Precursors and progenitors to The Big List of 1980s Barbarian & Fantasy Movies, which I’ve updated, refreshed, and reorganized for the first time in a decade.

Harryhausen fantasy nights…

  • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) This sequel to The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) initiated a wave of fantasy movies leading up to the 80s
  • Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977)  More polished and underrated compared to Golden Voyage. These two had a pulp vibe and are the strongest progenitors of the 80s fantasy cinema deluge. 

Fantastical sci-fi…

  • Fantastic Planet (1973). French. Animated. Sci-fi but otherworldly to a fantastical degree. 
  • Zardoz (1974). Has a classic fantasy connection and Connery’s character is a barbarianish. 
  • Star Wars (1977)
  • Star Wars Holiday Special (1978).

Robin Hood was here…

  • Robin Hood (1973). Disney. Animated
  • The Legend of Robin Hood (1975) BBC TV
  • Robin and Marian (1976). Audrey Hepburn

Edgar Rice Burroughs trilogy……

  • Land That Time Forgot (1974). Submarine drama becomes dinosaur creature feature. 
  • At the Earth’s Core (1976). Interesting underworld monsters and faction rivalry, but the unrelenting firelight color tones, exploding rocks, and grating dialogue requires one to be in a rare mood to enjoy. 
  • People That Time Forgot (1977). Rescue mission to the Mountain of Skulls where the green skinned Kurtz-type holds the volcano throne of the degenerate samurai tribe. 

Terry Gilliam’s medieval comedies…

  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).  Oft quoted buffoonery. 
  • Jabberwocky (1977). Kinda like Predator but with castles and peasants. 


  • The Norseman (1978). Vikings and their wizard soothsayer go to the new world on a rescue mission against the natives. 
  • Circle of Iron (1978). Barbarian-type goes on martial arts quest of self-discovery inspired by Bruce Lee. 
  • Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979). Castles and Klaus Kinski. 

Love or hate them, the Bakshi and Rankin/Bass animated fantasies closed out the decade with imaginative momentum…

  • Wizards (1977) Post apocalypse science fantasy fever dream. 
  • The Hobbit (1977) Captures the spirit of the book. 
  • Lord of the Rings (1978) Basically unfinished. 
  • The Return of the King (1980) A 70s product in every way except the final release date. Get past the 10 minutes of convoluted intro and it’s a decent retelling. 

The Heart is a Jungle

April 26, 2015

Dear friends.  How long has it been since I’ve written?  Things have changed.  I’ve been so busy.  

But I still heart jungles.

I spent a few weeks in the Philippines recently.  Then I came home and re-discoverd the maps I drew for my jungle books.  Presto! A new post.

I just wanna look in there…


Here is the first version of the Fire in the Jungle map.  My initial idea combined regular jungle, dark jungle, and apocalypse jungle into a single map…


Later, I decided to move the dark jungle and apocalypse jungle ideas mostly out of the initial campaign area, to develop them separately with different styles and themes.  Here’s a later version of the original Fire in the Jungle map in pencil…


Mostly similar to the final map.  Looking back, I like the shaded mountains in the that version better, compared to the icon style mountains in the published map…


A short jungle interlude.  That’s me in the green shirt, participating in a wet t-shirt contest, in a river, under the jungle.  The woman in pink dominated…


There were numerous steps in creating the Tomb of the Monkey God map.  First, I worked it all out in pencil, with lots of erasing along the way (right map).  Then I traced it in ink with the help of a stencil.  Finally, it was scanned, tweaked, and colored digitally to produce the final map…



Roadtripping in northeast Mindanao, Philippines…


The map in Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse is based on northeast Mindanao, then flipped horizontally.  I’m so clever.  I sketched out a pile of topographic maps.  An early version…


A couple versions later I experimented with a broader floodplain and steeper mountains…


