With my first ever fantasy story now on out there for the world to see, I’m stuck between worlds of having to let go of one story while resuming the work on another. While my brain makes that mental shift, I let it rest a bit. I started reflecting on some of the inspirations of my childhood.
I could go on and on about how Tolkien was my primary literary source of inspiration (and I have, actually). But I thought it would instead go even farther back, to the fantasy movies that I cherished as kid. I can’t tell you how many bad guys and monsters I vanquished, immediately after watching these flicks. And I watched these movies a LOT. This was back when cable television thought it was a good idea to repeat certain movies over and over. So I lost count on how many times I watched Conan fight Wilt Chamberlain (if you’ve never seen Conan the Destroyer…I’m not kidding).
As much as I loved these movies, the mature part of my brain has tried on occasion to point out just how bad these movies really are. Luckily, in this instance, I can shut out the rational part of my brain. The fact is, there are parts of these movies that still rule, at least in my head.
Conan the Destroyer
First of all, this is Conan we’re talking about. This rejuvenated the genre in movies, making sword and sorcery flicks attractive to Hollywood. But besides that, the soundtrack gets your blood pumping. I fought many a horde in my youth to this music blaring in my head. Between the soundtrack and the combat scenes, I was able to ignore the hokey script and bad acting.
The fact that the hero’s name is “Dar” is clue enough that this movie was written by folks who were not too concerned with whether the story was really original. And I love the fact that the black panther in this movie is clearly a tiger dyed black (you can see the stripes). But the combat scenes are cool, and that weapon of Dar’s (I think they called it a glaive), was promptly worked into my Dungeons and Dragons games (I know…I’m a nerd).
Sword and the Sorcerer
I remember only one thing about this movie, and that’s the three bladed sword that fired the outer blades off like rockets. A horrible idea? Yes. But while I was a child, it was immensely cool, so it ranks that way in my memory.
There are more that I could add (like Hawk the Slayer), but I’ll leave it here for now to see if anyone else has a favorite bad fantasy movie.