Sunday, January 24, 2010

Buy The DVD!: Deathstalker II

This is a new feature that I'm starting that is going to focus on DVD-centric features for movies that have stood out to me.  Given the prevalence of companies releasing 'bare-bones' DVDs these days,- not like it's a new thing- it seemed like a good idea.  We start off with an '80s classic...
Deathstalker II
The movie is pure ridiculousness, as it is a semi-parody of the barbarian/sword-and-sandal film.  The hero is over the top ('80s actor-turned-director John Terlesky) and the plot is silly as all get out.  That's what makes it work, especially in comparison to Deathstalker III and IV, which are quite dry.  They're not terrible- although III comes damn close- but not nearly as much fun as these.  This is aided by...

A full-length audio commentary track by the director (Jim Wynorski), the star (John Terlesky) and the actress who played the lead villainess (Toni Naples).  Unlike most commentary tracks, the people do not boast or brag about the complexity of film-making.  Instead, they joke about the low production values and point out funny things.  Examples being...

* Wynorski explains that their 'magic orb' was actually a door knob.
* Wynorski points out a car that appears at the top of a one shot, as well as some tire tracks in another.
* Terlesky talks about how all of their goons were played by the same three Mexican wrestlers.
* Naples and Wynorski explain her character's sudden exit: she had to go shoot another movie and they couldn't think of anything better.
* Wynorski explains that the stock footage from the first film- mostly the bar scene that appears in some form throughout the series- was added in post-production by Corman's company.  It's funny to hear his ironic indignation about his movie being 'dragged down.'

The actual movie is fun, but the DVD is worth the purchase for a second and third viewing warranted by the commentary.  It's unlike most you will ever hear.

Next in this series, a really terrible Jesus Franco film bears one piece of fruit.  Is it enough?  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. When I fist saw this one on VHS it took me quite by surprise, but instead of getting angry I went with it and laughed my head off. It's definitely one of a kind and may be worth a look for that reason alone.