The cyclops states that fire mares can travel a thousand leagues in a day. A league was defined as the distance that a heavily armed man could travel in an hour, and was generally taken to be somewhere between three and four miles. This gives the fire mares a range of about 3500 miles in a day, an average speed of about 146 miles an hour.
According to special makeup designer Nick Maley, the f/x character of "the Beast was the first self contained animatronic suit... providing not only facial movement but also lung, heart and body-fluid movement all without a single external cable!" whilst "The Emerald Sear transformation puppet, which was intercut with a non 3D transformation make-up, attracted the welcome attention of the great [special makeup effects artist] Dick Smith".
Frank Price, then-president of Columbia Pictures, determined that an unknown American actress would help state side ticket sales as opposed to an unknown English actress. With that logic in mind, Price met with Lysette Anthony and informed her that all of her dialogue had been dubbed by actress Lindsay Crouse. Anthony was totally unaware that her voice was to be dubbed prior to the meeting.
Actor Bernard Bresslaw, who plays the giant Rell the Cyclops in this movie, about two years earlier had played another giant in another sword and sorcery picture, portraying the giant Gort in Hawk the Slayer (1980).
A hand that could physically transform into a "Changeling Claw" was developed for the movie but due to time constraints could not be developed in time and was not used in the film but the piece later was completed for Tobe Hooper's movie Lifeforce (1985).
Many movie posters for the film featured a long preamble that read: "Beyond our time, beyond our universe . . . there is a planet besieged by alien invaders, where a young king must rescue his love from the clutches of the Beast. Or risk the death of his world. KRULL. A world light-years beyond your imagination".
The first sequence to go before the cameras was "The Widow of the Web". Under the supervision of production designer Stephen B. Grimes, a fantastic cave, laced with the threads of a gigantic spider's web, was constructed on one stage, while on an adjacent stage, an oversized cocoon, spanning an area of 22 feet by 12 feet, was designed. We follow Ynyr (Freddie Jones) as he makes his way through the cave and enters the cocoon, where the Widow (Francesca Annis) spins out her days. As director Peter Yates guided Ynyr along the glass fiber rovings of the web, at times calling in a stunt-double, visual effects supervisor Derek Meddings and animator Steven Archer were giving life to the monstrous 14-foot crystal spider that pursues Ynyr once he enters the cave. Special make-up effects designer Nick Maley had the task of transforming Miss Annis into the aged and weathered Widow, which demanded six and a half hours of make-up daily. By mid-afternoon, when the main unit moved from the cave to the cocoon to film Ynyr and the Widow "reliving" their romance of 50 years long gone, the actress was unrecognizable to anyone who knew her.
For the expansive Great Hall of Princess Lyssa's White Castle, shooting began on scenes which were soon to fill the stage with several hundred actors and stunt people. The scene of the royal wedding between Prince Colwyn and Princess Lyssa, complete with trumpeters, men-at-arms, ladies-in-waiting, and guests of the court, created a picture of remarkable, story-book beauty. No sooner did the massive halls and corridors ring with the celebration of the spectacular nuptial event than forty stuntmen, dressed in their ominous Slayers outfits, descended and began their massacre of those assembled. The ensuing battle gave star Ken Marshall ample opportunity to demonstrate his impressive skills at sword-fighting and swashbuckling acrobatics. After the Slayer characters swept through the Great Hall, they advanced into the castle's armory, and then finished at an expansive courtyard. These two settings, the armory and the courtyard, were filmed on their own individual sound stage sets.
For nearly four weeks, the cast and crew moved to Pinewood Studio's biggest stage used for the James Bond adventures, the "OO7 Stage", which measured 336' x 139' x 40'. Transformed into an eerie and clammy swampland, dotted with jagged trees and foaming eight-foot-deep pools, this ominous landscape of browns and yellows took over five months of construction. The special effects department created a superbly realistic quicksand mire in which some twenty unlucky technicians at one time or another found themselves. Director Peter Yates had to balance himself on a raft which floated on one of the many pools to survey the massive set. Particularly difficult shots demanded the camera operator don a wet-suit and immerse himself in either "quicksand" or one of the larger pools.
Several games were developed and released as promotional tie-ins with the picture. These included two Parker Brothers games, a card game and a board game; a home video game developed for the Atari 5200 SuperSystem, but because of low sales, this was changed to the Atari 2600 video game console platform; and a 1984 arcade game, Krull (1983) manufactured by D. Gottlieb & Co. [us], a Columbia Pictures Industries Corporation company, the producers of this film, who also developed a never released "Krull" pinball-parlor game.
There is a real-life "Glaive" weapon but it is different to the fictional one seen in the movie. The European pole-arm weapon has only one single-edged blade (instead of five for the film one) on the tip of a pole and it has been likened to a Chinese Guandao or Japanese Naginata.
The movie has been rumored since around 1980 to have been going to originally to have been made to tie-in with the role playing game of Dungeons & Dragons (1983) [D&D] and be known as "Dragons of Krull" of which a screenplay was being written around this time. According to E. Gary Gygax, "to the best of my knowledge and belief, the producers of Krull (1983) never approached [game publishing company] TSR [the publisher of D&D] for a license to enable their film to use the D&D game IP and did not draw inspiration from the game IP".
One of two feature films directed by Peter Yates that were first released theatrically in 1983. Yates' other cinema movie that year was The Dresser (1983). Both motion pictures were produced by the Columbia Pictures studio.
