Tag Archives: Roger Corman

The Warrior and the Sorceress


by Lillian Csernica on April 27th, 2015

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Roger Corman is the executive producer of this derivative conglomeration of alien lifeforms, big swords, bad stunts, and the usual truckload of half-naked women.  Shot in Argentina, the producers reused at least one of the sets from Deathstalker.

When I tell you that David Carradine is the “holy warrior” named Kain, you will forgive me if I groan at the remarkable similarity to his character in “Kung Fu,” a wandering Buddhist monk named Kwai Chang Caine.

What’s the plot, you ask?  Ever seen Yojimbo by Kurosawa?  Sanjuro, maybe?  A Fistful of Dollars by Sergio Leone?  You get the idea.  Lone swordsman wanders into the middle of a dispute between two different groups.  Each side tries to get him to fight for their cause.  He plays them off against each other for his own amusement and because they all deserve a good thrashing.  The people who are really in need of the Lone Swordsman’s help are the peasants who are just trying to scrape up a living while the Two Warlords wage their battles.

In this bizarre version, Kain is on the planet Ura where water is the most precious resource.  So the battle is being fought over the one well that hasn’t run dry.  The Bad Guys are Zeg the Tyrant (Luke Askew) and Bal Caz (William Marin).

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There’s Zeg the Tyrant in grey.  Just behind him is his right hand man, Captain Kief (Anthony DeLongis).

Oh look!  Bal Caz has his very own Muppet!

Now here’s the funny part.  This would have been a rather boring all-male movie if not for the half-naked slave girls and the Sorceress, who’s mostly naked through the entire movie.  Oh, but we’re not talking about your normal kind of human naked!  These are alien women!  The ladies of Planet Ura proudly display a bonus in the bosom department.

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Now let’s talk about Naja the Sorceress.  That would be Maria Socas, who  also plays the Queen of the Amazons in Deathstalker II.  She’s wearing a remarkably similar costume, what little there is of it.

This is the one and only shot I found where Naja is covered up.  That’s her, sitting in front of Bal Caz.  As for her powers of sorcery?  Bwahahahahahaha.  Not good.  Tricky photography, rays of colored light, and a few explosions.  Not even big explosions, either.

I mentioned aliens, didn’t I?  These guys are slave traders.

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The sword fights are all that one would expect given that David Carradine with his yoga-based martial arts skills is doing the fighting.  All that really makes this movie worth watching is Anthony DeLongis running around bellowing and attacking whoever Zeg the Tyrant is after right then.

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Mr. DeLongis has had a long and busy career in the movies.  For more sword & sorcery, you can find him in The Sword and the Sorcerer and Circle of Iron.

If Wikipedia is to be believed, before production began David Carradine got into an argument with his girlfriend and punched a wall, damaging his right hand.  That’s why he’s wearing the ugly black gauntlet on his right arm.  Whenever you see the hero wearing some kind of glove, gauntlet, arm brace, etc., odds are good there’s a reason for it beyond fancy costuming.

Meanwhile, back at the Saga, we find Kain killing everybody within arm’s reach so he can defend the well from those who would exploit it.  His true purpose is to follow his heart, free Naja the Sorceress, and renew the spirit of purpose in his warrior’s heart.  (No, I did not cut & paste that from somewhere.  Yes, I did manage to write it with a straight face.)

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When you think about how much money it takes to make a motion picture of anything close to feature length, you really have to wonder why people waste that kind of money on a movie like this.

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The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent


by Lillian Csernica on April 25, 2015

 

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Roger Corman, master of B-movie schlock, brought all new meaning to the term “low budget” when he created this cinematic voyage into mediocrity.  Don’t let the poster fool you.  In 1957 Corman was still filming in black and white.  Here is the complete title of the movie.  The best thing about the entire project might well be the calligraphy on this title card:

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A boatload of Vikings has not returned from their latest efforts to rape, pillage, and burn.  Led by Desir, the Viking women decide to take to the seas in search of their menfolk.  This proves disastrous.  First the Viking longboat is sucked into a terrible vortex and destroyed.

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 The six women who survive the shipwreck wash up on the shore of an island occupied by the “Grimaults,” who are Barbarians.  That’s right, with a capital B.  These fearsome savages are holding the missing Viking warriors captive.  The Grimaults, being good hosts, promptly capture the Viking women and reunite them with their men.  You’d think this would be a happy moment, but there’s still the small problem of escape, stealing a boat, figuring out how to navigate back home, etc.

