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Film / Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans

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The second of the movies in the Deathstalker Series, this film is known as "the funny one". Or at least "the one that was trying to be funny on purpose".

Filmed on the cheap in Argentina in 1987, Word of God has it that the script the cast and crew had to work with was absolutely terrible even by the standards of this sort of movie. There was also the problem that their studio lot was surrounded by a highway AND an airport, the noise of which made shooting during the day all but impossible. Finally, the studio lot reportedly contained more garbage and tire-fires than the landfill next door.

Faced with all of these difficulties and left with only two weeks to finish the film, director Jim Wynorski decided to just have fun with it and created an Affectionate Parody of all the cliches of the sword and sorcery genre. Much of the film was heavily improvised, with Director Wynorksi and actor John Terlesky writing out a broad outline based in equal parts on the original script and Bugs Bunny cartoons.

The plot centers upon Princess Evie, who has been forced off the throne by the Evil Sorcerer Jarek and his Dragon Sultana. Replaced by a vampiric Evil Twin, whom Jarek controls from behind the scenes, Evie is forced to adopt the persona of Reena The Seer in order to lay low while searching the neighboring kingdom for a hero who can restore her to the throne. She sets her heart on Deathstalker after he saves her from the local guards and he is quickly won over by her assurances that great treasure and fame await him if he travels to the next kingdom over. Along the way, they encounter gangs of Professional Killers, an Amazon Brigade that wants Deathstalker's head for his crimes against women and an army of zombies.

This movie was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000's live tour.


