Ben Jordan: Must Die
"He isn't going to Hell. He's going straight to DVD."
Societa Fantasma Abnormalé (working title)
Ben Jordan: The Movie Sequel (China)
Ben Jordan: Must Be Dead (India)
Ben Jordan Must Die is the second fan-film based on the popular AGS game series by Francisco "Grundislav" Gonzalez. It was filmed in Tuscany Italy in 2010 and also the UK in 2011, 2012 and some final filming projected for 2013 - although only the director was involved in both locations. It stars the AGS community and the director's friends from Wallingford, Oxfordshire. The video is directed & edited by Mark "m0ds" Lovegrove, but as of 2013 has only been released as a work in progress.
The "movie sequel" parodies "straight to DVD" films. It is longer yet more light-hearted and action packed than its predecessor "Le Chateau Macabre." Two storylines occur during the video. It is also a crowd-source funded project thanks to members of the adventure game community and fans of the Ben Jordan series (and Le Chateau Macabre). The sequel's budget was roughly $400 (£250). At a later date, some kind individuals (including JetXL) gave the project a cash boost, allowing filming in the UK to be 95% completed.
During filming in Italy, one of the on-set jokes was about how a game called "John Sinclair - Voodoo In London" apparently took the Ben Jordan sprite and painted over it to create a new running sprite of John Sinclair. Because of this, Lovegrove decided to include a character called Sinclair in the film who "does a lot of running".
Unlike Le Chateau Macabre, BJ:MD is swamped with continuity errors. There are lots of AGS in-jokes, movies references & nods to Chateau Macabre. Lovegrove said "Some people found Chateau quite bleak - I wanted the sequel to be a lot more fun, more gothic looking, have a bigger adventure feel and a better payoff."
With a runtime of 81 minutes, BJ:MD is Lovegrove's first feature film, and currently the only feature film made especially for the AGS community. Lovegrove says "BJ:MD is a bit different to its predecessor, in terms of production and post. It's my Die Hard 2, or Temple Of Doom. Meaning - the one people will 'um' and 'ah' about, and not be sure if they like it or not." Originally Lovegrove intended to not label the production as a Ben Jordan (fan) film, as, due to filming difficulties - the focus would not be on Jordan throughout.
BJ:MD also features hand-drawn art by Grundislav in the style of the BJ games.
Two years after the Chateau incident, successful investigator Ben Jordan is on holiday to speak about his work and the paranormal at a specially organised break by Mr Henry Hollywood.
Meanwhile in the UK strange phenomena seems to be following John Sinclair, who seeks information whilst being hunted down by untrustworthy thugs. He turns to Ben Jordan, who in turn agrees to fly out to the UK and help tackle the case.
However - Ben is forced to stay at the event and soon finds himself struggling to sort out his own problems, as matters become darker and the reason for his stay becomes a matter of life and death.
What will happen to Mr Jordan? And who will resolve the unfolding voodoo in London?
In 2009 ideas were formed for a new Ben Jordan fan-film to be shot in Miami, USA. This did not come to pass but some ideas were transfered to the next possible meet-up in Italy in 2010. Lovegrove was assisted by co-writers Gonzalez and Stedham (Malay) to form an idea of Ben Jordan becomming a ghost.
Early characters planned for the sequel included the return of Eric Feurstine as the crazed fan, and Jess Fink playing a new disabled (but funny) character. Andail was lined up to play the bad guy. Sadly these people (and others) could not make it.
Lovegrove worked on a script, and had to take into consideration his friends wishes to be in the next Screen 7 film. He devised a two story element to make BJ:MD his longest work to date. The final draft of the script was written two days before shooting began in Italy.
The original script featured a monster in the river Thames, but this storyline was later scrapped due to budget and effects constraints.
The film was shot on a small camcorder purchased from ebay, as Lovegrove had recently had a fault with the camera used for Le Chateau Macabre. Recording in Long Play in Italy caused various sound issues which have delayed the editing process.
The UK side of filming changed dramatically from the script, as it became apparent it would be too costly to create the visual effects in the final draft.
Miez created a brand new prop for the film in just a few days, the centre-piece knife. Other visual effect ideas included shadowplay, exploding watermelons and ghostly effects, though none of these came to pass.
