Film / The Beastmaster

"The courage of an eagle, the strength of a panther and the power of a God. The epic adventure is back like never before!"

A 1982 fantasy movie from Don Coscarelli, starring Marc Singer in the title role, that became best known for its repeated late-night airings on cable, in particular TBS and HBO throughout the 80s and 90s. note 

Maax is a twisted cult leader out to steal the throne of King Zed. Banished by Zed for his treachery, Maax sends one of his three witches to steal Zed's unborn son, ripping him right out of his mother's womb with magic and placing it a cow's womb. Before she can finish the job, a brave hunter killed the witch and rescues the young boy, naming him Dar. Dar and his adoptive father find out at a young age that Dar possess the power to communicate with animals. When Maax sends his horde of thugs to wipe out Dar's peaceful village, Dar sets out to defeat Maax using his powers and avenge his people and foster father.

Marc Singer returned as Dar in two sequels, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time (1991) and the Direct-to-Video Beastmaster 3: The Eye of Braxus (1997). In addition, there is also a re-cast television series that qualified as a somewhat vindicated-by-reruns show.

The Beastmaster has examples of:

  • Dark is Not Evil: The bat people (who get a Big Damn Heroes moment when they show up at the city just in time to make a difference)
  • Decapitated Army: Inverted. The evil barbarians Maax allied with come to attack the city after he dies
  • Fan Disservice: All over the place, but particularly with the grotesque witches.
  • Fish out of Water: The key premise of Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time; Valley Girl meets Barbarian Hero in a fantasy world, and Barbarian Hero teaming up with Valley Girl in Real Life.
  • Follow the Leader: The film is clearly imitating the success of Arnie's run as Conan the Barbarian (1982), hence why it disposes of all of the plot Andre Norton's science-fiction novel, which involved a clash between settlers on a human colony world and the local natives, investigated by the Beastmaster (named Hosteen Storm, not Dar.) About the only thing that remains is a guy with a psionic link to a hawk, two ferrets (meerkats in the original book) and a large cat.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Dar commands his ferrets to steal the clothing (if it can be called that) of a nubile bathing beauty, luring her into the woods so he can pretend to scare off his own panther in a not-so-elaborate plan to seduce her.
  • The Remnant: The army that attacks at the end
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Dar has his hawk companion rescue a young child from the evil priest's sacrificial fires and flies her away to safety. The priest, after a second of thought, cries out that this is indeed an omen that the deity wants child sacrifices.
  • Surprise Incest: The Love Interest is the cousin of the the hero's younger brother. Whether the couple are actually blood relatives, and to what degree, is not made explicit; the implications are not explored in the film
  • Too Dumb to Live: The heroes find out Maax knows of their surprise attack. Seth tries to talk King Zed out of leading the attack, but he wouldn't listen as he wants revenge for the loss of his son. The resulting Curb-Stomp Battle happens between scenes.
  • Villainous Rescue: The bat people as mentioned under Dark is Not Evil. Although they will eat random people, they rescue Dar in a Big Damn Heroes moment because he is a Beastmaster and therefore commands the hawk whom they worship.
  • Villains Blend in Better: Played straight in the second movie, but justified; Arklon can Mind Rape locals on present-day Earth to gain knowledge of how society works. Dar is every bit the confused hero, prompting both the police and animal control to come after him.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Kiri is supposed to be one.
  • Weasel Mascot: Kodo and Podo. It certainly helps that they're adorable.
  • Wicked Witches: Their faces aren't much to look at but they certainly have nice bodies.