There's nothing which will make you appreciate Conan the Barbarian by John Milius more than seeing one of the myriad imitations which littered the screens of America and the world after the splash of the Arnold as the Cimmerian. Whatever weaknesses some find in that movie, and I get the arguments, it's so much better than its clones that it probably makes me think of it more highly than it deserves.
That said, I'm here to talk about Deathstalker. This 1983 Roger Corman effort has the earmarks of a truly unrepentant exploitation movie. We have an amazingly personality-free barbarian played by John Hill who for reasons which escape me is called "Deathstalker" ("Stalk" to his close friends I wonder?) and who lumbers about the Argentinian-passing-for-unknown-historically-vague-but-sort-of-medieval-I-guess-fantasy countryside with near-naked and mostly-naked comrades to confront the obligatory sorcerer to gain power and free the world from tyranny.
|Cast of Deathstalker|
Eventually D.S. finds a tournament held by the sorcerer Munkar and there's quite a bit of orgy-esque activity while the already slovenly plot slowly grinds to a halt. Mud wrestling and abundant lady behinds are all over, until finally something happens. Kaira is killed and I find I have lost interest in the movie. But slowly I build my strength and soldier on with Barbi Benton showing up to tempt our hero who eventually after way too much posing (you can almost hear the director say "Now hold the sword this way.") and really badly executed and inexplicable edits finds victory -- big surprise. Seriously, if you're not accustomed to this genre you will have a hard time keeping up with the abrupt jumps in story the creators lazily inject here. On a positive note he does actually battle a pig-faced uber-warrior like the poster suggests, but it's way less impressive.
This is a really awful movie, which I cannot recommend save for the wonderful poster by Boris Vallejo (see above) and Lana Clarkson's tits. Aside from those twin details, it's a loss. Oh Arnold, I really miss you.
Below are some of the pretty darn good posters by Vallejo for later installments of the Deathstalker series. I cannot fathom watching these, but the posters aren't bad at all, especially the one for "The Warriors from Hell".