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It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie

Wizards of the Demon Sword (1991)

[4.5 turkeys]

The only thing keeping me from giving this movie my highest rating is that it was obviously not intended to be entirely serious. The people at Troma Studios are the masters of low budget stinkeroos, both intentional and unintentional. This movie was a little of both -- it was obviously supposed to be light hearted and comedic, but it was also unintentionally funny the whole way through.

The Princess Bride is probably the best example of what Wizards of the Demon Sword was trying to be -- a light-hearted, comedic fantasy. Where The Princess Bride was convincing and masterful, however, Wizards was unconvincing and pathetic. But the intentional silliness is far outweighed by the unintentional dumbness, and so the overall experience is a great one for bad movie lovers.

The movie opens with a woman running from three guys. She runs to the top of a small cliff, moans orgasmically, and then the camera cuts away to the three guys chasing her. The three guys reach the point where the woman was standing not two seconds ago and look around fruitlessly for her. "She must have jumped," one of them says. "We're in for it now," says another. Heck, this cliff isn't any more than ten feet high! Why don't they just jump down themselves and look for her?? And yet, they inexplicably give up and walk away, while the camera pulls out to reveal that the woman is standing right below where the three guys were just standing. This is just the beginning of the idiocy in this movie.

The woman continues to run and meets up with a guy on horseback who has a net. Instead of running away from the guy on the horse, she instead waddles around moaning until she is captured. Fortunately for her, a guy comes to her rescue wielding one of the biggest swords I've ever seen, in or out of the movies. This begins the first of many ultra-cheesy fight scenes that are some of the best bad parts of the film. After the guy with the huge sword defeats the bad guys, we are treated with the best bad feature in this film: the dialogue.

I'm finding it very difficult to describe how bad the dialogue is in this movie. Just offering snippets of it isn't really enough. You have to imagine some of the least skilled actors and actresses on the planet uttering them in order to get the full effect, and even then I don't think you could truly understand how bad it is unless you see the movie for yourself (which I highly recommend you do!).

It turns out that the guy who came to the woman's rescue is "Thain of Hawksridge," and he's supposed to be a famous swordsman. Of course Melina, daughter of Ulrich the Elder, Keeper of the Blade of Actar, hasn't heard of him. "You shall remember me from this day forward," says Thain.

Thain asks a few obvious questions, such as why the heck Melina is being chased by random evil guys, and she tells him that the evil Khoura has taken the Blade of Actar and her father and is trying to use the magic blade to do evil. "Khoura!" Thain remarks. "Are you telling me that I've wandered into his evil realm of corruption?" See what I mean about the dialogue? Just wait, it gets much worse.

We next cut to the evil Khoura, busy trying to give himself ultimate power. He cuts himself with what is apparently the Blade of Actar, recites a few words, and stands there, disappointed. "The Blade...of Actar. The eternal dark power. But how do you use it?" He mutters ominously. His friend points out that he's still bleeding. In a tremendous flash of insight, Khoura realizes that the blood is the key. "Only it must and pure," he intones. What? Where did he come up with that? That's a heck of a non-sequitur.

I thought "new and pure" meant the blood of a baby. Apparently, what it really means is the blood of a virgin woman, so Khoura sends his minions out to look for a virgin.

Meanwhile, Thain and Melina are riding through the desert. They happen upon some dinosaurs (stegasaurs, to be exact), and Thain proudly says, "I've slain many dragons such as these in my day." "I'm impressed," replies Melina. Yikes. That was painful.

The two of them come upon a weird skeleton stuck on a stick, and Thain explains that there are many strange tribal people in these hills but that, "They shirk the likes of us." He wanders a little ahead of Melina (who is riding on a horse) as he talks, and when he turns around he is just in time to see Melina being dragged away by these weird tribal people. But it is only after he sees her that she even lets out a peep! These strange tribal people must have some strange tribal people magic powers, because they managed to sneak up behind Melina, drag her off her horse, and then drag her about twenty feet without making a sound. Not only that, Melina doesn't make a sound, even though they never cover her mouth!

This leads, of course, to more cheesy fights. Thain kills off everyone except the guy holding Melina. When everyone else is dead, the guy shoves Melina towards Thain and then...just stands there and waits. And waits. And waits. Finally, Melina turns around and punches him, and he runs off. What the heck?

Thain and Melina journey onwards. They're searching for a seer that supposedly will help them get Melina's father and the magic dagger away from Khoura. "Perhaps we can partake of rest and nourishment in the town down below," Thain says, as they ride towards a village. "But let us not forget to inquire about the seer. And a bath," replies Melina. I told you the dialogue got worse.

So Thain and Melina naturally ride to the town brothel. "She got any ID?" the guard inexplicably asks (after a bunch of other cornball dialogue that I didn't have the time to write down). "She's a virgin," Thain answers, even though that's not really a reply to the guy's question; and unless Melina was a lot more forthcoming with her life story then we've seen, there is no way Thain could know that, anyway. It's enough for the guard, however, and the two of them go inside.

Inside the brothel, they inquire after "The Seer of Roebuck," and we get a belly dance scene for no reason at all. And to top it all off, nobody in the brothel knows much of anything about the seer, so it turns out this whole entire sequence was totally pointless. Thain and Melina end up going back outside and talking to a slave trader, who finally gives them directions to the seer.

On the way to the seer, Thain and Melina come across more claymation dinosaurs. I've yet to figure out what purpose they served in the film, other than to provide nostalgic thoughts of Land of the Lost.

