Needs moar Blurrgs
Caveat emptor: I typed this up as I watched it because I could tell I was never going to be able to sit through it again. At some points during the editorial process, “Future Anne” dropped in with editorial notes; this is the Anne who sat through this film and later stepped in to try to make the plot writeup, such as it is, make sense.
Also, trigger-warning: there is a lot of implied rape in this film. Like, a lot. If a female character can be sexually imperilled, she is.
We begin with some Conan-rip-off music and a weird shot of a man leaping from a hole in a wall, filmed from below. Another man. This one has an axe. Next one has a sword. Next one has a morning star. And they’re heading into a tunnel! There’s mist. Everyone is lurching so I assume they’re villains of an orcish persuasion. (Well, close enough. - Future Anne)
They’re sneaking up on a dude who’s about to rape a woman. They stop and watch. He notices, throws some coins on the ground and runs off, leaving the woman. I guess they’re not orcs? They’re just guys with prosthetics on their faces who lurch around? Don’t worry, one of the lurchers is going to carry off the woman (presumably to rape) while the others are busy chasing the man. We get some flashes of her butt as she’s being hauled away. AND THEN a blonde dude steps out of the mist. He is very chisled and has some amazing hair. It’s like a long bowl-cut, very blonde, very wig. He fights the lurchers. The woman is there too, somehow. At one point, DEATHSTALKER, for I assume that’s his name, waves his sword at a lurcher, who then “dies”. Seriously, this fight choreography is a joke.
Anyway, DEATHSTALKER kills the original guy who was going to rape the woman and then “sexily” unties her and takes her clothes off. She looks thrilled. LOL she does not but all it takes is some boob stroking for her to be into it, apparently. An old dude walks up and sighs when he sees DEATHSTALKER doing his thing. The woman takes the chance to run off and DEATHSTALKER is all sad about it. I MEAN, DUDE. She was just about to be raped and then you were like, let’s celebrate that you weren’t raped with some borderline non-consensual sex.
Later, I guess? (the passage of time does not and will never make sense in this movie - Future Anne), we see DEATHSTALKER deathstalking through a forest. Um, it turns out his name is actually DEATHSTALKER. I will only ever refer to him as DEATHSTALKER, ALL CAPS, because that is the title of the film. He makes fun of an old dude who is, apparently, a king. Anyway, the king wants DEATHSTALKER to go get his castle and his daughter back. DEATHSTALKER rides off, uninterested, b/c he’s all about survival, not glory, quote unquote.
The AI has a real Liefeld-esque fear of feet (and heads, actually; most of the barbarians I generated are just torsos, thighs and arms).
Cut to a castle, where some guards are carrying a screaming woman. Oh, hey, there are some other naked women in a tub. There are a lot of naked women in this scene, all sort of standing around. They all have very 80s hair. The screaming woman is apparently a princess. The princess, I guess. (Don’t worry, this will never really matter. - Future Anne)
Cut to some dudes riding horses through a forest, dragging a dude behind them. Don’t worry, DEATHSTALKER is here to save the day. The horse-dudes are trying to get a sword from an old woman in terrible makeup. DEATHSTALKER fights them. A head flies across the screen. No, really. One of the dudes is holding a snake? Now he’s turning into a bird. (Don’t worry, this also won’t ever matter. - FA) We get some exposition about the three powers of nature – a sword, an amulet, a chalice. Old lady tells DEATHSTALKER to go find the sword.
Cut to: the evil king. UM OKAY so the evil king has a synapse tattooed on his head and a gooey fetus in a box that talks to him?
Cut back to DEATHSTALKER and the witch. Anyway, the witch tells DEATHSTALKER to go reunite the three thingies and BE THE POWER and DEATHSTALKER heads out, apparently quite tempted by this, despite the fact that he only cares about survival, not glory. No, it makes no sense.
Man, we haven’t had any naked imperilled women in whole minutes. DEATHSTALKER crawls into a cave and makes himself a little torch, and is immediately attacked by some sort of adorable gremlin. Ooh, this is the worst puppet. We are talking Ewok Adventure levels of bad creature effects here. It’s like a gooey Yoda. It’s not even really a puppet; it’s a guy, crouched really uncomfortably wearing a hooded cloak and a mask. There’s also an ogre thingie in this cave? They fight and DEATHSTALKER finds the magic sword while defeating the ogre thingie. Yoda asks DEATHSTALKER to take him with him on his “quest”. Yoda grabs the sword and it glows and… DEATHSTALKER is turned into a little boy? Who leads Yoda out of the cave? Wtf is happening. Yoda falls into a river. Deathstalker turns back into a grownup and Yoda turns into a middle-aged dude. Companion achievement unlocked. I WILL BE THE POWER, DEATHSTALKER says. Choooosee your companionssss well, the old woman’s voice-over hisses. This is probably meant to be foreshadowing, but… in a better movie, maybe, I guess.
