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Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

Old 09-09-11, 10:30 PM
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Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

I was compelled to make this thread, based on the odd coincidence that just took place tonight.

Something made me pull this movie out of my collection and watch it tonight. Could have been that I was looking through movies earlier in the week when my girlfriend was here, and I suggested Dragonslayer, although we ended up watching something different. Could have been that I just hadn't seen it in a long time. Either way, I popped it in tonight.

I was reminiscing the whole time about everything I loved about the film, from the cool effects I enjoyed at the time it was released (which still hold up as being pretty cool even by today's standards, IMHO), to the lines I still remembered by heart, to the crush I remember having on Caitlin Clarke, who played Valerian. I was 14 at the time, and was deeply involved in Dungeons & Dragons with my friends, and what can I say...she was my kind of woman.

I remember reading a while back that Caitlin Clarke passed away from cancer a few years ago. When it concluded a little while ago, I looked up info about the movie, and was astounded to find that Caitlin died exactly seven years ago today, 9/9/04. How weird is that?

So anyway, based on comments I found posted in the archives about Dragonslayer, I thought I'd see what everyone's memories of this film are, and how do you think it's held up after 30 years?

Last edited by The Infidel; 09-09-11 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 09-09-11, 10:37 PM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

Hey, this movie just popped into my head, too. The director (Matthew Robbins) wrote the Don't Be Afraid of the Dark remake. I don't see his name much and was delighted to see that he's still putting out work.
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Old 09-09-11, 10:40 PM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

That's another weird coincidence, because I started the Don't Be Afraid remake thread! lol
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Old 09-10-11, 12:19 AM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

I love Dragonslayer. I even went to the trouble to track down the original dvd release that used the original 80s movie poster art for the cover instead of the too cgi-ish scene that's used now. Makes me feel like a kid again when I would watch movies like Jason And The Argonauts, Clash Of The Titans, Golden Voyage Of Sinbad, and Ten Commandments. I love big sword, sandal, and fantasy movies.
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Old 09-10-11, 10:48 AM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

Vermithrax Pejorative

Coolest dragon name ever?
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Old 09-11-11, 06:40 PM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

I'd love to see it on blu-ray. I think it's a reasonably well liked movie, so there is a chance.
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Old 09-11-11, 06:52 PM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

Love this movie. Did Horner do the score? It has that great early 80's vibe that I lump in with the first couple Star Trek movies, Excalibur, Krull, Empire Strikes Back, etc.
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Old 09-11-11, 08:45 PM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by Spottedfeather View Post
I'd love to see it on blu-ray. I think it's a reasonably well liked movie, so there is a chance.
I would hope they'd fix it up a great deal for a blu-ray release. I don't know what the terminology is, but there were a lot of telltale special effects lines that didn't translate very well from VHS to DVD...you know how in Star Wars you can see those boxes around the TIE fighters? That kind of thing.
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Old 09-11-11, 08:46 PM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by Ky-Fi View Post
Did Horner do the score?
Alex North.
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Old 09-11-11, 09:40 PM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

Another one of Disney's "experiments" from the late 70's/ early 80's. This along with Tron and The Black Hole are some of my favorite films from my childhood. Obviously the Disney company and brand fared very well once Eisner took over, but I wonder what kind of films would have gotten made had that regime never took over.
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Old 09-11-11, 10:50 PM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by ScissorPuppy View Post
Another one of Disney's "experiments" from the late 70's/ early 80's. This along with Tron and The Black Hole are some of my favorite films from my childhood. Obviously the Disney company and brand fared very well once Eisner took over, but I wonder what kind of films would have gotten made had that regime never took over.
One only needs to look at about 90% of the Disney movies from the last 10 years or so to find that answer.
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Old 09-11-11, 10:51 PM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

Dragonslayer is effin' awesome. The puppetry work alone is an absolute marvel. You really get the sense that Vermithrax could've been a real monster, not just a myth. It's also the best rendition of a dragon I've yet seen (though the one in Sucker Punch comes close). The dragons I've seen have looked too goofy or too misshapen (bodies too big, wings too small or vice-versa), but Dragonslayer got the proportions just right. It also made the dragon into a character, not just an immutable force of evil. Old, dying, hurting, raging against the world, probably the last of its kind.

The effects are top notch and the score by North is wildly medieval. I really hope the film is revisited on Blu-ray one day and given the special edition treatment it richly deserves.
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Old 09-11-11, 11:25 PM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

There were some movies like this on cable that my sister and I knew were ending because the images became elongated for several seconds and then the credits rolled. Later I realized that was because the movie was reverted to its original OAR.

And in the end the hero wins the day!
Spoiler:


"All hail Casiodorus Rex, dragonslayer!"

Originally Posted by fleggett View Post
I really hope the film is revisited on Blu-ray one day and given the special edition treatment it richly deserves.
This.
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Old 09-12-11, 12:14 AM
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Re: Dragonslayer (1981) Appreciation Thread

Originally Posted by KillerCannibal View Post
Vermithrax Pejorative

Coolest dragon name ever?
Yes. Yes it is.

That movie stuck with me as a kid, mostly because not only is the ILM dragon fucking awesome, but it's not a neat and tidy story. They don't save the princess, the wizard doesn't survive and it's not a particularly happy ending. There are real consequences and it was one of the first movies I had seen to do that kind of thing.
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