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The opening-scene, maybe? We see a bunch of mongoloid-barbarians with bad make-up jump off the walls of some ruins. They sneak around and attack some dude with a scantily clothed captive girl. The dude runs off, the mongoloids follow him and one of them stays behind seemingly to rape the girl, but instead he exposes one of her breasts and kidnaps her. Then, the dude (still on the run) sees a horse and tries to steal it. Suddenly a blond god-like looking hero with a bad wig appears, saying "That's my horse!". The Mighty Deathstalker just made his appearance. The mongoloids arrive, Deathstalker kills all of them (including the dude) on the tunes of some rather inappropriate Mexicanos western score (this is supposed to be a Swords & Sorcery flick, so what's with the 'arriba-trompettos'?), and then goes up to Captive Girl and exposes both her breasts. He starts to rub them and Captive Girl seems to like it. She starts liking her lips and caressing Deathstalker. Just when they are about to get down to it, this old dude appears, interrupting what could have been the end of a perfect day for Deathstalker (and a possible perfect ending for a short-film).
Now tell me Isn't that the point where either a feminist would angrily switch off the movie, or any other male viewer would say "This is going to be one hell of a good movie!" The plot is as simple as throwing a kitten from the balcony: Deathstalker must obtain the Sword of Justice and use it to steal the Amulet of Life and the Chalice of Magic from the evil sorcerer Munkar.
Aside from decapitations, dismemberment, random bloodshed, retarded fist fights and embarrassing sword fights, this film also contains a massive amount of t!ts & a$$ shots. I initially wanted to add one extra point to this movie for each gratuitous shot of naked boobies I could count. After 9 points (not even halfway into the movie), I had to give up counting. It was distracting me from the rest of the movie. And the rest of the movie was worth it. Totally crazy stuff. Check out this mutant cat/worm-like creature Munkar has as a pet and which he feeds eyeballs and fingers. And here's an interesting question: What would you do if a man in a woman's body would enter your bedroom and try to kill you with a knife? The answer is simple: You slap him around a bit, take away the knife and then try to rape him. Then you discover that he's actually not a woman, so you throw him out of your bed and tell him to leave your room. It works out well, I tell you. Deathstalker does it too, and the Deathstalker-way, is the right way!
DEATHSTALKER is a wonderful movie, really, as pointed out in other comments. The villains are vile. The women are delicious. There's blood, sex, violence, rape and tasty chicken. There's a completely pointless tournament which just features a bunch of barbarians beating, slashing and hacking the crap out of each other. My favorite weapon used in that tournament was a giant wooden hammer, used to beat a poor contender to bloody pulp. And my favorite contender undoubtedly was that one brute with the Warthog-head (reminiscent of the Gamorrean Guards from RETURN OF THE JEDI). I won't reveal how the movie ends, but just prepare to ravish in delight when I tell you a 4-way dismemberment is thrown into the movie's climax.
And of course, there's a wonderful display of ineptitude throughout the whole movie. See a guy being dragged behind a horse over a dirt road, and the next point-of-view shot shows him being dragged over grass (no road). See that awesome tattoo on the sorcerer's head magically change sides within the same scene (on shot has it on the left side of his head, the other on the right). Well, after all, Munkar is a magician. It's that, or this movie was shot in an alternate universe where things like "continuity" simply don't exist.
As much as I enjoyed this and as much as I am looking forward to the other 3 installments in this series, I do have enough shreds of decency left in me to not let this movie pass. I am prepared, though, to give it the maximum amount of minimal points, just so I could be able to deduct a couple of more points for the possibly inferior sequels to follow. DEATHSTALKER might be a superbly fun, trashy & sleazy CONAN rip-off, it also is an abominable movie.
As a film it is nowhere near the quality of Conan The Barbarian, but it's one of these films you don't watch expecting to be moved to tears (Except by laughter!) Overall a fantastically bad fantasy epic that film snobs should avoid at all costs but everyone else should give a bash on those Saturday nights in with the mates.
There are twenty-five breast shots, twenty-seven butt shots, six sword fights, fifteen impalings, two amputations, one arrow in the neck, three beheadings, on horse dragging, one eye-candy, one finger food, one mud wrestle, one pig face, one magical trans sexual operation, two bitch slappings, one crotch stabbing, one head smashing, and one draw and quartering.
