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Ragewar
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Reviews & Ratings for
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38 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

B-movie fans are missing out if they haven't unearthed this gem.

9/10
Author: happyendingrocks from United States
30 January 2008

I'm quite surprised to see so many people writing negative things about this film. I don't know what they were expecting from a film called The Dungeonmaster released by Empire (this isn't supposed to be Citizen Kane, people), but for those who enjoyed the minute in the 80's where Sword & Sorcery films were being dropped into theaters every weekend (and disappearing the same weekend), this splendid little number provides a nice twist on the formula.

Watching it today, it does seem a bit clunky and dated, but the special effects remain quite impressive considering the technology and budget the filmmakers had to work with. There is a lot of imagination at play here, and it's delightful to watch each of the segments unfold. John Buechler's undead make-up in the "Demons Of The Dead" segment is particularly excellent, and his lord of that underworld is a great piece of puppetry. People who watch a film like this and criticize the execution of such a prop are obviously forgetting that even Yoda looked like what he a was, a rubber puppet, until George Lucas spent millions of dollars digitally enhancing his effects.

Though most of the segments fall squarely into the realm of Fantasy, the "Slasher" and "Ice" pieces are great nods to classic horror sub-genres. The brevity of each segment keeps the film moving along at a brisk pace, and no matter how engrossed you become in one piece of the film, you're assured that there's going to be something interesting around the corner as well.

Enough can not be said about the greatness of Richard Moll's performance as Mestema. Moll is a joy to watch, and he seems to take great delight in chewing up the scenery and delivering the surprisingly strong dialogue he is fed. His "cat" speech is a classic, and I can't imagine a better character or actor to deliver such a great piece of wickedness. Sparring against him, our Paul Bradford makes a fine hero, and the verbal interplay between the two of them is well written and executed.

One thing I haven't heard mentioned extensively is the music in the film, which is uniformly great. It's unlikely that a soundtrack ever circulated, but upon re-watching this, I found myself plotting my own transfer of the audio to CD. Of course, a strong number by W.A.S.P. ("Tormentor", which appears on their self-titled debut LP) helps in that regard. But, even without it, the score alone would make for excellent listening should anyone ever have the foresight to rescue this film and its supplements from obscurity.

It seems so petty to overtly criticize a film that never tries to be anything more than an enjoyable way to spend 80 minutes. To that end, The Dungeonmaster succeeds magnificently. The 80's was a time when films like this flourished, and comparatively, this is far more professionally made and creatively executed than the overwhelmingly poor caliber of direct-to-video fare we are subjected to these days.

DVDs are cheap to produce and release, and because of this, there are a lot of truly unwatchable films in circulation that deserve to languish in the scarce VHS-only netherworld The Dungeonmaster currently occupies. In fact, if I could pick one film to be plucked from the past and given a loving DVD remaster, it would probably be this one, and its digital absence is one of the only reasons I still have a VCR.

Anyone familiar and comfortable with this sort of material will have a hell of a lot of fun watching this film. After all, that's ultimately the point of The Dungeonmaster, so it shouldn't be graded or scrutinized with the same stringent detail we apply to "serious" or "important" cinema. Those looking for thought-provoking social discourse, breathtaking cinematography, or Oscar-caliber performances will hate this film, and that's okay, because they aren't the demographic for The Dungeonmaster.

However, for anyone who enjoys the giddy pleasure of a well-constructed B-movie, The Dungeonmaster is well worth seeking out. If that's you, then prepare for battle, Excalibrate. Mestema awaits you.

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21 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

it's movies like this that got me through high school

8/10
Author: eando from the keep on ther borderlands
14 February 2003

This movie is vastly imaginative. So imaginative in fact that it took 7 directors to make it! The sets costumes and monsters all work well together to paint a fabulous picture of a computer warrior overcoming adversity through 7 different evil worlds. One of which is an evil heavy metal concert featuring the band W.A.S.P.This movie is filled with marvelous special effects including dueling magical dragons, a stone giant, disgusting undead warriors and a score of fantastic weapons originating from the computer wristband worn by the hero. A very action packed epic by a team of excellent directors including the legendery Charles Band!

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

A little inside on Dungeonmaster.

