THE DUNGEONMASTER (aka RAGEWAR) - Paul, a young computer ace, is forced to pit his physical and mental skills against unimaginable odds when a hulking wizard looking for formidable opponents picks Paul as his next challenger. Paul faces a series of seven spectacular and death-defying challenges and must survive not only to save his life but that of his girlfriend's too! Jeffrey Byron (Metalstorm: The Destruction Of Jared-Syn) and Richard Moll (Night Court) star in this eye-popping thriller featuring an appearance by W.A.S.P.! Unrated Version.
This version of THE DUNGEONMASTER is Unrated and different from the PG-13 version shown theatrically. It includes an additional scene with some nudity. Parental Discretion is advised.
ELIMINATORS - A mandroid – part man and part machine – seeks revenge on the evil scientist who created him. Enlisting the help of a beautiful woman and a mysterious ninja, he pursues the scientist in hopes of stopping him before he can be further harm to humanity. Andrew Prine (The Town That Dreaded Sundown) and Denise Crosby (Star Trek: The Next Generation) star. NEW High-Definition Transfer.
'The Dungeonmaster' has the unique privilege of being remembered as a collaboration between seven different directors, each with their own distinctive style, but the end product is not technically an anthology, a collection of unrelated, selected stories. Instead, it follows a single, straightforward storyline concocted by eight writers, where most of those same scribes also direct their particular contribution to the larger whole, which is a bonkers tale about a computer programmer challenged by a demonic sorcerer searching for an opponent to play seven games. And it's perhaps the only production to have ever done this with some relative success. The spy comedy bomb 'Casino Royale' arguably comes close, but really, that's a wildly disjointed debacle. On the other hand, this low-budget sci-fi fantasy actioner is surprisingly coherent, yet still wildly inventive and whimsical. Although somewhat hindered by the cheap special visual effects and makeup, the movie is forgiven for its bizarre plot, corny but quotable dialogue and for fully embracing its hilariously daffy premise.
For cult film enthusiasts, this 1984 B-movie is also worth remembering and enjoying — as well as for a number of other reasons — when reading the names attached to the project. David Allen is a legend in the world of stop-motion animation, best known for his work on '*batteries not included,' the 'Subspecies' and 'Puppet Master' movies, and many others. Special effects and makeup artist John Carl Buechler ('Troll,' 'Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood') wrote and directed the "Demons of the Dead" segment while the brains behind the 'Subspecies' series Ted Nicolaou envisioned a rowdy, gonzo apocalypse chase sequence. Future founder of Full Moon Pictures and legendary filmmaker of some of the zaniest independent horror features Charles Band hatched the curiously outlandish "Heavy Metal" in which the band W.A.S.P. makes an uproariously memorable appearance. Arguably, the most surprising name on the roster is Steven Ford, son of former U.S. President John Ford, helming the short crime thriller piece that's also one of the movie's better parts.
Of all the seven games in 'The Dungeonmaster,' Ford's segment is really the only time there ever was any sense of danger or peril for either of the two protagonists, played by Jeffrey Byron and Leslie Wing. Back home, Byron's Paul is an inventor of a somewhat primitive AI program called "X-CaliBR8," which when pronounced as it's spelled, sounds a lot like some futuristic, digitized fantasy of Excalibur. Wing's aerobics instructor and aspiring dancer Gwen feels threatened by Paul's creation, which computes in a soft feminine voice nearly every decision and aspect of his life, including the probability of a successful marriage to Gwen. And just when their relationship couldn't possibly grow any weirder and awkward, Richard Moll as the maleficent wizard — as in, the male version of the celebrated Disney character — Mestema kidnaps the couple and coerces Paul to play a series of games where Gwen's life is always under threat. Of course, the quasi-tournaments are always in Paul's favor, but it nonetheless makes for a fun watch, especially for Moll's performance. (Movie Rating: 3/5)
A loudmouth mercenary, an attractive scientist, a lethal ninja and a half-man/half-machine robot known as a "mandroid" walk into a bar one day. That may sound like the start of a terribly corny joke told by your unfunny but boisterous uncle over a family dinner, but it's actually the premise to one of the most deliciously godawful yet wildly entertaining movies ever made. 'Eliminators' amazingly balances its cornucopia of badness with a bounty of unintentionally hilarious action sequences, thanks to a well-paced, tightly-structured script by Paul De Meo and Danny Bilson, the same team that concocted cult favorite 'Trancers' but a decade later, introduced moviegoers to the eventually appreciated 'The Rocketeer.' In this treasure trove of wonderful silliness, the plot features the four aforementioned characters joining forces and traveling to a specific location where they inevitably will rejoice their accomplishments while figuratively high-fiving each other. The final image is literally of them laughing for defeating the bad guy in a gut-busting freeze-frame that slowly fades to credits.
Except, the specific location is not a bar deep in the Amazon where this goofy story is set, though frankly, it might as well be considering how it ends. No, this motley foursome is on a vengeance killing spree headed towards a militia-run compound where an evil scientist (Roy Dotrice chewing up the scenery) has apparently been conducting immoral experiments in android technology. But oddly, only two in the team have been directly wounded by the scientist, starting with the cyborg called "Mandroid" (a steely serious Patrick Reynolds), who wasn't given a choice in becoming the thing he is and suffers from flashbacks of his former human life. The near supernatural-like ninja Kuji (a sullenly glaring Conan Lee) joins the group because his father (Tad Horino) was earlier seen in the prologue killed by the scientist's henchmen. On the other hand, the pretty and more ethically-driven scientist Col. Nora Hunter (an affable Denise Crosby) is simply offended by the experiments while the boastful riverboat captain (a somewhat amusing Andrew Prine) tags along just for fun.