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Richard Devon as Stark, a Grimault.  Notice the Mongol helmet.

The hospitality comes to an abrupt halt when the Grimaults decide it’s time for a human sacrifice.

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The Vikings are not about to allow one of their own to be slaughtered to the gods of these filthy Barbarians.  Fight scene!

 

Triumphant, the Vikings grab a boat and row like hell for home.  Their ordeal is not yet over.  From the turbulent waters of the fathomless ocean rises the Sea Serpent!

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Whoops!  Sorry.  Wrong picture.

 

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Brad Jackson as Vedric, Viking chieftain, preparing to slay the unnatural creature!

And so our heroes and heroines make their way homeward.  Here’s a glimpse behind the scenes.  See the guy down in the corner with the hose?  He’s in charge of sea spray.

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D for Deathstalker


by Lillian Csernica on April 4, 2015

There are a total of four movies in the Deathstalker franchise.  They put the “low” in “low budget” with their steady decline in plot, characters, and special effects.  On board for the first Deathstalker movie was none other than Roger Corman himself, the king of the B-movies.

 

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All of these movies feature lots of pretty warrior women, princesses, and slave girls who are wearing as little as possible.  To be fair, the heroes are handsome and they run around half-naked too.

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Here we have Rick Hill and Lana Clarkson starring as “Deathstalker” and “Kaira.”  Nice outfit she’s almost wearing.

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Deathstalker II is so bad it’s hilarious.  Wikipedia says, “Princess Evie of Jzafir is deposed by the evil Jerak and his ally Sultana. Posing as Reena the Seer, Princess Evie enlists the aid of the renowned hero Deathstalker. Together they battle the forces of evil and a clone of Evie created by Jerak, to win back Evie’s kingdom.”

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Sure, all that happens, but there’s so much more!  The sorcerous clone of Evie apparently eats people alive, leaving only the bronzed face of her victim which she adds to the headboard on the bed.  Deathstalker and Reena get captured by Amazons.  Deathstalker must fight for his life in a wrestling match with an actual lady wrestler with the ring name of “Queen Kong.”

Starring John Terlesky as Deathstalker and Monique Gabrielle as Reena, Deathstalker II is a borderline porn flick with swords and magic.  It does have a script that’s worth the time.  When Sultana tells the evil Jerak that the famous warrior Deathstalker is helping Reena, Jerak starts spluttering with laughter and says, “Deathstalker?” in this perfect tone of sarcastic disbelief.  Watching John Terlesky play Deathstalker messes with my mind because he looks a lot like a boyfriend I had back when I was 19 or so.  Poor Mr. Terlesky can’t get through some of his scenes without breaking into a grin or just losing it completely.  When he faces the clone of Evie who plans to seduce and devour him, she cuddles up to him and gets a good grip on the front of his leather pants.  Have you ever seen a hero in one of these movies blush?  Terlesky does, the poor devil.  Watch Deathstalker II, especially the outtakes.  Those are really priceless.

 

In this installment, Deathstalker is played by John Allen Nelson, an otherwise respectable actor who has gone on to have a busy career in television.  Deathstalker is hired by yet another princess to find one of three magic jewels that are crucial to restoring peace to the kingdom.  Two of the jewels are inside the fortress of the evil sorcerer Troxartes, a necromancer who believes in recycling.  Every time he kills a bunch of the good guys, he raises them from the dead to be his zombie soldiers.  The princess gets killed, but as luck would have it, she has a twin sister!  I kept getting distracted by the fact that John Allen Nelson’s head did not look like it belonged on his body.  Clearly the man had worked out and muscled up for the role, but it really looked like his head was sticking up out of some kind of costume.  How bad is this movie?  It is so bad I’ve watched it only once.

Last but not least, Deathstalker IV: Match of the Titans.  Deathstalker is lured to a competition among warriors held at the hilltop castle of the wicked Queen Kana.  Deathstalker discovers the competition is mere bait to attract the strongest warriors in the land so they can be killed off one by one.  Deathstalker decides it’s time to round up the remaining fighters and run for it.  Queen Kana unleashes her Stone Warriors and so begins the battle to the death!  If this plot sounds a lot like the first Deathstalker movie with the addition of silly Stone Warriors, that’s because it is.

Rick Hill returns to the role he created, the mighty warrior Deathstalker.  Doesn’t look too happy about it, does he?

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