England’s Screaming – A Fictional History of UK Horror Cinema.

Sean Hogan 

306 pages PS Publishing 2019

Shared universes are all the rage in cinema now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) probably being the most well known and commercially successful. Indeed this goes back to roots of the Silver Age of American comic books back in the 1960’s when Marvel Comics and DC first began to cross over their characters into each other’s stories.

But the idea of a shared universe and chronology in modern entertainment goes back further than this and was first pioneered (albeit by a cynical cash-in motive, rather than any creative impulse), by Universal’s ‘Monster cycle’ films that began with Tod Browning’s classic DRACULA in 1931 starring the Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi, reprising his successful Broadway role for the then burgeoning silver screen. The huge success of this film and its follow up, James Whale’s FRANKENSTEIN in the same year, saw a whole slew of horror films produced by Universal, sometimes based on literary sources (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, THE INVISIBLE MAN), sometimes not (THE MUMMY, THE WOLF MAN). The success of these films prompted inevitable sequels where Universal brass hit on the idea of having two or more of their ‘monster’ properties in the same film, reasoning that more  monsters would equal increased returns at the box office (FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLF MAN, HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, HOUSE OF DRACULA), an approach that the contemporary horror screenwriter and producer Val Lewton derided as ‘monster mash’. The inevitable law of diminishing returns kicked in soon enough though, with some truly risible efforts that introduced the comedy duo Abbott & Costello in the monster cycle in an attempt to wring every last dollar out of the properties. THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON signalled a brief return to the genre, spawning two sequels, but no serious attempt was made (thankfully) to cross over the titular ‘Gill-Man’ with Universal’s more gothic tinged monster properties.

But the principle of having different characters in different films sharing the same chronology and ‘world’ had been established, even if the concept was largely forgotten by Hollywood in the ensuing decades.

Which brings us to the subject of this review, a book whose central premise is so beautifully simple, subtle and elegant in its execution that any fan of postwar British horror cinema will be kicking themselves that they didn’t think of it first.

Imagine that Damien Thorn from THE OMEN was connected to the Duc du Richlieau from THE DEVIL RIDES OUT through Julian Karswell from NIGHT OF THE DEMON. Author Sean Hogan’s book deftly weaves these characters and numerous others from cinema and TV, both famous and obscure into a wonderful tapestry that will have not just horror fans but cinephiles in general turning the pages in anticipation of travelling further down Hogan’s ingeniously constructed rabbit hole.

But this isn’t just a contrived dot connecting exercise, seeking to link together over six decades worth of the British horror genre. As with most shared universes, Hogan places everything in the context of an overarching story, in this case the existential power struggle between the dark messianic zeal of the Antichrist Damien Thorn and the contemptuous nihilism of the psychic John Morlar from the 1978 chiller, THE MEDUSA TOUCH.

Each chapter focuses on a film character, ingeniously linking them to each other and the overall arc. For example, we have Carol Ledoux (REPULSION) committed to a mental institution after the events of that film, which just happens to be run by a certain Dr Channard (HELLRAISER II). Other highlights (too many to mention without getting into spoiler territory) include a genius thread linking the infamous 1973 public information film THE SPIRIT OF DARK AND LONELY WATER with the Nicolas Roeg classic DON’T LOOK NOW, Peckinpah’s STRAW DOGS with THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (I shit you not), and a particularly enjoyable chapter on Gilderoy, the main protagonist of Peter Strickland’s surrealist love letter to Euro exploitation cinema BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO.

Hogan doesn’t leave many stones unturned in constructing his fictional universe, and it’s a real joy to read his extra background material linking together characters like Professor Bernard Quatermass with obscure cameo parts such as Christopher Lee’s turn as the enigmatic Stratton-Villiers (DEATH LINE) which the author also seamlessly links to Peter Walker’s 1974 schlock-fest FRIGHTMARE. Along the journey, the book introduces the reader to long forgotten entries like THE GODSEND and the little known Edward Woodward vehicle THE APPOINTMENT, taking the narrative all the way to the present incorporating titles such as Shane Meadows’ DEAD MAN’S SHOES. THE BORDERLANDS and Matthew Holness’ POSSUM, all the while giving nods to non horror classics line GET CARTER, THE SERVANT and THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY.