Oh yay, another woman is being raped. A man in some very He-Man esque armour fights the rapists. I don’t know which He-Man character his armour most resembles so I’m just going to call him He-Man, even though he has brown hair. The rapist continues trying to rape, while everyone else is fighting. DEATHSTALKER rides in and kills all the baddies. Someone else gets beheaded. DEATHSTALKER whirls his sword around in a way that’s supposed to mean he’s good at fighting, but actually means the choreographer was playing to his strengths (i.e. not choreographing actual fights). We get a surprisingly disturbing close-up shot of blood gushing over the blade, randomly. He-Man and DEATHSTALKER exposit a bit while staring off into the distance. The unraped woman hugs a kid because some heroes saved her virtue. Our heroes ride off to a tournament at Castle Evil. Yoda is not in this scene; he comes and goes depending on whether or not the film editor remembers he’s a character in this movie.
Deathstalker and He-Man, on their way to “the tournament”. Not pictured: Yoda. Yes, this is a hellscape of AI and copyright-free images I mashed up together with a free online photo editor; why do you ask.
Our heroes (now including Yoda) sit around a fire at night. They hear something! It’s a person! In a cape! A fight ensues. Someone says something like “fight like a man” to the stranger, so the stranger will definitely be a woman. Oh, she’s not only a woman; she’s a woman who isn’t wearing a shirt. A mask and a cloak but no shirt. This is Kyra, because in the 80s they were always called Kyra, and DEATHSTALKER likes what he sees, very obviously. Gross. I feel so bad for the actress, having to do action scenes literally bare-chested.
(Aside; her name is spelled Kaira and she’s a princess too, apparently? - Future Anne, very confused)
Back at the Evil Castle, we focus in on another woman. This one has some clothes on, but don’t worry, plenty of others don’t. Is this meant to be a harem? A woman brings in a basket of fruit and they start fighting. King Synapse feeds his fetus an eye he pulled out of a little boy. We learn that DEATHSTALKER is camped outside the city. Actually, no; he’s sexing Kyra outside the city, is what he’s doing. Yoda and He-Man are like, c’mon, we’re right here. We keep getting reaction shots from Yoda since he’s apparently never seen sex before. This film is remarkably insistent on making the viewer complicit in its complete and horrifying objectification of women.
Fantasy City. A couple of guards are chasing a woman around, because we haven’t seen a woman be sexually imperilled for whole entire minutes. Cut to the castle harem, where women are mud-wrestling. Uh, He-Man is there too? Loads of folks are doing sex things, but it’s hard to tell how much of this sex is, you know, consensual. Not gonna lie; it doesn’t look like much of it. He-Man grabs a girl, who is definitely not into it. DEATHSTALKER is here too, and so is Yoda. Yoda has new clothes. Someone definitely cut a scene to bring us here. Or many scenes. This is so weird.
Kyra wanders in, wearing a “shirt” which is mostly some strings that just about cover her areolae, and sits down next to DEATHSTALKER, pushing another girl off him as she does. King Synapse watches from the side. Something outside rumbles…. And it’s King Synapse? Look, I don’t know. He sits down on his throne and talks about how “only the strongest” will take his place and claim his kingdom. So the tournament is to find a successor?
King Synapse has his guards bring in his “newest bride,” the princess, I think, and chain her to a… table? A pig man stands up wanders over to go sexually imperil this woman. Kyra wants to stop the proceedings, but DEATHSTALKER won’t let her, for reasons we will never learn. Pig Man gets into a fight with another dude. Soon everyone is fighting and King Synapse watches, laughing. Every time I’m like, man, I haven’t seen a woman’s naked bottom or breasts in a few seconds, a butt or some boobs show up in the shot. Kyra tries to help the princess and gets pulled off her by some guy; DEATHSTALKER is finally like, man, okay, better step in and gets to his feet by upending a table (maximum effort!), releases the princess and carries her off. King Synapse is like, ok, you can have her, and everyone gets back to fighting and raping. Multiple women go sit by Yoda. He-Man swings on a chandelier. Pig-Man rips a dude’s arm off and hits him with it. Someone rips up a pillow and down flies everywhere. Fun times!
Rather than try to illustrate “naked lady harem pillow fight orgy, also there’s a pig-man” with Canva, Unsplash and Pixlr, here are a few happy blurrgs gamboling about in some gently falling snow. Happy holidays!
