Want to know what was great about the eighties my friends? Other than Ally Sheedy, Jheri Curls, Weird Science, Thriller and Parachute Pants? Sword and Sorcery. A virtual RENAISSANCE of awful sword and sorcery films took place during the 1980’s starting with ‘Conan the Barbarian’ probably the best of the lot, but we got so many others such as the Barbarian Queen series, Pyun’s ‘The Sword and the Sorcerer’, D’Amato’s ‘Ator the Fighting Eagle’, not to mention Dolph and He-Man which probably signaled the end of the renaissance. I saw most of them back then and I’m going through the painstaking task of revisiting them today. But I’m taking my time. O.D’ing on bad Sword and Sorcery films will surely kill you. Today we are starting off the ‘Deathstalker’ series with the first film. Which I’m only watching so I can get to ‘Deathstalker II’ which is alleged to be vastly superior in a crappy kind of way.
Let’s get this out of the way before we describe this nonsense, but if you have any kind of allergy to looking at titties, butts and thongs… then you will break out with the worst rash watching this one. Just letting you know.
Poor damsel… when we first see her she is held captive by some never do well who is getting set to rape her. Then this scoundrel is chased by some Neanderthals who take this damsel and now it’s their turn to try and rape her. Unfortunately they run into the Deathstalker (Rick Hill) who coolly kills the Neanderthals and the scoundrels and has disrobed this damsel and is about to take that cookie. This isn’t rape though. While there doesn’t seem to be much difference between Deathstalker and those he just slaughtered, she’s willingly giving it up the blonde hero. Until he is interrupted by some old dude. Bastard.
This old dude introduces us the former king, the most pathetic former king ever who rules over a small patch of grass. He wants Deathstalker to give him his kingdom back and rescue his daughter. Deathstalker thinks this cat is stupid and so do I.
Then Deathstalker talks to some crazy old lady who informs Deathstalker that he kind of has to do this thing, not so much to give that pathetic king his kingdom back, but this evil dude named Munkhar needs to be stopped. To stop Munkhar he needs to pick up the Sword of Destiny, or whatever they called it, because if Munkhar (Bernard Ehhard), being the complete whackjob that the he is, manages to combine this sword with the Goblet of Ghandi and the Pendant of Purity that he already has, it will give him the ULTIMATE POWER!!!
Cool. First he gets the sword and finds a sidekick in Kang (Victor Bo). Then it’s off to Munkhar’s castle where he meets the strapping stud Oghris (Richard Booker) where they swashbuckle some dudes to death and now they are fast friends. Then they meet the mighty voluptuous warrioress Kaira (Lana Clarkson) who battles with her boobs out. The Deathstalker took note of this. All three are on their way to Castle Munkhar where he is having a battle of mighty warriors with the winner becoming his heir. I think he’s lying.
When they arrive at Castle Munkhar, the first thing our warriors and the other warriors have to do, before the battles begin the next day, is have a party. And believe me… can’t nobody throw a party like Munkhar can throw party. He might be evil and stuff, but I would walk through hell itself to make it to a Munkhar party. Oh, and the lame former king’s daughter is here too, Codille (Barbi Benton), and she’s slated to be Munkar’s new bride.
Unfortunately the party has to end and the fighting to start. And a movie that was destined for greatness devolves into complete silly boredom.
This movie was directed by one James Sbardellati, though I’m not sure he called himself that in this movies credits. Regardless, James is still working hard today in the biz, just not as film director. James… if you’re out there and you stumble upon this, email me so I can slate you for the weekly FCU interview podcast. We need to talk.
Trust me when I tell you, there are some good things in this movie, and not just the incredible amount of incredibly fit naked women in this movie. Thought that didn’t hurt. Rick Hill made for a solid hero. We saw ‘Barbarian Queen’ where Frank Zagarino was the musclebound blond guy, and Rick kills that dude as far as swashbuckling 80’s Sword and Sorcery heroes go. Rick also looks like he can halfway handle a blade, and he does a decent job of fake fighting. So really, with a decent hero and lots of nudity, I’m thinking this is everything a highly exploitative Sword and Sorcery movies should be. Observe Joe D’Amato’s Ator for a movie that had no nudity and a dull hero for an example of what can happen if you don’t put these critical elements in your Sword and Sorcery flick. A D’Amato flick with no naked women. Crazy.
The problem with this one, however, was that the narrative seemed to be missing huge chunks of its story the way the scenes tended to jump around and often seemed disconnected, and the sword part of the sorcery was kind of lame. So was the sorcery part of the sorcery when I think about it.
Without spending too much deconstructing this one, the titties and thongs were cool and all, but a sword and sorcery movie still needs a semi coherent story, some decent battles and some slightly convincing magic. There was potential here for high quality sleaze, and we got the sleaze, but the quality came up a little short.