Monday, 30 May 2011
DVD: SHLOCK & SORCERY
The Sword & The Sorcerer (1982, 101mins)
Deathstalker (1982, 77mins)
The Warrior & Sorceress (1984, 78mins)
From the time of great darkness, known as the early 80's when there was a brief movie interest in the literary genre known as Sword & Sorcery following on from the success of the movie Conan the Barbarian, came these three films, none of which have anything in common saving that they have a certain cult reputation and that they are all a smelly pile of shit, the author of this blog is ashamed to admit that over a span of several years he actually paid money for these DVDs and now, having watched them again for the first time in many years and over a span of time that amounts to less than 24 hours, he presents reviews of each of them for your delectation in chronological order and starting with-
Directed by the fast, cheap and crap Albert Pyun, whose list of directorial credits is among the worst in movie history, and at over 20minutes longer than the other two, I confess I skimmed through most of this. An evil sorcerer takes over a kingdom from a good king but the young heir escapes. Some years later, and carrying his stupid three-pronged sword whose blades can be fired like arrows, he returns as a charisma-free muscleman. There are fight scenes which aren't particularly well choreographed, talking scenes with a who-cares interest level, and generally goes on too long. There is some minor brief nudity, fairly tame gore, and a some minor torture but little to justify the UK 18 rating (shared with more justification by the other films). Two scenes stand out: the stone coffin with writhing tormented faces (see below with added material), and the scene where George Maharis rips his skin and face off to reveal the monstrous sorcerer underneath. But it isn't worth watching just for them. The cover is drawn by someone I've never heard of but is clearly ripping off Frank Frazetta and possibly the artist below.
Bonus point for the poster being illustrated by fantasy artist legend Boris Vallejo (who often modeled for his own musclemen) but I'm scoring out of a thousand so it doesn't make much difference. Still, at least it has the spirit of sword and sorcery, if not the budget necessary. That the executive producer was a certain Roger Corman ensures at least a fair degree of salaciousness and gratuitous tit shots. The story is total crap. Another charisma-free blonde muscleman has to retrieve three items of power -a sword, which he has- and two others from a sorcerer who conveniently is holding a tournament to decide upon his heir; actually, it's to get all the musclemen who might be threats to kill each other and he'll dispose of the last man standing. There's a reasonable amount of gore, some attempted rapes, and most of the women, who look like they've come from the Playboy mansion, wander or lay around topless. Not entirely coincidentally, the sorcerer's latest unwilling wife is played (badly) by Barbi Benton an ex-squeeze of Hugh Hefner and we get great views of her primary assets which attracted his attention. Also wandering around with no bra under her cape is a swordswoman played by the late Lana Clarkson for whose tragic death Phil Spector is currently serving a long jail sentence. While it has its moments, there is too much bad acting, stupid plotting, and dull scenes for it to be considered anything other than not very good thus making it the best of the three.
Together, their collective IQ's total 3.
Featuring the worst poster of them all but at least having the star charisma of David Carradine, this is the most minimalist of the three films. A warrior wanders into a desert town where two ganglords vie for possession of the sole well and he plays both sides off against each other for his own motives. It's set on an alien world with two suns and hosts several humanoid races (with not very interesting makeup) and humans and nothing is ever explained about this. The sorceress of the title (acted by no-one I've ever heard of) spends most of the time topless. The plotting is again stupid. Carradine is able to wander around heavily populated bad guys' lairs without ever being seen unless it suits the plot and escape from them at will. It's all very pointless. Not even much blood and guts and the sole monster is rubbish. However, it does get one bonus point for an 'erotic' dance by a four-breasted woman.