ENGLAND’S SCREAMING is the best book on British horror and on cinema in general that I’ve read in years. With a whip smart conceit at its centre, backed up by a fluid prose style and what is clearly an encyclopaedic knowledge of his subject, Sean Hogan has fashioned a wonderful book that should be on the shelves of any self respecting cinephile.

England’s Screaming is available from Waterstones – 


and Amazon in both physical and ebook versions – 

Hail there film fiends, and a very merry bank holiday to you!

As promised last week here’s a boatload of new releases to wet your appetite –

PET GRAVEYARD concerns a group of friends tormented by the Grim Reaper and his sinister pet after they undergo an experiment that allows them to revisit the dead.  The film marks the directorial debut of Rebecca J. Matthews (producer of MOTHER KRAMPUS), from a screenplay by Suzy Spade.  Scott Jeffrey (THE BAD NUN) produces.  Jeff Miller (THE TOYBOX, OUIJA HOUSE) is executive producer.

The movie stars Jessica O’Toole, David Cotter, Rita Siddiqui, Hindolo Koroma, Kate Milner-Evans, Georgina Jane, T’Jean Uter-Dinh, and Hattie Willow.

PET GRAVEYARD is on release on dvd/digital in North America now.  Uncork’d Entertainment is handling worldwide distribution.

Award-winning* dystopian thriller Division 19, starring Mandy’s Linus Roache and Alison Doody (from Indiana Jones and the last Crusade), heads to theatres and digital this April from Uncork’d Entertainment.

In the future, prisons have been turned into online portals where paying subscribers get to vote on what felons eat, watch, wear and who they fight. Panopticon TV is so successful it is about to be rolled out to a whole new town. When the world’s most downloaded felon escapes, the authorities set a trap to reel him in. The bait is his little brother who has so far managed to avoid detection.

Also starring Jamie Draven (Billy Elliot), Lotte Verbeek (Outlander), Clarke Peters (Jessica Jones), L. Scott Caldwell (Lost) and Will Rothhaar (Grimm), District 19 is written and directed by S A Halewood.

Division 19 in theatres and available on demand now.

*WINNER Critics’ Award, Fantasporto Film Festival, WINNER Best Director Suzie Halewood, Boston Science Fiction Film Festival 2018

Widely regarded as one of the goriest films in years, Brazilian horror hitCannibal Club, directed by Guto Parente, premieres in North America this March via Uncork’d Entertainment.

Otavio and Gilda are a very wealthy couple of the Brazilian elite who have the habit of eating their employees. Otavio owns a private security company and is a notable member of The Cannibal Club. When Gilda accidentally discovers a secret from Borges, a powerful congressman and the Club’s leader, her and her husband’s lives are in grave danger. 

Cannibal Club is on US release now.

The Hallucinatory Epic From Writer/Director/FX Master Gabe Bartalos comes home this May!
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun) features in the hallucinatory new horror epic Saint Bernard, releasing this May!

From legendary FX Master Gabe Bartalos (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Darkman) comes a “must-see for the truly adventurous” (UnseenFilms.net), premiering on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms May 14 from Severin Films.

Shot on Super 16mm and 35mm film, the highly-anticipated horror jaunt fixes on a classical musical conductor who unravels into the abyss of insanity.  Jason Dugre (Bosch), Katy Sullivan (Last Man Standing), Peter Iasillo Jr. (HellBilly 58), Bob Zmuda (Man on the Moon) and Warwick Davis (Leprechaun, Solo, Return of the Jedi) star.

Gabe Bartalos, the film’s director, writer and special effects artist pulls heavily from his ripe imagination, creating extraordinary characters, bizarre set designs, and incredibly inspired prosthetic effects. Amid a palette of dark themes, the film takes its audience on a turbulent ride through Bernard’s surreal adventures as he spirals into madness.