It doesn't get much better than this!
"Deathstalker" picks up all the clichés of fantasy movies, from wizards and princesses to mystical artifacts with great powers, and it adds a whole lot of sex and violence. Actually that happens to a degree that it gets hilariously funny. For example a giant kills a dwarf with several strokes of a heavy war hammer - and only a bit of blood red mud remains. Or the female warrior Kaira (Lana Clarkson) fights topless throughout the film. Go figure. "Deathstalker" goes w-a-y over the top, the ironical music indicates this was probably intended, and the action scenes are at least better directed than those of all the following flicks.
Lana Clarkson became the "Barbarian Queen". Screenplay writer Howard Cohen went on to script "Barbarian Queen" and "Deathstalker 3". Rick Hill returned for "Deathstalker 4". Executive producer Roger Corman spent another 75 bucks (roughly estimated) on the 3 Deathstalker sequels and "Wizards of the Lost Kingdom", to name but a few. And why not, if "Deathstalker" was a success.
Now when you think of heroes in the Sword & Sorcery genre, they often have, shall we say, somewhat loose morals.....fair enough, as the films are often set in the dark ages or even earlier and we could therefore theoretically suppose that chivalry, at least as we know it today was not exactly in place back then (for that matter does it exist now?!) However, having said this, the heroes do still tend to be basically amiable chaps who adhere to some form of justice and honour.
Take Dar from The Beastmaster for instance, he seems like a really decent chap in fact (as long as you don't get on the wrong side of him - in which case he'd probably slice you in twain!)
The case of the eponymous Deathstalker is rather different however, for here we have a 'hero' who's immoral actions (particularly against women) give the main villain of the film a good run for his money! Yes, it has to be said that in the annals of cinematic good guys, Deathstalker (at least as portrayed in this entry in the series) will hardly be winning any accolades for his chivalry!
Aside from the somewhat unlikeable hero, the film itself starts off in a decidedly disjointed manner.
In fact, the first half of the film is filled with a series of scenes that make very little sense whatsoever! For instance one particularly stupid, pointless scene set in a cave from which our hero must retrieve a magical sword, left my jaw agape at just how ridiculous it was!
Thankfully, the second half of the movie is much better and features some rather exciting fight scenes as our hero battles it out in a gladiatorial contest. There is also a fair amount of gore on display here to, a factor which always ups the enjoyment value in these type of films.
Another positive for the movie (at least from a red blooded males perspective) is the copious amount of nudity displayed by the female cast in this. Hardly a minute seems to go by without a beautiful woman baring her breasts (all in the most gratuitous manner of course!)
Overall then, whilst this film isn't likely to be remembered as a milestone in cinematic history, it does have a few of it's own (B-movie) merits and is certainly not a bad way to spend an hour and a half or so, on perhaps a lazy night in.
A bit later Rick has teamed up with another warrior and an older gentlemen also on their way to the tournament. They come upon some soldiers ransacking a farm, and in a decent fight scene they manage to kill the soldiers and rescue the family before moving on. Later that night they realize that they are being followed, so Rick's buddy scouts out into the darkness. He finds Lana Clarkson wearing little else than a mask, a robe, and a pair of boots. And a very large broadsword. And brother, am I glad.
When I rented this, the only name I recognized was Barbi Benton, long-time Playboy bunny, Hugh Hefner mansion mistress, and somewhat-famous actress (she even had a top guest starring role on an episode of the original "Love Boat"). The downside is that Barbi doesn't really show us much, er, talent. The real looker is blonde-haired Lana Clarkson, who is very pleasing to the eyes and also knows how to swing that broadsword. Now that's a woman!
As you might have guessed, in an outfit like that Lana was eventually gonna have a soft-porn scene with Rick, which is actually well-done as far as "R" movies go. The scene lasts about as long as it took you to read this paragraph.
