Tag Archives: VHS

Movies You May Have Missed: Yor, The Hunter from the Future

Yor, The Hunter From The Future     Welcome to the first entry in a series of reviews covering obscure, rare, and/or forgotten films. Some of these gems have barely survived the VHS generation. Some of them are relegated to the “cult”, “underground”, or “b” grouping. Whatever you want to call them, they’re movies that deserve watching. So grab some snacks, read these reviews, then go get yourself a copy of any of these cinematic masterpieces and fill that aching hole in your soul!

First up, if you haven’t yet guessed by the article title, is one of my absolute FAVORITES, “Yor, The Hunter from the Future”, possibly the most “metal” and “manly” film every made.

I’m thinking that the makers of this film saw a ManOWar album cover, brought it to a production meeting and said, “See this? This is the movie I’m going to make.”

“Yor” was unleashed upon the world for a week in 1983. It was slapped together from what was, or was supposed to be (details of this are somewhat sketchy and to my knowledge proof is non-existent), a four-part mini-series on Italian tv. It did managed to pull in nearly $3mil. Soon after, it would find its way to the local Video Store in my neighborhood, and my life would be forever changed.

Yor starred only one actor of real note, Reb Brown. Reb is best known to most audiences, recently at least, for starring as Captain America/Steve Rogers himself in the two made-for-tv movies, “Captain America” and “Captain America II: Death Too Soon” which are rather special in their own rights, he gained notoriety in the late 90’s when Mystery Science Theater 3000 got a hold of his movie, “Space Mutiny”, but those are for another article all-together. Reb Brown is a definite treasure of the b-movie world. Seriously, I mean, if it weren’t for him, we’d never have this touching moment between Captain America and the Hulk!!!

The film opens with what some consider the most epic opening sequence of the early-80’s Post-Apocolyptic boom. A lone, bare-chested, blonde warrior daintily skips runs around the same rock formations through the wastelands, searching for adventure and the thrill of the hunt, all to one of the most epic synth-rock ballads to ever grace your tender ears. Here, have a listen:

Without doing a full scene by scene breakdown, let’s hit some of the points of interest in relative chronological order that make this movie really “work”:

  • Yor bursts in on a cave woman (who’s oddly attractive compared to the rest of her tribe) and her grandfather protector just as they’re being attacked by a sort of stegosaurus/triceratops hybrid and slays it with his mighty axe and the wits of an expert “Hunter”.
    Once dead, he screams like a maniac, drinks it’s blood that evidently “burns like fire” because “the blood of your enemy makes you strong”  commands the weak old man to, “Help me cut the choice meats!”. Dialog=Classic
  • While rescuing his “damsel in distress” new girlfriend from a tribe of blue cavemen,  he kills a giant bat monster with one shot of a bow and arrow that look like they were made by the village pre-school class, then proceeds to use its instantly rigor-ed body to hang-glide down to save her in what may be the most awesome, manly thing EVER filmed….okay, I really didn’t want to post a lot of “spoiler” vids, but you just HAVE to see this:
    (side note: The best comment on YouTube for this clip is “this is the scene that made Chuck Norris cry for the first time”)
  • EVERY time Yor does something awesome, his theme song plays and your body produces testosterone.
  • Yor nonchalantly commits what can be considered as genocide no less than 3 times during this movie without much as a moment of guilt, inflection, or the bat of an eyelash. Twice before the movie hits its halfway mark.
  • Yor gets a flaming sword for a short time and becomes the embodiment of every D&D geek in the world. He then throws it like a spear in the most epic-manly fashion you can imagine. Yor IS the man.
  • There’s a cat-fight and some marijuana allusions.
  • Yor battles the poor-man’s Emperor Palpatine and his army of cut-rate Vader drones.
  • You will see the single most masculine trapeze scene ever shot on film utilizing little plastic men that you totally won’t care are obviously fake and you will have sprouted some new chest hair by this point.
  • Yor and his lady-friend fly through a flaming explosion in an epic space-fighter-jet-machine that he just happens to know how to pilot. Well, since he’s going to rebuild a better world using his “Superior Knowledge”, I guess that makes sense.
Possibly one of the single most epic fantasy posters ever made.

