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Film / Krull

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"The ancient prophecy: that a girl of ancient name shall become queen, that she shall choose a king, and that together they shall rule our world, and that their son shall rule the galaxy."

An evil overlord from space, called The Beast, invades the world of Krull due to a prophecy that a marriage that unites that world will have a son who will rule the galaxy. When two great kingdoms are going to be joined by a marriage (necessitated by this invasion), The Beast's army, the Slayers, kidnaps Princess Lyssa just before her wedding is completed, and Prince Colwyn goes on a quest to save her, aided by a wise old man, a gang of escaped prisoners and thieves, and an ancient sentient weapon.

Supposedly it was originally supposed to be the official Dungeons & Dragons movie (under the title The Dragons Of Krull), but the license was somehow lost before the film was released. But this may simply be an Urban Legend, given that it has been officially denied by Gary Gygax himself.

See also Hawk the Slayer, another fantasy film made in Britain.


Has nothing to do with the protagonist of Thomas Mann's 1954 novel Confessions of Felix Krull. Or the island state of Krull from Discworld. Or Kull.

This film provides examples of:

  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Ergo assumes the form of a puppy to make Titch happy. Subverted with the Beast:
    Beast: (morphs into Colwyn) I can assume any form I wish. Any form you wish.
    Lyssa: There is no love in that form.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The Widow of the Web could have been a Large Ham even for a World of Ham. Instead, she's portrayed as a tragic character who did something monstrous and now regrets it deeply. Her sequence, animated spider aside, could have been fodder for a classical Greek story.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Vella the seductress, who depending on interpretation, either could not kill or seduce Colwyn because she fell in love with him herself or because she could not ruin his love with Lyssa, let alone take the life of a man of such goodness and virtue. Either way, hearing her speak of the happiness and hope she knows can never be hers, and knowing what fate lies in store for her, you can't help but feel pity for her.
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  • All That Glitters: Implied as a lesson of the Emerald Seer's when Torquil tries to take emeralds from his cave, only to find that outside they're simply ordinary stones. In this case, presumably the real treasure of the seer's cave is knowledge. Unsurprisingly, he seems to have a nice chuckle over this lesson.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: The Beast tries to make Lyssa marry him instead of Colwyn so he can have the galaxy-ruling son instead.
  • Animal Gender-Bender: Some of the 'Fire Mares' are visibly geldings.
  • Anticlimax: Presumably due to technical limitations, the final battle consists of A: Colwyn standing still and gesturing at the far-off Beast while the Glaive attacks it, and B) Colwyn standing still and gesturing at the far-off Beast shooting flames at it.
  • Backstory: Ynyr and the Widow's past were of a tragic love.
    • The Cyclops race made a deal with the Beast, who cheated them and made them one of his mortal enemies.
  • Big Bad: The Beast has conquered many worlds, and is now after this one.
  • Big Guy Fatality Syndrome: Rell, being crushed to death at the fortress's gate.
  • Binary Suns: Krull not only has them, but daybreak is stated to be when both suns rise.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: A form of Glamour Failure sported by both the Changeling that replaces the Seer and the seductress Vella.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Cyclops traded with the Beast: one of their eyes (which is why they only have one now) for the ability to see into the future. The Beast did give them the ability to see into the future - but they can only see the moment of their own deaths. Using the knowledge to avoid their death? That just brings a much more painful death.
    Ynyr: They're sad, solitary creatures, born to know the day they will die.
  • Blind Seer: The Emerald Seer is blind, but the changeling who kills him is not.
  • Boxed Crook: A variant as Torquil and his gang aren't in prison, but are defeated by Colwyn when they try to ambush him. Rather than imprison them, he offers them a chance to earn a full pardon. They accept and help the king.
  • Breath Weapon: The Beast fires balls of energy from his mouth.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ergo acts silly and has silly things happen to him, until his character development, when he helps fight the Slayers.
  • Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff": In the film, the Glaive is a unique legendary magic weapon, a five-bladed cross between a shuriken, a discus and a chakram. In real life, a glaive is a long pole with a blade on one end. (It's also an antiquated word used to refer to any bladed weapon.)
  • The Casanova: Kegan (Liam Neeson), who has a wife or lover in numerous towns (or so it is rumored). Two wives are known of for sure, and while he never falls prey to Oops! I Forgot I Was Married, he does have to do some quick thinking and fancy maneuvering to keep them from finding out about each other.
  • Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: Colwyn has to climb one to get to the cave where the Glaive is resting.
  • Collapsing Lair: The fortress falls into pieces at the end.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Played with. In the scene when Colwyn retrieves the Glaive from the lava pit, he clearly acts as if there is a great deal of heat rising from the pool, yet is still able to reach in and retrieve the weapon without burning himself or catching fire. However, he is the prophesied hero who would carry the Glaive, so its magic is implied to protect him from all effects of the lava.
  • Cool Horses: Fire mares can travel super fast, leave tracks of flames as they gallop (hence their name), and fly through the air without breaking stride.
  • Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: The thieves do this when Colwyn removes their manacles.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The kings' soldiers are no match for the Slayers' superior technology and special powers.
  • Cursed with Awesome: While it's played as very melancholy in the film, the ability to know when you're going to die has major advantages.
  • Cyclops: Rell is of a race of people who traded one eye.
  • Damsel in Distress: Lyssa spends much of the movie trapped in the Black Fortress.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Cyclopes, in their backstory. They were once normal humans living on a distant world. They made a deal with the Beast, exchanging one of their eyes for the ability to know the future. The Beast cheated them, however, only allowing them to know the times of their own deaths, and ensuring they will die horribly if they try to resist their deaths. Considering this is the chief inspiration for Rell to join Colwyn's party, and his importance to their quest, this also counts as a Hoist By Your Own Petard for the Beast.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Ynyr leaves the Widow to go off on his mad adventures, not knowing he had left Someone to Remember Him By. Furious and hurt, she kills their child after it is born. It is to the credit of Francesca Annis and Freddie Jones that the scene revealing this Moral Event Horizon, for which she was consigned to the web, is played with immense sympathy and tragedy thanks to the genuinely pity-inducing punishment she received and her clear regret for her crime.
  • Dwindling Party: The party is slowly whittled down as it progresses towards the end of its quest.
  • '80s Hair: Lyssa´s fluffy mane sells it as an 80's movie.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Beast's true form is a Humanoid Abomination.
  • Evil Overlord: The Beast has conquered many worlds before he comes to Krull.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Beast, with Trevor Martin's voice being flanged to give it a metallic tinge.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Lyssa's dress with lots of lace. Because she's kidnapped mid-wedding, she ends up wearing it for the rest of the movie.
  • Fanfare: The film starts with one by James Horner.
  • Fuuma Shuriken: The glaive is a Western example. It's also not as large as other examples, but still larger than a typical throwing star. When the blades are retracted, it's the size of an adult's hand.
  • Galactic Conqueror: The prophecy states that a couple will marry, rule Krull, and their son would rule the galaxy. Though it's apparent he'll be a more benevolent ruler now that the Beast has been destroyed.
  • Genius Loci: While not strictly alive or even sentient, the Black Fortress does seem to obey the Beast with great alacrity as if it is just an extension of his will—witness how the dome forms around Lyssa, or how the floor just so happens to crack open under the heroes, then close as Colwyn is trying to climb through. This would also explain why it collapses after he is killed. If it is an outer manifestation of the Beast's mind, its Malevolent Architecture would then be not only a typical Evil Tower of Ominousness, but a reflection of its master being an Eldritch Abomination (or at least, not thinking or viewing the world at all the way humans do).
  • Ghibli Hills: Everything we see of Krull is strangely empty and untouched by civilization. The only human-built structure in the film is Lyssa's castle, which stands on its own in the middle of an empty valley. It's also undeniably beautiful.
  • Giant Spider: The crystalline spider, that is guarding the Widow of the Web, is the size of an elephant.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Ergo is able to turn only himself into animals, which is only used for comic relief until he turns himself into a tiger.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Lyssa, The Hero's destined true love, is a redhead. They even chose to marry over the objections of their fathers.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Rell, the Widow of the Web, and the Old One each die to help the heroes.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Ergo changed to a puppy to grant the boy's wish. After changing back, he said it was a stupid wish, although no one is fooled
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Very much how the Beast treats Lyssa during her captivity, whether attempting to woo her, offering her gorgeous gowns and a floating crown, or coming right out and telling her We Can Rule Together. His objective is to convince Lyssa to willingly betray her love for Colwyn, thus defeating the power they share, which is his only weakness.
