Even though this movie came out in 1983, when I was 14, clearly making it a “memory movie” for me, the only thing I can recall about it Siskel and Ebert’s review, which made me chuckle (YouTube segment of their show is linked at the bottom). My only other concrete memory is when it finally hit DVD in 2001. I do remember liking it back in the day when I saw it on cable and can also recall trying to make a replica of the glaive, that oversized ninja-like throwing star with the blades that pop out, out of cardboard.
So, I guess, since the nostalgia part of this review has some serious limitations attached to it, I’ll just leap right into the movie itself. After not seeing this movie for over 14 years my impression of it, thankfully, is still on the positive side, although I can perceive a kind of goofiness about it now. Of all the ‘sword and sorcery’ movies from that era, which kicked off with the success of Conan The Barbarian (1981), Krull is by far the oddest entry.
There are certain aspects to the plot that pull in a definite science fiction vibe, like the Beast being seen in the beginning arriving on Earth in his mountain/lair/ship referred to as the Black Fortress, the Slayers (his minions) having these weapons that are half sword and half laser almost, and the fact that the Beast is mentioned as having conquered other worlds in the galaxy. It seems the makers of this film wanted to appeal to the Star Wars crowd too. I’ll have to go back to the extras on the special edition some time and see what the intent really was on the overall concept, but it’s this melding of sword and sorcery/sci-fi that keeps this movie in my memory.
That and the giant spider.
Jesus, can’t forget that.
As I mentioned this “alien” comes to the world of Krull intent on enslaving it, but we pick up the story centuries later when a crucial wedding is about to commence between two kingdoms. Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) is set to marry Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) in an attempt to create larger forces to conquer The Beast, but he already knows of the wedding, invades the castle with his Slayers and kidnaps Lyssa.
These Slayers are odd and intriguing creations, feeling like they may have come from the mind of H.R. Geiger. When one of them is snuffed his skull busts open and out flees a bloody slug-like creature that burrows into the ground.
The crux of this plot is watching Colwyn find “an army,” invade the Black Castle, which incidentally is never in the same place twice, get Lyssa back and kill The Beast. His “army” is a group of ragtag escaped prisoners with a couple of before-they-were-famous stars (Robbie Coltrane and Liam Neeson) in it.
Our comic relief in this flick is Ergo The Magnificent (David Battley), who seen through my kid eyes wasn’t all that annoying, seen through my now 45-year old peepers, kind of annoys me. Not a lot, just a little. Oh, and this Cyclops named, Rell (Bernhard Bresslaw) and for a little while this blind Seer (John Welsh) tag along.
Like The Sword And The Sorcerer (1982) this movie also has a hero who wields a special weapon. In Krull, it’s the aforementioned glaive, which doesn’t get used until the very end. An effective weapon, mind you, I just wished he used it more.
The outdoor locations for this are gorgeous and even the soundstage sets like that creepy swamp are impressive as hell, too. I remember this film mostly for the widow of the web sequence with the giant stop-motion spider.
Krull finally gets a blu-ray release through Mill Creek Entertainment on September 30th and the 1080p 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is pretty damn good looking. Audio is in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and there are no subtitles. On the unfortunate side none of the special features from the 2001 DVD have been ported over, which for those who can’t recall are as follows:
- Commentary With Director Peter Yates, Actors Ken Marshall & Lysette Anthony
- Behind-the-Scenes Commentary
- Marvel Comics Video Adaptation
- Original Featurette “Journey To Krull”
- Four Photo Galleries
- Theatrical Trailers
- Talent Files
- Interactive Menus
- Production Notes
If you still own the DVD, and want to create the perfect Krull edition, do what I did, move both discs into a double blu-ray case along with the better blu cover art and there you have it—the perfect Krull edition.