Part of me really wanted to write up a nice review of this movie, but ultimately, after a bit of info pertinant to the film, I’ve decided to just post the notes I took while watching this movie. Deathstalker is an insane film. The only way to write about it is just to go reactionary. That being said, as you get along this article, I’m going to bullet point the movie scene by scene. If you care about spoilers for a Deathstalker film…well, I don’t know what to tell you.
Alas, I think my notes have a magic and rhythm to them. The wonder you feel as you watch a movie of this calibur. In case you don’t want to read all the notes, I will sum up Deathstalker with a haiku:
So many boobies
Horrible acting and sets
Honestly, that’s all you really need to know about this movie. But I’ve been on a tear to write-up reviews of as many Sword & Sorcery “epics” as I can think of, so here goes;
- Our story begins with a bunch of fellas who look like a cross between hobos and cro-magnons wearing “Troll 2” masks sneaking through some weird semi-ruins. Evidently, this was a local mime troupe used solely for this scene, which is kind of throwaway as it’s just to introduce the concept that, if you didn’t know, this movie is going to feature Deathstalker, glistening and kicking ass….while boobies. Yes, just while boobies.
PAUSE: Allow me a moment. You see, back in the 80s, after the studios realized they could capitalize on the popularity of Conan, Dungeons & Dragons, and Manowar by basically just remaking it with lower budgets (I mean, how much money do you need to spend a weekend in the mountains with a bunch of so-called “actors” milling about in cheap plywood castles that have SO obviously been spray-painted with a stone façade?), they went kind of “hog-wild”. The only real weight or selling point they had was how much sex they could throw in to amp up the machismo. I mean, what guy in the 80s didn’t want to be a barbarian bad-ass who runs around, scores magic swords, kicks all the asses, and gets all the babes? Suffice to say, not all, but most of these movies increased their profitability and balanced their poor production values basically by saying, “Oh yeah, this dude is huge and manly…nah, he can’t act, yeah these sets and props are crap, but hey, BOOBIES!!! Amirite!?!?” Often enough, they even scored a
Playboy playmate or two to rack up some name recognition. This particular production is rumored to have been based on the machismo and sex laden “Gor” books, and features one of Hugh Hefner’s most popular girlfriends, Barbi Benton, cast in a role specifically written with NO OTHER PURPOSE other than to say “Hey, Barbi Benton’s Boobies!!! eh? Eh?!?!”. I mean really….all jokes aside, while I was watching this, Amanda would occasionally look up to see what was going on. I think she’s under the impression that I was watching a documentary about breasts during the middle ages. I then tried to find a picture to post….well, there’s this:
On a side note, the most infamous pair of tetons in this film actually belong to one Lana Clarkson. Miss Clarkson made a name for herself starring in many films in this genre. Tragically, famously, in February of 2003, record producer Phil Spector shot and killed Lana Clarkson in his home. He was sentenced 19 years to life in 2009.
BACK TO THE FILM!
- Now, immediately after being introduced, and kicking ass, Deathstalker begins to do sex stuff on a random girl he just saved, when he’s creepily interrupted by an old man who distracts him just long enough for the young woman to exit, stage left, leaving our hero with glistening pecs and balls of blue.
- Deathstalker is then led by the old fellow to the camp of a sort of pauper king. The “king” claims he was once the owner of the throne now sat upon by the evil wizard Munkar, and begs Deathstalker to help him reclaim his kingdom. The king is mocked and denied, as Deathstalker claims that fools and heroes are the same thing and his only concern is to steal and kill to survive.
- We get a brief intro to the lair of Munkar, along with his grotesque little puppet pet who eats people. We also get to see these wonderful (crap) sets up close. I mean…oof, I’ve seen better “castle walls” at the local Renaissance Faire. Also, like 5 pair of bewbs…and Barbi Benton. No idea what’s going on at this point.
- Now. At this point in the film, actually, no. This is the point where the film/story ACTUALLY starts. Everything up to this point is more or less thrown away and never really referenced again.
There’s some bad guys (assume they’re bad guys) dragging some unlucky shmoe by a rope with their horses. They smash him into a tree for some reason that I can only assume is to prove they’re bad, then encounter the Witch woman and demand “the Sword”. The head of this crew introduces himself as Kang, Munkar’s enforcer. The Witch woman isn’t fooled so easily however, and gives Kang a taste of her magic! She throws a stick at him that quickly becomes, you got it, a snake. See, Kang is really Munkar in disguise, and no sooner does this happen as Deathstalker shows up and dispatches the rest of his goons. Kang/Munkar transforms into a bird and escapes, but not before grabbing his magic medallion, which Deathstalker is WAY TOO SLOW to grab. Sort of a thing in this film.