  • I Know Your True Name: Ynyr is able to reach the Widow of the Web by calling her true name, Lyssa. It is a coincidence that she has the same name as the princess, but one Ynyr is happy to use to convince the Widow to help him.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The Glaive, a giant, telekinetic ninja star, with retractable blades. And manually adjustable rotation rate. Colwyn uses it as a rotary saw at one point.
  • Inept Mage: Ergo tries to change people into animals but it only works on himself. Then he finally uses that weakness as a strength.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted in the Back Story of the Lady of the Web, who killed her infant son in her rage at her lover leaving her. Being the Lady is her punishment for that crime.
    • Played straight with Titch, the young aid/apprentice of the Emerald Seer. He's one of the few survivors of the Dwindling Party.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: The Beast says that the planet Krull is this insignificant to his Evil Plan. A son that will rule the only galaxy? That's much more appealing.
  • Ironic Echo: Lyssa's twisting of the Beast's words back to him.
    Lyssa: Power is fleeting. Love is eternal.
  • It Has Been an Honor: One of Torquil's men says this to Colwyn after he got shot while they try to get inside the Black Fortress.
  • Kill and Replace: A shape-shifter kills the Emerald Seer and takes his form to get close to Colwyn and kill him. Fortunately Rell finds out and throws his axe at the shape-shifter.
  • Kill ’Em All: By the end of the movie, only Colwyn, Torquil, Oswyn, Ergo, and Titch are still alive out of a party of around a dozen or so.
  • Kill It with Fire: How the Beast is finally taken down.
  • Large Ham Title: Ergo the Magnificent, acts as big as the epithet he gives himself.
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: Corwyn sticks his arm into a pool of lava to get the Glaive. He should be dead, but he's completely unharmed, though see above under Convection Schmonvection.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Ergo learns to shapeshift into dangerous animals, which not only takes out a Slayer, but even takes a staff blast and survives.
  • Licensed Game: A pinball game, an Atari 2600 game, a really confusing arcade game, a board game containing an plastic-army-man-sized Colwyn and The Beast, and a card game.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The Beast. The Black Fortress falls apart after he dies.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: Rell sacrifices himself to keep a stone gate open so the heroes can get in.
  • Made of Evil: The Slayers and Changelings gruesomely melt into the ground when dealt a mortal blow.
  • Magic Misfire: Ergo's Baleful Polymorph spells always hit himself.
  • Magnetic Hero: Colwyn
    • He made bandits about to rob him do a Heel–Face Turn and join him.
    • He also seems to have so much appeal that a woman sent to seduce and trap him falls in love with him at first sight instead.
  • The Magnificent: Ergo, of course. (His "proper", full name is: Ergo, the Magnificent, Short In Stature, Large In Power, Narrow Of Purpose And Wide Of Vision. Though he will answer to just "Ergo" in a pinch.) He proves he isn't just comic relief in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The Black Fortress is loaded with traps.
  • Mars Needs Women: The alien Big Bad, the Beast, kidnaps the hero's fiancé. This is due to a prophecy that if he gets Lyssa to marry him, their son will rule the world. There's also a prophecy that implies if she chooses to marry the Beast, their son would rule the universe.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Only the king and his lord marshal carry those keys." The first time Torquil says it, it's to demonstrate that he realizes Colwyn is no mere traveler. The second time he says that, he realizes that Colwyn has made him his lord marshal in thanks for his aid.
  • Men Act, Women Are: Lyssa gets kidnapped and provides Colwyn with the drive (and power) to succeed; the Widow provides the information they need to find the Fortress but otherwise does nothing. All other roles are filled by active men (save the Seer).
  • Mood Whiplash: From bad to good — from another of Torquil's men dying by walls with Spikes of Doom closing in and the others in general peril to Lyssa and Colwyn happily meeting again. Also, a milder example in (paraphrased) dialogue:
    Ergo: If I had my wish, I'd be out of this gloomy place...if I'd really have my wish, I'd be sitting on a gooseberry pie as big as a mountain. No, that's a bit greedy...I'll settle for one as big as a house. What'd you wish for, Titch?
    Titch: (ponders) A puppy.
    Ergo: Only one? Why not a hundred?
    Titch: Only want one.
    Ergo: Well, that's a foolish wish...what about you, Rell, what'd you wish for?
    Rell: (gloomily) Ignorance.