Until finally settling on a more balanced version…



Another picture from the road.  This mountain valley area is probably the closest I’ve ever been to actual wild and crazy jungle-jungle.  This is actually the primary “highway” along the eastern Surigao coast…


I visited Corregidor Island!  A primary inspiration for Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse.  The book’s cover photo is the entrance to Malinta Tunnel in 1945…


Here is that entrance in 2015…


The Tunnels Under the Rock map is the Malinta Tunnel map repeated ad infinitum reductio ad absurdum lorem ipsum…


The actual Malinta Tunnel goes all the way through the mountain, with numerous side passages…



Watch out for Rebar Hulks…


And Rebar Trolls…


The Castle on the Rock map is a mashup of ruined buildings found on Corregidor.  The original penciled map…


GIMP is your friend…




Physical graffiti…


Da big gunz…


I just wanna look in there…


I just wanna go down there…


A man’s home is his castle…in the jungle…


Still, it would seem, I live after an eternity of darkness and madness in the flier, of death and winter in the world outside. During that time, I have not written in the log; and I know not what obscure impulse prompts me to resume a practice so irrational and futile.

– Master of the Asteroid

Somebody read Clark Ashton Smith in quantity this winter.  It makes me want to write, but don’t worry…I’m not planning to resume blogging on a regular basis!  I just wanted to provide some linkage to Calum’s neato play reports of Clown Robot Doctor Apocalypse reskinned:

Part One

Part Two

Magic Item and Treasure Appendix


The characters are baffled by the tan and beige walls, the soft back-lighting, the constant hum of machinery in the background, and the unusual corridors which are comprised of moving floors (travelators and escalators), stairs, ladders and one person lifts.  Some experimentation is needed to operate the lifts,but before long they can at least get them to go up and down by thinking about it.

Once we were all inside a ‘schlupping’ sound came from behind us.  We turned to see the brown mud forming into a mound about four feet high, with a bright yellow ‘eye’ forming at the top.  The eye brightened and a keening whine rose before a blindingly bright energy bolt ripped from what we have dubbed the ‘poo monster’ which seared the Elf’s flesh from his skull.

When we got back up to the entry chamber the exit door was closed.  A panel slid back in the wall revealing a smallish god’s eye that had a red symbol of a box with an eye in it on a black background; Neither Pelgost nor Fokus knew of any orbital god fitting the description.  It appeared to be looking right at us.  A machine like voice told us that it was ‘The Computer’ and it was dedicated to our happiness, encouraging us to stay.  It also informed us not to leave the chamber, relating that a public management platoon had been dispatched to ensure a joyful and seamless orientation and induction into the happy halls of Alpha Complex.


My daughter drew this robot:



Hello. How ya doin’? Happy holidays. I’m just sweeping out the ashes in the “draft post file” here…the long-awaited jungle companion to The Most Interesting 1980s Fantasy Movies in the World.

Presenting, in order of the five stages of trash…

The Most Interesting Trashy 80s Jungle Movies Made in the Philippines in the World:



Trash stage 1: Nearly a normal movie, but two or three scenes reveal the truth.
Heated Vengeance
1985. Directed by the immortal Ed D. Murphy.
Vietnam vet returns to SE Asia to find his lost love and son. He meets a toilet salesman and is taken prisoner by a gang of druggies. He tries to escape and it becomes a jungle hunt movie. It’s too competent to get much love from trash fiends, but too far out to get much love from anybody else.

Greatest flamethrower scene not involving Klaus Kinski.

Soundtrack highlight:
“Bless our lucky stars for second chances”

Trash stage 2: Preposterous plot full of holes, but brazen editing gives it a brisk pace.
Commando Invasion
1986. Directed by Jun Gallardo.
Officer in Vietnam War gets caught up in a plot full of twists and surprises. General Giap was captured twice in the movie’s first 38 minutes! General “McMoreland” wants the bling! The French mercenaries weren’t wussies! Too bad the lead actor “Michael James” was a wussy. This movie could have been epic had it been headlined by Brent Huff, Reb Brown, Robert Patrick, David Carradine, Richard Harrison, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Klaus Kinski, Miles O’Keeffe, Richard Young, Jerry Kimble, Richard Norton, Rom Kristoff, David Warbeck, James Iglehart, or Rick Hill.

