The Beastmaster

“Dar… the gods have put that mark on you, and someday, you’ll find out why. ‘Til then, this mark will be your guide. My sword and my caber will be your trusted companions. Protect Emur, your home. And if anything should happen to me, look for our enemies, the Juns… and you may search for your destiny in the Valley of Aruk.”

The Beastmaster (1982)

The 1980s was a heyday for Fantasy films bringing such classics as Conan The Barbarian (1982), Ladyhawk (1985), and Krull (1983). One of the franchises that got its start in the ‘80s was The Beastmaster franchise. That franchise spawned three films and a TV show. I have seen all three films but I only saw a few episodes of the TV show. Let’s talk about the films.

The Beastmaster (1982)

Starring Marc Singer as Dar the Beastmaster, and supported by Tanya Roberts, John Amos, and Rip Torn; The Beastmaster is a high-budget fantasy, action film. The plot revolves around Dar, who has the ability to communicate with animals, with his animal and human companion taking on an evil priest and his cult in a quest for revenge for the death of his father and the destruction of his village.

The Beastmaster is a fun ride. Dar sneaks, with the help of his ferret friend, and fights, with the help of his eagle and black lion, his way through the evil priest’s cult. I really liked this film when I was younger and have watched it a few times. I have not seen it recently so I can’t say how it holds up, but it is mostly filled with practical effects and simple sets so I would expect it to hold up reasonably well. I recommend checking it out.

Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time (1991)

In Beastmaster 2, Marc Singer returns as Dar and is joined by Kari Wuhrer and Sarah Douglas. This was also fairly high budget but is ultimately a b-movie in quality. The plot is pretty simple Dar must prevent his evil brother from bringing a nuclear bomb back from a parallel universe, which just happens to be 1991 America, and turning Dar’s home into a radioactive wasteland.

I don’t remember Beastmaster 2 very well. I have seen it but I can’t remember if I saw it in theaters like I did the first film, or if I saw it on video tape or DVD. It is pretty cheesy but enjoyable. If you like cheesy fantasy with lots of action then you should check this film out.

Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus (1996)

Marc Singer returns again to play Dar in Beastmaster 3. He stars with Tony Todd, Keith Coulouris, and Casper Van Dien in this made-for-TV movie. This movie was low-budget and pretty rough. The plot involves is fair convoluted but involves Dar trying to save his brother Tal from another empire and prevent that empire from getting control of The Eye of Braxus.

This movie is bad. The story is needlessly complex. The production values are definitely low. And I am of the opinion that this film was made just to generate interest in the franchise again before the launch of the TV series. I can’t recommend it. 

So after that is said above, check out the first movie, The Beastmaster, and skip the other two.

Fantasy Films Of The 1980s

“Well, you killed your first man at 13

Killer instinct, Animal supreme

By 16 you had learned to fight

The way of the warrior, you took it as your right”

Sun and SteelIron Maiden

I stumbled upon a list of fantasy films of the 1980s while searching for The Beastmaster (1982) on I thought it was interesting that I have seen a larger number of them and I thought it would make an interesting article. 

The 1980s were a real heyday for fantasy films some of which I had already chronicled on this blog. The list that prompted the creation of this article is 41 titles long. Of them, I have only seen a fraction but I will talk about that fraction as I have a deep love/hate relationship with fantasy films in general. I also love b-movies which is a category that covers many of the titles listed here. So anyway, I hope you enjoy this list and find a few films to check out.

Hawk The Slayer (1980)

Classic 80s cheesy fantasy.

Clash Of The Titians (1981)

A high-budget sword and sandal epic.

Dragonslayer (1981)

A dark medieval fantasy involving a wizard fighting a dragon.

Excalibur (1981)

A retelling of the King Authur story.

Heavy Metal (1981)

An animated anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories with a great soundtrack. It was inspired by the magazine of the same name.

The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire (1981)

A TV movie that I remember staying up late on a Sunday night to watch as a teenager.

Ator, the Fighting Eagle (1982)

I saw this in theaters. You can see the nails connecting the wires on the giant spider at the end of the film.

The Beastmaster (1982)

A man and his beast friends take on an evil priest and his cult. Stars Marc Singer and Tanya Roberts.

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

See my article on the Conan films.

The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)

The hero has a three-bladed sword that is ridiculous. A fun fantasy b-movie.

The Dark Crystal (1982)

A strange film. All the characters are portrayed by muppets.

Fire and Ice (1983)

Made with the art of Frank Frazetta. Terrible story.

Hearts and Armour (1983)

A strange film involving invincible armor and romance. Tanya Roberts stars in this film.

Krull (1983)

A confusing fantasy film that is a lot of fun. One of my personal favorites.