Later, a naked-ish woman wanders around the scene of the party. He-Man has sex with someone. The boy who had his eye ripped out is dead. King S feeds his fetus some fingers. DEATHSTALKER WILL NOT LIVE TO COMPETE IN THE TOURNAMENT, King S says, in a way we’re supposed to take seriously despite the fact that he has a synapse tattooed on his face. There will be no winner of the tournament! King S will kill the winner! And some dude will kill DEATHSTALKER, with THIS, King S says, handing some guard guy a knife and turning him into the princess to go seduce and assassinate DEATHSTALKER. Dude gropes himself a lot during the transformation process, because there is no depth of exploitation this film won’t sink to.
You’ll be shocked to learn that the “princess” is basically wearing a net curtain as a dress. She sneaks into DEATHSTALKER’S room, which is filled with… pillars wrapped in cloth? DEATHSTALKER happily gets into seduction mode and starts chewing noisily on her ear. He takes his sword off and she immediately tries to stab him, and he disarms her and throws the knife at some… fake lips on the wall? Then DEATHSTALKER gets his rape on and eventually figures out she’s… a man? I don’t know. Anyway, the princess runs out of DEATHSTALKER’s room and is immediately confronted by Kyra, back in her shirtless getup. He turns back into himself and they have a swordfight. He threatens to rape her, like DUDE, did you yourself not just almost get raped? She kills him, then stagers off calling out DEATHSTALKER’s name and collapses in his arms. I guess she’s dying? No, wait, she’s dead. Like, what? Don’t worry, though; we get to see her naked breasts one last time as she dies in his arms. Sexy.
Cut to next day, Fantasy City. Oh, it’s tournament day! Some women in sheer dresses wander around, for some reason. People cheer. All the dudes who were mud wrestling/raping women/drinking/fighting yesterday are now striding into the city to… fight. We keep getting reaction shots from this one woman in purple, for no reason I can tell. Fighty fight fight. So I guess the tournament is just a free-for-all, everyone-beats-the-shit-out-of-everyone exercise. Great way to decide on succession. He-Man, in a new He-Man getup (I mean, he doesn’t wear much; I assume his clothes don’t take up much space in his luggage), kisses his woman and fights another dude one-on-one. I am going to guess that the other one-on-one fights were cut down to look like a scrum. DEATHSTALKER watches, all serious, from the sidelines. He-Man wins his battle. This film is so poorly made that you can see the wound makeup has already been applied to the actors before the blows that supposedly cause them are delivered.
DEATHSTALKER is covered in sweat. Fun fact; this film was shot in 37 days during the height of summer! You can really tell!
UH, cut to night? Castle Evil? He-Man is being dragged around (shirtless) by some guards. Yoda follows and is chased by more guards. While trying to escape, Yoda falls out a window and into a pond in the harem, where all the naked women are like, yay, what fun. DEATHSTALKER, meanwhile, continues to deathstalk around the castle. When next we see He-Man, King Synapse is torturing him. He-Man is basically naked. Naked-er, anyway. At least we’re finally getting some equal-opportunity nudity.
OH NO, you guys, He-Man is A TRAITOR. He’s working for King Synapse! He goes to DEATHSTALKER’s room and says King Synapse wants him to kill him. They fight. One of the pillars in DEATHSTALKER’S room nearly falls over when He-Man brushes against it. NGL, this fight scene is really very homoerotic. He-Man’s girlfriend wanders in and watches. Seriously, she just sort of appears and occasionally looks a little surprised. DEATHSTALKER breaks He-Man’s neck. He-Man’s girlfriend cries. Deathstalker’s wig is different in this scene than in other scenes.
Back to the tournament, so I guess it’s the next day? We get another reaction shot from that one woman, still in purple. Deathstalker stalks around the perimeter of the tournament floor. Pig-Man comes raging out to fight him. Yoda and He-Man’s girlfriend watch from the sidelines. Oh, is the woman in purple the princess? DEATHSTALKER skewers the pig-man and we get that same weird shot of blood spurting over a sword blade; honestly, it’s disturbingly suggestive (and gross). Everyone watching is very happy?
Smash cut to the castle, and the old woman’s voice-over. Uh, now DEATHSTALKER is stalking around the castle again? King Synapse reminds us about the chalice, the amulet and the sword thingie. Guards roam around the castle. They are meant to be looking for DEATHSTALKER but instead are raping women? Yoda and the women fight them off. One woman brings in a random dude, who kills one of the guards. I don’t know; it doesn’t make any sense.