Greatest use of hats and scarves to differentiate factions and NPCs, because otherwise it would seem like indiscriminate slaughter even more than it already does.

Soundtrack highlight:
Moody abstract stuff punctuated by thunderous explosions, alternating with smooth jazzy 80s synth melodies.


Trash stage 3: Even a martial arts champ needed to earn a living. And at $79.99 per tape, he was living good!
The Wolf, aka Jungle Wolf
1986. Directed by Charlie Ordonez.
Ron Marchini is the writer, producer, and star. I salute his persistence. He is needed in a troubled Latin American country to perform a jail break and prisoner exchange. This uses the few funny scenes from its prequel, Forgotten Warrior, as flashbacks and adds snap karate and a fat cousin with a heavy machine gun. So there’s no reason to ever watch Forgotten Warrior.

Greatest flashback containing a rainbow and funeral pyre.

Soundtrack highlight:
Recurring theme song:
“Back back in action. He’s fighting for their lives.
Back back in action. He’s got the will to survive.”

Trash stage 4: Now this is just the whole movie crew having fun.
Rescue Team
1983. Another one directed by Jun Gallardo.
There is a team that performs a POW rescue in the jungle. Everybody dies except Richard Harrison. I think the voice actors got hammered one afternoon and decided to watch the film and re-record the dialog track in one take. We learn that Tetchie Agbayani smells good.

Greatest strip club scene since Lenny.

Soundtrack highlight:
Epic theme song copied from some other movie that I can’t quite put my finger on, repeated over and over and over.

Trash stage 5: All other stages combined and more.
Nine Deaths of the Ninja
1985. Directed by Emmett Alston.
A better James Bond parody than the Austin Powers movies. It’s on the short list of best movies both set and made in the Philippines.

Greatest saving throw vs punji pit
Greatest pick up line.

Soundtrack highlight:

That Is All

September 9, 2013


Nothing more about jungles for me to write.  So…I’m signing off.  Thanks to all who have ever visited. The blog remains intact and I will still respond to comments and emails, so feel free drop me a message.   I still have some copies of my jungle trilogy available for sale.  I’ll even sign them for you if you’d like (thanks Craig!). They’ll forever be available on Magcloud, too.

Speaking of Magcloud, I changed the prices of all three books to reflect my “retired blogger” status:  Free PDFs for all!  $6.54 + shipping for print.  I repeat: Free PDFs for all!  Start spreading the news.

Continuing the Neil Young theme of my previous post, I leave with this thought…

In the jungle land
With the sea and the sand
Can I meet you there?

(I can’t believe there isn’t a video of Neil Young singing Ocean Girl on Youtube.  This cover version is faithful, though…)

The other day I discovered the perfect album to accompany “Clown Robot Doctor Apocalypse”:  Neil Young’s Trans.


Background story…

Said the condor
to the preying mantis
We’re gonna lose this place
just like we lost Atlantis
Brother we got to go
sooner than you know
The Gypsy told my fortune,
she said that nothin’ showed.

Who put the bomb
on the sacred altar?
Why should we die
if it comes our way?
Why should we care
about a little button
Being pushed by someone
we don’t even know?

Well. I wish I was an Aztec,
Or a runner in Peru
I would build such
beautiful buildings
To house the chosen few
Like an Inca from Peru.

If you want to get high,
build a strong foundation
Sink those pylons deep now
and reach for the sky
If you want to get lost
in the jungle rhythm
Get down on the ground
and pretend you’re swimmin’.