Saint Bernard’s marvellously hypnotic tone displays influences characteristic of prior collaborations with art world icon Matthew Barney, horror aficionado Frank Henenlotter, and renowned photographer Mark Seliger, yet carves out a distinct new voice for Bartalos.

Saint Bernard out May 14 from Severin Films.

Highly-anticipated suspense thriller Room for Rent, starring veteran actress Lin Shaye (the Insidious franchise, Ouija), will be released in theatres and on digital this May.

Room for Rent, stars Shaye as a lonely widow who rents out a room in her house and becomes dangerously obsessed with one of her guests.

The Uncork’d Entertainment release, also starring Oliver Rayon, Valeska Miller, and Ryan Ochoa, opens May 3 in select theatres and releases May 7 on digitalin the US.

Lonely widow Joyce rents out a room to make easy money.  She meets mysterious drifter Bob and takes him in as a long-term tenant.  She becomes obsessed with her much younger guest, making him the object of her deepest romantic fantasies.  When a friend’s betrayal derails Joyce’s fantasy world, she seizes control of her own destiny with a deadly mission to finally get what she deserves.

Long-awaited Horror fantasy Flay, from director Eric Pham, will be released April 2 from Phame Factory.

Flay hails from a filmmaker who cut his teeth working VFX work on some of Robert Rodriguez’s best known films, including Grindhouse and Sin City.

The film features Alita : Battle Angel‘s Elle LaMont, Violett Beane (The Flash) andPhantasm star A. Michael Baldwin. Dalton Gray (Lazer Team, Dumber and Dumber To), Johnny Walter, Aaron Spivey-Sorrells, Peggy Schott, Kaylee King and Noe de la Garza also star.

After the death of her mother, an estranged daughter struggles to save her brother, and those around her from a malevolent faceless spirit.

Flay available digitally now from Phame Factory.

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! Lots of goodness on the slate this week including the ace looking LIFECHANGER. Let’s dive in –

Erik Black is a broken soul due to the loss of his wife. He spends his days alone and self-medicating. All of that changes when his estranged son asks him to help him reach an undisclosed destination. There, he says, he will receive a divine message he believes will change the course of humanity. To survive they must stick together while fostering a belief in something greater than themselves.

PRODIGY, starring Tyler Roy Roberts (Z NATION), Cory Kays (LOOKING FOR ANDREW) and King Amir Allahyar (FAÇADE), on VOD December 4 and DVD January 1 from Uncork’d Entertainment.


400 Years Ago Sir Walter Raleigh Searched For El Dorado … Today It Was Found.
In the tradition of INDIANA JONES and TOMB RAIDER, comes a thrilling adventure in search of… the city of gold.

Vernon Wells (THE ROAD WARRIOR, COMMANDO, INNERSPACE), Christopher Atkins (THE BLUE LAGOON, THE PIRATE MOVIE) and Branscombe Richmond (CHICAGO MED, THE SCORPION KING) star in THE CITY OF GOLD, on VOD December 4 and DVD January 1, 2019.

An anguished media magnate, Jonathan Davenport, accompanies his estranged lover to the Peruvian Amazon in pursuit of a reclusive artist living in rebel occupation. Despite their philanthropic intentions, the mission proves to be the harbinger of something dark and ominous rooted deep within Jonathan.
John Charles Meyer (AVENGED), Adrienne Whitney Papp (THE RESIDENT), Riley Dandy (DOUBLE PLAY), Robbie Allen (HELLBLAZER) and Jennifer Rikert Wolski (ESCAPE ARTIST) star in a film directed by Harry Locke IV and written by Ronald A.Blum.
From High Octane Pictures, THE CITY OF GOLD on VOD December 4 and DVD January 1, 2019.


Anthony Peterson has 24 hours of air. A cell phone. And no way out.
In the tradition of SAW and BURIED, CARGO on VOD and DVD November 13 from Wild Eye Releasing.
A man wakes trapped inside a cargo container with only a cell phone and is given 24 hours by his kidnappers to raise ten million dollars in ransom or die.
Ron Thompson (American Me), Corbin Timbrook (The Glass Shield), Jose Rosete (”The Walking Dead: Red Machete”) and Danika Fields (”The Doctors”) star in a James Dylan film.