Le Chateau Macabre was edited and released within 48 hours of being filmed, however BJ:MD, not only almost three times the length of Chateau, has also undergone new post techniques including stabilization of shots and of course re-working on sound which was faulty during shooting in Italy. The inclusion of special effects & dubbing have also been added in post.
These have improved the quality of the production but cast a long delay over the release. Lovegrove has worked carefully on the pacing of the edit and many scenes have undergone pacing changes on a monthly basis during post production. Some scenes have been removed and others added (see deleted scenes).
Some voice dubbing was done at Mittens 2011 in Ireland. About 90% of the speech in the video is original (sometimes salvaged) audio from the shoots, but 10% had to be re-recorded/dubbed as there were too many problems with the original audio. Work is continuing on the dialog audio.
In early September 2012 Lovegrove's back-up hard drive suffered from a short circuit which halted editing dramatically. A second IndieGoGo campaign was started as a request for fans to help get the drive fixed and the production finished. Although the project has had various setbacks, a 90% complete version is available to watch on YouTube.
"It's missing a scene toward the end and needs quite a lot of dubbing and work on the special effects." Lovegrove says in an AGS Wikipedia edit in May, 2013.
The Italy section was filmed during Mittens 2010 at a privately rented villa a kilometre from Foiano della Chiana in Tuscany (near Arezzo).
The English (UK) section was filmed in Oxford City centre, Didcot, Benson and Wallingford, Oxfordshire. Lovegrove's guerilla film-making approach meant none of the locations were pre-booked - the crew & cast would just turn up and shoot. BJ:MD includes a Tesco, weir, the Radcliffe Camera and cemetery.
The team would like to thank certain local businesses for their involvement in the production:
Hong Kong House - Chinese takeaway featuring in a chase sequence.
Anokhi Cuisine - Indian restaurant featuring in a chase sequence.
Carfax Tower - For aerial shots during a chase sequence
Toby English - Bookshop interior for library sequence
Tesco - For sequence in their car park
Thames Travel - For a scene involving a bus
Boathouse - For the scene in the pub
Ben Jordan is played by the games' creator Francisco "Grundislav" Gonzalez.
John Sinclair is played by David Birkett (Ginger In The Dark).
Mr Hollywood is played by Gunnar "Snarky" Harboe.
Lucietta is played by Kimberleigh Heilman.
Bob is played by Davy "Creed Malay" Stedham
The boss is played by John Goodwin.
Prof. van Laatum is played by Misja Miez van Laatum.
Vinnie, thug, is played by Matt Brownlie.
Winston, the butler, is played by Matt "Tier" Frith.
Prof. Blomqvist is played by Christian "Chrille" Blomqvist.
Mario is played by Charlie Spence.
The doctor is played by Nick Loveridge.
Audrey Hepburn is played by Katerina "cat" Wallech
James Sinclair, father, is played by James Drew.
Rufus, henchman, is played by Simon Loveridge.
Librarian is played by Neil Morgan.
Stephen Brown, party guest is played Darren "Quintaros" Reid
God, played by Francesco "bicilotti" Ariis
Burt, land-rover man, played by Gary Lambourne
Chris "CJ" Jones (AGS) appears as himself.
The production also stars Jake Hoggans, Marco Oojier and Ken Rickfels.
A funding campaign was run in July 2010 to raise $500. Just over $400 was raised, enabling the video to be started in Italy. http://www.indiegogo.com/ben-jordan-2
A second campaign was launched in September 2012 in an effort to get the film finished, with a goal of roughly $300. In between the two campaigns, those working on the project used their own funds. http://www.indiegogo.com/bjmd
1. "Rail Station at Night". Part of an original storyline in the UK, the rail station at night introduced Birkett & Lovegrove as freelance police set to investigate the story on the UK side. Simon Loveridge appeared briefly as Jack Slater (from Ginger In The Dark 2) before attempting to hunt down the "monster" and get killed. This storyline was scrapped.
2. "Chris Jones' Speech". When the guests give the speech in the AGS mansion, there was to be an extended speech about ghost hunting by Chris Jones. Unfortunately the audio had errors and the scene slowed down the pacing of the film, and it was removed.
3. "Ben In The Bedroom". The original phone call to Ben was filmed in his bedroom rather than kitchen, and had some different lines, but was re-shot.
