I’m not real familiar with with Indonesian cinema, but last night I watched a dvd (yeah a DVD folks!!!!) I got in the mail from Netflix that’s been in my queue for well over a year. The 1984 Swords and Sorcery fantasy martial arts adventure, ‘The Devil’s Sword’ from director Ratno Timoer. I really didn’t have any expectations, in fact I was fully prepared to turn this one off after 10 minutes, however that was most definitely not the case. Nope! Instead The Devil’s Sword immediately won me over with some impressive joyfully bad choreographed magical martial arts battles taking place in a truly stunning exotic jungle location. If you’re a fan of cheezy fantasy movies from the 1980’s then this one’s gonna be right up your damn alley. It’s also alerted me to the Indonesian action star Barry Prima, maybe I’m late to the Prima party, but a quick look on Letterboxd at his filmography revealed what appears to be an overload of action, fantasy, horror hybrid gems just waiting to be leaped into.
This one has pretty much got it all, wildly stupid martial arts, sword battles, magic, monsters, babes & hunks galore! All of it 100% ridiculous, macho man Barry Prima stars as “Mandola”, basically “Rambo the barbarian” looking remarkably similar to Sly Stallone (with a smooth fully stupid dub track that seems like it might even enhance viewing pleasures). He’s also got a radical bad ass female co star, who right out of the gates lays a smackdown on a gang o’ goons & who aids the mighty Mandola in his epic quest to destroy a wicked witch, the sultry and seductive Crocodile queen! She’s indeed quite a woman and has tons of male sex servants one of them the kidnapped husband of Mandola’s female ally! She’s also got a gang of some of the worst, most idiotic looking, crocodile/human minions that really just have to be seen to be believed. Some of these fights too go on for way, way too long but in that sort of “They Live” sorta way. I mean check this out if you think I’m full of shit!
Mandola ends up on this epic quest when some of The Crocodile Queen’s assassins injure his master’s legs and he himself is forced to saw them off! The Devil’s Sword definitely doesn’t skimp on some wild gore either, limbs and heads are chopped off, accompanied by sprays of blood. There’s also a dab of indiana Jones thrown in as Mandola explores caverns filled with hordes of bats and one supremely stupid looking giant cyclops! I guess they were lucky that Indonesia is such a beautiful place, because some of the locales add a solid a layer of legitimacy to the whole experience, suddenly I’m eyeing Indonesia as a future dream vacation.
The Devil’s Sword has really energized an interest in not only the country but also in some of the wild cinema it had to offer back in the 70’s & 80’s as well as a strong curiosity in it’s main man, Barry Prima! Check this flick out, it’s the perfect watch with a case of beer and some friends to enjoy all the unintentional wackiness strewn about the screen. There’s a dvd out there that Mondo Macabro put out years ago I think you can still snatch, or hey if you’re like me just put it on the dvd by mail list from Netflix!
Here’s a pretty interesting little tale of midieval monster revenge, 2019’s ‘The Head Hunter’, a short & sweet little film that clocks in just a hair over 70 minutes in length. We follow a lonely barbarian who’s daughter is snatched up and killed by a monster that roams the nearby wilderness. We see clearly from the inside of his crude living quarters that he revels in killing monsters by his collection of their heads and this time it appears that the conflict is deeply personal. What’s most intriguing is just how simple the plot here is, there’s really only one actor in the whole film if I remember correctly, aside from a brief appearance of his daughter (and maybe a monster or two).
It gives it’s majority of run time featuring the barbarian all by his lonesome and really for the most part ignores his beast hunting almost entirely, only to reveal the aftermath prize of monster heads he brings home every now and again. Though light on the action, it still remains quite an effective slow burn. It takes a brief moment to reveal a world that’s much more fantastic and magical than what we’re mostly shown in a great scene where the barbarian quietly observes a giant troll (who looks pulled straight out of ‘Trollhunter’) towering past a mountain range.
Luckily the film wisely chose a short run time, as it does indeed skimp a bit on showing us any real action at least for most of it’s duration. It instead focuses more on a depressed warrior in solitude, who’s haunted by his daughters death and then late at night, creatures who lurk near his secluded forest home. Whatever budget the movie did have was used wisely with great locations, costuming and effective but subtle monster fx. We really feel the depression, heartbreak and loneliness of the barbarian and all of that set up makes the film’s simple but stunning finale all the more worth the wait. Add to that, a great twist to the whole story that wraps this tale up in a nice nasty bow. When the final confrontation occurs it goes some truly dark places with a creature that at first glance appears as if it’s barely a match for rough and tumble “Conan” style brawler.
For such a short and simple movie it was a real treat, as I’ve never seen a sword and sorcery style flick take this approach to monster slaying. Pretty impressive coming from the guy who directed “Thankskilling & Thankskilling 3” as well as the short film “Critters: Bounty Hunter” from 2014, none of which I’ve seen. After seeing The Head Hunter though I just might give ’em a shot. Check this one out if you dig stuff like Conan the Barbarian, don’t expect a grand spectacle and you’re probably going to enjoy this sweet little tale of revenge quite a bit.
