Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Hawk The Slayer


Directed by: Terry Marcel
Written by: Terry Marcel & Harry Robertson
Starring: Jack Palance, John Terry, Bernard Bresslaw & Annette Crosbie

How naff is Hawk the Slayer? Pretty naff. But in a good way. Yep, naff can be good. And Hawk the Slayer is all kinds of good. Well, naff. Cheap, cheerful and very, very British, well except for the two leading men being American of course, it’s Lord of the Rings lite (sort of) as Hawk (who I’m pretty sure is never referred to as the actual “Slayer”) is a goody two shoes, know it all, brilliant-with-a-sword hero who with his band of merry men (an elf, a dwarf and a gaint: hmmmm, Lord of the Rings eh?) set off across the land to free everyone from the evil clutches of Voltan (Palance). He just happens to be Hawk’s (Terry) mad, evil brother who has the land in his mad, evil grip (which simply seems to involve shouting at people a lot). He also killed Hawk’s lady love and father so they have that to sort out as well.

It’s not all bad though, as Hawk the Slayer is a whole heap of campy fun. From Hawk levitating his sword, to the ridiculous sound effect and musical score that accompanies this (and pretty much when anything else happens in the flick) to the ever so serious Elf warrior and Jack Palance hamming it up (and seemingly suffering loss of depth perception with the crappy helmet he has to wear!), Hawk the Slayer has something for fantasy film and bad movie lovers everywhere. Bernard Bresslaw (from the Carry On films and other fantasy themed flicks where he had to play a giant) is good fun as, yep, the warrior giant and the authentically cold and damp English woods provide a bit of grit to the setting and help to counteract all the campness.

The action scenes aren’t much to write about, though there is a fair few of them, edited too rapidly and relying on the crappy speeded up effect of the Elf firing many, many arrows at once. Still it’s all part of the cheesy fun and while it's not as good as similar early 80’s fantasy fare (Krull, Clash of the Titans, Dragonslayer: I’m sorry but it isn’t) Hawk the Slayer still, ahem, slays plenty bad guys and provides enough silly fun. Cool.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ok, so as a Yank, sitting alone in a dysfunctional family home in the early 80s, finding a moments escape from a valueless and unloved existence, I found “Hawk the Slayer” and watched it, just once in 1981 or 82.
This movie while being perhaps Ed Wood-ish and very silly. To me was the beginning of a whole new way of thinking about power. The strange thing is that this one campy movie did more to influence my life then I realized until age 38, sitting in a survivalist training camp in Sarawak Malaysia. It dawned on me, the memories of the film, the archery, the cold survival… “my god” I thought “my life is based on a campy 1980s fantasy film”. A horrifying yet comforting realization.
At least it wasn’t “pretty in pink” or “superman”… could have been worse.