  • Mooks: The Slayers, mooks for the Beast. They are very powerful though, easily slaughtering the Red Shirt Army near the beginning of the movie, and even the heroes have a difficult time fighting them. Thus they could be considered Super Soldiers.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Thanks to the Special Effect Failure in how the Beast was portrayed, rather like the shark in Jaws and the creature in Alien it is more frightening when unseen, only sensed or heard breathing. The unsettling, surreal interior of the Black Fortress doesn't help.
  • Offing the Offspring: The Widow of the Web killed her child.
  • Oh Wait, This Is My Grocery List: Ergo does this while trying to find a spell he has written down.
    "There we go! Oh, this is a recipe for hot fudge sauce..."
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. The Widow of the Web shares her name with Lyssa.
  • Panthera Awesome: Ergo turns himself into a tiger to dispatch the Slayers.
  • Pet the Dog: Literally, but inverted: the moment where it's first shown that Ergo has a heart and a more selfless side is when he turns himself into a dog for Titch to pet and hold.
  • Playing with Fire: Colwyn, Lyssa's help. create a flame that burns the Beast.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Ergo's beast spells are mostly used for comedy..
  • Poke in the Third Eye: The Beast pulls this on the Emerald Seer, shattering his scrying gem in the process. This necessitates the Seer having to travel to the Emerald Temple where he will have enough power to break through the Beast's barriers...a trip during which the Seer just so happens to be very vulnerable.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: As noted under Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff", a glaive is actually a type of polearm, but if a work mentions one after this film, you can bet it's probably a giant shuriken (most of the time).
  • The Power of Love: Which is considerably less metaphoric than in other examples. Part of the marriage ceremony in this story involves the female taking a literal fire from a ceremonial pool and holding it in her immune-to-this-flame bare hand. Lyssa literally carries this flame for Colwyn through the entire film until the Final Battle, where it proves to be more than the Big Bad can handle.
  • Precious Puppy: When the boy mentions he always wanted one, Ergo transforms into a puppy for a few scenes.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: The Glaive will definitely hit its target. Justified by its supernatural nature.
  • Princess Classic: Lyssa. Though in her opening scenes she shows courage, strength of heart, and more than a little independence (for one thing, it's made quite plain that the alliance by marriage was her idea and she bullied her father into it), and when she is captured it's clearly due to lack of fighting skills and training, not lack of desire to fight back.
  • Quicksand Sucks: In a surprisingly tense and desperate scene with one of the thieves. Considering this whole moment existed as one big distraction for the Beast to replace the Emerald Seer, the quicksand may well have been magically generated, thus explaining why it didn't act like the Real Life version.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Torquil and his thieves, plus Ergo, Rell, and Titch.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Beast's red eyes are part of his danger. Since his full form is rarely seen, this is useless.
  • Red Right Hand: Combined with Glamour Failure, the Beast and his servants could take any shape, but their eyes always looked demonic and evil. At least, when they opened their eyes, or used their powers in any other way. The one impersonating the Emerald Seer got away with it through the simple expedient of never opening his eyes when the heroes were looking at him; the one trying to seduce Colwyn only blew her cover when she manifested her claws.
  • Red Shirt: All but two of the brigands who join Colwyn, as well as the kingdom soldiers in the first part of the movie.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Colwyn and his father are knights fighting the invaders.
  • Rule of Cool: The Glaive, the Slayers' weapons, the Black Fortress, the Fire Mares, the twin suns, the cyclops, the translucent giant spider, and a marriage ceremony that gives the groom temporary but powerful pyrokenesis.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Colwyn and Lyssa's love makes a literal flame that can destroy the Beast. The Black Fortress (evil) can appear anywhere. The Widow of the Web's hourglass sands not only can briefly stop time, allowing someone past the spider, but they also represent the span of her life—and thanks to Mindlink Mates, Yynr's too, so that spilling them ends their lives. Torquil not wanting to have his manacles removed until the end of the quest (when he'd earned it), only to keep them even after he does remove them as a reminder of the past he'd atoned for. Bardolph dying on the Spikes of Doom because he has to go back for his special knife.
  • Same Language Dub: Lysette Anthony is dubbed throughout by Lindsay Crouse. For whatever reasons, producers thought Americans wouldn't be able to understand her accent — clips of her actual voice in the film prove that wrong. She'd later do an excellent American accent in Husbands and Wives.
  • Save the Princess: The basis of much of Colwyn's actions is saving Princess Lyssa, who also happens to be his fiancé.