Swedish chiller THE CABIN, the debut feature for Johan Bodell, is set for a North American premiere this December.

Young American couple, Rose (Caitlin Crommett) and Harry (Christopher Lee Page) are on their way to visit Harrys family cabin. Both as a nostalgic vacation and as a way to rekindle their relationship. But they’re not the only one that decided to visit the cabin this weekend… The vacation is quickly turned into a living nightmare for Rose and Harry as they meet a vicious sociopath, who invites them into a involuntary cat and mouse game. ​
THE CABIN, scripted by Erik Kammerland and produced by Alec Trachtenberg of Coast ART Productions and KW Studios, takes you to the rural backwater of the Swedish summer, and on a ride you will never forget.
Available on VOD/DVD December 4 from High Octane Pictures.


The highly anticipated LIFECHANGER will be released in North America January 1, 2019, by Uncork’d Entertainment.

Written and directed by Justin McConnell, LIFECHANGER tells of a murderous shape-shifter that sets out on a blood-soaked mission to make things right with the woman he loves.
Drew has an identity problem. Every few days, has to shape-shift, or face a painful death. He has to find someone and make a copy. He takes everything: their looks, memories, hopes, and dreams. Their entire life. He becomes them, and they die horribly. Enter Julia, the object of Drew’s affection. How can he make things right when he’s never the same person for very long? How do you gain back trust when who you are keeps changing? Part psychological thriller, part body horror, Lifechanger follows one shape-shifters’ twisted quest to repair the damage he’s caused, while leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.

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!

A Quiet Place (2018) US Dir: John Krasinski
Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds

Several months after the world’s human population has been decimated by blind extra terrestrial creatures that hunt by sound, the Abbott family continue to survive on their isolated farm.
When their youngest son Beau is killed by one of the creatures, their congenitally deaf daughter Regan blames herself. Meanwhile their engineer father Lee (Krasinski) continues to try and upgrade a cochlear implant for Regan and figure out the creatures weakness, while making fruitless attempts to contact any survivors in the outside world. Lee’s heavily pregnant wife Evelyn (Blunt) concentrates on continuing the children’s education whilst making preparations to give birth to their fourth child…
A QUIET PLACE is a terrific achievement and has gone some way to restoring my faith that the major Hollywood studios can still produce engaging multi layered storytelling, and not just endless paint by numbers superhero franchise entries.
Developed from a spec script by Scott Woods and Bryan Fuller, that originally featured only one line of dialogue, writer/director Krasinski sensibly opts for a restrained ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach to what is essentially a creature feature overlaid with familial angst, the film wisely opts for a slow reveal of the creatures, and not just of their appearance but also their abilities and weaknesses. This is a firmly character driven piece that doesn’t drown the audience in flashy cgi or clunky exposition, and is all the better for it. It says a lot about how the cgi revolution has resulted in too many films prioritising spectacle over narrative that A QUIET PLACE’s old school approach to storytelling feels so refreshing.
One of the best examples of this comes from how the backstory of the aliens arrival on our planet and the subsequent breakdown of society is told subtly through glimpsed newspaper cuttings in Lee’s workshop and snippets of deftly crafted dialogue in what has to be a textbook example of world building in a film.
The performances are uniformly excellent, with real life husband and wife Krasinski and Blunt exuding a mixture of fortitude and quiet desperation in the face of their grief and their unspoken fears of what the future may hold for the family. Special mention must go to the sound design by Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van Der Ryn along with the score by Marco Beltrami taking on more significance than usual given the film’s central premise and the attendant sparseness of dialogue for extended periods of the run time.
Stripped of its sci fi trappings, the theme that lies at the heart of the film is the fear of every parent of not being able to protect their children from outside forces beyond their control. The horror genre functions best when putting our repressed fears and anxieties under the microscope, forcing them to the surface through a fantastical narrative device (in this case blind alien predators.)
A QUIET PLACE is a welcome return to old school sci-fi horror in the tradition of ALIEN and THE THING where concept, characterisation and narrative take precedence over empty spectacle (not that the film is deficient in the FX department but Krasinski as writer/director wisely keeps the creatures full reveal for the climax.) Hopefully the film’s healthy box office returns (US$332,583,447 on a bufget ofUS$17,000,00) will bode well for more thoughtful and narrative driven genre cinema of this quality.

