Director – Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep)
Starring – Marc Singer (V, The Twilight Zone), Tanya Roberts (That 70’s Show, Sheena), and Rip Torn (Freddy Got Fingers, Men in Black)
Release Date – 1982
Rating – 3.5/5
4K Release – 4.5/5
When I was a kid I loved all movies. I grew up on a healthy does of Air Bud, Space Jam, Heavyweights, random westerns my father would watch, anything on the Sci-Fi Channel at my grandmothers, and Night of the Living Dead. Around this time I rented the fantasy adventure film The Beastmaster and fell in love with it. Every weekend when I didn’t rent a Sega Genesis game I would always rent this and a few other films.
Those movies were watched so many times when I was little I could quote them from beginning to end. That changed with the coming of the PSone and DVDs. When those came along I forgot all about my VHS collection and renting others from the local video store. I was definitely not the only one because soon after all those shops went out of business. A few months back Vinegar Syndrome announced the 4K release of The Beastmaster. I always love getting a new Vin Syn release and was very curious how this release would differ from the Umbrella Entertainment blu release from 2018.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows the adventures of Dar. Dar is the unborn son of the king who was taken from his mother’s womb and placed into that of a cow. However, he was saved from being sacrificed and raised to be a warrior. His preculior birth gave him the power to communicate with animals. After his village is attacked by the evil Jun Horde he begins his quest for revenge and finds himself in the city of his father fighting to stop a religious fanatic from sacrificing innocent lives to his god. **Spoiler Alert**
I’ve always loved The Beastmaster. Sure, it’s cheesy as fuck but it’s such a fun sword and the sandal fantasy action flick. I’ve always loved the characters, the story, and how they were able to take something so goofy and make it entertaining. Admit it, this is one of the goofiest movies to come out of the 80s but it’s so fucking fun! What other movie could give you John Amos in bondage gear beating the shit out of priests with poles?
The acting in this one great but it’s just as corny as the film itself. Marc Singer always felt out of place to me. Sure, he’s muscular and young when this was filmed but his smile and demeanor did not fit the typical early 80s fantasy action tropes. He’s a solid actor just out of place as the film’s lead. I always loved seeing Tanya Roberts in this one as well. I’ve always found her absolutely gorgeous and I believe it’s because of my obsession with this film is the reason. The supporting cast is just as fun but there is plenty of times where the supporting cast was delivering the same amount of cheese as everyone else.
The story for this one is typical sword and the sandal storyline. We get magic, swordplay, kings fighting for their rule, creatures, and even some nudity. The story for this one is not that much of a difference from other films like it. However, Conscarelli’s background with horror does bleed through from time to time making it feel a little darker at times. I enjoyed his touch on the sub-genre which does make this one stand out from the others.
Finally, the film has several death scenes but the effects are nothing memorable. The film relies heavily on the story and character interactions over the blood and gore. In fact, as many deaths as we get we rarely get any bloody. We do get some make-up effects on some of the characters that looked good but nothing memorable. Overall, The Beastmaster is a fucking classic and a childhood favorite of mine. I absolutely love this cheesy flick and Vin Syn’s 4K release is absolutely stunning. The transfer is gorgeous and the set comes in a beautiful case. They really outdid themselves with this one and I don’t see them topping it any time soon.
VSU exclusive ‘ultra’ high-end magnet clasp box, containing the slipcovered 3-disc set and a 40-page perfect bound book. Artwork designed by Earl Kessler Jr. Box designed and patented by VS.
Box edition limited to 10,000 units
Region Free 4K Ultra HD / Blu-ray Set
4k UHD presented in High-Dynamic-Range
Newly scanned & restored in 4k from it’s 35mm interpositive
Features the original stereo mix and a 5.1 surround mix
Alternate updated visual effects version supervised by the director (Blu-ray only)
Brand new commentary track with writer/director Don Coscarelli & writer/producer Paul Pepperman, moderated by filmmaker Joe Lynch
Archival commentary track with Don Coscarelli & Paul Pepperman
“The Beastmaster Chronicles” – a brand new feature length making-of documentary by Elijah Drenner
“The Saga of the Beastmaster” – an archival making-of documentary by Perry Martin
Super 8mm home movies shot by James Dodson with audio commentary by Don Coscarelli & Paul Pepperman
Stills, Promotional, and Archival Material Gallery
Original theatrical trailer
40-page perfect bound book featuring essays by Don Coscarelli and Michael Gingold
Reversible cover artwork
English SDH subtitles