Stunt coordinator Vic Armstrong scoured allover the United Kingdom for 16 Clydesdale horses to purchase and then train. Moreover, horses from the Queen's Household Cavalry near Buckingham Palace were borrowed and brought to the studio's back-lot.
Within weeks of the start of principal photography, the wardrobe department evolved into a showcase of over a hundred different costumes, ranging from iridescent wedding gowns to tattered suede and leather riding apparel. Daggers, swords, cross-bows, crates of emerald-colored stones, crystal hour-glasses and countless other items, many of which defied classification, filled every shelf and corner of the prop rooms.
The castle armory, which was an architectural masterpiece with its concave ceiling, towering archways and seemingly endless stairway, demanded a stage of its own, if only to showcase the magnificent weaponry, the swords, crossbows, shields, and daggers that lined Princess Lyssa's path, as she attempted to make her way to an underground escape route.
After a substantial portion of the massacre scene was filmed, the production unit received two calls for midnight shoots, both to take place at Black Park, a sprawling, forest-like reserve near Pinewood Studios. There Princess Lyssa was transported through a wooded countryside to the Beast's lair, a mysterious black fortress. Scores of stuntmen, dressed as Slayers and mounted on horses (lent by the Queen's Household Cavalry), illuminated Black Park as they lit torches and aligned themselves in two parallel rows, providing a framing passageway for the Slayers as they carried Princess Lyssa to her captivity.
A cavernous grotto, glistening gems encrusted in its walls, was a welcome set after two bitterly cold nights of filming in Black Park, the sprawling, forest-like reserve near Pinewood Studios. There, production designer Stephen B. Grimes had created from wood, plaster, stones, and glass, a fanciful home for a clairvoyant who pursues his visions by setting into motion a large, glowing emerald. While the art department was busy spreading fine-ground silver glass on the floors and spreading emerald-colored stones, the special effects department was rigging a large green stone which would rotate in mid-air. Wind machines were also installed to create the powerful gust that disrupts a holograph of the Beast's fortress after the clairvoyant had it called forth for Colwyn and Ynyr to see.
For two days, twenty actors playing Slayers found themselves plunging into one of the swamp's pools and then emerging en masse to launch yet another attack on Prince Colwyn. They were soon confronted with the heroes' extraordinary weapons: a bolo, scythe, double-headed axe, multiple crossbow, mace and chain, and many others. Though much activity was still flourishing on the enormous "007 Stage" at Pinewood Studios, filming then also began on a nearby sound stage, where a cavern with walls flowing with molten lava had been constructed.
Working feverishly away in the Cavern of the Glaive, fourteen special effects technicians pumped what appeared to be hot, glowing lava from an underground tank, down the walls of the cave and into a steaming rock pool. Then Ken Marshall retrieved the ferns, brackens, fungi, and lichen thereby adding the finishing touch to this natural setting.
As the filming of the Black Fortress began, three separate film units operated simultaneously, filming star Ken Marshall as he penetrated into the nightmarish corridors and chambers. Eleven uniquely bizarre sets were constructed, including the Hexagon at the center of the Beast's power. One corridor included a floor in two separate sections, operated by powerful hydraulics. Within seconds, what was a hair-line crack grew into a wide chasm. Two of Prince Colwyn's followers then fell into an underground chamber, a tiger's deadly lair. As crew members kept their distance, an animal trainer guided the huge cat.
For the final month of principal photography, the production unit moved to locations in Italy to film exterior sequences. Via the traveling matte process, they also secured "plates" to facilitate sequences shot against a blue screen at Pinewood Studios.
Prior to the departure of the cast and the majority of the crew to Italy, sixteen Clydesdale horses, accompanied by eight grooms, were led into three large trailers, and began a long overland trip from England to filming locations in the Abruzzi Mountains in central Italy. Before boarding the Dover ferry that would transport the equines to France, a passport for each horse had to be presented, which caused a sensation at the customs crossing-point, as each passport contained two photos, one a "before makeup" shot, and one an "after makeup" shot.
A forty foot tall model of Princess Lyssa's White Castle, along with six members of the special effects department model unit, departed to Italy from Pinewood Studios late in May 1982, allowing four weeks for the magnificently crafted miniature to be assembled and dressed for filming.
When the film was released on the big screen and on VHS in New Zealand, it was given the G rating despite it's violence and frightening scenes and when it was released on DVD, it was still rated G. However, in the UK and in the US, it was rated PG.
In Italy, while the main unit followed the movement of Prince Colwyn and his army across the planet of Krull, the special effects model unit was filming the burning of Krullian villages and establishing shots of Prince Colwyn and his father, King Turold, arriving at the White Castle.
Following months of special training, the day on which the much-talked about "firemare roundup" was filmed finally arrived. The Clydesdale horses galloped, wheeled, reared, and turned through the wild and beautiful Abruzzi Mountains. It was a brilliant and cloudless morning when the firemare herd thundered past the cameras, with manes and tails flying, and their heads held high.
When the cast and crew returned to England after wrapping filming in Italy, they were saddened that their days on the fantastic planet were over, but each one knew that they had been part of a unique and very special project.
Following almost a year of pre-production, which saw director Peter Yates meticulously storyboarding, production designer Stephen B. Grimes sketching hundreds of set ideas, visual effects supervisor Derek Meddings experimenting with elaborate combinations of opticals, and scores of construction workers building fantastical landscapes, Krull (1983) began production in early 1982.