Good morning and fine fettle to you, my celluloid loving brethren! The 25th day of this September sees the unleashing of Brit backwoods horror ESCAPE FROM CANNIBAL FARM (CANNIBAL FARM in the US) on to the home viewing market. This is a title I’ve been anticipating for a while now, ever since it came to my attention from following its leading lady Kate Davies Speak on Twitter. Produced by writer/director Charlie Steeds’ Dark Temple Motion Pictures, the film promises to be an all out retro styled splatter festival that looks a cut above the relentless slew of slick but soulless jump scare horror infesting Netflix, and I’m more than intrigued to see the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE style mayhem transplanted to the bucolic English shires. From the look of the trailer, Mr Steeds won’t be getting a gig scripting The Archers any time soon, though I’m sure his input might liven Radio 4 up a bit.
Dark Temple have a boatload of fun looking horror flicks slated for release in the near future, including the wonderful looking THE BARGE PEOPLE, backwoods survival horror WINTERSKIN and the gothic looking THE HOUSE OF VIOLENT DESIRE. Wonderful titles alone!
Staying on these shores, I’m currently writing up my long delayed review of DOGGED, writer/director Richard Rowntree’s folk horror released a couple of months back. Richard’s Ash Mountain Films outfit is currently filming their second feature NEFARIOUS, an urban crime horror flick that promises to continue the bleak and contemporary style established in their debut feature, and of which this little site is a proud backer through Kickstarter!
Dark Temple and  Ash Mountain Films are both exciting new ventures flying the flag for British horror and I strongly recommend you check them out.
You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, where they tweet as @DarkTempleFilms and @AshMountainFilm respectively, and also on Instagram where they are darktemplemotionpictures and richard.rowntree

Scream Magazine
I’ve finally bitten the bullet and taken out a subscription to Scream Magazine, something I’ve been promising myself to do since I first came across it in early summer. The mag has just reached its 50th issue, so it seemed an appropriate time to jump on.
The mag’s format is a mixture of features on current releases and retrospectives with the usual review columns and regulars  (VHS Ate My Brain, and the Behind The Screams gossip feature being my favourites.)
The fiftieth issue features a great and now poignant interview with the late BLACK CHRISTMAS and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR star Margot Kidder (you’ll always be my Lois Lane, Margot.) Jamie Lee Curtis and David Gordon Green talk the new HALLOWEEN flick coming next month from Blumhouse, along with part one of a look back at the forty year history of the franchise. Other highlights include retrospectives on ROSEMARY’S BABY and Lucio Fulci’s classic undead exploitation epic ZOMBIE FLESHEATERS, and an interview with Corin Hardy, director of the upcoming THE NUN, the next instalment in the ever widening THE CONJURING universe.
However, my absolute stand out favourite feature in the issue is Paperbacks from Hell, an interview with author Grady Hendrix about his eponymous new book detailing the schlocky paperback shockers that festooned supermarket bookshelves back in the 80’s. Reading through the article brought back memories of thumbing through these titles in Morrisons (a northern english supermarket chain, for those not in the know). Although they were never going to win any literary prizes, the sheer amount of imagination featured in the lurid illustrations that adorned their covers was enough to sear them into the collective memories of any impressionable youth that encountered them. Something they had in common with a lot of the titles down the local video rental shop! Guy N Smith anyone?
Published on a bi-monthly basis, the mag is a steal at twenty uid for a years sub and I’d highly recommend it to film geeks as well as gorehounds and VHS era relics like myself! Check out how to subscribe here.

