Did everyone have fun with the surprisingly dense Dragonslayer? Good because we are not stopping for awhile. I do not plan on resting until I can speak, with great confidence, on the state of fantasy films in the 1980’s. Did you enjoy Dragonslayer? Good because in the place of thoughtfulness and paced out narrative which plays on fantasy archetypes, we are now given Hawk the Slayer, a movie that desperately tries to be a part of those same archetypes. Holy fuck 1980, what in the world did you make? Before moving on to the summary, please hit play for the film’s main theme and sit back for escapism gone fucking awry.
Hawk the Slayer tells the very simple story of two brothers who interestingly enough look nothing alike and are separated by at least 75 years. Hawk is the good son while his much older brother, Voltan, is in service of a dark wizard who, interestingly enough, resides in a place that looks like a neon niteclub. Voltan, because he is evil, kills Hawk’s fiance and his own father after being denied some magical glowing stone. Oh, also Hawk’s fiance burns him in the face so he wears a masked helmet that makes him look half like Darth Vader. While dying, Hawk’s father gives him the elven mine stone attached to a sword that looks like a fist dildo (just saying) that turns the weapon into a floating mind boomerang. Holy fuck 1980, we are about to get real up in here.
Let us get this out of the way. Hawk the Slayer is near laughable in…well…everything. The casting feels like it was done with a dart board and a half empty bottle of whiskey. The set design looks like it was made with a budget of $300 spent only at a local halloween store. The music, while it sounds like an awesome spaghetti synth western, has absolutely no connection to the action on screen. If it weren’t for the general earnestness of everyone involved, this movie would be boring. But it isn’t. It is almost amazing. Do you need some more music? Here you go.
Hawk the Slayer isn’t really focused on Hawk, but rather a one-armed villager who seeks the help of a holy coven that becomes terrorized by Voltan. And what does the big and mighty warlord do with his power? Kidnap fucking nuns and demand ransom from near impoverished do gooders. What a dickface. The one-armed villager seeks the help of the church who sort of says fucks off but then is joined by Hawk the Slayer who makes it his mission to right this wrong. Before Hawk can fight Voltan, he needs an entourage which can only be summoned by the wood witch and two glowing hula hoops. Cue the really long scene where each of his underlings is introduced.
- Gort, the simple-minded, hammer swinging Giant who only follows his appetite.
- Baldin the Dwarvish whip snapping rouge who loves trickery.
- Crow, the meditative elf who may be autistic or just socially awkward.
We got everyone? Good. Someone press play on the boombox.
After the five heroes are introduced, the movie is literally a whirlwind of batshit insane storytelling. There is some thwarting of a local slaver for the ransom money. Drogo, son of Voltan and technically Hawk’s nephew tries to usurp his own father’s command but ends up stabbed in the process. There may also be a scene where Team Fantasy Cliche successfully raids Voltan’s camp but then runs away because he threatens to stab a nun in a cage. There also still may be a double crossing nun before the wood witch shoots neon silly string from a staff. All of this hilariously leads up to the final fight scene with glowing bouncy balls and about three snow machines.
Again, I speak of earnestness because Hawk the Slayer ends with the multiple promises of sequels, which was followed by the director spreading rumors of a second film Hawk the Destroyer, which was never made. For years, this was a tale of a failed film and the dramatic continuation that hung in balance. In 2011, Hawk the Hunter was listed as in development and to this day remains in the same state. Please have the same special effects. Please. Despite this overwhelmingly disastrous movie, Hawk the Slayer still retains a sense of fun and whimsical adventure. Sure, it is mostly through the wooded lands of irony, but take a compliment and do not say anything.
HAWK THE SLAYER
Released: December 18th, 1980
Directed By: Terry Marcel
Starring: Jack Palance, John Terry
Score: 4/9 Hammers