As I said about 6 posts ago, I have been thumbing through the 80s trying to grab any movies that I missed on my first go around. This next one was an EPIC failure on my part. This is one of those movies that came out on HBO (when we still had it) and it was an event. My dad and I (as well as my cousins) probably re-watched this on HBO alone, 10 times!
HBO would always (and I still think they do) send out their monthly catalog with the schedule and advertisements for their big movie that would make its debut. By the 3rd week of the month, I had already watched the movies I wanted to see–and had memorized the rest of the schedule. I would yearn for the next catalog to get here, and when it did, it was the only mail I gave a shit about. The catalog would end up housed in my room next to my bed. I would commit it to memory and make note of the movies that I still needed to see and their times.
Yes…I was lonely, thanks for asking…*clears throat*
I remember the ad for this movie and it was larger than any I’d seen HBO put in their catalog. It took up two pages and it had a black background with a wall of fire and the lead characters standing in front of it in the “ready position” with their weapons in hand. This was to be their premiere movie….NEXT MONTH????
Yes, I waited a month. I showed it to my dad and asked him if we could watch it together at the earliest slot available. He said, “Sure.”
…a man of few, yet powerful words, my dad.
When we first started watching “The Beastmaster” I was way weirded-out briefly with the opening sequence. A man and his VERY pregnant wife, lay in bed and are accosted by a witch as they sleep. She (the witch) pours a potion on their throats that paralyzes them as she proceeds to cast a spell that transports the child from the womb of the woman to the womb of a cow, in the woods. That’s not the worst. The witch takes the baby into the woods and brands the newborns hand with an indecipherable mark, and prepares to sacrifice it.
Luckily, a rather bad ass commoner stumbles upon this scene and murders the witch (I think…it’s been a long time since I have seen this…if I am fuzzy on the details, correct me in the comments section…) with a cool ass boomerang type weapon.
We find out later that the people in the sleeping quarters were the king and queen of the land and this was their first born son that will now be raised amongst the common folk of Emur.
This is a true and total “sword and sorcery” movie that made me want to rent every “sword and sorcery” movie I could get my hands on after I watched it.
None of them were as good as this one. I think there are a few reasons:
1. Outside of a few scenes, there is not much “sorcery” which I feel makes for a better story. Sometimes magic can be a “save all” and that takes away some respect from the viewer and can eliminate suspense.
2. Director Don Coscarelli needs to be given a lot of credit for creating very gritty and well choreographed action/fight scenes. Dar (our hero) is not easily able to dispatch 4 men like they are inanimate. Without help, he would most likely perish in an early fight scene. This is both realistic and suspenseful for the viewer.
3. No forced English accents. Generally in films like this, people expect Shakespeare in the park. Like Rutger Hauer in “Ladyhawke,” the actors do a great job enunciating every line and a loss of accent is not distracting, it’s natural in this world.
4. The actors that were hired really lost themselves in the material and did a great job delivering material that could’ve easily made them look foolish.
I sought out Marc Singer movies after I viewed this. Another film that he did the same year “If You could See What I Hear” is a very underrated story and performance as he plays a blind musician. Who didn’t watch the original “V?” And he was huge on “Dallas” as Matt Cantrell.
I crushed major on Tanya Roberts after this movie and enjoyed her in “Sheena,” “A View to a Kill,” and later on “That 70s Show,” where a decade later, she was still a very convincing hot mom. I love her scratchy voice dammit!
John Amos as Seth is a very convincing bad ass with a staff and delivers his lines as well as Rip Torn, the villain of the film.
There are masked monsters of sorcery, giant winged creatures that consume their pray in seconds, a hawk, ferrets, a black tiger, and a horde of “Jun” iron masked men clad in leather on horseback that seem like they are from a “Mad Max” movie.
I carry on…
In the end, I was very excited to talk about this movie, obviously. My cousins and I would choose our characters and reenact the battles at the end of the movie with other kids in the neighborhood in our back yard. We had a ditch, so it was perfect.
If I haven’t convinced you yet to seek this movie out, fair enough. One last try…
You’ll never be able to remove the “eyeball” ring from the depths of your mind after you watch this. 😉