Nor does whatever happened between the tournament and now. Anyway, DEATHSTALKER continues to deathstalk around the castle, and finds the amulet, hanging over a pit. His hair is long again. I dig DEATHSTALKER’S comfy-looking leather ankle boots. DEATHSTALKER reaches for the amulet and is attacked by a guard and… we get a shot of his magic sword, which I think means he dropped it, but with the way this film has been shot and edited, who the fuck knows. They fight. Guard loses. DEATHSTALKER uses the force to retrieve his sword, which glows magically. He then touches the amulet with it and that magically makes the amulet fall into his hands. He puts it on and looks Very Serious. Right, off to get the chalice.
Oh, guard got beheaded but is still alive and is putting his head back on. Gosh, this film loves a beheading.
Oh, right, b/c the guard was actually King Synapse in disguise. (I think?? - Future Anne) There was a brief, confusing shot a few minutes ago that I guess was meant to show us King Synapse transforming himself? He does magic and DEATHSTALKER is transported outside, to the tournament grounds. DEATHY gazes around in confusion. King Synapse creates doubles of himself, which stride toward DEATHSTALKER all V for Vendetta style. DEATHSTALKER’s all, sure, I’ll kill you all, no biggie. BUT HE CAN’T, because of magic.
THANK YOU GOD ONLY 7 MINUTES LEFT IN THIS FILM.
Uh, the princess (maybe? I genuinely don’t know?) appears? King Synapse is carrying the chalice, which is glowing. He does some magic, making the sword glow red. DEATHSTALKER tries to act, he really does. We get a reaction shot from the princess which reads as the actress being given the following stage direction: “yeah, so, we’re going to need you to look worried, but not worried enough that your face actually moves, okay? Worried but still bangable, you get me?”
Okay, so this is DEATHSTALKER (who, in the film, actually wears more clothing than this) and King Synapse (not actually bearded but I drew on his synapse, so you get the picture), and Princess Blurrg. I kept seeing eucalyptus trees in the background of the film so there you go, this is a 100% accurate recreation of a very important moment in this movie when, uh, stuff happens. Dunno why the AI stuck a sword through DEATHSTALKER’s shin/boot but maybe it knows something I don’t.
Now the old witch appears (as a vision?) and yells at DEATHSTALKER to take the chalice. DEATHSTALKER is confused. So am I. King Synapse continues to menace him with his magic cup. This makes fire appear. DEATHSTALKER stalks deathily, in slow motion, towards the fire. There are a lot of people watching now. He reaches King S and takes the cup. Uh, was that it? He just walks through a fire and takes the cup, the end? DEATHSTALKER tosses King Synapse to the crowd, who are not fans. Wow, they’re going to draw and quarter him. Yikes.
We keep getting close-up reaction shots of DEATHSTALKER as this happens, his brow furrowing in gentle confusion. He destroys the three items as King Synapse full-on explodes. Uh, the end.
Oh wow, that’s it, that’s really the end.
What the fuck did I just watch?! On the one hand, this was proper 80s fantasy film nonsense. On the other hand, it was edited to within an inch of its life, to the degree that the plot barely held together, and featured everything one expects – but does not look forward to – in 80s fantasy films: bad acting, bad wigs, bad effects, gratuitous violence, gratuitous nudity, and rape. Seriously, Barbarian Queen aside, this might score a ten out of ten in each of those metrics, which would make it our top scorer of all time, and Barbarian Queen was porn. Though that David Carradine film with the lady with three boobs was also right up there, tbh.
I couldn’t find much trivia about this film, but there appear to be multiple sequels, so lucky me. Lucky all of us, really.
Monsters: One Pig-Man, one Yoda-thingie, one ogre in a cave, some guys with “monstrous” faces, one poor woman in terrible old-age makeup, a fetus in a box, and a guy with a synapse tattooed on his face.
Mullets: this movie does feature some amazing 80s hair, including shaggy bowl-cuts, super perms, lots of shaggy layers, and lots of fringe.
Representation: LOL, this film was so white. There was one “strong” female character whose costume was a cape and a loincloth without a bra, who got sexed up and then kerstabberated and died, boobs on full display, in our hero’s arms. Amazing stuff.
Remake watch: I mean, I’m sure someone out there cherishes thoughts of remaking the Deathstalker films as a Witcher-style prestige fantasy TV event.
Thanks for reading Monsters & Mullets! I used to be on Twitter but I’m not anymore. If this is your first time reading and you want to know what the heck the whole “blurrg” thing is about, allow me to direct you towards my write-up of the Ewoks: The Battle for Endor , which coincidentally I “illustrated” while off my face on cold medicine.