  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Deathstalker has to contend with one of these in a sealed tomb.
  • Affectionate Parody: The movie does take every cliche of High Fantasy and runs wild with them.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Deathstalker is put on trial by local Amazons for his "crimes against womanhood". None of them finds his attempts at flirting amusing at first but after he wins his Duel to the Death, the amazon queen takes a liking to him and starts planning their wedding for the next day.
  • Amazon Brigade: The local tribe of Amazons put Deathstalker on trial for his womanizing ways.
  • Anachronism Stew: Numerous examples, but all of them are justified by The Rule of Funny.
    • The Amazons have a modern wrestling ring and — for some reason — ring girls with clearly printed cards for announcing the rounds. They even play a short, medieval rendition of the Rocky theme!
    • One of the gang of murderers recruited by the pirate Chin to kill Deathstalker claims to have worked for five years under Genghis Khan (1162–1227 AD) and as a part-time consultant to Attila The Hun (406–453 AD). This despite some seven centuries passing between the death of the later and the birth of the former.
    • There's another member of Chin's gang who was reportedly dismissed by Ivan The Terrible (1530-1584 AD) for excessive cruelty.
  • Attempted Rape: Evie has to be rescued twice from being raped, first by Deathstalker and then by the Amazons.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning:
    • Evie at the end, when she becomes Queen.
    • Also, when she gives Deathstalker his reward for helping her, making him a real Prince (Of Thieves).
  • Back from the Dead: Sultana is resurrected by Jarek, after Deathstalker kills her.
  • Bar Brawl: One breaks out in a tavern when Deathstalker punches out a soldier who's slapping Evie around.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: During the climactic battle against Jarek, this is the move that allows Deathstalker to land the final blow. Once in his hands, he forces the weapon and snaps in two, then jams the broken end into Jarek's throat.
  • Big Bad: The Evil Sorcerer Jarek.
  • But Now I Must Go: Sultana leaves partway through the final battle. Literally, she tells Jarek that she's done working for him and just walks out of the castle. Reportedly, they had planned a better ending for her, but her actress had an earlier flight than the rest of the American cast and they couldn't think of any other way to get her out of the movie (without killing her, anyway, which they had already done once!) so they just decided to let her get fed up and leave abruptly as a joke.
  • Cassandra Truth: Evie is rescued from a gang of ruffian guards by Deathstalker after delivering one of these to the local king.
    Evie: In my kingdom, a man would delight to know that his wife was with child!
    Head Guard: But not by another man.
  • The Cavalry: When Evie and Deathstalker are surrounded by the enemy army, the Amazons arrive to even odds and to do final battle.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: A chair has a smashing meeting with a body during the Bar Brawl.
  • The Chosen Zero: Deathstalker. He isn't incompetent but he is a grave robbing Handsome Lech and a Jerk With A Heartof Gold, who doesn't act like The Hero.
  • Covers Always Lie: While the Boris Vallejo artwork is quite good, the Barbarian Hero and Amazonian Beauty on the cover do not look anything like Deathstalker and Princess Evie.
  • Crystal Ball: Evie does have a crystal she uses to see the future, but it's not a perfect sphere (the actual prop was, in fact, a crystalline doorknob).
  • Damsel in Distress: Princess Evie. She's not much help in a fight, to put it politely.
  • Denser and Wackier: This film takes itself the least seriously in the series, preserving the typical fantasy adventures while also embracing the goofy cheese the series would be known for. The titular Deathstalker is less of a stoic Barbarian Hero and more of a snarky Loveable Rogue, and the script has plenty of one-liners and anachronistic references to go around.
  • The Dragon: Sultana.
  • Duel to the Death: Deathstalker is forced to fight the amazons' champion as part of a trial by combat, for his crimes as a womanizer.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Deathstalker.
    Evie: Deathstalker?!
    Deathstalker: Uh-huh.
    Evie: Is that your first name or your last name?
  • Evil Sorcerer: Jarek.
    Evie: The princess is being imprisoned by Jarek, The evil sorcerer!
    Deathstalker: Are there any other kind?
  • Evil Pays Better: Sultana's apparent motivation. Deathstalker does try to talk her over to the side of good at one point, but says the money is so much better working for the bad guys.
  • Evil Twin: Evil Evie — the magical vampire clone of Princess Evie created by Jarek in order to replace the original.
  • Fainting Seer: Evie plays at being this in order to sell her story to Deathstalker. She is not amused when he steps over her to get out of her hut to get at this Princess she was just talking about.
  • Fallen Princess: Evie is a princess who was quietly booted from her land by Jarek, who created a subservient clone of her that allowed him to take over the kingdom. In the interim of her trying to amass forces to return, Evie had been passing as a local oracle named Reena the Seer, but luckily, Deathstalker arrived to make her return a lot faster.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: During the the tavern brawl, Deathstalker encounters a stronger opponent which fists do nothing against, but smashing a bottle of wine to the head manages to knock him out instantly.
  • Handsome Lech: Deathstalker, naturally.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Averted. Deathstalker plays at being this when he confronts the guards harassing Evie, but his sympathies are clearly with her.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Fittingly, movie puts several bloopers into the credits.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted, to the point where some exterior scenes are difficult to see because of a lack of light. Reportedly most of the outdoor scenes HAD to be shot at night, due to the noise generated by a nearby airport during the day.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Deathstalker does have a code of honor, at least so far as helping helpless women and not killing except in self-defense is concerned.
  • Humans Are Ugly: Brought up in the exchange between the two orc-like guards, escorting a poor unfortunate to feed the vampiric Princess Evie, as they leave the room.
