Trailer Terrors: The Beastmaster (1982)
He’s like like Dr. Doolittle… but badass.
Released only a few months apart from Conan the Barbarian, Beastmaster was a modest box office hit, finding it’s audience much later thanks to the extended play on cable tv and through video store rentals. Directed by Don Coscarelli (Phantasm series, Bubba Ho-Tep) his flair for the imaginative, dark and even terrifying is evident throughout….from the ugly witches with the bodies of dancers to the cannibal batlike creatures, Coscarelli is at home here in the realm of fantasy, painting a world full of curious beauty and deadly horror….all of these elements helping to shape it into the cult classic it is today.
The movie follows the adventures of Dar, son of king Zed, who was taken from the womb of his mother by a witch acting under the orders of evil sorcerer Maax. Dar is saved from death by a passing villager, adopting the child as his own. As Dar grows, not knowing his true birthright, he begins to slowly discover he has the ability to communicate with with animals telepathically (like Dr. Doolittle….but badass.) . Not too soon after the Jun Horde, an army of savage barbarians who carry out Maax’s dirty work, descends upon his peaceful village slaughtering everyone in sight, leaving Dar the sole survivor.
What follows is Dar’s quest for vengeance as he travels the strange and wonderful world he lives in encountering along the way a black tiger, a pair of mischievous ferrets named Kodo & Podo, a topless Tanya Roberts, the truly menacing Sharak (bat-people), Tanya Roberts in a bikini, John Amos as a badass warrior, more of Tanya Roberts in a bikini, an insane berserker “Death Guard”, and Maax’s witches….just to name a few. Beastmaster is one wild ride, guaranteed to keep you enthralled from beginning to end. Full of strange creatures, vicious badguys, and Tanya Roberts in a bikini, you can’t really go wrong here….I mean, c’mon….what’s not to love?
The Beastmaster was a childhood favorite of mine, one that I looked forward to watching each and every time it’d pop up on the ‘tube, one that I still enjoy now as much as I did when I was six. The music, the story, the animals, the monsters, the heroes…..it just brings out the inner child within me again and again. The movie spawned two direct to video sequels a tv series, but the less said of those the better. Nothing beats the first in terms of imagination and pure fun.