* * * * * (1987, 86 minutes, Rated R)
The Bargain Bin Review's Gold Standard.
To convey just how totally awesome Deathstalker II is, I’m going to skip over plot, character,
cinematography and all that other standard film review stuff, and go straight to the rules of the
Here’s what you do: You and your friends go out any each buy yourself a 40 of malt liquor
(Underage? Try… eh, try watching something else). Settle in for the evening with a copy of
Deathstalker II, and take a drink whenever any of the following happens:
- A moment from a much better movie is blatantly ripped-off
- Furniture is broken
- Someone does a spit take
- Cut away to random nudity
- A character says “Deathstalker”
- The Deathstalker sound effect is played (just listen for the dying synthesizer)
If you can still stand by the time you reach the end of the film, you’re a stronger person that I.
The full title is Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans, but don’t worry – no titans were harmed in the
making of this film, primarily because no titans appear. Or are even mentioned. In a pre-credits
sequence that largely cribs from Raiders of the Lost Ark AND finds a way to shoehorn the title of
the film into the script, we meet our hero. Deathstalker (John Terlesky of Chopping Mall fame)
is described as a barbarian, though here, by “barbarian” they clearly mean “that smirking guy
from shop class with the feathered hair.”
It’s an unexpected anarchism: Terlesky makes
no attempt whatsoever to use an accent or
behave like a medieval thief living hand-to-
mouth. Instead, he plays Deathstalker as a
ladies' man ambling into a singles bar after a
long work week. And Deathstalker is like that for
the entire film, regardless of what’s going on. It
could have been an irritating choice. Instead, it
plays into the cheesy awesomeness of the film.
After the prerequisite bar brawl – I imagine
many of you will drop out of the drinking game
after that scene – Deathstalker teams up with a
pretty “seer” played by a Penthouse Pet. ‘Nuff
|You'd smirk a lot, too, if your hair was
that fabulously feathered.
said there. Our duo head off to free a beautiful princess from the clutches of an evil sorcerer
(“Is there any other kind?” Deathstalker smirks) in order to become a legend “even bigger than
From there, it’s hard to say exactly what happens – and I was sober this time around.
Remember kids, don’t drink and review! The film is a hodgepodge of chase scenes through
the same section of forest, horrible effects, bad puns, random toplessness, equally random
stock footage from the first Deathstalker film, zombies, explosions, amazons, a motley crew of
assassins and a “match to the death” between Deathstalker and Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling
Queen Kong. It all comes to a head with an epic battle involving at least 20 extras.
THE ROAD TO B-MOVIES
PART VI: THE GOLD STANDARD
So there I am, a college sophomore with a bad case of lovin’ Mystery Science Theater 3000. I
had it bad – joined the fan club and everything. Soon the question became, What do I do with
myself until next week’s episode of MST3K?
(Besides go to class and do my homework. Ahem.)
That question was soon answered by my roommate, Lucky (so named for his powerfully red
hair and beard and short stature). One crummy Saturday night, Lucky presented an obviously
well-loved VHS for us to watch. “It’s so bad!” he gushed. “You’re gonna love it!” The cover art
certainly looked cheesetacular.
Our plans made, we promptly set about obtaining a pair of 40-ouncers – this would also be my
first time partaking in St. Ides, the Official Malt Liquor of the Bargain Bin Review – and settling in
for a magical movie experience. Followed by a nasty hangover.
Years later, when I got it in my heard to create the Bargain Bin Review, I’d reflect back to that
crummy Saturday night and think, “That is what I’m searching for. That will be my gold standard.”
|And this, and Queen Kong, too!
It’s more than obvious that the filmmakers
aren’t trying to make a serious swords-n-
sorcery film, and that the bad jokes and
general cheesiness are intentional. This
usually comes off as desperate (I still
maintain that it’s nearly impossible to make a
great bad movie on purpose), but against all
odds, it works here.
Perhaps my favorite moment comes during
the final battle when one of the main villains,
the awesomely named “Sultana,” simply
leaves. That’s right: Sultana all but says,
“Screw you guys, I’m going home,” and strolls
off in the middle of the climatic battle scene,
right out of the movie.
Deathstalker II is the most beautiful film I’ve