As one might guess, the sole purpose of Prine's smuggler-for-hire Harry Fontana — just the name alone oozes in gobs of cheese — is to provide comic relief with his sardonic banter and devil-may-care swagger. And for the most part, he delivers, earning himself just as many chuckles as eye-rolling, head-shaking stumpers. However, some of the funnier moments in 'Eliminators' are more unintended and unexpected happy accidents, such as a shirtless background extra during a shootout waving his arms in the air and pretending to be shot though clearly showing evidence to the contrary. "Mandroid" has the ability to travel in a bizarre contraption that moves on a caterpillar track, but every time he straps himself for action, the darn thing either breaks down or conveniently taken out of commission by a random bullet. Funnier still is learning the evil scientist's true intentions behind his many experiments, which includes a time machine, somehow relating back to his fascination with Roman centurion armor, making this B-grade shlock a surprisingly fun watch. (Movie Rating: 3/5)
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Shout! Factory brings 'The Dungeonmaster/Eliminators' to Blu-ray as a double-feature single-disc release under the distributor's Scream Factory line. The Region A locked, BD50 disc containing both films is housed inside a regular blue case. At startup, the disc goes to an animated screen with music where viewers can choose between the two movies.
For its time and low-budget origins, the sci-fi fantasy flick looks pretty fantastic on Blu-ray, sure to enchant worthy opponents with a very pleasing AVC-encoded transfer. The source appears to have aged very well, showing excellent definition and resolution with only a couple instances of white specks. From the retro-looking medieval costumes and individual hairs to the imaginative sets and the surrounding foliage, the 1.78:1 image is sharp and detailed for a majority of the runtime. Flesh tones are healthy and revealing while contrast and brightness are very well-balanced, providing clean, crisp whites and strong blacks with good shadow delineation. The color palette benefits the most, showing richly-saturated primaries and accurate secondary hues. Of course, a few sequences are less than satisfying and poorly resolved, but with a welcomed thin layer of grain visible from beginning to end, the overall high-def presentation is a pleasant surprise. (Movie Rating: 4/5)
The totally gonzo sci-fi actioner fails to eliminate anyone with a strong but nonetheless average looking AVC encode. In general, the video is surely an improvement over previous releases, but the quality is pretty inconsistent, showing excellent clarity and definition in many moments while looking badly aged and poorly resolved in several others. Fine lines and objects are nicely detailed with great texture in faces, but there are times when the picture turns blurry and noticeably drab with vertical lines, white specks and minor scratches. The worst moments are those with the outdated and cheap visual effects, of which there are many. Contrast is rather ordinary and second-rate, making the whole presentation dull and flat. Thankfully, this doesn't affect whites too badly or nighttime sequences where shadow details remain visible, and black levels are passable yet could be a tad darker. Colors have a nice pop to them, especially reds, and an attractive thin layer of grain washes over the 1.78:1 image. (Movie Rating: 3/5)
The perilous games are played with a very pleasing and enjoyable DTS-HD MA mono soundtrack that exceeds expectations but still comes with its share of minor artifacts worth noting. On the positive side, dialogue reproduction is clean and intelligible although vocals sometimes seem distant and detached from the on-screen action. Although technically limited to the center, imaging comes with an excellent sense of presence, creating a broad and expansive soundstage that delivers lots of distinct and easy to hear background activity. Low bass is surprisingly weighty and responsive without also feeling artificial and exaggerated, and dynamic range is, for the most part, clean and detailed with appreciable clarity in the mids. Sadly, the lossless mix exhibits a few instances of noise and hissing in some spots while the loudest segments with action plainly reveal audible distortion in the higher frequencies, but in general, fans should be pleased with the outcome. (Movie Rating: 3/5)
Sadly, things don't improve much in the audio department, but like the motley crew of vengeance seekers, it gets the job done, even if more by chance than intention. On the positive side, vocals are very well-prioritized so that fans can enjoy every ridiculous moment and laughably corny dialogue. Although contained to the center of the screen, the presentation has its moments of appreciable depth and presence with some mildly amusing background activity. Low bass is somewhat sporadic, mostly reserved for explosions while the rest of the action unfortunately seems lackluster, which is unfortunate but also to be expected from a low-budget production of this period. Imaging is also largely even and uniform with a mid-range that mostly feels limited, exposing hints of distortion and noise during the loudest, action-packed segments. Still, it's a fun and easy enough listen for fans. (Movie Rating: 3/5)
'The Dungeonmaster' is a nutty sci-fi fantasy flick that features a kidnapped computer programmer and his aerobics instructor girlfriend forced to play a series of deadly games for the amusement of Richard Moll's maleficent sorcerer. This low-budget production is partnered with the hilariously entertaining 'Eliminators,' a gonzo sci-fi actioner that follows a motley foursome set to stop an evil scientist. Both pieces of wildly amusing shlock arrive with strong audio and video presentations on Blu-ray, but the lack of bonus material will have thinking twice on a purchase. Still, for cult enthusiasts and collectors, the double-feature package is worth the admission price.