They arrive at the castle where the evil king is having a great feast the night before the tournament. As a prelude to the next day's entertainment, he brings out Barbi (who is wearing a sheer white gown) and chains her to a rock at the top of some stairs. The evil king announces that whomever gets to the top can have his way with Barbi. Naturally, our hero wants in on the action, defeats all comers, and upon reaching the top of the stairs has a change of heart and releases Barbi. Such a waste of potential, in my opinion. I think it would've been interesting for Rick to have Barbi, to have Lana get jealous about it, and have her and Barbi duke it out in the tournament bare fisted (and eventually bare-chested), with the winner getting Rick. Oh well. They didn't ask me to make this film.
From there the movie pretty much goes downhill. It's an ugly downward spiral that continues through the next three movies. Lana Clarkson fans will enjoy this film because you can fastforward through the dialogue and get to the nude scenes. Rick Hill fans looking for a good plot will be better off watching him in "I, The Jury" with Armand Assante, where he plays a crazed professional killer who has a thing for redheads.
As for Barbi Benton, get a back issue of "Playboy". She really doesn't contribute much to this film. And I never really cared for her as a model, either.
Rick Hill is great as the fearless Deathstalker who is a brilliant warrior, particularly adept when it comes to chopping villain's heads off and facing evil villains.
Throughout the movie the scenes are great-from the beginning scene where Deathstalker saves a woman from a bunch of creatures and a scoundrel right up to the final scene where Deathstalker battles Munkar the evil wizard. The fight scenes in this movie are great particularly during the scenes where Deathstalker is in Munkar's brothel. There's also a great scene where Munkar the evil wizard turns one of his men into a woman, another scene has a man turned into a snake and we also get to see a brutal battle between Deathstalker and a boar-like creature. The movie is awesome throughout. I first picked up this movie in 1991 at an old video store and I'm glad I did otherwise I might not have discovered it.
If you like swords and sorcery,women in skimpy clothes,evil wizards and plenty of heads being decapitated then you will love this classic movie.
- SPOILERS AHEAD -
Deathstalker (Rick Hill) is an extremely strong and skilled warrior. One day, a good witch tasks him to unite the three powers of chaos and creation, a sword, an amulet and a chalice, in order to free the country from its brutal ruler, the evil king and sorcerer Munkar. Obtaining the sword is quite easy, but the amulet and the chalice are in Munkar's possession. Fortunately, the evil king has arranged a tournament in which the county's most skilled warriors fight each other until death. The winner is then to take the king's place. Of course, the king doesn't want anybody to take his place, an therefore he has planned to kill the winner (instead of just not arranging the tournament in the first place). Deathstalker is not only to obtain the the three powers of creation, but also to save the old, good king's gorgeous daughter (Barbi Benton) from the claws of evil Munkar. Luckily, he doesn't get bored on his way to the tournament, since he is allowed hump the gorgeous female warrior Kaira (Lana Clarkson) in the meantime...
The film has many great, incredibly stupid and funny scenes. Some of my favorite scenes include:
- Deathstalker beheads a bad guy with his sword. The head that falls down, however, is not that guy's head. The falling head has a red goatee, while the guy beheaded by Deathstalker had dark hair and no beard.
- When the character of female warrior Kaira (Lana Clarkson) is introduced, she is first seen in a black robe, hiding her face and body. Deathstalker's traveling companion Oghris (Richard Brooker) fights her, and during the sword fight her robe (under which she is, of course topless) opens, exposing her breasts. Her breasts are the first thing we see of Lana Clarkson, even before her face.
- The last warrior Deathstalker has to fight in the tournament, is a giant guy with the body of a man and the head of a pig.
- Evil Munkar has an ugly little creature locked in a chest. He feeds that little creature human eyeballs and fingers.
... There are many other unintentionally funny, hilarious, and great scenes. The acting is terrible but Barbi Benton and the late Lana Clarkson are eye-candy, and although I described this movie as 'unintentionally funny', I sometimes had the impression that some of the actors were absolutely aware of how crappy the movie is. There is a fair amount of gore, and lots of female nudity to keep the viewer entertained. "Deathstalker" is an incredibly awful movie, but I still highly recommend it. People with a sense of humor will have the time of their lives!
