I can honestly say I loved the 80’s. The 80’s were the decade that started our trek into the new millennium. Think about all the technology that came out of the 80’s: Personal computers, cell phones, cable TV, video games and VCRs. Add to that the music, movies and television, Dungeons and Dragons … The 80’s was where it all started.
The biggest impact on me from the 80’s was the movies. Not just The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Conan the Barbarian and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but cult classics as well, like The Beastmaster, Dragonslayer and Krull. These are movies that I can watch again and again and never get tired of them.
My children just don’t understand my infatuation with these classics. They look at the special effects and laugh at how bad it is. True, it’s not the same as the CGI of today, but it has a quality of quasi-realism and camp that today’s movies lack. These were movies done on location and large sound stage sets, not shot completely in motion-capture or green screen, with robust orchestral music to drive the story.
Let’s take Krull, the sci-fi/fantasy adventure, for example. It’s about a conqueror from space called The Beast and his army of Slayers as they try to enslave the planet of Krull. The adventure is a love story between a young prince, Colwyn, and his new bride, Lyssa, after she is captured by The Beast. Colwyn recruits a rag-tag group of thieves and escaped prisoners to rescue his princess and save their world. It is a wonderful mix of sci-fi with magic, fantasy and adventure thrown in. In case you haven’t noticed, I love this movie.
The Slayers were strange creatures with interesting weapons. Their swords had long hilts. They fired an energy weapon from one side of the hilt then flipped it around to use the sword in hand-to-hand combat. They could scale walls with ease, hide underwater and, when they died, a hideous worm-like creature broke out of the armor and dove underground. They had a death-howl that I have yet to hear repeated in other movies. Like I said, quite unique.
The real star of this movie was something you only saw briefly at the end, the Glaive. It really is such a simple weapon, five retractable blades in what looks like a metal starfish. It simplicity in its design makes it very cool, especially how Colwyn used it to fight The Beast. He controlled its flight with his mind, reflecting the Slayer’s and The Beast’s blasts right back at them.
Then, their’s the cast. These were stars before they were stars. I mean Freddie Jones, Liam Neeson, Robbie Coltrane, Alun Armstrong, and David Battley just to name a few. The cast also included a seven foot tall cyclops who could see the future, but only when he would die. If he strayed from his appointed time of death, he would die a painful death instead of a peaceful one. The Beast was a grotesque monster they barely showed until the end, hinting that it lived up to its name.
This movie is only one example of why the 80’s rocked. The script was full of classic movie quotes that made this movie stand out, especially to geeks like me.
“Freedom? We have it! And fame? Nah. It’s an empty purse. Count it, go broke. Eat it, go hungry. Seek it, go mad!” — Torquil (Alun Armstrong)
Add to that, Krull also has an abundance of scary and fantasy creatures. Besides The Beast and his Slayers, there’s shape-shifting Changelings, assassins that kill with a touch, and a giant white spider that’ll make anyone suffering from arachnophobia a fright. The Fire Mares are the coolest horses to have, running so fast that their burning hooves can carry you through the air.
If you haven’t seen Krull, find it and watch it. It’s a fun adventure that will inspire you like it has me. As a fantasy writer, Krull is the kind of adventure I want to write about. The more fantastic, the better. It’s what adventures are meant to be. As they say on Krull, “Each to his fate!”
Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse. The Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.