Blu-Ray Review: Deathstalker & Deathstalker 2

Although the genre has remained popular in science fiction literature and spawned a smattering of adaptations, The 1980s was the decade when sword and sorcery films really came into the fore. After missing out on producing Conan the Barbarian, Roger Corman was determined to make his own version. While filming a number of productions on set in Argentina, he gave birth to the Deathstalker series. Making four films in total. The first two are brought together on Blu-ray by 101 Films.


Deathstalker (Rick Hill), a mighty warrior, is on a quest for power. In order to get his hands on it, he must acquire a number of magic items and defeat a powerful wizard (Bernard Erhard). On his journey he’s joined by Oghris (Richard Brooker), accompanying him to a tournament at the castle where the winner will inherit the kingdom. Directed by James Sbardellati, the series doesn’t begin in an entirely auspicious way. It looks cheap, the acting is wooden and the action is largely inert. There is a grain of something there though.

Special features:

  • Commentary with director James Sbardellati, special makeup effects artist John Carl Buechler, and actor Richard Brooker
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Photo gallery
  • English subtitles

Deathstalker 2

Our hero returns, ‘by popular demand’, and this time he looks a bit different (John Terlesky). Recruited by a beautiful princess (Monique Gabrielle) to reclaim her kingdom from an evil sorcerer (John Lazar). For the sequel, Jim Wynorski dials up the humour. While its predecessor seems pedestrian and derivative, we’re treated to a much pacier, if admittedly more convoluted, story. It does feature much more creativity and inventiveness, feeling like its own film. There are still a number of issues relating to its low budget and use of non-English-speaking actors, but at least it’s fun.

Special features:

  • Commentary with director Jim Wynorski, and actors John Terlesky and Toni Naples
  • Theatrical trailer
  • English subtitles

Deathstalker & Deathstalker 2 will be released on Blu-ray by 101 Films on 22 August.

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