HERCULES IN THE VALLEY OF WOE [Maciste contro Ercole nella valle dei guai] (1961)

Hercules in the Valley of Woe (1961)

I am glad you have traveled with me this far. I understand that sticking with certain film series can be trying especially when things get really bad. The 40’s monster rally series was also poorly done, but not like this. The 60’s Italian sword and sandal craze started out decent enough, but quickly plummeted into abysmal quality. If previous entries can be surrendered to cheesy escapism, the 7th entry in the Hercules series is one of the most disposable and needless developments the genre has ever seen. I may be…

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HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD [Ercole al centro della terra] (1961)

Ercole al centro della terra (1961)

As we approach the fourth Peplum review it is important to note that we will be skipping in continuity. I understand that the adventures of Hercules, played by different actors and with non connecting storylines, may already feel disconnected, but for the sanctity of criticism we will mention the break in sequence. Ercole al Centro della Terra, translated Hercules in the Center of the Earth but for some reason titled, Hercules in the Haunted World, is the 6th film released in the Hercules series. Our hero is played by another…

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Alright. Back to a high production standard fantasy film with no kinks in the narrative. Yep. Just knights, maidens, spaceships, and monsters. Sigh. It is going to be like this, isn’t it? Krull is a 1983 sword and sorcery film that leans heavily on the mixed genre of science fantasy. Within the shell of the conventional medieval knight and dragon tale lies a planet invaded by aliens with technology not that far from Star Wars plagiarism. Krull tells the story of two kingdoms who, in their attempt to unite their…

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Hawk The Slayer

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…

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I am glad we got a chance to spend time with Willow. I feel that since starting these 80’s sword and sorcery reviews, the genre has started to become much more defined in my mind. Perhaps I can get a small honorary degree from some mid level university. I do not need any ceremony. Just a luncheon. Let us continue from Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic and travel back a few years before the great turning point of Conan the Barbarian. We are in 1981 and this is Dragonslayer. Dragonslayer…

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Alright. So looking at my list of sword and sorcery films from the past and present, Willow may be the most popular. In fact, along with 1982’s Conan the Barbarian, Willow stands as one of the most recognizable 80’s fantasy films. This is not due to any cultural longevity, like our muscle clad warrior Conan, rather Willow comes edged between the careers of famous filmmakers and future actors. Ron Howard and George Lucas both share a hand in this uneven fantasy film, which served as another progressive step for visual…

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the sword and the sorcerer

Well, it looks like I have a long line of sword and sorcery films from the 1980’s so let us pray that one of them is halfway decent. This is why I am reviewing the 1982 American fantasy film The Sword and the Sorcerer rather than the 1983 Argentinian film Deathstalker. I have been to dark places with 80’s fantasy films and some of the places are filled with things I’d rather not write about that are covered in mud. Albert Pyun is an American director best known for his…

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The Beastmaster (1982)

Stay beast, I was born in the belly of a cow, so I am kin to you. Oh man is it too late to take back the implication that Red Sonja was the worst Sword and Sorcery film of the 1980s? Maybe. Maybe not. The Beastmaster, the film, was released the same year as Conan and was a part of the first wave of fantasy films to explode in the 1980´s. The film would see mild success followed by continual replay on late night cable. In fact, this film is…

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red sonja

“I do not need the help of any man,” said the heroine who is always in need of constant help from men. It is hard to revisit the 1985 sword and sorcery film Red Sonja with any sort of freshness. The movie, historically, has been comically criticized for decades and stands as an example of Hollywood´s eagerness to cash in on previous genre successes. There is even a quote from the films “star,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, about Red Sonja being the worst film he has done and is now used as…

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Fire and Ice

I do not think I did, but may have squealed. I can’t be sure. I tried to subdue my excitement when replying to Brendan’s latest email asking me if I wanted to start reviewing movies. “Do not show all of your cards at once,” I told myself. “Try to stave your excitement or there will be no mystery.” Along with heavy metal, forgotten surf rock, and model ships in bottles, fantasy holds a large part of my interests hostage. If you would like a refinement of that category, my interests…

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