If you want to put ice
in the lava river
First you must climb,
then you must stand and shiver

I feel sad, but I feel happy
As I’m coming back to home
There’s a bridge across the river
That I have to cross alone
Like a skipping rolling stone
Like an Inca.

Generally applicable to the Orwellian environment…

We control the data banks
We control the think tanks
We control the flow of air.

We’re controlling traffic lights
We control computer flights
We control the chief of staff.

We control the TV sky
We control the FBI
We control the flow of heat.

Computer age in harm’s way.
We will prevail
and perform our function

We’re controlling
We’re controlling
We control.
We control.

We control you floor to floor
We control you door to door
We’re controlling
while you sleep

Computer age in harm’s way.
We will prevail
and perform our function

We are in control,
we are in control,
we are in control.

Chemical computer
thinking battery.

A tale of robot lust…

Sample and Hold
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue
Weight: 110
Disposition: Even
Mood Code: Rotary Adjustable

I need a unit to sample and hold
But not the angry one
A new design, new design.

I need a unit to sample and hold
But not the lonely one
A new design, new design.

Sample and hold.

We’ll send it out right away
Satisfaction guaranteed.
Please specify
The color of skin and eye
We know you’ll be happy.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call
We know you’ll be satisfied
When you energize
And see your unit come alive
We know you’ll be happy.

I need a unit to sample and hold
But not the lonely one,
the lonely one,
the lonely one
Sample and hold.
Weight: 110.

Perfection in every details
Fabricated from
the curl of the hair
To the tip of the nail
Because our units never fail
We know you’ll be happy.

I need a unit to sample and hold.

Don’t hesitate to give us a call
We know you’ll be satisfied
When you energize
And see your unit come alive
We know you’ll be happy.

I need a unit to sample and hold.

We know you’ll be happy

This must be about Radio Clowns…

Well, his cattle each have numbers
And they all eat in a line
When he turns the floodlights
on each night
Of course the herd looks perfect!
Computer Cowboy.

Well, he rides
the range ’til midnight
And the wild coyotes yowl
As he trots
beneath the floodlights
And of course
the rhythm is perfect!
Computer Cowboy.

Ride along computer cowboy
To the city just in time
To bring another system down
And leave your alias behind:
Computer syscrusher.

Computer syscrusher.
Crusher. Syscrusher.

Come a ky ky yippee yi yippee yi ay
Come a ky ky yippee yi ay.

I now have some copies of Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse in stock, so I added a new “direct from me” ordering method and also a picture of the jungle map to that page. Check it out.

But first. Check these out. A series of paintings by Eric Joyner called “It’s a jungle out there.” Go here for more info and images.








I don’t remember the last time I participated in a blog meme, but Mr. Justin Davis gave a shout-out to Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse yesterday [fist bump, Justin!], so I’ll join in on this little parlor game of his…

22 Quick Questions For Your Post-Apocalyptic Campaign Setting
  1. What’s the deal with my village’s particular Rite Of Passage?
    Depends which village you are talkin’ about…what its shortage and surplus is.  Roll…rolll…roll.  Let’s say you are in the mountain village, which has a food shortage and a surplus of fertility.  Oh my! Reroll…reroll…reroll…
  2. Which way to the nearest tavern?
    Definitely “The BAR” in the Castle on the Rock.  Is it worth joining the Phantom Soldiers just for the booze?  Hmm, maybe.
  3. Where do we buy useful gear?
    “Buy” “useful” “gear”?  Ha, you need to find it out in the Apocalypse Jungle.
  4. Where do we repair / reload / refuel these artifacts?
    The villages sometimes have tinkersmiths, but their idea of repair is often just ritualized manipulation, very little technical knowledge involved.  So it’s a gamble.
  5. Where do we get some high-tech healing?
    Definitely the nano-electrolytic healing capsule in the buried submarine.
  6. Where do we fix our resident android / robot?
    There’s a auto-bot repair garage in the underground bunker-city (aka Clown Robot Doctor Apocalypse), but it’s not exactly easy to get to and sometimes their repair work results in MUTANT BOTS.
  7. Say, what IS the local currency / medium of exchange, anyway?
    Barter, all the way.  The Phantom Soldiers are amassing a treasure hoard, so maybe when they establish their jungle kingdom of tyranny, they will create currency with images of General Li, so as to reinforce the cult of personality.
  8. Are there any infamous ruins / vaults / laboratories / installations around where sane mutants fear to tread?
    Yes.  Muwhahahaha…
  9. Where is the closest contaminated zone to idiotically try for powerful new mutations?
    The Lands of Devastation are you destination for spiritual strengthening and mutation permutations.
  10. Where do we get cures for the following conditions:  toxin, radiation, infection, lousy new mutations, nanobot infestation, corrupted databanks, broken cybernetic implants?
    The Health and Happiness Administrators are a faction of Orwellian doctors and nurses that control a fantastic array of medications in the underground bunker-city.
  11. Are there any cults / gangs / cryptic alliances I can join and / or fight?
    The Survivors.  The Virgin Jungle Force.  The Jwarves.  The Gorillas.  The Phantom Soldiers.  Within the Phantom Soldiers are The Inner Circle, Dude’s Gang, and Sarsi’s Cult.
  12. Where can I hire mercenaries?
    Major Dude in the Castle on the Rock is the mercenary ring-leader.
  13. Where can I find a technician, lorekeeper, psychic, or other expert NPC?
    The Gorilla Padre is your best bet.  He appears under mysterious circumstances in whichever village or gorilla pack territory you happen to be visiting.
  14. Where do I find a mighty mutant monster mount?
    Barkrunners are great rides, found in the perilous Lands of Devastation.
  15. Who is the greatest warlord in the wasteland?
    General Li.  He wears football pads, mirror lenses on his blastmask, and a machete instead of a hand on his left arm.  Other than that, he’s like Klaus Kinski.
  16. Who is the craziest Artificial Intelligence in the wasteland?
    Deep in the Tunnels under the Rock is a comm center with resident AI.  It is clinically crazy.
  17. Who is hoarding all the gasoline in the wasteland?
    A sentient splash of sinister solvent hoards itself in the Tunnels. Its only natural predators are the Burn Barrels…angry canisters of incendiary anger.
  18. What critters are sufficiently terrorizing the wasteland that if I kill them, I become famous?
    The Trirannosaurus Xes.
  19. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?
    The Phantom Soldiers are becoming too powerful and soon the other factions may unite against them.  The Resistance needs a leader.  Will you be “The One”?
  20. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous artifact prizes?
    The mutant gladiators are the top entertainment attraction at the Castle on the Rock.
  21. Is there anywhere on the map where certain races are shunned, mutations / artifacts are outlawed, and / or other The Powers That Be significantly hassle the PCs?
    The Virgin Jungle Force can be rather protective of their pristine forests.
  22. Are there means to journey into space, or under the sea, or through the dimensional barriers?
    Rumor says the Phantom Soldiers are trying to build a space ship called “The Paradise Express”.  Also, there is a huge downed aircraft deep in the jungle that may have a malfunctioning teleportation device, among other things.

There is no question #23, but if there were, this would be the answer:



Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse Find out more on MagCloud)

Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse is now available on Magcloud…click above to order.  PDF is FREE!   Get the physical book for $6.54 + shipping.

Jungle Castle Rock Apocalypse (JCRAp) is a post-apocalypse fantasy role playing setting and adventure supplement. I aimed to make it more like Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards than Mad Max, but I’m not sure if I succeeded!

I’m not sure how to explain the book other than by briefly describing what’s in each page.

