November 26, 2013 at 2:33 am (4 Heads, Deathstalker) (, , , , )

Deathstalker – 1983 – United States/Argentina

Hunky warrior Deathstalker is on a quest to steal the Amulet of Light, Chalice of Magic, and Sword of Justice from an evil tattooed sorcerer. But before that, Deathstalker enters a bloody combat tournament and proves himself the most badass warrior in the realm. In other words, Deathstalker is a brain dead sword-and-sorcery flick churned out on the heels of Conan the Barbarian (1982) by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures

Deathstalker is a self-centered anti-hero (“I kill and steal to stay alive, not for the luxury or glory.”) who either beheads or balls everyone he meets. In the opening scene, he rescues a damsel from deformed barbarians and screws her moments later. In Deathstalker’s world, this awkward sexism is ever present. Every woman in the film, without exception, is nearly naked and perpetually molested by grunting muscle-heads. Even a tough woman warrior swordfights topless and suffers lame innuendos. Plus there is mud wrestling.

If you do not care about bouncing breasts, Deathstalker contains few thrills. Its scatter-brained story lacks logic, and the action is only occasionally rousing. Deathstalker chops some heads off, but only has ten lines. The villainous wizard is cooler. He feeds body parts to his pet worm, and transforms a man into a woman.

Deathstalker’s art direction is admirable though. The world is wonderfully gritty, with ragged people struggling to survive in ruined cities and feral wilderness. In an amusingly savage scene, a brutish pig-man messily gorges himself at a feast. He pauses to contemplate a roasted hog before pulling its head off and chewing on it.

Deathstalker was popular enough to spawn three sequels. This first attempt is dumb and unimaginative but the sequel is a parody, so a producer at New World Pictures must have agreed with me. If you thought Conan needed constant nudity, Deathstalker is probably what you were imagining.

Rating: 4/10 Shrunken Heads. Did Deathstalker’s parents give him his stupid name?


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