I’m sure this movie needs no introductions. You can call this one of my guilty pleasure’s of the celluloid variety, as ever since I first saw it, I loved it ever since.
In an age growing up where fantasy media was limited to a handful of films on VHS, no one could ever understand why I liked this movie so much, no amount of me telling them would make them understand why. So with that in mind, I’m going to present five reasons I fucking love that film, even to this day!
1. THE SOUNDTRACK
The music and theme tune on the movie is brilliant, a weird mish mash of synth-pop, fantasy and nostalgia. It suits the film and themes perfectly (I think) A real curiosity of sorts, but cool none the less. Check it out:
2. THE CAST
What can I say about the cast ensemble for this low budget fantasy movie? Well, lets begin with the iconic stars in this film. Jack Palance as the older scarred and evil brother (and Hawk’s Nemesis) Voltan, The giant Gort played by “Carry on” mainstay Bernard Bresslaw, Shane Bryant as Drogo, Annette Crosby (Margret Meldrew from one foot in the grave), Patricia Quinn (Rocky Horror show) as the witch, Harry Andrews, Roy Kinnear, Warren Clarke, and so many more decent well known British actors. There’s even Ferdy Mayne and the guy who was the original Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars IV (the cut out bit that was later CGI and put back in) Quite a decent cast for such a low budget.
3. THE ACTION
The frantic and sometimes comical nature of the action scenes is something I hold a soft spot for. Crow’s multiple cut and edited arrow shots were pure cinematic cheese, as kids I remember my mates wanting to be him in games we played at school. Even though Crow the elf, was in my opinion the least developed of the party of heroes, he was bad ass due to this quick cheapo edit effect!
4. THE CHEESE
Hawk the Slayer is no masterpiece of cinema. I admit that it was never going to win Oscars for any part of the movie, acting or script. What makes it good is that it is not good. Sure, it’s entertaining enough, but it’s no LOTR trilogy, but it has that feel of my childhood days playing red box D&D home brew adventures. This film is cheesy as hell, a little bit camp, and ropey SFX, but I still love it just for old times sake!
5. THE HERITAGE
When I speak of heritage, by that I refer back to the cheese,in which the plot and setup of the movie, is pretty much just that of probably many of our childhood D&D and RPG games. Beat for beat, these standard fantasy RPG tropes are in force. The party of heroes, the hero’s brother being the big bad, defend the Abbey mission, raid the enemy camp, the showdown etc. How many of us out there used this movie as direct inspiration for our own RPGs, wargames, and LARP (trust me, loads of LARPers has cited this movie as inspiration, it’s almost like one anyway!) Also this movie has a real Hammer films vibe too, now that’s real heritage!
If you haven’t seen it, go away and watch it NOW, if your into RPGs, fantasy or similar. If you have, go re watch it.
I now retreat to dig out my DVD copy of it from the vaults to become a starry eyed 80’s kid again and remember good old times….