A recent bout of COVID19 and subsequent recovery set me down a path to catch up on some sword and sorcery movies.
Amazon Prime has a surprisingly deep library of old sword and sorcery from the 1980s and I took time to dig in. I had a few smiles, and feeling as bad as I did, that’s something. I also grimaced a few times as some of those movies were bad.
Mostly, my foray into sword and sorcery movies evoked a real sense of nostalgia and some fond memories.
Sword and Sorcery: The Beastmaster
The Beastmaster, filmed in 1982, was somewhat seminal in my life.
I’m not sure when Chuck Mays, the guy up the street, and I discovered the DVD and absolutely wore it out and not just the part with the topless ladies swimming in the pond (sigh, Tanya Roberts).
Marc Singer’s character served as the basis for Dungeons and Dragons characters, as well as characters in backyard fantasy epics, sort of our version of playing “army.”
We were desperate for something to scratch that Conan the Barbarian itch, and to kind of help us experience our D&D adventures better, and really just experience the sword and sorcery world, and The Beastmaster, through probably more than 100 viewings, did the trick.
I did some time later watch the sequels and some of the TV series, but they never lived up to the original movie.
My re-watch while sick with COVID made me cringe some – some of the dialogue is … ugh. But I was reminded that I really like Jon Amos, and Rip Torn was a great villain.
Despite some of the harder to deal with pieces, it was great fun revisiting The Beastmaster. Yes, this sword and sorcery classic is available on Amazon Prime.
Deathstalker and Deathstalker II are both available on prime and I sat through them. As I watched these cult classics I was struck by two things. One was just how bad most of the acting was. But it was bad in a fun way. The other thing was, as a father of three girls and viewing through a different lens than I did as a teenager, I was really bothered at how women were treated in these movies. The movies are what they are – lots of action and sex appeal connected by a plot that is a classic fantasy trope. Still fun and yes, available on Prime.
The Warrior and the Sorceress. I tend to like David Carradine and he stars in this sword and sorcery cult classic about two groups in a city fighting over water. Again, lots of action, a few boobs, crappy dialogue and a flimsy plot. And free on Prime.
Warrior Queen and Sorceress. Look, two badly acted movies. Plenty of action, mostly women cutting down guys. Lots of nudity. Great when I was 15 but now, not so much. They were still fun to watch on a sick day afternoon, and they helped me remember some of the fun of being a teen into sword and sorcery. Yes, free on Prime.
There are several of these low-budget movies available on Amazon Prime. I’m sure – when my daughters aren’t home – I’ll be watching a few more as I travel down nostalgia lane.
To me, sword and sorcery is about fun. There are books in the sub-genre that I think make great literature – Robert E. Howard’s Conan, Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane, and a few others. But the movies. Those are about fun and this trip down the rabbit hole delivered.