9/10
Author: cllangkjaer from Denmark
10 March 2005

Well this movie has been a favorites of mine for years. It was one of the first Empire films to make it to my collection. I think this is one of the better movies Charlie did in the 80 era. The original title was Ragewar – The challenges of Excalibrate. This film had a few problems in post production, due to what I think was lack of funds. The editing shows that it was rushed a bit, the seven challenges that Excalibrate, played by Jeffery Byron has to face in order to save his girlfriend is out of sequence a cording to the start and End credits. In results of this post production mess up some of the transitions to the different challenges seems rushed and the part "Cave Beast" directed by Peter Manoogian give me the felling that something is missing and got left on the cutting room floor. Then I got my Lightning video Laserdisc edition of Dungeonmaster, I was surprised to see that the opening dream sequence was cut from it. I own a UK. Entertainment in Video. VHS tape, I purchased about 8 years ago. Here is the relative long Dream sequence included. "As shown in the end credits." I remember thinking back then, that it was odd for Charlie to include an opening sequence in Cinema Scope. Fans would know this is unusual for him in the old Empire days. However, I must say that this opening in Cinema Scope do the film credit and give it a sort of prospective look. Everybody has a favorites part of a movie. Mine in this one is the "Heavy Metal" sequence. Directed by Mr. Band him self. Here is just such a cool performance by W.A.S.P (1980 Rock Group). All in all This is a highly entertaining film and should be viewed frequently by anybody who has a love for those old sci-fi / horror films.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Ragewar: Evil Wizard vs Technics Nerd

7/10
Author: (Vomitron_G) from the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids
10 January 2009

Aahh... One from back in the days when Charles Band still made *cough* great *cough* movies... I saw this one countless times as a kid, and believe it or not, it was just too much fun re-watching it last week. I admit, it's not a very good movie. In fact, you can hardly call it a real movie. It's more like a collection of shorts, much like an anthology movie. But the main characters remain the same throughout all segments and there is an on-going story present.

If you like your 80's cheese fantastically melted, then you're going to have more than a mouthful with THE DUNGEONMASTER. Jeff Byron plays computer-geek Paul (with a computer called "Cal" installed in his... glasses, no less) with a beautiful girlfriend. Absolutely for no reason at all, he and the girl suddenly get zapped to another dimension where Mestema reigns. Mestema (Richard Moll with evil make-up, very appropriately acting the part), is some devil-demon-dude who is just bored out of his wits, and decides to have some fun by subjecting Paul to seven challenges. This is where the fun begins!

THE DUNGEONMASTER simply is an excuse to display as much 80's special effects wizardry and cram as much horror/sci-fi/fantasy you can in one movie. All segments are utterly pointless. The whole movie is, for that matter - I think the point is: If Paul loses one of the challenges, Mestema gets the girl. Or something. But what matters is: THE DUNGEONMASTER is just too much fun. Especially if you still carry the child within, as they say, and allow yourself to be amazed and entertained by this old school SFX extravaganza.

We've got a claymation giant made out of stone. Trolls. Zombies. A little devil puppet-dude. A werewolf. Blackie Lawless and his band W.A.S.P. performing. A serial killer. Post-Apocalyptic mutant-bikers. Animated dragons. And much, much more... I ask you: How can you not have fun with this film? Also, go take a look at the full crew involved in the making of this film. We are talking the pre-Full Moon dream team here: Charles Band, Richard Band, David Allen, John Carl Buecher, Patrick Manoogian, Ted Nicolaou,...

I admit, when people should give this a first time watch in this day and age, they'll probably call it a bad movie. But if you grew up on silly nonsense like this, there really is no substitute.

So yeah, I should call this a guilty pleasure, but I honestly love this flick. So don't hold my rating against me.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Dungeon Master

6/10
Author: johan-404 from South Africa
25 June 2007

It contains a few interesting concepts notably the strap-on arm computer. I see in the real world that you can now start buying a commercial available model.

Considering the fact that the movie does originate from the 80's when computer based special effects were actually very few and far between. In general the story lacks 'n few elements but from an action perspective the movie did deliver the goods. I through that at the time the concepts was very unique even to this day this movie remains a favorite on my list.

The soundtrack was very much classic sci-fi and you end up with a good feeling of good vs evil at the end of the movie. Unfortunately the bad guy does not meet a satisfactory end and it leaves you with a bit of a disappointment as far as that is concerned.

Anyway if you are a sci-fi fan and like to see more or less original concepts this one should be on your list. Now if only they will get it out on DVD.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A good movie, misunderstood

Author: Tallgeese from US
13 June 2001

Part of the problem is the plot summary is innacurate; the idea is that the 'Dungeonmaster' is looking for a worth opponent. He sees the hero, the nerd, and sees his skills, he decides to pull him into his world and put him through the challenges, using the guys girlfriend as collateral should the hero decline. It was a good movie, especially considering that Empire pictures wasn't some huge company like Universal.

