Like the early 80's, the last ten years have been rife with fantasy flicks. Films like The Bored Of The Rings Trilogy, The Harry Potter Who-Gives-A-Shitilogy, The Chronicles Of Jesus... I mean Narnia, The Sorcerer's Shitty Apprentice, Bro-man The Barbarian (remake/reboot), Clash Of The Shitans (remake), 300 (technically a remake, and The KVLT couldn't think of a snappy title for that CGI fap fest) and on and on and yawn and yawn, have been raking in record profits at the box office since the early 2000's. With the forthcoming flood of movies like Hansel And Gretel: Bitch Hunters, The Slobbit, and another How To Train Your Dragqueen movie in the works, the trend shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Much like the movies listed above, The KVLT would like to take you, dear reader, on a quest of epic proportions. Like todays fantasy films, our quest is also laden with myths, magic, monsters, and maidens from a time long before CGI and green screening techniques made your beloved wizard and warrior movies look like an hour and a half long cut scene from The Elder Scrolls video game series. A time when Dungeons & Dragons and text based role playing video games were all a fledgling fantasy nerd had to hold on to. A time when Ray Harryhausen pictures like the original Clash Of The Titans, Jason And The Argonauts, as well as his Sinbad films brought mythological beasts to life through stop motion clay animation. A time when Frank Frazetta and Ralph Bakshi's art and animation leapt from page and screen and into the imaginations of all who experienced it in the 70's and 80's. Such a time also summoned forth from the four colored world of the printed page to the silver screen, an internationally successful epic tale of high adventure called, Conan The Barbarian. This ushered in the fantasy craze of the 80's, and in it's sword-wielding wake came a crazy little exploitation film produced by Roger Corman, romantically titled Deathstalker.
The titular hero, Deathstalker, (who looks a lot like He-Man) is a nomadic warrior who accepts a challenge from a witch to obtain the Three Powers Of Creation which are a sword, a goblet, and an amulet that are imbued with well... The Powers Of Creation. Munkar, an evil, yet powerful sorcerer and ruling king, (who also looks like Judas Priests' Rob Halford with a facial tattoo) has the amulet, and goblet in his grasp, but Deathstalker, possesses the sword. Invariably, they must do battle for control over the Three Powers to deem whether good or evil rules the land.
By The Powers Of Greyskull... I, Deathstalker, have the poooooowwweeeerrr!!!
Very aware of it's own very basic plot and cookie-cutter characters, Deathstalker, makes no bones about what it really is, an over-the-top, sword and sorcery, blood and guts, T&A, B-movie made for people who stay up way too late and are into those kinds of things. So much so that it kind of comes off as nascently chauvinistic, even for an exploitation movie. In fact, The KVLT was actually awestruck by the sheer amount of naked or partially naked women who appeared in this movie and we are pretty sure that some sort of record was set and has yet to be challenged. Since the production obviously saved a bundle in the female wardrobe department and by not hiring well known actors, (that is unless you consider Playboy Playmate Barbi Benton a well known actor), it seems that the rest of Deathstalker's budget seems to have been spent on hiring trapeze artists, stunt men, building lavish castle sets, and making acceptable by B-movie standards monsters and gore effects. To be fair, the only monster effects in the film are an old witch, a crappy hand puppet that lives in a treasure chest, a satyr with a blade hand, a male-to-female transformation sequence, and a cannibalistic half-human, half-pig who looks like a Gamorrean Guard from Return Of The Jedi. There is, however, a rogues gallery of warriors, musclemen, dwarves, giants, and pit fighters that all converge for full-on brawls in Deathstalker's many drawn out fight scenes including an Enter the Dragon style combative tournament. Also of notable mention are the seemingly random, but very entertaining scenes involving, pro wrestling, mud wrestling, midgets, orgies, a pillow fight and a fairly graphic scene of someone being drawn and quartered!
If Deathstalker's title and the poster art alone don't immediately pique your interest, then maybe you aren't a fan of swashbuckling, sword-swinging warriors doing battle with vague yet mystical creatures who wield strange magic amidst foggy forests and castle backdrops while nubile and mostly naked female onlookers scamper about clutching the muscles their hulking derring dos. Maybe you rather be playing Quidditch or retracing the biblical references in Narnia. That's cool with The KVLT. To each their own we say. Just remember that while you're picking out frames for your Hogwarts Letter Of Acceptance, Deathstalker, will be marauding through enchanted forests, storming castles, delivering deathblows, dropping sweet one-liners, and making out with the damsels that he has so effortlessly rescued.
Fun Facts about Deathstalker:
Deathstalker was shot in Argentina and only took 37 days to film.
Deathstalker's success on the home video front in the 80's paved the way for three sequels.
Lana Clarkson who plays Kaira in Deathstalker, also played lead role in the Roger Corman produced Barbarian Queen films.
Deathstalker And The Warriors From Hell was featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.