Thain and Melina find the Seer of Roebuck, who lives in a small tent. From the outside, the tent is barely as tall as Thain. Inside, however, it's friggin' huge. I thought at first that this might be some "mystical wizard" thing, but Thain and Melina take the whole thing for granted, so even if that is what it was meant to be, it still ended up looking like a silly inconsistency.

The Seer of Roebuck turns out to be this old guy with a white beard who sounds amazingly like Bill Clinton at times. Thain and Melina are unsure if this is really the fabled Seer of Roebuck, so they ask him to prove himself. He pulls out his dagger and proceeds to shock himself silly by shooting a lighting bolt from the tip of the blade to his free hand. "I hate that," he says afterwards. This is apparently exactly what they were expecting the Seer of Roebuck to do, so Thain and Melina sit down and start talking to him.

Meanwhile, back at the evil guy's castle, Khoura and his minions are having a discussion. I wouldn't even bother to mention it, except that it was at this point that I was struck with another reason why the dialogue in this movie is so bad -- pointless sentence inversions. Nobody can say, "Don't worry," they always say, "Worry not." Laugh at these parts the most, I did.

Next there is a pretty pointless scene in which one of Khoura's minions transports herself into Melina's body. I'm not sure why she did this, but it does provide one of the funniest scenes (a fight between Melina and Thain) and one of the most ludicrous lines in the movie -- when the woman "returns" from her trip, Khoura commends her on her skill. "You survived transport of the spirit well," says he. Is there a bad way to survive?

The Seer tells Thain and Melina exactly what they must not do (go to Khoura's castle) so naturally they're off to the castle in the next scene. Along the way, they get hungry. "What do you want to eat?" Thain asks. "I don't know, what do you want to eat?" Melina asks. "I don't know, what do you want to eat?" Thain asks. "How about that?" Melina says, pointing to a flying dinosaur they happen to be riding by at the moment. What?? What?? What?? ARGH! If this isn't the most pointless, ludicrous, and out-and-out idiotic scene in film history, I don't know what is.

Thain kills the dinosaur, and they eat it. There is some more cornball dialogue, and then a hunchback and a bald guy come and knock out Thain and take Melina away. But instead of killing Thain, they just tie him to stakes in the ground and leave him there.

Thain wakes up to a snake crawling on him. The snake rattles, even though it is clearly not a rattlesnake. In fact, it's not even a biting snake; it's a constrictor. Sheesh.

Melina gets reunited with her father in Khoura's dungeon. Ulrich the Elder feels it is necessary to refresh the audience's memory, so he basically repeats the story of the Blade of Actar, even though Melina obviously already knows it as the Seer told it to her (and us) not twenty minutes ago.

Back to Thain -- he's still tied up, but the snake has apparently found something better to eat and has buggered off. Now, a man claiming to be the best swordsman in the land is taunting Thain. Thain calls him all sorts of names but finally gets him to untie him by challenging him to a duel.

At this point we are treated with one of the worst duels ever filmed. The biggest drawback here is that nobody involved with this movie seems to realize one simple fact -- the huge two-handed swords everyone in this movie wields were never meant as dueling weapons, even though that's exactly how they are used in every fight scene. A real fight involving these swords is a chop-and-dodge fest. Nobody in their right mind would try to parry a blow from one of these swords with their own sword, and very few people would be swinging them like this anyway. These are chopping weapons, to be used overhand like an axe most often and less often to be set at the hip to receive a charge.

And yet, Thain and Damon have a lengthy duel with them. It makes me smile to see that a fight between two self-professed "greatest warriors in the land" involves two guys slowly clanging their swords together and slipping clumsily. This fight tries to be what the fight between Inigo and Westley was in The Princess Bride but fails so miserably that it ends up being one of the worst scenes in the film.

Eventually, Damon and Thain disarm each other and proceed to fight with fists. Finally, they give each other a vicious headbutt and fall down in pain. "What do you say we go back to swords?" Damon asks, and so they get up and try to fight with their swords again. But they're still punchy from the headbutt, so they end up calling a truce and sitting down for a rest.

It is then Thain tells Damon of his mission. He and Melina were going to "the evil castle of the evil warlord" Khoura to free Melina's father. After much more cornball dialogue, Thain gets Damon to agree to come with him to the castle.

They reach the castle and get past the guards with such ease that I'm amazed that Khoura has managed to keep his castle this long. These guys don't even bother to call for help when they're attacked, they just dutifully die.

After many, many more bad fights, including a sequence where each of them duels with a man while the other looks on, they free Ulrich and Melina. Damon, however, bites it before they can all escape.

Finally, just as they are all about to get away, Khoura confronts them on the battlements of the castle. Thain goes to punch him, but Khoura grabs Thain's fist and laughs maniacally. After an interminable pause, Melina finally realizes that the Blade of Actar is still sticking out of Khoura's belt. She points this out to Thain, who promptly takes the knife with his free hand and unceremoniously stabs Khoura. He evil warlord screams and disolves in a gratuitous light show. The end.

As I've said, the best part about this movie was the inane dialogue. But couple that with a bunch of pointless scenes, a bunch of lame fights, and a bunch of claymation dinosaurs, and you have the makings of a classic bad movie.

Scene to watch for: Thain punches Melina.

Best line: "Look at this treasure chest."

Things that make you go "Huh?": The dinosaurs.

View this movie's entry at the Internet Movie Database.

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