Page 1. cover image depicts entrance to the Tunnels under the Rock.
2-3. These two pages briefly describe the Apocalypse Jungle and introduces the factions vying for survival. These pages can be read by players as an intro to the setting.
4 – 6 Three pages of monsters by Justin Davis, creator of A Field Guide to Doomsday!
7 Color map of the Tunnels under the Rock. This is only the large first level of what could potentially become a megadungeon.
8-9 Color map of the Apocalypse Jungle, with brief location descriptions and encounter charts surrounding map. I put all the maps in the center so they can be easily removed.
10 Color map of the Castle on the Rock.
11 Describes the Gorilla Padre…a potential ally or enemy and source of information. Then introduces the Castle on the Rock, scenarios therein, and a collection of tables for castle events.
12-13 Describes castle NPCs and squads and where they are located at different times of day and night.
14-15 Describes key locations in the Tunnels and the weirdness and haunts therein.
16 back page bonus: “Clown Robot Doctor Apocalypse” one-page dungeon.

A few author’s notes:

Note #1
So the book contains sixteen monsters by Justin Davis, fully described and statted out.  These are the wilderness monsters. I also briefly describe another dozen or so monsters inhabiting underground adventure sites, but don’t stat these out.  What’s up with that?

Basically, Justin’s monsters are awesome and I wanted to emphasize them and the idea that the Apocalypse Jungle is loaded with big baddies that are dangerous to characters of any level.

To clarify, and to help you determine if this is a book you would find useful: this is not a fully-detailed, ready-to-play setting or adventure.  It has lots of specific detail, but never tells the whole story.  Improv-happy DMs could probably run it without much prep, but other DMs will probably need to sit down and flesh out parts of it beforehand.

About the only part that is ready-to-play is the jungle wilderness, where Justin’s fully ready monsters enable wilderness exploration from the get go.  At least until some humans are encountered, at which point the DM gets to start having fun deciding what’s what and who’s who.

Note #2
This book contains a lot of d6 tables.  At some point I got tired of writing sentences and started writing down all of my ideas in the form of d6 tables.  Then I had a vision of filling the book with nothing but these tables, with no explanatory writing.  This was probably around the time I was reading the classic Arduin books. Eventually, I wussed out and started writing sentences again, but all the tables remain.

Also, due to the nature of placing tables in a columnar page layout, there is plenty of space for you to cross out my dumb ideas and write in your own.

Note #3
Just a list of influences.

On the Castle description:
Keep on the Borderland by Gary Gygax. Duh. For the concept of describing a castle for use as both a home base or as the target of an adventure.

The idea to indicate where the Castle inhabitants are at different times of the day is from a d20 adventure called The Gryphon’s Legacy by Wolfgang Bauer.

On the Castle map:
The map in Duck Tower by Paul Jaquays for using color to indicate building height.  Yes, Duck Tower.  Not Dark Tower, also by Paul Jaquays.

The ruins or Corregidor as a real world visual reference.

On the Tunnels map:
It’s basically a riff on the patterns found in the Malinta tunnels on Corregidor.  The maps in the old Judges Guild module Glory Hole Dwarven Mine had some influence too.

On the Apocalypse Jungle map:
Not sure exactly, I think this was partially inspired by zone control board/war game maps, combined with colorful maps like Divine Right.


Hola, amigos. I know it’s been a long time since I rapped at ya. I vowed to myself not to post on this blog until after I finished my next book.  I’ve ordered a proof copy, so it’ll be released within a week or two most likely.  Onward…

“The Big List of 1980s Barbarian & Fantasy Movies” is the most popular post on this blog.  It’s just a list with very little commentary, so I figured it was time to recommend a few.

These aren’t necessarily the best 80s fantasy movies, but are those I find most interesting. One of my main criteria for choosing these five is that they aren’t well known. My general cutoff was movies with less than 1000 votes at at the time.

So here are the most interesting 1980s fantasy movies in the world:

Throne of Fire (1983)

I gave Throne of Fire a hard time in The Big List, but I’m fascinated by it. Throne of Fire a throwback: “60s castle and king cinema” with a large dose of 80s barbarian fantasy dope. By “60s castle and king cinema” I’m talking about Lion in Winter, Man For All Seasons, Becket, etc. Throne of Fire takes the castle setting of those movies, adds a mess of fantasy elements and the stupid fun of trashy Italian barbarian flicks…and wins!