The movie is clearly banking on the charms of the female leads, Barbi Benton and Lana Clarkson, who are paraded around mostly naked throughout the movie. As a 20-something male, I will not pretend that female flesh on the screen doesn't attract me. But the treatment of their characters is so degrading and the sex scenes so casual and joyless, that I couldn't enjoy even this aspect of the movie.
Most cheesy movies of this era are at least somewhat redeemed by a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek feel (the sequel is better in this regard), but DEATHSTALKER seems to take itself completely seriously as heroic fantasy. No way! Avoid at all costs!
Rating: 1/2 out of ****.
And now having sat down to watch it yet again in 2016, I must say that the movie was not fully as great as I remembered it to be. Sure it is entertaining enough for what it is, but it is a rather simplistic movie. And it is a movie that makes too much usage of nudity. Actually if they had opted to leave that aspect out of the movie, it would be so much more easy to actually take the movie more seriously.
The story is about Deathstalker (played by Rick Hill) who is given possession of a powerful sword. With the lands being ruled by a vile sorcerer who also seeks the sword, Deathstalker is in for a grand adventure as he sets out to free the realm of the looming evil.
Right, well the story was adequate, especially for a sword & sorcery movie, right? I mean, you have a hero, you have a villain, you have an overwhelming evil threat to the realm, you have women in distress, overwhelming odds stacking against the hero, and you have triumph in times of darkness. Everything a recipe for a good tale needs.
However, the movie is suffering from having really bad props, especially the "stones" that are supposed to make up the caves, the pillars, walls, etc. It is just awful to look at. And it doesn't really help that the sword fights are prompted and poorly executed, and who can't help but laugh when a sword misses a man widely yet the man still topples over and dies?
As I mentioned earlier on, there is an excessive amount of nudity in the movie, and most of it just makes no sense, and seems nothing more than a chance for director James Sbardellati to showcase nude women. I mean, why would a woman wear a cloak and then nothing underneath? Especially if she was supposed to be a trained warrior? It just made no sense.
But removing the critiques goggles, then I will say that "Deathstalker" is still an adequate sword & sorcery movie, especially taking into consideration that it is from 1983. Fans of fantasy role-playing games and the sword & sorcery genre will definitely find some enjoyment in this movie.
Now, I love bad movies quite a bit, and I probably would have liked this one if the "hero" wasn't so utterly loathsome. The entire movie I was hoping that he'd put that stupid sword down and let someone kill him! He does very little heroic things in the movie. He's a beefy, disgusting, stupid thing. He has less redeeming qualities than the villains do. And what was it with all the naked chicks? I mean, I love naked chicks just as much as the next guy, but this movie went a tad overboard in that department.
Well, anyway, if you love bad movies and can stand a disgusting "hero" then I'm sure you'll like this schlock of a film.
There are no many cinematic merits in this film. Couple of scenes are almost atmospheric and fascinating, but what Deathstalker concentrates to show, are nude females and huge muscles of Hill. Females are usually helpless victims and very stupid, too, so this is very macho film and thus may not please many feminists! The fight scenes are nothing special and pretty dull, and the monsters are not either anything special. And all the other aspects of the film are also very amateurish and badly done, but what did you expect from low budget effort like this? This tries to be as great as Conan but fails pretty miserably. As I said, this can please fans of turkey cinema but no one else. This belongs to the category it's so bad it's great!
Deathstalker is still not as near as bad as it could be, and as a turkey film, I appreciate this almost as much as other turkeys, enjoyable ones of course! If bad films are your cup of tea, then try this and have fun, but if you don't understand "enjoyably bad films" then stay away. And if somebody can't stand large amount of nudity, then stay away as well. There is more nudity here than violence, and due to these scenes, the film has an R rating. Otherwise this could be some safe PG family film!
I picked up the Roger Corman Sword and Sorcery Collection and watched the first film last night and was not impressed. To me what makes a Sword and Sorcery B film so great is when the cast and crew are aware that they are making a sub par film and are in on the joke, but with Deathstalker I felt like they were trying to make a decent movie and just gave up when it became clear they were too incompetent to do so. The Barbarians was hilarious because the tongue in cheek tone was present throughout the film, but I didn't get that vibe with Deathstalker. I like seeing boobs and ass as much as the next guy, but this film was gratuitous in the way they showed it and often not in a funny or sexy way. I like blood and gore but when the sorcerer was feeding that boy's eye and fingers to his pet creature, that was just a little too far for me when it comes to a movie I want to laugh at (or with).