Grimmfest 2018
I’m pleased to announce that The Stricken Land will be attending this year’s Grimmfest festival held over the 4-7th October 2018 at the Odeon Manchester Great Northern. This is our first time at an event where we have bona fide press accreditation, so rest assured we’ll be scouring the event for all the upcoming news and releases in horror and cult cinema, and posting a full report along with select reviews of the festival’s cinematic offerings. Keep your eyes peeled for on the spot updates via our Facebook page and on Twitter and Instagram.
You can pick up tickets to the event here. Hope to see you there!

Mayhem Horror Festival 2018
While we are on the subject of Festivals, Nottingham’s Broadway cinema is once again hosting the Mayhem Film Festival from 14th to 18th October. This year’s line up includes such delights as the bonkers looking Nicholas Cage led MANDY, dystopian sci-fi PROSPECT, THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW, PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH, screening of classics such as Lamberto Bava’s DEMONS and Romero’s original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD along with a whole boatload more horror, sci-fi and cult movies from around the globe. Mayhem is always a great little festival in which to discover new films and the talent behind them that will likely bypass the multiplexes (for the time being anyway!)
To check out the full line up and to bag yourself early bird tickets to screenings, check out their page here.

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!

Hello there film fiends! Quite a few goodies to share with you this week, Let’s dive in –


Before we meet THE PREDATOR, come face to face with THE DAWNSEEKER!

Premiering September 4 On Demand from Uncork’d Entertainment, Justin Price’s explosive new sci-fi horror actioner pits five mercenaries against a dangerous alien creature.

2245, the Earth’s sun has dwindled and no longer provides the energy needed to sustain human life. Five hired mercenaries travel to an uncharted planet to collect a rare mineral known as stardust to replenish the dying star. After their spaceship crashes on the alien planet, they are stalked and hunted by a creature far more advanced than anything they have ever encountered before.

Starring Franziska Schissler, Alexander Kane, Jason Skeen and Khu, THE DAWNSEEKER marks the fifth feature film from director Justin Price (ALIEN : REIGN OF MAN).


Pistol-packing acclaimed South African western FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES, a thrilling tale that takes its place alongside classics such as ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and contemporaries like THE PROPOSITION and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, stares down the barrel of a national theatrical release Friday, September 7, 2018.

From filmmaker Michael Matthews and screenwriter Sean Drummond comes a thrilling western set against the backdrop of post-Apartheid South Africa. Five Fingers for Marseilles takes place in a small town “governed” by dubious local officials, living in fear of a lawless mob; when an exiled outlaw returns home in search of solace and redemption, brotherhood and loyalty are fused with vengeance.

Starring Vuyo Dabula, Hamilton Dhlamini, Zethu Dlomo, Kenneth Nkosi, Mduduzi Mabaso, Aubrey Poolo, Lizwi Vilakazi, Warren Masemola, Dean Fourie, Anthony Oseyemi, Brendon Daniels, and Jerry Mofokeng, FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES opens September 7 -across the US via Uncork’d Entertainment.

Synopsis: The residents of the colonial town of Marseilles are under the thumb of police oppression and only the young rebels known as the Five Fingers are willing to stand up to them. Their battle is just, until Tau kills two policemen and flees the scene. The remaining rebels disband while the banished Tau resorts to a life of crime.  Twenty years later, now known as feared outlaw The Lion of Marseilles, he is released from prison. He returns home, desiring only peace and to reconnect with those he left behind. The battle for South Africa’s freedom has been won, and former comrades-in-arms are in prominent positions as mayor, police chief, and pastor. But it quickly becomes clear to Tau that Marseilles is caught in the grip of a vicious new threat — and he must reconstitute the Five Fingers to fight frontier justice. Standing against former allies and new enemies, the re-formed Five Fingers saddle up and ride out, and put their lives at risk to save their beloved Marseilles.

Horror anthology BLOOD CLOTS, starring Brooke Smith, (THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) hemorrhages on VOD this August!

Out now on Vimeo and Amazon, BLOOD CLOTS is a collection of horror stories curated by Freedom Cinema, consisting of shorts by New York distributor Hewes Pictures.  Featuring cannibals, zombies and other funny creatures, the anthology stars many recognizable actors such as Brooke Smith (THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), Harry Sinclair (THE LORD OF THE RINGS), Madalina Bellariu Ion (YOUNG POPE) and Kristin Slaysman (THE LAST TYCOON, MASTERS OF SEX) among many others.