Back in 1986 a cool little series came out from Aricel / Adventure Comics for those D&D nerds called The Adventurers! It was a great comic book jam packed with swords, sorcery, monsters galore and yeah…ninjas. My brother collected this series and though I was a Marvel & DC kid at the time I’d often sneak his much more daring and graphic indie comics any chance he’d leave the house. It was interesting as a kid learning that there indeed was more out there than the “big two”. This rad cover is from the first issue of The Adventurers by Peter Hsu and make no mistake each issue had incredible painted covers. I’m going to have to dig these out again cuz I’m feeling the need for some serious adventures lately!
I am so SICK of bad remakes of movies that I grew up loving! It is though now kinda fun to see just how low they will go and what they’ll try and remake next. It seems though perhaps Hollywood is finally catching on now that most of these remakes are box office bombs! They maybe seeing that the real interest still lays within sequels to our beloved movies! We’ve already gotten a few, love em’ or hate em’ you gotta admit they were fun to wonder & wait for!
Let’s see, we’ve already gotten recent sequels to Rocky, Rambo (Great job on both Stallone!), Indiana Jones, Terminator(more or less though they should have gotten Edward Furlong or Nick Stahl in the lead) The Lost Boys (Hey I kinda liked the third one!) & Tron. We all know these movies are best served with their original directors too! Now there’s news today on a new sequel for Poltergeist with the surviving actors reprising their roles! How cool would that be?! Well it got me thinkin’…what are the top 10 movies that deserve a sequel? Well look no further this is my wish list! Continue reading
I was just reminded of a wretchedly epic movie from the 80’s this week called “The Barbarians” from fellow part-time dork Eljamez. I haven’t seen this movie since I was a kid and to be honest don’t remember much of it at all. I can remember seeing the vhs cover to this movie at the video store when I was a kid and then finally seeing it over at a friend’s house as we were all about Conan The Barbarian.
At the time we probably thought this movie was the raddest shit EVER. Today however I’d probably enjoy it in a much different light as you will be able to tell by the preview, it ain’t exactly an academy award nominee! However you will notice Optimus Prime is narrating! RAD!
When I was a kid there was really nothing that was more cool than a brand new comic book except one thing: A Treasury Edition comic book! What are those? You don’t remember the Treasury Editions?!! Well let me refresh your memory. They were basically gigantic versions of your favorite comic books sometimes three or more stories and sometimes more than one title per book! These Treasury Editions were huge measuring ( I am actually measuring one of mine right now!) 13 & 1/2 x 10 inches and having 80 advertisement free pages! These were very popular in the 70’s but seemed to fizzle out in the 80’s. Sometimes the issues would have brand new covers and the back cover was always specifically drawn for the treasury edition which was essentially like a poster!
These were just as rad as any toy and I remember carrying around my stack of these pretty much everywhere I went being the envy of any kid that saw me! Continue reading
I am a total sucker for fantasy films. I simply do not believe enough good or even bad fantasy movies have been put out for our viewing pleasure! So naturally I am most pumped for The Hobbit, can’t WAIT for Clash of the Titans, excited about Conan even though I am not too thrilled at their choice of Jason Momoa and actually pretty darn keen on Solomon Kane! So until The Hobbit hits theaters I’m gonna have to take what I can get! So far it looks as if Solomon Kane is going to be a fun fantasy flick at the very least. I am pretty easy to please in the fantasy department, I mean I even enjoyed Van Helsing for cryin’ out loud! Does that totally destroy any cred I may have had?? I have to say though he does kinda look like Van Helsing huh?
Well Solomon Kane was created by none other than Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian) which obviously means gritty tales of high adventure and plenty of monsters. Continue reading
Just the other evening I took a gamble on renting a new movie called “Wolf Hound”. On the cover it said “Conan the Barbarian meets Lord of The Rings” and with nothing else that looked vaguely interesting I decided to reluctantly beleive what the cover was telling me. Now I’ve taken many chances on recent fantasy movies and been let down hard! Usually they are wretched movies with bad acting, terrible costumes, horrid CG sets and even worse looking CG monsters! For instance the recent movie “Outlander” had alot of potential until the creature finally shows itself on screen and ruins the entire movie. So I had pretty low expectations of Wolf Hound.
Hey Barry!! Where the heck have you been lately?!! Unless I am completely uninformed (which could be the case) I am wondering why this amazing artist has been missing from the comic book industry as of late? He is by far one of the BEST comic book artists of all time. I remember him most distinctly for his amazing artwork on the amazing “Weapon X” series in 1988, the hugely underated “Machine Man” limited series of 1984, X-Men #205 which is probably my all time favorite Wolverine one shot solo story and finally his one shot Thing and Human Torch story from Marvel Fanfare #15.