The biggest surprise I had while watching Deathstalker is that some scenes actually look very good when trying to replicate Boris Vallejo's imagery, they were held back only by the anemic production budget, but the rest of the movie is plain old bad film making. I just found very little charm to the movie which I find essential to enjoy trash cinema. The last 20 or so minutes are genuinely funny with some hilarious moments in the sorcerer's castle, and the end is pretty satisfying, but getting to that last half hour was a long hard slog.
Maybe this can be enjoyed as a bad movie you can laugh at with friends over a few beers, but most of the people I know would rather I just shut it off.
OK so I guess I have to eat my words about improving the first one because they did everything I suggested they do for the first to make the sequel better, place tongue in cheek and just have fun, but still failed miserably. It just wasn't funny yet they tried so hard. Army of Darkness is funny, Flesh + Blood is funny, The Barbarians is funny, but Deathstalker 2 was full of cringe inducing puns. I think I might prefer the first over the second, but the sequel does do a better job at portraying the Deathstalker character by turning him into a swashbuckling scoundrel instead of a thuggish brute like in the first. Aside from a fun sword fight at the end, the sequel just didn't do it for me. I like how the first had imagery which tried to capture the magic of Boris Vallejo's art style, the sequel attempted none of this. The bloopers for Deathstalker 2 should have been kept in the final cut because they were genuinely funny, and the acting was better when they didn't think the cameras were rolling. If you're going for comedy, you need some genuinely talented or charismatic people in your film, but Deathstalker 2 failed at this. I actually have the urge to watch the first again, at least certain scenes, so maybe that one might grow on me.
All in all, not good - but not necessarily that bad either...
In all fairness this isn't as bad as you might think. Despite being an obvious excuse to see females topless, a Playboy model as a brutal topless female barbarian, mud wrestling females, enslaved females, thongs galore and the obligatory barbarian sex scenes...there is some natty action to be had.
Cheesy plot you say? errr...yeah just a bit, no need to fill you in, just think of any swords n sorcery films. The main hero is played by Rick Hill and his blonde wig, very nice it is too, but he does look pretty sturdy I'll give him that. Bernard Erhard plays the rather generic evil bald sorcerer with goatee, but his approach is nice and hammy, clearly relishing the role. Dunno what that tattoo on his head is all about.
So not much happens really, the final fight to the death warrior competition is probably the best sequence with reasonable fighting going on. The rest is forgettable apart from the sequence in the castle with all the topless girls, but hearing Hill reel of his dialog is quite good fun.
The films title and poster are far more interesting than the final product. The poster actually has nothing to do with the film in any way really, its just there to lure you in I think. Low budget and camp, if it wasn't for the small amounts of blood and large amounts of tits on show it could almost be an Adam West vehicle.
John Frankenheimer protégé James Sbardellati made his directorial debut with the colorful but cheesy R-rated opus "Deathstalker," an amusing 81-minute spectacle lensed on location in Argentina, South America. Like "The Sword and The Sorcerer" and "Ator, The Fighting Eagle," "Deathstalker" and its three sequels sought to cash in on the success of John Milius' "Conan the Barbarian" with Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Conan" depicted the exploits of a mighty, muscle-bound troubleshooter who battled wizards, demons, and witches. The Milius film boasted a big budget, thanks to its indulgent producer Dino De Laurentiis. Schlockmeister Roger Corman produced "Deathstalker" and it looks bargain basement priced. Kentucky native Rick Hill, who later appeared in "The Devastator" and "Warrior Queen," provides the brawn as the eponymous macho man. Hill brings his sardonic perspective to this relatively thankless, one-dimensional role. Initially, his conduct appears less than heroic.