Honestly, “Yor, The Hunter From The Future” is not a “good” film. It’s cheesy, with very poor, obviously cheap effects, bad acting, bad voice overs, ect. But through all that, one very important point lays true, this film is FUN.
You can watch it alone, or with friends, and you will have a blast. You will laugh, you will make jokes, you will sit in awe, and you will cheer on the poor, half-brain-dead denizens of this sad, sad future. Mostly, you will cheer for Yor, as he grins like an idiot while racking up a body count that would make Rambo and the Terminator weep with pride, all while wearing an awful blonde wig and dragging around an octogenarian in a loin-cloth who’s just waiting for morning to get his senior coffee.

As if you needed more convincing, here’s two points to take note of: 1) Notice how many times I couldn’t help but use the term “epic” in this write-up. 2) Watch the trailer:

This Song Sends Love Through

 

Written by: Christopher Lee

From “Rock & Rule” – 1983 – Nelvana Studios

Odds are, even if you are in your mid-30’s+, you may not have seen or remember this movie. But if you have and you love it, you’re a better person in my book.
If you haven’t, there’s never a better time than now to check it out. I still kinda holds up I think. Even if it didn’t, the music is definitely amazing with contributions from punk, rock, and new wave legends of the 70’s & 80’s like Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Blondie (Debbie Harry), Cheap Trick and Earth, Wind & Fire.

Rock & Rule poster

As the opening dialog reveals

“The War was over, the only survivors were street animals, dogs, cats, and rats. From them a new race had evolved. That was a long time ago.”

From there, we’re told that aging rock legend “Mok” (himself looking like a conglomeration of Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger), has been researching the means to open the door to a dark dimension. At this point, he has everything he needs, save a single, special voice….and now, his search has led him back to his roots, in “Ohmtown”. There’s plenty of futurism in the movie playing on the themes of apocalyptic tech and electricity, but that just lends to the films wonderful atmosphere.

If nothing else, Mok is a good host.

From here we meet our “heroes”, Omar & Angel, and their sidekicks, Dizzy & Stretch (effectively whose characters are sort of tropes of Donatello from TMNT and Shaggy from Scooby Doo). They’re a band, and they’re performing at a seedy little club and having a bit of tension. This is what you see in the clip I posted.
Mok has found his voice.

Our heroes!

The movie itself is a big-budget remake of a 1978 Nelvana cartoon called “The Devil and Daniel Mouse”, which had been a Canadian Halloween special, itself, if you traced back the inspiring tales, a retelling of the story of “Faust”.

“Rock & Rule” had started production in 1979 and was in constant peril over the next 4 years of it’s inception due to constant rewrites (from the studios, not certain what to do with the film, shelving and un-shelving it), a high turnover (over 300 animators worked on the film) and almost bankrupting the company (it ended up costing Nelvana around 8 million dollars, unheard of for the studio at the time, which had yet released a film produced for English-speaking audiences), was finally release 4 years later in 1983 to unfortunately lackluster reviews.

Their hadn’t really been a film like this. A (relatively) big budget animated film aimed at adults. It had drugs, bad language, “sexual situations” and what is/was considered “satanic” imagery.
In 1983, cartoons were still considered “kiddy fare” even with the underground and fairly obscure movies like “Heavy Metal” or Ralph Bakshi films like “Fritz the Cat” and “Wizards” running the back alley theater and midnight movie circuits. Unlike them, however, “Rock & Rule” had a distinct quality to it. Above par animation, a soundtrack featuring some of the bigger artists of the time. I mean, c’mon, Blondie practically DEFINED the early 80’s. Still, the film had trouble. The studios didn’t know how to market it. The theaters didn’t know when to show it. The public didn’t know what to make of it. It sort of faded away.
Had it not been for late night showings on cable TV stations like HBO and Cinemax, it may never have developed it’s following. Thanks to them and the growing convention circuits, it had become a Cult Film phenom, with copies of the hard-to-find home video versions and bootlegs of the very rare laser discs, making their way into circulation. As a matter of fact, there were two versions of the film to hunt down! The theatrical version, and the American release with a bit of editing (ohhh…we love editing don’t we?) and some different voice acting. The VHS release is actually included on the DVD released a few years back by Unearthed Films.
For me, it was always so exciting to find someone else who loved the movie, much less knew about it. Honestly, it’s sort of still like that today. I’m okay with that.

So, long story short, do yourself a favor. Go out and grab the DVD. It was released as a double disc collector’s edition that includes different versions of the film AND the original “Devil and Daniel Mouse”, along with a booklet telling a more detailed history of the production.

Here’s some AMAZING fan art by Deviantart user, Fpeniche!

Rock & Rule fan art

 

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