4. "Let's split up". A very short scene with Miez, Kimberleigh and Chrille was cut when they decide to go and look for Ben.
Ben: "Tank top and plaid shirt, pay attention to me, I'm Ben fucking Jordan!!"
The Boss: "John Sinclair... I WILL stop you running!"
Ben: "So it wasn't a dream. Why does my mouth taste of coleslaw?"
John: "Yippee kay ay, mother fucker!"
Hollywood: "We'll have SIX souls. No-one has ever made a six soul entity before!"
Vinnie: "You're a DICK Sinclair!"
References to Other Works Of Fiction
Include characters discussing Le Chateau Macabre and the Ben Jordan series. Other references to existing fiction include lines from the Die Hard trilogy, Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom and Monkey Island. Plot elements also poke fun at the AGS blue cup rating system, the John Sinclair AGS games, the American Ghost Society and Hollywood film-making. The end credits follow the style of the Predator credit sequence, with the actors smiling at the camera.
Quirks & Errors
1. Ben receives a call with bad reception, the audio is Andail from a Mittens audio clip at JFK Airport in 2004.
2. Lucietta says she is a 'fan' and Ben is worried, remembering Eric from Le Chateau Macabre. This is the only mention of Eric in the sequel.
3. Strangely, several trees throughout the UK section have carrier bags in them.
4. When Ben lowers the passport, in the next shot he is still holding it up.
5. The boss' glasses change from specs to shades, randomly. Also, his earpiece is missing in a few shots.
6. In various scenes the dubbing is akin to old martial arts films, the scene between Blomqvist and Jordan in particular.
7. Of the 30 or so scenes filmed in Italy, Lovegrove forgot to film one important scene for the finalé section. It is replaced by hand-drawn art by Francisco Gonzalez. Other errors (including why characters are still locked in a room) with this section of the film became apparent only during editing but re-shooting was not possible.
8. The producer credits in the opening sequences (of the work in progress version) are incorrect
The BJ:MD Drinking Game
Players must drink whenever they hear "Jordan", and for those who really want to get wasted, everytime "Sinclair" is heard too. Alternatively, two teams can attempt to survive by taking either "Jordan" or "Sinclair". Please note, this is an irresponsible drinking game not suitable for lightweights!
The video uses different music to LCM. This time Lovegrove has opted for a much more cinematic feel and has attempted to keep the soundtrack consistent and above all - epic. Ben's themes are predominantly from "Night at the Museum", the score (soundtrack) of which provided Lovegrove inspiration for the Italy storyline and shoot. John's themes are predominantly "Van Helsing" and "Predator 1 & 2" both scores inspiration for the original river monster theme.
Music from the following composers and soundtracks feature:
Alan Silvestri (Night at the Museum 1 & 2, Predator 1 & 2, Van Helsing)
Basil Poliderius (Under Siege 2, Starship Troopers)
John Debney - (End Of Days [also used in the BJ:MD trailer])
Written & Directed by Mark 'Mods' Lovegrove
Executive Producers - Peder Johnsen, Stephen 'stephuran' Brown
Producers - Gunnar 'Snarky' Harboe, Dayne 'Diath' Holthaus
Co-writers - Francisco 'Grundislav' Gonzalez, Davy 'Creed' Stedham
Prop Modelling by Misja 'Miez' van Laatum
Special Effects by Jan 'dkh' Simon
Drivers - Darren 'Quintaros' Reid, Simon 'Love' Loveridge, Neil A. Morgan, John Goodwin, Matthew Vinniecombe, Luke Wood
Special thanks to - Adventure Game Studio (AGS), The Boathouse, Hong Kong House, Anokhi Cuisine, Toby English, Thames Travel, Tesco, Wouter 'JetXL' Lemein, Michael Lynch, Misja van Laatum, Stuart 'stupot' Forbes, Andrew 'LGM' Edmark, felixdrott, ape10
Editing by Mark 'Mods' Lovegrove
Made in association with and under permission from Grundislav Games
As of June 2012, 3 trailers have been released relating to BJ:MD -
The 2010 trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqYTtzEclpY
The 2011 trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POXim_spPtI
The 2012 trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlC3WfnqqaU
Work in progress (2012) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH-0m1lzqMs