  • Scenery Porn: Lots of beautiful shots of the lovely Italian Alps.
  • Schizo Tech: The Slayers ride horses and fight using a weapon that combines an energy blaster with some kind of powered sword.
  • Science Fantasy: It's basically a fantasy world invaded by high-tech aliens.
  • Screw Destiny: A variation of it, Rell initially had to leave the group to face his death. But later he arrived to help them get inside the Black Fortress and soon got crush (a much worse death than whatever he envisioned), but assumingely he preferred a Heroic Sacrifice over however he originally envisioned his death. This was lampshaded earlier by one of Torquil's men who says Rell should have come with them to the Black Fortress if he's going to die anyway.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer:
    • The Beast assumes Colwyn's form, telling her he can assume any form she finds attactive, as a bid to woo her. Lyssa doesn't budge.
    • Vella, a changeling sent to seduce Colwyn so that the Beast can break Lyssa's spirit. Colwyn doesn't bite, though, and Vella is so impressed with his devotion that she refuses to kill him despite the Beast's orders. Seeing this only bolster's Lyssa's resolve, and The Beast is not amused by this.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Ergo definitely has shades of this, considering his Overly Long Name is clearly Compensating for Something. It turns out by the end, though, that much of this is a pose.
    Ergo: I am Ergo the magnificent. Short in stature, tall in power, narrow of purpose and wide of vision - and I do not travel with peasants and beggars. Goodbye!
    Ergo: My name is no jest, beanpole. It's all very well to have a short name when you're twenty feet tall, but small people need large names to give them weight.
  • Sole Survivor: Colwyn is the only one to survive the Slayers' assault on the castle (if we don't count Lyssa, who they intended to capture).
  • Standard Female Grab Area: When Lyssa is captured, a Slayer leads her away, holding her by her upper arm.
  • Soul Jar: The Black Widow's hourglass - or more specifically the sand inside it - determines her life span. She passes it on to an injured Ynyr so he could inform the group about the fortress's next location.
  • Space Fantasy: With more emphasis on fantasy. Though it's regularly acknowledged that the Beast has conquered other planets, and Rell is a visitor from one of those planets.
  • Street Smart: Torquil, in spades.
    Torquil: Fame? It's an empty purse. Count it? Go broke. Eat it? Go hungry. Seek it and go mad!
  • Super Speed: Fire Mares can travel "a thousand leagues in a day." The definition of "league" differed according to era and location, but it refers to the distance a healthy horse can most efficiently travel in an hour - about five and a half kilometers. Fire Mares thus have a cruising speed of 231 kph or 143 mph!
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Colwyn's first task on his quest is to retrieve the Glaive.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: The Black Fortress vanishes from one location during a sunrise and appears in another (never the same place twice), to thwart enterprising young heroes. Figuring out where it will appear next so it can be intercepted is one of the major plot points.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Glaive. The hero is specifically told not to use it until he faces the Beast. Otherwise the movie would just be a long string of monsters getting hacked apart by a flying rotary saw.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bardolph, who dies when he goes back into a room full of spiked walls just to retrieve his knife - which would have been of absolutely no use to him in the given situation anyway.
  • The Un-Reveal: The exact nature of the Slayers' powers, such as the ability to breathe underwater or climb walls without equipment, is never explained, and we never learn what the thing that burrows into the ground after they're killed is.
  • Villain-Beating Artifact: The Glaive's only purpose is defeating the Beast.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Near the end, Ergo decides "if my Baleful Polymorph spells always backfire, why not turn myself into a tiger?"
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Includes the spiked walls version, and a gruesome death for one character who could have escaped but went back for his cherished knife.
  • Wall Crawl: The Slayers can somehow climb up walls without any visible equipment.
  • Wangst: In-Universe it's both justified and defied.
    Colwyn: You haven't lost a father, and a bride on the same day!
    Ynyr: Nor have I become king on that day.
  • Wedding Smashers: The Slayers kidnap Princess Lyssa during her wedding.
  • Win Your Freedom: Torquil and his band must survive their adventure with Colwyn and rescue the princess if they are to earn their pardon.
  • Woman Scorned: The Widow is abandoned by Ynyr in her Backstory. It made her upset, to say the least.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Not if you're a Cyclops. Well, you can (as in, refuse to go off into self-imposed exile to await your foreseen death), but you'll regret it. Rell doesn't—he may regret the pain, but not the reason for it.


Example of: