Monday, September 5, 2011

Wizards of the Demon Sword (1991), Or Is That A Demon Dagger In Your Pocket?

Dearest friends, it is I, the Duke of DVD, returned once again from a long sabbatical, a sojourn that sent me to the farthest corners of the world, in order to return to you, my dear readers, the cinematic offal that you so crave! I've crept silently through darkened hallways, stepping over the moldering carcasses of sacrificed druids, their faces frozen in rictuses of pain. I've endured the 301 Flayings of the Man-Child of Lower Cambodia. I've burrowed with stunted dwarves, delving deeper and deeper, unearthing nameless entities best left buried.

Yes, friends, I've blown entire stacks of Coke Rewards(tm), launched Russian rockets from Chinese platforms, drove a Kia, and subjugated an entire realm to the east of Moldavia, in order to bring you what you most desire. "But Duke!" you interject, spraying your befouled environs with blue cheese fragments and bone meal. "Surely you took some time for yourself!?" Yes, I did, and thank you for your concern, friend. I spent a liberal amount of time soaking in the hot springs of Calhoun Holler outside Possumrape, Kentucky, followed by a month-long trip into Indo-China to visit a hedge-wizard with a knack for curing gonorrhea (for a friend, I assure thee!).

Despite these side ventures, I never lost sight of what my reading public wants: Troma movies. That is why, today, I return to you at the turn of the tide, when you thought all hope was lost, as you were just about to dump your last bottle of Ativan into a half-empty bottle of grandma's cough medicine. Fear not, for I am with thee! Gaze upon what I've brought you, and despair!

As most of you know, I worship at the altar of Troma, but even I must admit when I've bitten off more than I can chew safely, and in this case, folks, I have. Today's rotten pile comes to us in the form of Wizards of the Demon Sword, which is basically a Conan-meets-Princess-Bride movie of epic suckage. I scarcely know where to begin, so let's just do the obvious and start from the beginning, shall we?

This title sponsored by Mordor and the letter "Z".
The movie opens with the unspoiled, clad-in-white Melina (Heidi Paine), who is running through a desert landscape from a group of road agents, whose lack of weapon skills is only matched by their penchant for wearing all-leather. She tricks them for a while, pretending to have leapt off a 5' cliff, which apparently they thought of as too steep for a human to survive. But after a bit one of them gets clever and uses a horse to pursue her, finally capturing her with a net. One of the other ruffians, who appears to be in charge, orders her brought back to the castle. They are about to leave when a hunky hero arrives firing crossbow bolts before asking any questions.

"Guys, I can see my house from here!"
He introduces himself as Thane of Hawksridge (Blake Bahner). He dresses like Conan doing Broadway, and wields a massive two-handed sword that is ludicrously over-sized. He dispatches the bandits in short order, and then we get some expository scenes in which Melina informs him that she's the daughter of Ulric (the awesome Russ Tamblyn or Dr. Jacoby from Twin Peaks!), keeper of the famed Demon Sword--which is really just a dagger. It seems that Ulric has been captured along with the Sword, and taken to the castle of the evil Lord Khoura (Lyle Waggoner), who is determined to use the nefarious Demon Sword for his own person gains.

Satisfaction. Fuck yeah.
Thane (of Hawksridge!) is all for stopping that shit, so he sets of with Melina to find the fabled Seer of Roebuck (guffaw! played by Hoke Howell), who is supposed to help them in some way that the bourbon I'm now drinking has made me forget. At any rate, they're off! Meanwhile, at Khoura's castle, we see his #1 henchman is really a lady, who dresses like she's right out of the Thunderdome. Khoura, who is trying in vain to activate the Demon Sword, realizes that he needs fresh virgin blood to do so, so he sends his dominatrix out to find some.

"This is the Demon Sword?! I thought it was one of them glass dildos..."

Thane and Melina, meanwhile, have arrived at a village. We get a humorous scene involving a slave trader (played by the amazing Lawrence Tierney) who sells sex slaves, both young and old. Thane and Melina eventually find their way into a hookah den of sorts, all the while asking where the Seer of Roebuck is. Some humor is thrown in here, when Thane gets a dance from a bellydancer and slips a large coin into her bustier. They finally get directions to the Seer and are off to see him.

I must hand it to the folks at Troma, they threw in totally unnecessary yet awesome claymation dinosaurs. Seriously. They're sprinkled throughout the movie, have almost zero interaction with any of the actors, yet, well, there they are. Thane will comment on them from time to time, but that's about it. I still got a smirk from seeing them.