In the first scene, Deathstalker rescues a damsel-in-distress from loathsome adversaries. He slays these plug-ugly opponents, who apparently have have incest as well as leprosy in their genes, with skill and dexterity. Ironically, Deathstalker resumes theire depredations where they had left off, only to be distracted by a courier from a deposed monarch. King Tulak (George Sorvic) pleads for Deathstalker to rescue his comely daughter Princess Codille (Playboy Playmate Barbi Benton of "Hospital Massacre") from the evil sorcerer Munkar (Bernard Erhand of "Firefox") who used his magic to depose Tulak and plans to make her his wife. Deathstalker turns down Tulak's request.
Later, a crone of a witch, Toralva (Lillian Ker), appeals to Deathstalker. "With your strength and courage, Deathstalker, you can use the power of the sword to get the amulet. He who wears it cannot die. With the sword and the amulet, you can get the chalice and reunite the three powers of creation." Moreover, he will be able to destroy Munkar, the source of all evil in the kingdom. Toralva explains that Munkar possesses the amulet of life and the chalice of magic, but lacks the crucial third component: the sword of justice. In fact, Munkar sought to steal the sword from Toralva,but Deathstalker rode to her rescue. Clearly, our protagonist liked her better than Tulak. The witch assures Deathstalker that he is the only man with enough courage and strength to wield the sword and consolidate the powers of life, magic, and justice. Before Deathstalker can embark on his journey, he has to burrow into a cave, locate a creature, Salmaron (Augusto Laretta of "The Official Story"), who Munkar had turned into a monster and confined in the earth for 30 years without a glimpse of sunlight. Deathstalker clashes with a giant that accosted him in the cave and defeats him after Salmaron slings him the magic sword. Later,Salmaron takes advantage of the sword's magical powers to convert him back into a human being.
Not long afterward, Deathstalker teams up with the two warriors, the agile Oghris (Richard Brooker) and the lovely Kaira (Lana Clarkson of "Barbarian Queen") on their way to Munkar's kingdom. Kaira has no qualms about baring her breasts and responds to Deathstalker's lusty inclinations. The trio ride off to compete in an "Enter the Dragon" style combat tournament hosted by the nefarious Munkar. The latter wants to determine which warrior will become heir to his kingdom. Never does it occur to these pugnacious combatants that the sorcerer has no plans to die. In fact, only Deathstalker seems to realize that Munkar is up to no good. Indeed, Munkar only wants these foolish warriors to annihilate each other so he can kill the surviving champion and never fear about anybody deposing him.
The saving grace of "Deathstalker" is that the filmmakers don't take themselves seriously and they have an ample number of scantily-clad, nubile babes wandering around the ancient sets. Sbardellati does a good job of cross-cutting among the series of fights so that it ends up being an exciting montage of combat. When Deathstalker swings his sword, heads fly. What Sbardellati lacks in orchestrating the swordfights, he equals with buckets of blood and gore. One combatant smashes his opponent to a pulp with an enormous mallet. The violence is amoral. Our hero shows his amoral side early in the action when he behaves as villainously as his opponents. Later, after the witch recruits him to the side of good and honor, Deathstalker reforms and behaves like a hero. My favorite character is Howie, a cheesy looking "Ghoulies" type monster that lives in a treasure box and contents itself with a diet of fingers and eyeballs fed to it by Munkar. The most imaginative scene has Munkar changing one of his warriors into Playboy model Barbi Benton so he can get close enough to stab Deathstalker with a dagger. Of course, Deathstalker never meets his match. Sbardellati and "Barbarian Queen" scenarist Howard Cohen kill off poor Kaira far too early. Altogether, "Deathstalker" qualifies as a hokey sword and sorcery sage with some average photography, interesting music, and lots of blood, gore, and boobs.
The early 1980's were a big time for fantasy films, with the two Conan films with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dragonslayer, The Beastmaster, and The Sword & the Sorcerer. Deathstalker is their trashy exploitation cousin. This film has it all: a bald bad guy with a dumb tattoo on his face, a pig-man with a snotty nose, giants, lots of people with no shirts, a weird puppet monster in a box that eats fingers and eyeballs, a fighters' tournament, lots of people with no pants, gangs of mutants, silly costumes, harem girls, flashy spells, and Barbi Benton. I was able to appreciate its good points - maybe it's just nostalgia - but most rational people will find it lurid and dumb. This was an American-Argentinian co-production with a sequel that actually is an improvement.