    Guard One: Did you see the face on her?!
    Guard Two: Too bad. Nice body, though!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Deathstalker plays at being this but his "one rescue per day" policy for helpless maidens is more of a guideline than a rule.
    • He also saves Evie from Sultana, after seemingly abandoning Evie because she lied to him about who she was.
  • Kill and Replace: A secondhand version is attempted as part of Jarek's plot to replace Princess Evie with a clone loyal to him. He can't kill the original immediately since that would destroy the clone, but around the third act, he creates a potion that severs the link. Fortunately, this allows the real Evie to get the drop on her clone.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Jarek is introduced killing random henchmen to train his swordfighting skills.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Deathstalker. He puts the quest to rescue a princess on hold so that he can loot a tomb, on the odd chance it might have something valuable inside it.
  • Lighter and Softer: This film is much more lighthearted than the first Deathstalker, with comedic elements galore and almost no rape present.
  • Loveable Rogue: This version of Deathstalker, who is more of a Dungeons & Dragons style Rogue than a Barbarian Hero.
    Evie: Oh, so you rob from the rich and give to the poor?
    Deathstalker: No, I rob from the rich and pretty much keep it.
  • Magic Knight: Jarek the mage is an excellent swordsman.
  • Mirror Match: Evie insists that her Evil Twin be left to her. And then anti-climactically kills her with a single thrown knife.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Jarek raises a whole cemetery in an effort to kill Evie and Deathstalker.
  • Oracular Urchin: Evie in her guise as Reena the Seer.
  • Pendulum of Death: Sultana captures Deathstalker and straps him to a table where a giant pendulum swings closer and closer to his private parts.
  • Prophetic Fallacy: Evie is, by her own admission, not a very good seer. The only thing she seems able to foretell consistently is unavoidable bad news.
    • Avoidable bad news, it should be noted, eludes her completely. In one instance, she is able to accurately foresee three out of four things about the road they need to take. There's only one detail she gets wrong - that there will be no surprises on the journey. Cut to the two of them, trussed up on poles like game animals, being carried off by Amazons.
    • There's also the Cassandra Truth example above, where she foretold that the queen was pregnant... but not by the king.
  • Pun: Deathstalker escapes Sultana's clutches! A sulking Sultana turns to the camera as says that she will have her revenge - and Deathstalker, t(w)oo!
  • Pungeon Master: For an Evil Sorcerer, Jarek is surprisingly fond of puns. For example, he informs Deathstalker, caught in the midst of breaking into a mausoleum, that "grave robbing caries a stiff penalty". He also tells Deathstalker that he's arranged a pressing engagement for him... just before the Advancing Wall of Doom starts to close in.
  • Robbing the Dead: Deathstalker takes a break from the Noble Quest to indulge in this.
  • Rule of Funny: Used to justify 95% of the movie. At least.
  • Scare Chord: A pretty obnoxious synthesized one pops up ad nauseum, even in fairly inappropriate moments.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Sultana literally walks out of the final battle, having suddenly become fed up with Jarek for no readily apparent reason. See But Now I Must Go for how Real Life Writes the Plot.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous.
    • Deathstalker quotes Bugs Bunny quite frequently.
      Deathstalker: I shoulda stood in bed.
    • The theme from Rocky plays as Deathstalker enters the ring to face the Amazons' champion.
    • At one point Deathstalker is locked in a deathtrap that threatens to cut him in two and has the following exchange with Sultana.
      Deathstalker: You don't expect me to talk?
      Sultana: No. I expect you to die.
    • Deathstalker is assured that if he helps Evie, he'll wind up in the legends "right up there with Conan".
    • The pirate Chin was named in honor of the character Chin Ho Kelly from Hawaii Five-O, and Sultana greets him with the same line used frequently in the show.
      Sultana: Talk to me, Chin. What have you got for me?
    • Having stabbed Sultana to death a few scenes ago, Deathstalker is surprised to meet her alive and blurts out, "I thought you wuz dead." Sultana replies, "Not hardly," in a shout-out to Big Jake.
    • A signpost that Deathstalker and Evie consult for directions to her country has markers pointing to other imaginary lands such as Cimmeria, Freedonia, Altair and Lemuria.
    • The moment during Deathstalker's final battle with Jarek where he grabs Jarek's blade with both hands then snaps it in two is directly lifted from a moment in the climax of Five Fingers of Death.
  • Shovel Strike: When rescuing Evie for the first time, Deathstalker picks up a shovel from the ground, throws dirt on a soldier's face and then knocks him out with it.
  • Signs of Disrepair: Deathstalker and Evie stumble a signpost that gives directions and mileage for various destinations, but the one they need has been broken off the sign.
  • Spikes of Doom: An Advancing Wall of Doom sprouts these after Deathstalker taunts the Evil Sorcerer, asking why he couldn't come up with anything better than "the old crushing wall routine".
  • Stock Footage: Several brief scenes from the original Deathstalker are used to pad out the tavern scenes. Some of the people who appear are people who died during the first movie's tournament.
  • Sultry Belly Dancer: Shown in the very beginning of the film, dancing during a brawl in a tavern...with no top on.
  • Title Drop: "I'll have my revenge...and Deathstalker too!" Cue title card.
  • Trial by Combat: The Amazons put Deathstalker to one, by means of WWF-style wrestling. He gets continuously creamed for fourteen rounds, then his opponent wears out in the fifteenth.
  • You Just Had to Say It: Trapped in a tomb with an Advancing Wall of Doom, Deathstalker taunts Jarek and asks why he couldn't come up with something better than " the old crushing wall routine." Cue the emergence of the Spikes of Doom.
    Deathstalker: Me and my big mouth.


Video Example(s):


Revenge, and Deathstalker, Too

After she sees the titular Deathstalker make his escape, Sultana makes quite possibly the cheesiest ever Title Drop for a numbered sequel.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / TitleDrop

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