The collection is made up of seven short, gore-filled stories that will surely please the fans of the genre. Whether it is an awkward dinner with an ancient creature in The Call of Charlie, or a rightfully justified fear of basements in Time To Eat, BLOOD CLOTS has it all.

The anthology features stories directed by Evan Hughes, Sid Zanforlin, Luke Guidici, Carl Timms, Patrick Longstreth, Timothy J. Richardson, Martyn Pick and Nick Spooner.

From High Octane Pictures, the studio that brought you THE JURASSIC GAMES and THE VEIL, comes a fire-breathing, wind-riding fantasy adventure that’ll run ‘rings’ around the competition this August – DRAGON MOUNTAIN
In a fantasy world of dragons, magic and myths, four Dwarves are mining in the dangerous Dragon Mountain when a sudden, violent explosion causes a cave in, trapping the Dwarves inside. With oxygen getting low and supplies dwindling the group must work together to figure a way out before it’s too late. But the path to freedom may not be as simple as they hope when they cross paths with a hungry creature tracking them in the darkness.

Robert Morgan (SOLO : A STAR WARS STORY), Brent Bateman (BIRDMAN), John Hutton (“Power”), Gys de Villiers (Vehicle 19) and Serah Henesey (BULLET) star in an exciting, steampunk adventure from filmmaker Chris Raney.

Dragon Mountain is released August 7 on VOD and September 4 on DVD.

From High Octane Pictures, the studio that brought you THE JURASSIC GAMES and CLOWNTERGIEST, comes IT LIVES INSIDE, premiering on digital this summer.
A chronic sleepwalker reads from a mysterious book that foretells his impending demonic possession. He then struggles to hold his family together as the ancient evil threatens to consume everything he holds dear.

Rett Terrell (THE JURASSIC GAMES) and Alissa Rose Ford (ARMY OF FRANKENSTEINS) star in a Jeff Hall film, released August 7 on VOD and September 4 on DVD.

Rhys Wakefield (The PURGE) hatches a killer plan in THE GRAND SON, premiering on digital this August from Uncork’d Entertainment.
Award-winning filmmaker Robert Logevall and writer Abram Makowka invite you to experience a young man’s descent into decadence and darkness.

High in the Hollywood Hills, Tod and his sister, Lani live a charmed life in mansion of their grandmother, a former movie star now hosting a home shopping show with failing ratings. She sees her grandchildren as spoiled and entitled and when Tod senses that his lifestyle is in jeopardy he hatches a diabolical plot to keep the home shopping show going and the money rolling in.Academy Award Nominee Lesley Anne Warren (Color of Night, Victor/Victoria), Fabianne Therese, Nathan Keyes, and Sarah Clarke (the Twilight franchise) also star.

THE GRAND SON releases digitally on 8/14 and DVD on 11/6.

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!


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.

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Good morning film fiends! Buckle up for KING COHEN, the true story of writer, producer, director, creator and all-around maverick, Larry Cohen. Told through compelling live interviews, stills and film/TV clips, the people who helped fulfill his vision, including Larry himself, bring one-of-a-kind insight into the work, process and legacy of a true American film auteur. Few can boast of a career as remarkable or prolific, spanning more than 50 years of entertaining audiences worldwide.

The highly anticipated KING COHEN, the true story of writer, producer, director, creator and all-around maverick, Larry Cohen,  will receive a full theatrical run across the U.S – including Los Angeles and New York – beginning July 27 courtesy Dark Star Pictures.

Cohen, best known for resourceful low-budget horror and thriller films that combine social commentary with prerequisite scares and welcome humor, is responsible for celluloid classics including BLACK CAESAR, IT’S ALIVE, Q: THE WINGED SERPENT, and THE STUFF. He was also a major player in the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s, as well as a prominent Hollywood screenwriter (PHONE BOOTH).

