Following on from our review of KNIGHTS OF THE DAMNED, we recently got the opportunity to interview one of its stars, the actor and martial artist Silvio Simac. Silvio is of Croatian descent, although currently based in the UK. He is a World Gold medalist in Taekwon-do, and has also been crowned British champion 4 times and European champion 4 times. Silvio continues to build his profile as an action star with a  career that has so far has seen him go up against Jason Statham in TRANSPORTER 3, Jet Li in UNLEASHED, Keanu Reeves in MAN OF TAI CHI, and his friend and colleague Scott Adkins in UNDISPUTED II, who he also organises and hosts martial arts seminars with.

TSL Thanks for talking with us Silvio. How did you come to be involved in martial arts and where did your acting career start?

SS  Growing up in the 1970’s I was clearly inspired and motivated by late Bruce Lee who made a huge impact on the silver screen with his incredible physique, aura and magnetism. I showed natural disposition and excelled on the sports field whilst setting several school records in various sports. Shortly after I took up martial arts, belts swiftly changed colour as my enthusiasm grew and I started winning trophies and accolades. Within a decade I had acquired black belts in several disciplines and had climbed from British to European and eventually world gold medalist. At this stage I was endorsing products for various sponsors that backed me up as well as appearing in numerous adverts and TV commercials so I was somewhat familiar with the inner workings of film and tv sets. As such I was called up to join an agency and  within 5 weeks my life as I knew it transformed. From graduating from University in BA Economics, now I was training to be an actor and my new exciting journey had begun as I was getting roles in different productions and features.

TSL Were you a big fan of the action genre growing up, and if so what would you say is your favourite movie in the genre? Did you consider any of those stars as role models that influenced your career choices?

SS I suppose most young boys are into action films as they convey a story closer to young person’s primal instincts. My era saw emergence of timeless action icons such as Jean Claude Van Damme , Jackie Chan, Steven Seagal, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, so I feel very lucky to have had an influence from such icons. Some of the biggest and favourite movies that I have had the biggest impact on me are  BLOODSPORT, KICKBOXER and ROCKY.

TSL  I remember as kid growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, the action genre seemed much bigger than it is now, with a whole raft of classic (and not so classic) movies making big stars out of the likes of Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Seagal, Norris, Van Damme and many others. Some of my favourites were on the lower budget exploitation end of the genre, particularly the Golan Globus movies. Being based in the UK, do you see this country and continental Europe as the best places to find action movie projects? We’ve produced Jason Statham here, and France gave the world the writer/director Luc Besson. Hollywood seems to have lost interest or either traded on past glories, i.e THE EXPENDABLES movies?

SS The action movie genre has grown and developed immensely world wide. South Korean as well as Thai and Bollywood action movies have been making an incredible impact in world cinema. It is also much easier and more cost effective to make movies so we are seeing much broader diversity and spectrum of action movies world wide.

TSL Action movies are obviously physically demanding usually requiring a lot of stunt work and fight choreography. As a trained martial artist and athlete are you usually hired to do your own stunts and oversee the fight choreography on your films in tandem with your dramatic work? Have you ever had any close calls when performing any stunts yourself?

SS To date I have done all of my stunts except in one of my latest features, KNIGHTS OF THE DAMNED there were several scenes they used the stunt double for horse riding as it’s not particularly a strong skill of mine. Nevertheless, I have jumped from a moving car, fallen from an 11 floor building, smashed through a glass window as well as many other adrenaline rush acts, One of the worst on set injuries I suffered occurred while making TRANSPORTER 3 and was of a pretty basic nature. The reason I say ‘basic nature’ is because it was a simple average kick delivered after a whole day of tedious filming where I tore my hamstring whilst fighting Jason Statham. But I managed to complete this fight scene with aid of strong painkillers!

TSL Given all the stars you’ve worked alongside, you must have a lot of stories to tell! What was it like working with Jason Statham for instance?