Conan the Destroyer (1984)

See my article on the Conan films.

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

A fun kid’s fantasy film. Good viewing for kids of all ages.

Ladyhawke (1985)

Stars Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, and Michelle Pfeiffer. A classic fantasy film that still holds up. Check it out.

Legend (1985)

Stars a very young Tom Cruise and Tim Curry. A classic cult favorite. I don’t really like this film, to be honest.

Red Sonja (1985)

Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brigitte Nielsen, and Sandahl Bergman. Definite b-movie but it is fast paced and fun.  

Highlander (1986)

Immortals who can only be killed by decapitation fighting for a great prize. Stars Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery.

Labyrinth (1986)

Stars Dave Bowie and a bunch of muppets. A strange movie. Gave me nightmares.

The Barbarians (1987)

I saw this one on Comet. It is silly fantasy fun.

Masters of the Universe (1987)

Based on the cartoon and toys of the same name, this fantasy film stars Dolph Lundgren. A great 80s fantasy film.

The Princess Bride (1987)

A fantasy rom-com. Has an all-star cast including Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, André the Giant, and Peter Falk. This is a great film. Everyone should see it.

Willow (1988)

With an all-star cast, this is a high-budget fantasy film. I was never the biggest fan of this film. I thought it was too formulaic.

Games I Want Run

“Hear the stories fancy free.

Hear these tales of fantasy.

No real journeys, no real pain,

No understanding left to gain!”

The Circus At the End of the WorldAbney Park

I own a hell of a lot of TTRPGs. I have many I’ve never played or run. I currently run Mutant Crawl Classics (MCC) and Viking Death Squad (or I will as soon as I get it going on my Discord server in a play-by-post format). And I play in D&D 5e, Call Of Cthulhu, and Delta Green campaigns. This is a short list of games I want to run (or play) when I get a chance.

Icons – Super Heroes

I picked up Icons a long time ago and have wanted to try it for a while. I’ve tried to get into a game of it at a con a few times but it has never pan out. I love superhero games but they are hard to balance. I ran and played a lot of Champions when I was younger and it was a lot of fun. I hope that Icons or Mutants & Masterminds can scratch that itch.

Mutants & Masterminds – Super Heroes

See my comments above.

Art of Wuxia – Kung Fu Fantasy

I love kung fu movies from China and Hong Kong. I love the fantasy of the east. I think it would be fun to run or play a game set in those stories and myths.

Paranoia – Science Fiction Comedy

I ran the 1st edition of Paranoia when I was a kid (ok, a teenager). I didn’t totally get it then, but I have a much better understanding of the game now and how to run it I have played it a few times now. I supported the Kickstarter for the latest edition and ended up with two copies of the game that are collecting dust. I look for to playing and running it again. Paranoia if done right will be fun, crazy, and mess with your head.

Weird Frontiers – Weird West

I discovered Weird Frontiers when it was still going by the name Dark Trails and was just about to go on Kickstarter. I supported it at a ridiculously high level. I’ve played it three times at conventions and have loved it. There is something fun about horror, especially cosmic horror, mixed with the wild west. Weird Frontiers is DCC (Dungeon Crawl Classics) compatible which is currently my favorite fantasy RPG. 

Mothership – Science Fiction Horror

Started as a way to play space truckers versus galactic horrors, Mothership is the original Alien rpg. I’ve played Mothership once and will play it again at the upcoming Gary Con 2022. It is fun and has great mechanics for handling the stress of the horrors of space.

Death Divers – Science Fiction Horror

A setting for the Heroic Dark system, Death Divers is described as The Expanse meets Doom. I supported Death Divers on Kickstarter. It looks awesome and I look forward to checking it out as either a player or game master.

SCP – Horror

A game about hunting for and helping to contain and protect anomalies and monsters. I liked the idea of it so I supported it on Kickstarter. I tried to get into a game of this a GameHole Con a couple years back but it didn’t work out. Looking forward to checking this game out. 

Alien – Science Fiction Horror

The official Alien franchise RPG. I played it once at a virtual con. It was a blast even though I got killed.

Hulks and Horrors – Science Fiction Horror

An interesting RPG set in an era after a great plague has wiped out most of the life in the galaxy filled with ruins of alien civilizations. I played Hulks and Horrors once at a convention. The GM was terrible as was the adventure, but I liked the system and concept.  

Barbarians of the Ruined Earth – Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy

I have to admit that I bought Barbarians of the Ruined Earth based on the cover art but it looks awesome. It is based on the world of Thundarr the Barbarian and looks like an epic post-apocalyptic fantasy game.

Cepheus Deluxe – Science Fiction

I picked this up recently because it was on sale on Drive Thru RPG. It looks like fun.