The acclaimed film features interviews with such industry luminaries as Martin Scorsese, J.J Abrams, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, John Landis, Fred Williamson as well as Cohen himself. Cohen’s remarkable one-of-a-kind career, from 60’s TV series creator (Branded, The Invaders), to 70’s and 80’s independent film icon and beyond, is chronicled with freewheeling and insightful verve.

Winner of the 2017 Fantasia Fest Best Documentary Feature Audience Award, KING COHEN hails from Rondo Award-winning writer/director Steve Mitchell, whose film and television credits include co-writing the beloved cult horror/comedy CHOPPING MALL. KING COHEN is a La-La Land Entertainment production, in association with Big And Tall Pictures and Off The Cliff Productions. It is directed and produced by Steve Mitchell and produced by Matt Verboys and Dan McKeon.

KING COHEN begins its theatrical run July 27 in markets including Los Angeles and New York. Special event screenings of the film will also be held throughout July and August in cities including Asheville, VA and Yonkers, NY. UK and European release dates to follow.

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.


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Good morning film fiends! Now that the Royal Wedding shenanigans are over and done with and we’re all recovering from the weekend barbecue hangovers, The Stricken Land’s weekly missive is here to cheer you all up on the morning commute with some upcoming celluloid goodness –

There’s nothing we love more than a bit of Euro-action, and the independent action thriller production THE HITMAN AGENCY, about competing hitmen in a web of conspiracies by writer/director Dominik Starck, just hit VOD with a release on Amazon Instant Video.

Shot with an international cast – including 11 time kickboxing champion Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson – and just a fistful of euros, this underdog-production with compelling storytelling also makes its film market debut in Cannes looking for further worldwide distribution. Starck, a writer and producer on the “Krautsploitation” action film ATOMIC EDEN, starring Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson and Lorenzo Lamas, delivers his action thriller for fans of martial arts, multi-layered stories, and self-financed independent genre films to audiences worldwide and even before the movie’s premier in his home country Germany.

“Making an indie film is close to being a hitman; choose your goal, aim and go after it no matter the obstacles. And like assassinations, it’s a hit and miss with movies. I consider our movie the latter but it’s up to the target audience to decide if that’s the truth or not,” says Starck, the writer/director. While the German independent production by Starck Entertainment and R.J. Nier Films is represented by distributor Generation X Group GmbH at the film market in Cannes (May 8th to 17th) for international sales, the US audience is the first to be able to watch THE HITMAN AGENCY on Amazon.com where it’s available for rent and buy.

The movie is the directorial debut of writer/producer Dominik Starck who previously worked on the award winning mercenary action film ATOMIC EDEN, starring Blaxploitation legend Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson and Lorenzo Lamas (RENEGADE). While being a deliberately different type of movie, THE HITMAN AGENCY features a special appearance by 11 time kickboxing champion Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson from BLOODFIST-fame. Starring American-born Erik Hansen (THE COUNTESS) and LA-based Everett Ray Aponte (ATOMIC EDEN) as competing hitmen from different ends of their assassin-careers, THE HITMAN AGENCY is a character-driven conspiracy-thriller with twists and turns, spiced with some martial arts outbreaks and assassinations. Shot on locations in Germany in English with more blood, sweat, and tears than a real budget, this underdog movie is proof to the phrase that nothing can stop you from making a movie when you really want it. Not even in Germany where there’s no platform for genre films at all.

THE HITMAN’S AGENCY is now available to rent and buy at Amazon.com.


The highly acclaimed sci-fi noir thriller 2047 : Virtual Revolution, starring sci-fi icon Jane Badler (“V”) and Mike Dupod (“Arrow”), premieres on VOD June 12 from Lidderdalei Productions.

The year is 2047. Most of the world’s population live inside corporate-controlled virtual worlds and drift further out of touch with reality. Nash, a private investigator/ mercenary is hired to track down a group of hackers who are disrupting and terrorizing the virtual space in a bid to free human beings from their online prisons.

Guy-Roger Duvert’s stunning sci-fi thriller, the recipient of over 40 awards, including Best Film at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards and Best Feature at Dragon Con, makes its long-awaited premiere on VOD June 12.

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.