production values. How did you go about putting together the props and visual effects?

AK That was the main goal all along. If we we’re going to make Rogue it had to look right. We had a long journey with the VFX and ended up finding what I referred to as Our “Wizard” Steve Green who has made a couple of 2000AD fan films himself, Judge Minty and Strontium Dog. He was a perfect fit for this project because he knows the subject matter so well so building the environment and effects was a painless process.

JS We tested ex-army NBC suits we could pick up online, came up with concepts for the Norts helmets and tubes on mood/idea board and arrived at a look which was just about achievable in the few weeks we had before filming was to take place. We wanted Gunnar, Helm and Bagman to all feel and compliment each other in style (and rightfully so!).
I remember spending quite a bit of time discussing Gunnar with Adam. We had a really nice mood board and a few rifles that would work, yet they would all be easily recognised. The awesome guys at Airsoft World in Scotland agreed to bastardise and 3D print parts to create a unique practical firing Gunnar from our ideas. A completely unique one-off! I remember Rogue’s helmet being the last piece of the main jigsaw puzzle to sort. The first design we had to completely scrap due to the look just not being right. The bulbous style from the comic books sadly wouldn’t work.
I remember watching a documentary on Channel 4 and spotting a presenter wearing a kayak helmet that with some imagination looked very similar to a style of Rogue we had seen in a comic book! Luckily the brand and name were on the helmet so we purchased two bright blue kayak helmets.. after some design and modification to complement the already formed Bagman we finally had Helm. Mike Lawson did a fantastic job bringing Helm and the GI chips to life!.
Time wise we cut this very fine, and the first time we had Bagman, Helm and Gunnar together with the chips was one day before filming, in fact, at one point we had Gunnar being made in Scotland. Bagman (a foam and fibreglass version) being fabricated in Rochester in a garden shed and Helm was being created via the two blue kayak helmets I sent up north.

TSL Even though the film is a not for profit adventure, did you approach Rebellion (publishers of 2000AD and the owners of the rights to Rogue Trooper) before embarking on the project? Have you had any feedback/blessings from them since the film went live on YouTube?

JS We organised our costume, props, cast, crew and equipment within weeks – our main aim was to just get it filmed! Even going into post as the months dragged on I was worried it might not see the light of day. I felt until we actually had something, a finished product, that was when we wanted to approach Rebellion. Personally, I hope Rebellion have enjoyed it! It certainly works as a proof of concept and feedback from fans and non-fans has been really positive. Of course, there are things we would have loved to include but just didn’t get the chance to, but one thing I know and think everyone involved should be proud of, we’ve introduced the character to thousands of new people, and hopefully gained Rogue some fans along the way.

TSL Veteran actor James Cosmo of GAME OF THRONES fame provides the film’s opening narration. How did he come to be involved in the production? Was it a bit daunting to work with such a big name?

AK We had a final edit of the film that didn’t have an opening narration and I felt that people that weren’t familiar with the character needed a short introduction to get them up to speed so we worked on a version with just the text and then felt it needed to be narrated.
James Cosmo was my first choice to voice the narration and I am lucky that he is a family friend. Thankfully he was very supportive and agreed, I think our recording session at his home lasted under an Hour with the first take being the take we used. Was a pleasure working with such a Pro.

JS I’m not sure Adam is phased by anything. I’ve seen him do some ludicrous things over the years.. Personally it was more daunting to ask Damien to go back into make up to get sprayed with blue paint again on the 2nd day at 6:30am.

TSL What were your experiences during the shoot itself? The film is very much an extended action sequence, as we’d expect from such a grim tale of war in the far future, was the action choreography difficult to pull off? I noted that the Norts were all played by professional stuntmen

JS Over to Adam for this one!

AK Our main aim was to be as prepped as we could be prior to the shoot. We had visited the location numerous times to block out various camera positions and action beats. I worked with Damien Walters and some of the Norts stunt guys in a gymnastic gym on the hand to hand combat scene about 6 weeks before the shoot which gave us the framework of the fight. We also had a Prep day with everyone involved so we could block out the action with the performers and cast.
Our biggest challenge was time, action always takes time to shoot and we only had 2 days. Myself and Joby were very aware of this so I had to make a few creative changes on the fly in order to make our days without compromising the final product. Also having Professional British Stunt Registered performers made my life so much easier.

TSL Any future productions in the pipeline? A sequel perhaps or maybe another of 2000AD’s pantheon of characters? Or maybe your own original material?

AK I don’t think I will re-visit RT as a short, Id love to see it made into a feature someday whether I’m involved or not. I have a few other ideas I’m working on, keep scaring Joby with the scale.

JS Why Rogue Trooper the full feature of course…just need full support and a decent budget! I jest (I will continue to dream). I’m looking forward to the next challenge! Adam mentioned something to me about trenches…

TSL Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us. All the best for your future endeavours!

AK Cheers, Just wanted to thank our crew again. This couldn’t have been made without their time, passion and professionalism.

JS Thanks! Massive thanks to everyone that helped on this. So many people gave up their time and helped bring this to life.