Monday, March 19, 2012

Deathstalker 2 – review

Director: Jim Wynorski

Release date: 1987

Contains spoilers

Not a sequel to the film Deathstalker, bar the name and the sword and sandal premise, this film even had a different actor – John Terlesky – playing Deathstalker, in this the character becoming the self-styled Prince of Thieves. Indeed there were, as far as I know, four Deathstalker films and each one had a different actor playing the lead character.

This was, as you can see above, a Jim Wynorski flick and if we look to some of the films he helmed, which we have already covered on the blog, we see such films as Transylvania Twist (which featured Deathstalker 2 actresses Monique Gabrielle and Toni Naples), Vampirella (in which John Terlesky briefly appeared), Not of this Earth (1988) (which also provided a role for Monique Gabrielle) and Vampire in Vegas. This is not a great pedigree of films – though some provide cheesy fun.

John Terlesky as Deathstalker
That is the epitaph that should be put on Deathstalker 2’s restless grave: Cheesy Fun. It is not a great film but it is fine when grated on toast – indeed all the actors are clearly in on the cheesy joke, as the rightly should be given them performing against Styrofoam sets, and all appear to be having a great time. It is a rubbish film, but it is a genuinely fun film. It should also be noted that this was nearly an ‘Honourable Mention’. One character is clearly a vampire, but the vampire aspect is restricted to one scene. However, as that characteristic kind of underpins the character I left this as a review.

escaping the tower
It begins with Deathstalker in a Styrofoam castle, stealing a gem. As soon as steals it the guards are after him and he fights his way through the castle until throwing himself out of a window and jumping on his horse. A female warrior, Sultana (Toni Naples), looks out of the window and swears she’ll get revenge “and Deathstalker too!” – the Deathstalker 2 credit appears. (Do you see what they did there!!)

you can't beat a couple of loose women
A woman, Evie (Monique Gabrielle), is being kicked out of town. She is a seer but the king didn’t like the idea offered in her visions that the Queen was to become pregnant – by another man. As she protests to the guards she manages to honk them off and they become more violent. A passing Deathstalker beats them but is subsequently dismissive of Evie. He goes in a tavern and picks up a couple of loose women instead.

buckling the swash
Evie goes to find him and is attacked by guards again, which descends into a full tavern brawl (where the topless dancers continue to bounce for the viewer!) The tavern itself was another really poor set and Evie takes Deathstalker out the back door of the set and eventually they get, after a chase, to Evie’s hut. She tells him his future, a future where he will rescue a Princess held by Jarek (John Lazar) who is both an evil sorcerer and master swordsman. Off they go to the rescue…

a random hog man
Actually Evie – who later gives her name as Reena – is the Princess. She has been duplicated by Jarek and her evil counterpart is on the throne and it is that evil counterpart who is our vampire. At one point she holds her hand up as it is fading in and out (in a really poor effect). Seemingly this happens and is happening more and more often. She calls for the guards who bring her the cure.

Evil Evie after feeding
A scrawny young man (Nick Sardansky) is brought to her. She calls him over and the camera cuts to outside her chamber. We hear screaming and slurping noises. When we return Evil Evie has blood at her mouth and the boy has gone accept for a desiccated (okay rubber) face set in a scream, which she adds to her headboard.

all that remains is dust
Other than that we have two aspects that are (or may be) vampiric. Later Evil Evie gets all in the face of Deathstalker (literally) and uses her sexuality to try and mesmerise him… okay that it more Vamp than vampire but we also get her crumbling to dust on death (not much of a spoiler, to be fair, as the script and story is as clichéd as hell and so she would have to die).

Toni Naples as Sultana
So cheese, cheese and more cheese. Corny one liners and a graveyard falser than that depicted in Plan 9 from Outer Space, complete with zombies. This little film makes Hawk the Slayer (which I adore in a guilty pleasure sort of way) look like high drama. But all of that is what makes it fun, and it is fun. 3 out of 10 is all the film could possibly deserve (and is probably way too generous) but also, in itself, it fails to reflect the cheesy fun, the mud wrestling, the fight to the death with an Amazonian warrior (Queen Kong), exploding arrows, plywood signs and all the rest.

The imdb page is here.


Jenn said...

God, I love Jim Wynorski. So underrated. Haven't seen this one though. Good times.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Jenn, great to hear from you... he is on the cheesy end of B directors, which makes some of his stuff fun to watch (if not great cinema) - I will admit :)