At what point do you feel awful for giving a movie a low score when in reality you actually enjoyed it? I guess it’s only when you have to compare it to other films that are technically superior to it in every conceivable way possible. The fine art of camp and self-satire always rides a fine line between shit and success. Satire is a good way to expose the inherent problems with a said genre, here being the peplum, but when the comedy and sly commentary your trying to get across gets overwhelmed by obvious budget constraints, actors that have the emotional range of a passed out drunk, dialogue so bogged down by 10 cent words that the actors can barely speak them naturally, and stop motion animation that would make Ray Harryhausen puke, you have a very slight chance for success. Luckily for Wizards of the Demon Sword, what a wonderfully ridiculous title, there is so much bad on display that it crosses the bridge to shitsville on the back of Pegasus.
What we have here is one of those fabled “so bad it is good” films. Just about everything possible went wrong with this one and fans of these types of films will definitely have a lot to yuck over.
The convoluted mess of a plot concerns an evil sorcerer, Lord Khoura, who on top of loosing the ability to emote has stolen the “Knife of Aktar” in hopes to rule the world, aka the desert of Southern California. A homoerotic traveling swordsman, Thane, runs into melon heavy Melina, whose unconcerned father has been kidnapped by our robot Lord Khoura. Thane agrees to help Melina rescue her father and destroy the evil Lord Khoura before he figures out how to unleash the true power contained in the Knife of Aktar aka the Demon Sword. The world holds in the balance we are told every 2 minutes.
Fred Olson Ray, the director of such gems as Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Alien Dead, has put some of his patented oddball humor infused with boobs, blood, and washed up old actors on display once again. While Wizards definitely isn’t the softcore explosion of his bikini movies, the women here are all well endowed, and painfully out of place in their roles. The men on the other hand all run around with skin tanned to leather, wearing leotards and brandishing swords they can barely hold upright. You’ll see cameos from the likes of Michael Berryman (whose cover picture fiendishly bamboozles the viewer into thinking he is on screen for more than 2 minutes of this film), Lawrence Tierney, and Russ Tamblyn. They are by far the only actors that even attempt to spit out their lines with any sense craft (spelt with a K).
Cinematography consists of getting the actor in frame, toss a blue and red-gelled light against the background somewhere, and have a slight gradient filter on all day for night shots. Editing is somewhere between lazy and completely incompetent. Extra frames make cuts jump and linger way past what they should be. Choreography is almost nonexistent in the sword fighting scenes. We have a hero that constantly announces himself as “Thane of Hawksridge” a killer of thousands yet he stumbles around off balance, merely swinging his sword. Bad guys freeze for long periods of time waiting for him to attack, and his pre battle sword display makes you wonder if he has cut himself accidentally. These battle scenes are plentiful and hilarious.
If it seems like where in the midst of a landslide, then you are right, but real culprit here that overshadows everything is the dialogue and its delivery. While the actors do look like they memorized their lines, they don’t look like that give two shits about it whatsoever. Who can blame them when they have to spew out lines like:
Thane: “Khoura? Are you telling me I have wandered into his evil realm of corruption?” Melina: “Yes, and each day the fingers of his iron hand reach farther across the land spreading a blight of misery and destruction, and now they have my father!”
Did you get all that? Every exchange feels long winded and every actor looks like they are a deer caught with their eyes in the headlights, saying this garbage with the conviction of a speak and spell.
On most counts, one should avoid a film as misguided and incompetently created as Wizards of the Demon Sword. I, on the other hand, implore you to seek this shit stain out if you have a shred of humor coursing through your veins. If you aren’t captured and convinced that you’ll be laughing for all the wrong reasons within the first 10 minutes, than immediately turn it off. This film is up there with the greats such as Troll 2, Rock and Roll Nightmare, and Howling 7: New Moon Rising. You will now be speaking its name in the same breath as those classics.