SS One commonality I found amongst all the stars I’ve had the privilege to work with is they are incredibly highly driven and dedicated to their craft. Jason Statham is a natural in the sense that for someone who never had previously practiced martial arts, pulled it off like an expert and required very little rehearsal time with the rest of the cast and stunt team.

TSL What has been your most satisfying film project to work on so far?

SS To date I have had the privilege to work along some of the greatest action stars. directors and choreographers in the action genre. Micheal J White, Scott Adkins, Jet Li, Keanu Reeves, Jason Statham, Tsui Hark, Yuen Wo Ping are just a few to mention. Each and every one of them has been a very unique and different experience, giving me the opportunity to learn, grow and evolve.

TSL We’re big fans of worthy causes, and you do a lot of work for several charitable organisations, helping to raise awareness. Tell us a bit more about this aspect of your career?

SS Part of the martial arts code of conduct is to contribute to the mutual welfare of our environment and society. From the onset of martial arts philosophy we are taught the more you give, the more you get back and as a teacher I get this gratification and satisfaction on a regular basis. As such it is normal and righteous to engage, participate and help worthy causes.

TSL Can you tell us about any upcoming projects that you’re involved with, that we can look forward to ?

SS  This year will see a release of OUT FOR VENGEANCE, TRANSIT 17 and THE DARK KINGDOM. Furthermore I  start shooting an action comedy to be filmed in and around New York city called MADE IN CHINATOWN. As well as this I have several other projects in the pipeline, but cannot talk about them until the contracts are signed. I am also conducting a series of seminars alongside friend Scott Adkins in Greece during July 2018

TSL We’ll look forwards to them! Many thanks for taking the time to speak with us and all the best in your future endeavours!

SS Thank you very much for giving me opportunity to share my life with you. God Bless.

You can follow Silvio on Instagram at #Silviosimac

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!


Chopping Mall (USA 1986) Dir: Jim Wynorski

Kelli Maroney, Barbara Crampton, John Terlesky

Straight out of the Roger Corman film factory, this strange hybrid of the slasher horror, sci-fi and fantasy genres has a great idea at the centre of it, that of security robots running amok after hours in a giant shopping mall. Unfortunately the leaden script fails to capitalise on this great exploitation set up, instead presenting the audience with a deeply average, by the numbers horror devoid of any trace of wit or imagination to lift it above its many peers. Even b-movie stalwarts Barbara Crampton, Dick Miller and Paul Bartel can’t breathe life into what soon turns into an extended corridor chase with the identikit teens menaced by the one of the least terrifying protagonists in horror film history. The trailer however does have its charms (see below).

A remake of Chopping Mall has been slated, although no release date has been announced. Interestingly (or bizarrely depending on your point of view), the remake will not feature the killer robot element, instead going for a supernatural twist. Writer director Robert Hall explains:

“My version of CHOPPING MALL that I wrote is totally supernatural…It’s more The Fog set in an abandoned mall than it is robots. Instead of killer robots, they are these mannequins that are possessed by the souls of dead slaves that worked at the plantation that the mall was built over.”

The word around the campfire is that Corman himself has given his seal of approval to proceedings. Whatever the result, The Stricken Land will be sure to give you the lowdown. Watch this space.

Interesting facts:

  • The film was shot in the Sherman Oaks mall in California, the same mall used as a location in the Schwarznegger camp action classic Commando (1985).
  • Dick Miller was a regular in Roger Corman b-movies from the 1950’s onwards. He also starred as the gun shop owner killed by the eponymous killer cyborg in The Terminator (1984).
  • Director Wynorski and star John Terlesky teamed up again to make the far superior Deathstalker II (1987).

Good morning film fiends!
I have a quadruple whammy of glorious upcoming movie goodness this week –

First up is 4/20 Massacre from director Dylan Reynolds. Billed as the first ‘stoner slasher movie’ Here’s the official press release to tell us more –

‘420’ has become synonymous with marijuana culture, with April 20th now dedicated as ‘The Official Holiday’ for weed enthusiasts. And now, this new holiday gets its very first themed slasher, with the gore filled 4/20 MASSACRE.  Over 4/20 weekend, five young women decide to celebrate their friend’s birthday by taking a camping trip to a secluded part of a nearby national park. However, their fun is quickly snubbed out when they stumble upon an illegal marijuana grow operation hidden in the greenery and protected by a bloodthirsty maniac. Will they survive or will they perish in search of the ultimate high?

Starring Jamie Bernadette (I Spit On Your Grave), Stacey Danger (Neon Demon), Justine Wachsberger (Divergent) and Jim Storm (Trilogy of Terror, Dark Shadows), 4/20 MASSACRE is a high octane comedy thriller which mixes gore, suspense, and humor, and is the perfect film to accompany your next joint…or maybe you’ll want to think twice before lighting up.

Sounds good to me. Yours truly has previewed the movie and will be providing a full spoiler free review just ahead of the film’s release date (DVD and VoD) of 3rd April 2018

Next up is the incredibly fun looking Bus Party to Hell –  

A party bus en route to Burning Man breaks down in the middle of the desert among a satanic cult. A massacre leaves survivors trapped on the bus, fighting for their lives and panicked that someone is not what he seems.

I mean who doesn’t enjoy watching comely American teens being hunted down by desert dwelling satanists?  I don’t know about you peeps, but that poster alone is selling it to me. I have no idea if it’s intentional but the design looks alot like a homage to the poster art for A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985). The movie’s publicists have kindly sent me a screener, so expect a review soon!

Thirdly we have the supernatural action flick Killing Joan

Joan Butler is an implacable spirit out to bring down the mobsters that left her for dead in writer/director Todd Bartoo’s highly-anticipated and unique unification of The Crow and Death Wish, Killing Joan – released this April from Uncork’d Entertainment.

Joan (Jamie Bernadette, All Girl’s Weekend, I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu) is an enforcer known for her ruthless tactics and wild abandon. After she is double crossed by her boss and left for dead, she becomes a vengeful spirit and is doomed to wander the Earth until she is able to take down the men that attacked her.

With eye-popping visual effects by Paul Lada (Prometheus, Harry Potter, Pacific Rim 2: Uprising) and a superlative support cast including Teo Celigo, Erik Aude, David Carey Foster, Katarina Leigh Waters, Erin O’Brien and Daniel Gardner,Killing Joan is available on VoD 3rd April 2018 and on DVD 10th July 2018.

I must say this looks like great fun. Keep your eyes peeled for my review!

Last but not least we have sci fi thriller Forbidden Power from director Paul Kyriazi. Here’s the buzz from the press release I received last week –
Films such as Lucy, Limitless, and The Wolfman have featured story lines where the heroes have received transmitted powers via drugs or animal bites, but now comes a fresh take on that idea … sexually transmitted power in the soon-to-be-released science fiction action thriller Forbidden Power

Young businessman George (Lincoln Bevers) has a one-night affair with a mysterious Native American woman (played by Nasanin Nuri). When he wakes up the next morning, she’s vanished, but leaves him empowered with abilities that far exceed his own, and with a cryptic message. George embarks on a dangerous quest to find her and the meaning of her message and the extraordinary superhuman gift developing within him.

Forbidden Power, the 7th feature film from director Paul Kyriazi (cult classics Death Machines and Ninja Busters), will be released on Amazon On Demand. Kyriazi is a graduate of San Francisco State University’s film department and spent four years in the movie department of the US Air Force.

Forbidden Power is coming soon to Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service.

Coffin Hill
This week I’d like to give a shout out to Coffin Hill, a YouTube channel dedicated, in their own words, ‘to offering weekly original scary stories submitted by our viewers.’ They got in touch via Instagram, and seen as I’m a sucker for scary stories I’ve subscribed to get a weekly dose of chills. Check them out here:

And finally –  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.

Watch the Skies,