- The Witch and Deathstalker are evidently old chums, and she tells him that he must acquire the magic sword, which is one part of three magic items that when brought together can grant the wielder unlimited power. The sword however is held in the danger laden lair of Salmaron (which I SWORE was Salmon the first few times)
- Bad guys dragging some dude…he gets knocked out
- Lord Monkar? Looking for a mysterious sword from a witch a head gets lopped off and literally goes FLYING. Some witch gives Kang/Monkar a “taste of her magic”.
- Some, of many, stock footage.
- Witch with TERRIBLE makeup.
- How could a movie a) get made with such shitty production value, b) how was this released to theaters (oh yeah, 80s) c) HOW/WHY DID THIS SPAWN 3 SEQUELS!?!?!
- I don’t know which is worse, the acting or the editing. The story is so choppy, one minute he just wants to steal and kill to survive, the next…
- Oh man, in the cave of Salmaron, who is portrayed beast guy looks like a leftover from either Troll 1 or The Ghoulies (two other terrible 80s movies).
- Weird shit happens, the little troll guy turned Deathstalker into a little boy….in his cave. Creepy much?
- In the midst of a weird orgy/feast/party, we finally “officially” meet Monkar, previously only seen in a few short snippets.
- Deathstalker then makes another ally by way of the warrior boobies named Kaira, they greet, make camp, and then Kaira and Deathstalker have the most awkard-to-watch sex scene ever filmed thanks to the cuts to an ogling and moaning Salmaron.
- Deathstalker then finds his first ally. The guy is a major ally, and probably started the whole belly shirt trend for men in the 80s <shudder>.
- Troll guy turns back into a man.
- PIGMAN RAPE SCENE!!!
- Monkar offers up a fresh young girl to the victor of a sort of battle royale. A guy with a pig-head steps up since nobody else will, which then starts every one else going. She’s about to receive a good ol pig-sticking when Kaira decides she’s not going to sit and let the girl “get it”.
- Monkar turns his faithful manservent into a woman to kill Deathstalker with a bit of subterfuge. Who Deathstalker proceeds to rape until he notices something “off”…as Monkar’s servent flees from Deathstalker’s room, he (still in Princess form) is confronted by Kaira, they battle and kill each other. Deathstalker is not amused.
- Might I just state that the dude playing Monkar is easily the best actor (possibly the only actual ACTOR in this film).
- Also I must state, again, how much I love these wonderfully crappy sets. So obivously spraypainted. But somehow, it works.
- The tournament is finally here!! Big men fight in silly ways! Wounds magically appear and disappear!! Unlikely things happen expectedly!! Deathstalker’s oily chest glistens warmly….
- Salmaron actually does something for a second that’s not creepy, he witnesses Oghris being kidnapped by Monkar’s guards, he’s caught snooping and chased only to fall down a well into the holding area for Monkar’s harem…aaaaand….goes straight back into creep territory.
- Then….a double cross? Deathstalker’s only friend, Oghris is working for Monkar!?!? Monkar’s tattoo magically changes to the other side of his head!?!
- Deathstalker, however, while previously preoccupied with glistening in the hallway, had overheard the conversation with Munkar. He confronts Oghris and fights him in a manly fashion and kills his friend with a subtle goodbye.
- The next morning, Deathstalker fights and defeats PigMan. Deathstalker glistens.
- Munkar once again disguises himself as the warrior Kang and orders all his guards to hunt down and kill Deathstalker.
- Deathstalker uses the force…unnecessarily. He then swings his sword at Munkar/Kang’s head and sort of….pushes…it off.
- I guess he did it wrong, because Munkar/Kang just reaches over and puts it back on, then reverts back to regular Munkar.
- Witchy-poo reappears and tells Deathstalker not to fall for Munkar’s Genjutsu.
- Deathstalker doesn’t really do anything…just sort of “Oh yeah”s, walks over to Munkar, takes the chalice, throws the bad guy to the crowd, who then beats him right before tying him up for a good old draw-and-quartering, Deathstalker lifts up the three magical items together says “I destroy you”, big flash, they disappear, then…
- Weird freeze-frame of Deathstalker’s face with flaming sword overlay, aaaaaand…..that’s it.
Deathstalker, ladies and gentlemen.