Krull - Colwyn

Am I The Only One That Likes 1983’s Krull?

Krull was a movie that made a big mark on me when I was young. I can recall watching another 1983 film at my local Drive-In, in this case it was Superman III. Standing in line at that fabled concession stand I happened to glance over and see the poster for Krull. All thoughts of my Chilly Dilly pickle were gone, so I slipped under the railing and went to get a closer look at that poster.
Krull - Movie Poster

I will admit I was drawn to the visage of the Beast first. I had already turned eleven at that point and while not frightening, it certainly demanded my attention. Throw in the odd weapon that I would later learn was called the Glaive. I knew I had to see this film. In addition, after Superman III they actually showed the trailer for Krull!

[Via] Trailer Dwelling

I ask you, how could I not be blown away. Return of the Jedi had finished the Star Wars trilogy and yet I still hungered for space adventures. The very fact that this was a mash-up of sword and sorcery and science fiction was all the better. It was tailor made for a burgeoning cinephile like myself!
Krull - Slayers

Furthermore how can you resist a film with a trident throwing cyclops?

Upon seeing it, in all honesty, I was blown away. While of course there are a few elements from Star Wars that were borrowed for Krull. I am speaking of the Hero’s Journey in this regard. Prince Colwyn is helped on his quest to rescue Princess Lyssa by the appearance of Ynyr. A wise old man that obviously acts as the Obi-Wan Kenobi of the film.
Krull - Freddie Jones

Naturally another element that Krull borrows from Star Wars is the Glaive. While it might not be a weapon from a more civilized time, it is ever so much as elegant as the weapon of a Jedi. As well as being a symbol of the royalty of long ago on the Planet Krull as we are told in the film. Most assuredly though I realize that like Lucas did with the lightsaber, the film’s ancient Glaive is a throwback to the likes of King Arthur’s Excalibur or even Hrunting from Beowulf!
Krull - The Glaive

On a side note. If I were thrust into the digital universe of the OASIS from Ready Player One. I can tell you without a doubt that in one hand would be the Glaive, and the other TRON’s identity disc.

Here is the rub though, it appeared that I was in the minority of those that loved the movie. The neighborhood kids definitely didn’t see all that I loved of Krull. Judging by the box office they weren’t alone. With an estimated budget of 47 million dollars – it earned only 16 million. It was pretty much savaged by the critics of the time. Case in point, this vintage review by Siskel and Ebert.

[Via] Gradepoint

I would add that it seems that maybe Gene and Roger in this particular case weren’t paying attention to the film. In addition, did Ebert knock 1981’s Dragonslayer? Now in truth Krull has obtained a cult status. Partly I am sure because of the embarrassment of riches it had with its cast. Liam Neeson, Robbie Coltrane, Freddie Jones, and Alun Armstrong to name a few.
Krull - Alun Armstrong

Let’s not fail to mention that the movie also boasts a fantastic score, by the late and great James Horner.

[Via] 200 Verde

I still find the movie to be just as thrilling as in my youth. I say this having fully removed those rose-tinted spectacles. Is it a perfect movie, most assuredly not. Krull is however an entertaining film, definitely deserving of a better score than 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, friends.
Krull - Rell

I’ve rambled on about things I like about Krull so how about watching something very special?


Thanks to DeeDee Bigelow’s YouTube channel, we can see Ken Marshall, who played Prince Colwyn hold the Glaive in his hands after 30 years.

Take an I.O.U. from Freeez (1983)

Browsing through a 1983 copy of No. 1 magazine, I was drawn to the song lyrics for a song called I.O.U. by UK dance group Freeez. I wasn’t able to immediately bring the song to mind and so went looking on Youtube for it. I’m so pleased I did as it’s a catchy tune that has aged remarkably well.

If you’re anything like me after watching that video, you’ll be thinking, WOW, that was definitely 1983. Here’s a couple of my favourite images:

Bikes!
Shades!

I foolishly watched the video several times and now have “A-E-A-E-I-O-U-U I Sometimes Cry” on a repeating loop in my head. I apologise if this happens to any of you. If you need help with your own singalong, here’s the lyrics:

Freeez Lyrics

Because I’m a sucker for punishment, I also had to watch the group’s performance on the Top of the Pops Christmas ’83 special:

http://youtu.be/jplVTKpxNS8

If you look carefully, you’ll see the guy on keyboard is wearing a pair of those rather fetching visor-glasses! For the ultimate I.O.U. experience, check out this acapella and dub mix which is guaranteed to become an instant ear-worm!

Dungeons and Dragons Figures

2014-07-07 18.14.07

Last year I wrote a short article about some Dungeons and Dragons figures I found at a local toy store. Although when I wrote the article I hadn’t purchased them, I went back shortly and did just that.

Since then I’ve added four more figures to my collection: Strongheart the Paladin, Elkhorn the Dwarf, Warduke the Fighter, and Zarak the Evil-Half Orc Assassin.

Dungeons and Dragons figures (excluding the miniatures) were released in two series and two sizes: the traditional 3 3/4″ scale and a larger, 5″ size. Some of the figures were released in both series and in both sizes, making collecting all of them a bit confusing. This page over at the Toy Archive does a pretty good job of identifying them all by series and size.

Here’s a great video that shows off most of the figures. (It starts off a bit dramatic and gets to the figures about a minute in.) Man, if nothing else, I’ve got to get one of those rotating displays.

Oil’s Well (Sierra, 1983)

Oil's Well

In 1983’s Oil’s Well by Sierra (before they were Sierra Online), players control a drill bit and must “devour” pellets of oil. Your drill bit can be broken by hitting land mines and various critters roaming the tunnels beneath the earth. The game is almost identical to another popular game released for home computers in 1983, Datamost’s Ardy the Aardvark, which apparently was based on the 1982 arcade game Anteater.

The dinosaur seen above is Slater the Petrosaur, as seen in the 1990 PC version of the manual. Slater has essentially nothing to do with the game. I guess they just needed a cute mascot to put in the manual for marketing purposes.

Oil’s Well was released for the Apple II, Atari 8-bit, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, MSX, and the IBM PC. I spent some time playing the Apple II version this week and it’s really addictive. Your drill bit is controlled by the joystick, while the button retracts it quickly. If a critter touches any part of your drill bit it breaks, so getting all the oil located on the bottom levels is quite challenging.

2014-02-06 10.27.54 - Copy

My current “retrocomputing desk” consists of two Raspberry Pi computers, a Commodore 64, an Apple IIe, and a MiST (Amiga and Atari ST) machine. I had hoped to try out a few more games last night but all I did was play Oil’s Well for a couple of hours.

Here’s some footage of the Commodore 64 version of Oil’s Well…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEmdZCh6-zw

…and here’s some footage from the 1990 MS-DOS version. Keep an eye out for Slater!