And here we get a rare glimpse at the Harryhausen species of dinosaur.

Finally, our intrepid adventurers arrive at the Seer of Roebuck's hovel. The Seer himself resembles a late-stage Alzheimers Dumbledore and his manner of speaking is like a cross between Mr. Magoo and Burl Ives. Meanwhile, back at Khoura's castle of awesome... actually, we get scenes cut back here from time to time but nothing really much happens other than Khoura spouting some admittedly awesome dialogue that is so over-the-top hammy it deserves light applause. We get a scene where Khoura's henchwoman does some spell in order to take over Melina's body somehow, and try to kill Thane remotely, but that doesn't work.

"Hi, I'm Kenny Rogers, welcome to Jackass!"
Finally, Thane and Melina leave the Seer (having learned what? I'm not sure), and on the way slay a flying dinosaur and eat it. While sleeping, Khoura's henchmen find them and kidnap Melina, yet leave Thane alive for some fucking reason, and tie him to the ground. Thane awakes with a snake on his chest, that rattles despite clearly being a boa instead of a rattlesnake. Like us, the snake soon becomes bored with Thane and leaves. A wandering swordsman by the name of Damon (Dan Speaker) happens by and frees Thane, only to challenge him to see who is the most saturated with testosterone...I mean, the best swordsman. It ends in a tie, and they become best buds, with Damon pledging his sword arm to Thane's cause. Away they go to Khoura's castle!

Snakes on a Thane

Melina is finally reunited with her father in Khoura's Dungeon of Shame. Thane and Damon arrive in short order and proceed to penetrate large numbers of leather-clad guard-ass with their giant...swords. One thing of note here: a guard with long hair that is basically the head guard keeps goading his underlings into attacking (and dying via) Thane and Damon, yet he himself keeps fleeing, only to arrive again with another group of guards, and then fleeing again. Hilarious stuff! Thane and Damon make short work of most everyone in the castle not named Khoura. The evil man himself finally shows up with Melina and her father, with the Demon Sword (dagger) in his belt.

Damon is killed, off-screen, by Khoura, and Thane attempts to attack Khoura but fails due to his magic. Khoura ends up with a death grip on Thane's tunic, for some reason or other, and Melina draws Thane's attention to the freakin' Demon Sword/Dagger, just sitting there, tucked into Khoura's belt. Thane simply looks over, draws the dagger/Sword out, and plunges into Khoura's chest, simple as that. Khoura screams and disappears in a flash of light. Thane hands the Demon Sword back to Ulric and then starts making out with Melina right in front of her dad, who rolls his eyes and walks away. The end.

"Compensate much?"
Friends, have I ever lead thee astray? "Yes!" you bleat, dropping a half-chewed chicken carcass out of your greasy fingers, "You told me it was safe to perform ass-to-mouth on the Whore of 701 Delightful Diseases!" Ahh, yes, there was that...well, anyway, I shall not lie to you this day when I say that Wizards of the Demon Sword does indeed have a tiny bit of merit to it. Sure, the claymation dinosaurs are laughable, as is the blatant Conan plagiarism, but when you get past all that you will find that Wizards does have a few worthy ideas, mostly due to the humorous dialogue. The fighting is atrocious, the sets are best forgotten, and the plot will drive you mad waiting on the actual wizards of the fabled Demon Sword to show up (They never do! Who are these "wizards"?!).

But still, if you like cheese, and I mean thick, sloppy, dripping off week-old nachos directly into your greasehole cheese, then you could do worse than watching Wizards of the Demon Sword...but just barely. Incidentally, it's also laughable that The Hills Have Eyes great Michael Berryman is given top billing on the cover as well as featured on the cover art, yet his scene is all of 10 seconds long.

In the end, I would have to say this, like most Troma movies, deserves a split score. I give it 1 Thumb Up if you are a fairly well-adjusted person, capable of tying your own shoes and shitting in a pot without soiling passersby. I give it a solid 2.5 Thumbs Up if you are a fan of Troma movies, or the type of person who likes to spend a busy afternoon hooking up a golf-cart battery to your inflamed nipples.

"Et tu, Thane?"
Until next time, my dearest friends, I bid thee adieu.


Kev D. said...

Every Troma movie starts off with me being excited, and then ends with me being tremendously let down.

And yet somehow, I always go back for more. What does that say about me?

J. Astro said...

!!! You were in Possumrape, KY? I have a cousin there. Also an uncle. They're the same guy.

Michael Berryman is awesome and needs to be on more DVD covers.

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