Dungeon Master

Dungeonmaster can boast that it purposefully adopted a segmented style to accommodate the multiple directors that helped contribute to this episodic horror/sci-fi rat’s nest. The premise of the film involves a basic battle between good and evil with Paul Bradford (Jeffrey Byron), a computer obsessed geek, fighting Mestema (Richard Moll) for possession of Paul’s neglected girlfriend, Gwen (Leslie Wing). Early in the film it is established that Paul and his computer, a female version of HAL, have a very special relationship. Paul even has a pair of super-computerized spectacles that allow him to communicate with his computer at home, tap into ATM machines, and change stop lights at his will. It’s pure computer nerd fantasy, but the relationship is just a little too much for Gwen. That night while Gwen and Paul sleep the two of them our whisked off to an alternate dimension/low budget version of hell. Mestema has summoned Paul as Mestema is continually searching for a challenging opponent. Taking the name Excalibrate, Paul unwillingly accepts Mestema’s challenge as it is the only way he can save Gwen.

From here the film breaks down into a series of challenges, each one being directed by a different director. In total, the film had seven directors, Charles Band being one of the most formidable names in the bunch. Each director runs Excalibrate through a rather mediocre challenge that is often solved with a laser blast from Excalibrate’s nifty computerized wristband. Facing cave beasts, stone giants, and even the heavy metal band W.A.S.P. Upon completing an obstacle Excalibrate always returns to Mestema. Before zapping Excalibrate off to his next challenge Mestema and Excalibrate share words. While every episode is highly laughable the film really sparkles when Excalibrate and Mestema debate good and evil. Each character continually upstages the other with unbelievable lines of dialog. My personal favorite gets delivered by Excalibrate who declares, “I reject your reality and create my own.” In a way that sums up Dungeonmaster, but this one line can hardly over shadow the multitude of quotable lines being delivered in Dungeonmaster. Then there is the non-verbal dialog, the body language. Moll’s mugging and theatrics are near criminal and the bargain-basement effects that accompany Mestema’s swollen-headed ramblings only add to the hilarity. It’s all a bit much for one film and it makes Dungeonmaster the sort of film you have to watch a few times, just to take it all in.

Most would have been happy rewinding Dungeonmaster, that’s right it’s not on DVD yet, and watching Mestema and Excalibrate duke it out all over again. However, we had a Night Train to Terror to catch. The general feeling in the room was that nothing could top Dungeonmaster and I admit that I too was a little skeptical about Night Train to Terror’s ability to deliver. I guess I just hadn’t seen the film in a while because without failure Night Train to Terror delivered.

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