Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Beastmaster!


I have always appreciated the movie The Beastmaster. I didn't realize until recently that it was directed by Don Coscarelli, the director of Phantasm and one of my all-time fave movies Bubba Ho-Tep (more on that tomorrow).


When I went to see The Beastmaster in the theaters, I knew I liked the look of Marc Singer in the title role, his physique was exactly what I wanted to see on Conan. Conan the Barbarian had recently been released and Arnold had made his muscular mark on that role, one which I always thought was too large. I've changed my mind a bit on that, but the lithe Singer was more like the early comic Conan than was Arnold and that I liked a lot. Also this movie features the fetching Tanya Roberts, fresh from her Charlie's Angels role and in this one deliciously topless for a blazing moment.


The story is derived sort of from the work of Andre Norton, though as I understand it, the changes made were so extensive that she removed her name from the project. The movie is really nothing like the exciting Norton books, which deserved a movie of their own.


The villain in this one is played by Rip Torn who does his usual bravura job of chewing scenery in grand fashion. The movie is a well-paced adventure with lots of magic and witchery to make it work. There are a few large-scale battles, one the sacking of Dar's hometown and later the seige of the city. The enemy is the Jund, underdeveloped barbarians who just seem to thunder across the landscape in impossible clouds and create mayhem.


The Beastmaster is very much a product of its time, but also has a timeless quality which allows it to be watched with aplomb many years later. There were two sequels, coming many years later, but they are not remotely as charming as the original, not in the least.

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6 comments:

  1. I got a whole box of Andre Norton books at a Library sale. The books of hers that I have read are very good. I havent read Beastmaster yet.

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    1. I wish I'd read more Andre Norton. Of course that's always a problem I can fix. I highly recommend the Beastmaster books, they hold up really well.

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  2. Are you going to cover the TV series, which brought Singer back as (more or less) his own ancestor?

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    1. Alas no plans to review anymore Beastmaster. I've seen the movie sequels, but I don't remember ever watching the TV series, maybe an episode or two at the very most. I have always like Singer though, a thoughtful and convincing physical hero type.

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    2. First saw Singer in the two V miniseries and short-lived series.
      Agree he's an excellent "action hero" who can also act!
      (Note: V the Final Battle also introduced me to the highly-underrated Michael Ironside, whose "Ham Tyler" was a perfect counterpoint to Singer's "Mike Donovan"!
      Ironside has gone on to many genre performances as both hero (Frank Miller Batman in Batman the Animated Series' "Legend of the Dark Knight", Lt. Rasczak in Starship Troopers) and villain (Darkseid in Superman the Animated Series and Richter in Total Recall)

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    3. Singer appeared in the last (before its cancellation) episode of ABC's short-lived V revival... getting ready to take charge of the anti-Visitor task force.
      The original Beastmaster movie was run repeatedly on TBS cable for years; no doubt that earned the film some new fans.

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