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

A rare gem

Author: dwheaton from OR
27 April 2001

Well before its time, the dungeonmaster held me in suspense for hours after viewing it. Chocked full of ingenious lines unparalled by contemporary scripts, this movie provides for an hour and a half of pure entertainment. Richard Moll makes this movie by delivering line after line of unfiltered brilliance...at one point I had to cover my ears because I could not physically or mentally handle his vivid intensity. The line "I reject your reality, and I substitute my own" has no equal. They should require a screening of this movie annually for all Americans. Appreciated by few, hated by almost all, this movie is unbelievable.

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Not that bad

7/10
Author: dsfilm123 from United States
28 June 2000

This movie is not at all that bad. I rate it a 6 which averages out to *** out of ***** stars. There is some nice stop-motion animation by David Allen and some fine make-up effects, included a neat little creature puppet. The " Heavy Metal " segment directed by Charles BaNd does not have much of a point so this is sort of the downfall on the movie. The acting is somewhat corny but what do you expect. It would have been better if David Allen's sequence--Stone Canyon Giant--would have been longer. It is a fine model and the animation is rather smooth. There are only about 12 stop-motion shots, If there were 20 and add a little more plot to this sequence (the actual sequence lasted only about 6-7 minutes but the giant didn't really get to do anything except chase the protagonist around some large rocks before it gets destroyed. If you liked this movie ok and gave it *** or more you should see----Laserblast, Ghoulies 2, and Robot Wars.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Oh, come on!

4/10
Author: rgibson103 from United States
12 February 2007

2.5 out of 10? Really? It's not that bad for what I'd like to call - along with ELIMINATORS - a proto-video game movie. Say you're working at your standard schlock factory - i.e. Empire Pictures - and you and six of your other director friends do a semi-anthology piece for fun together. You end up with this ....

Think DRAGON'S LAIR with a Clark Kentish nerd in Subzero's ninja get-up from MORTAL KOMBAT, only instead of a dragon there's Bull Shannon from NIGHT COURT as the villain. When you're done laughing, crack open your beer. Now here's the punchline: you can watch it with your kids. No boobs, no blood. When you're done doing a spit take, wipe your mouth, and give it a shot.

Vintage essence of 1980s in a bottle, stop-motion courtesy of Dave Allen - of LASERBLAST infamy, and a Charles Band soundtrack.

~Ray

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Very silly - and very amusing.

6/10
Author: Scott LeBrun (Hey_Sweden) from Canada
4 November 2013

Do you love excessive doses of 1980s cheese? "Ragewar" (re-titled "The Dungeonmaster" to profit from the popularity of the Dungeons & Dragons game) is the movie for you! It's one of the most deliriously cruddy B movies that this viewer has seen from that decade. If you're anything like this viewer, you'll be smiling while also shaking (or holding) your head. It's that goofy. The acting is priceless, the special effects plentiful, the sequences blessedly brief, and it never pretends to be serious stuff. Hell, it's got to get an extra point for the cameo by heavy metal band W.A.S.P. alone.

Each sequence is written and directed by a different director, and there are *seven* of them in total: Rosemarie Turko, John Carl Buechler, Charles Band, David Allen, Steven Ford, Peter Manoogian, and Ted Nicolaou. They each tackle a different "challenge" that computer repairman Paul Bradford (Jeffrey Byron) must meet as he is menaced by an overlord named Mestema (Richard 'Bull' Moll of 'Night Court') who's been looking for a worthy opponent. Also along for the ride is Pauls' imperiled girlfriend Gwen (Leslie Wing). Fortunately, Paul has on his side a computer intelligence that he's created that he can conveniently wear around his wrist.

If you're still reading, you should have a fairly good time with this, knowing full well that the movie itself may not be "good", but earns many big laughs. Makeup effects expert Buechler and the late special effects artist Allen do some good work, the music is fun to listen to (both the score and the W.A.S.P. tune "Tormentor"), the acting from the heroes endearing if not that competent, and Band and company throw many different elements - a claymation giant, ice "sculptures", post-nuke mutant bikers, a serial killer, cartoon dragons - to help prevent us from ever getting bored.

If I'd first seen this back when it was originally released, doubtless my rating would have been even higher.

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