I’m not talking Shakespeare, but Throne of Fire has a better plot than most fantasy movies. Sabrina Siani is drop dead awesome in this one.

Conquest (1983)

Conquest director Lucio Fulci must have had a violent epiphany of excitement when he saw Quest for Fire.  He’s more well known for gore movies and must have seen potential in cavemen as the vehicle for bringing his schtick to the bustling barbarian movie market.  Fulci’s next thought was probably “I can’t get Rae Dawn Chong in my caveman movie, so who do I know that has small breasts? SABRINA SIANI. Bellissimo!”

At it’s core, Conquest is a “buddy movie” with the same general setup as Midnight Cowboy. One guy is a bumpkin stranger who has introduced a powerful weapon to a grim land: Jon Voight.  The other guy is the street smart loner who wanders around scrounging for food: Dustin Hoffman.

As a movie, Conquest is rather sparse, despite having one if the more unique and interesting settings to be found in fantasy movies.  It’s better to think of it as a meditation. On what, I’m not exactly sure, and I’ll stop talking out of my ass about this movie now.

The Dungeonmaster (1984)

The two 80s movies with the most obvious D&D influence/coattails-riding are Mazes & Monsters and The Dungeonmaster (aka Ragewar: The Challenges of Excalibrate, aka Digital Knights). Both are set in the modern world and transport the characters to fantasy land via psychosis or dreams or something.

Mazes & Monsters is more well-known and apparently reviled by many. Great for laughs, at least.

The Dungeonmaster seems to have been retroactively gussied up to appeal to D&D fans. The movie itself doesn’t explicitly reference the game, but the plot structure could totally work as an example of one way that D&D was/is played:  short, unrelated, gonzo puzzle and combat challenges joined together in a quest to rescue the damsel from the evil wizard/Satan.  Very stupid and entertaining.

Also, this movie invented Google Glass before it was even a twinkle in Sergey Brin’s eyes.

Star Knight (1985)

By the mid-80s, the fantasy movie mania was at its peak. To get to the next level, a crossover hit was needed.  It finally arrived in 1987 with Princess Bride.

But several filmmakers had the right idea back in 1985, as both Legend and Ladyhawke were minor crossover successes.  But the true 1985 crossover champ is a forgotten movie made in Spain called El caballero del dragón, aka Knight of the Dragon, aka Star Knight.

I’m not saying it’s a great movie, but it has Klaus Kinski, is some funny, and should be at least a little more well known. I guess you have to be willing to mix aliens and comedy with your knights and castles.

Iron Warrior (1987)

By 1987, the barbarian movie fad was past its prime, but a half-decade of barbarian movie-making culminated in twin peaks that year: The Barbarians and Iron Warrior. The Barbarians is the more well known of the two, pushing all the right buttons (almost to the point of parody), resulting in perhaps the quintessential barbarian movie. But only because it treads familiar territory.

Iron Warrior deserves more attention. It gets overlooked for two opposing reasons:

First, it was kinda-sorta made as a sequel to Ator and Blademaster, two movies that wear the “bad movie” crown with pride.

Second, it has an experimental style and pretentious grandiosity feel to it at times, which has given it a bit of an artsy fartsy reputation.

Some people who do like the earlier Ator movies are put off by this different style.  People who don’t like the earlier Ator movies won’t bother with Iron Warrior anyways.  It can’t win with either crowd.

Iron Warrior is bizarre, but no more pretentious than anybody’s D&D campaign.  The artsy fartsy stuff works, partly because the movie is ruthlessly edited to keep it moving at a brisk pace.  Give it a chance and Iron Warrior may just end up being your favorite barbarian movie.