Let me ask you something: do you like action? Cheap laughs? Low budget film making? Wooden acting? A little frontal nudity to spice things up? Did you just answer yes to all of the above? Then I think you have passed the litmus test for being a candidate for liking this movie. This direct to video masterpiece was directed by the formidable Jim Wynorski (who gave such masterpieces as Chopping Mall and Return Of Swamp Thing!). His low brow and cheap comedic genius is on full display here and I can't find a single bad thing to say about this movie. I've honestly looked for it for years. This doesn't mean its rare, I just wanted to physically find it rather than take the easy route and get it for 5 bucks on ebay just so I could experience the thrill of ultimate victory when I finally did stumble across it somewhere. In fact, this copy only cost me $1.99 and was bought at the same time as my other ill fated purchase of Dr. Giggles that you might remember from last week.
Trailer watching commence forthwith:
See? AWESOME. What's not to like about that trailer!? To paraphrase the director Its an action movie with Bugs Bunny as the main character. What more can you ask for, it even has John Lazar (aka The Z Man to us folk in the know) in it for cryin' out loud. The plot revolves around Deathstalker rescuing a hopelessly attractive woman who happens to be an exiled princess which leads him on a quest to return her to her throne that was usurped by an evil wizard and his clone of the princess. Along the way there are a series of amazingly entertaining shenanigans most of which involve incredibly attractive women and really scummy not handsome devious dudes.
This scene is a particular favorite:
High brow. Low Brow. NO BROW. This movie has something for everyone I think. Deathstalker even punches a damn sword in half at one point (he punches thing A LOT of things in this movie)! I could go on and on about all the great shit that happens in this movie, but I will just give you some highlights instead: John Lazar's "business in the front, party in the back" hairdo, Monique Gabrielle's breasts, and the fact that a synth screech happens pretty much each and every time something construed as action occurs.
I wasn't kidding. The gags never cease right up until the end of the closing credits. I'm not entirely sure what makes this film so great actually, but its the most shamelessly entertaining vhs I have by far. Why this only has a 4.9 out of 10 on the IMDB is beyond me as I feel it should at LEAST be a six. Now that I have some scant information to either whet or completely destroy any appetite you may have/have had for this flick, I will now tell you about its production just a pinch.
As a feature released directly to video in the US, the production value has to be cheap to make something feature length. So where do you make a movie like this you ask? Argentina of course! So if you backlight scenes with piles of burning stuff and simply borrow sets left over from previous medieval movies you've stretched your buck pretty far indeed. Not sure what else to say there without boring the ever loving shit out of you, so I'll move on to the soundtrack. The film score really adds to the camp/comedy/adventure of this movie. Its was composed by Chuck Cirino (who did several other Wynorski scores) completely blind! No, I don't mean he can't see, but that he never actually got to see the film in order to score it properly.
The composer of the score for the first film was set to do it (so said the studio in Buenos Aires) but Wynorski (who felt justice would not be done to the comedic elements laden throughout the film in question) instead phoned Cirino and described the movie to him in detail as the work print had already been sent out thereby not allowing Cirino to see the flick first at all. Damn genius! I fucking love the score for this movie, which was not released until 2008 on CD along with the score for Chopping Mall all on the same disc! If you can find one cheap, get it as there's only 1000 copies. Because I am on the record label who released its email list, I bought it mere minutes after it was announced and being amongst the first 100 folks to do so got one signed by Jim & Chuck in sharpie! Sorry folks, as this is still available if you do a cursory seach for it, there will be no soundtrack download for you this time like with my review of Cruising.
Take a look:
BUY IT, IT IS GREAT! And that's not all! Being the super fan I am I also have the VHS release poster too:
In case you are wondering what that white oval on the poster says, it reads: "Featuring MONIQUE GABRIELLE sexy star of BACHELOR PARTY and HOT MOVES!". Be careful if you're looking for one of these. I luckily stumbled across this one on ebay years ago for 8 bucks, but some dudes have started making reprints of this poster and selling them for a bit more than that. Okay enough showing off. There's several DVD releases of this circulating around in the US. There is a stand alone version of it and also one which is a double feature with Deathstalker I. These contain what I hear is a REALLY AMAZING feature length commentary with Jim Wynorski and star John Terlesky that tells you everything you ever wanted to not know about the movie.
See them below:
Here's the double feature version:
These editions are now scarce but are hopefully going to be coming down in price as a new release is coming out featuring two more b grade sword & sorcery movies at the end of August 2011. The best part is from what I understand the print for this release of Deathstalker II was made directly from Wynorski's own private 16mm film copy rather than the old Vestron Video VHS master like the previous releases. I hope this is true, because if it is I will definitely be sure to pick one up.
Here's what that one should look like when it comes out in a couple weeks:
What more do you want me to say asshole? GO SEE THIS MOVIE!