Deathstalker 3: The Warriors From Hell (1988)

No-one who looks even close to any of these people appears in the film

No-one who looks even close to any of these people appears in the film

After the second film, a genuinely funny, clever adventure, the producers decided that aiming for a film people might actually enjoy was too much of a risk! What is easy is a normal sword-and-sorcery film with a protagonist who’s sort of funny, a bit. So that’s what we get here, and we fans are left debating if “The Warriors From Hell” will be a title as equally misleading as part 2’s “Duel Of The Titans”.

Deathstalker, the most inappropriately named comedy thief of all time, is lounging about some fayre, off to meet his friend Nicias, a wizard with a strong resemblance to comic legend Alan Moore. Of course, trouble comes in the shape of Carissa, a princess with a magic crystal, the MacGuffin-est of things. The evil Troxartas, who apparently controls the entire continent they’re on, has the other magic crystal, and if they’re re-united then blah blah blah.

Deathstalker makes the comment “what is it about me and princesses?” which allows us to speculate. At the end of the last film, it looked like he was going to marry the fabulously wealthy Princess Evie (and he had his choice of many beautiful ladies after the first film too); I just think it’s easier to think of Deathstalker as being a James Bond-style title with no real continuity between the films, and part 3’s hero was referring to some other princesses. Or something. Who cares?

Even with henchmen as truly rubbish as the ones in this film are, Carissa is killed and Deathstalker decides to go and reunite the crystals and gain access to a city made of gold. In a filmmaking decision that makes absolutely no sense, he then encounters Carissa’s twin sister, Elizena, on her way to marry…Troxartas! It must be true about power being an aphrodisiac, because he not only has princesses offering themselves up in marriage, but a stunningly beautiful assistant / lover in Camisarde (Terri Treas), and he looks like every stereotype from Nazi literature of the evil Jewish usurer. Ol’ Trox hears DS’s name for the first time and goes “Deathstalker…I thought he was a myth?” which probably indicates he’s from a different universe to the guy who married the Princess and saved the world in previous movies.

Deathstalker 3 (2)

DS is helped by a woman (before he betrays her trust and has sex with her daughter, but she doesn’t know that) who tells him “you’ll be safe in this valley, don’t ride out tonight, wait til the morning”. They’re attacked in the morning by Trox’s troops and it doesn’t seem to be a trap either…anyway, Trox reanimates the corpses of 5 dead super-warriors and sends them after DS (hence the title, so it fits!), but DS makes a deal with them to free their souls, and everything congregates inside Trox’s castle – heroes, villains, undead warriors, sexy assistants, sexy farmer’s daughters, rebellious villagers and all.

I read that John Terlesky and John Lazar rehearsed for 2 weeks for their climactic swordfight in part 2. I’d be surprised if John Allen Nelson (DS) and Thom Christopher (Trox) rehearsed for 2 minutes for their swordfight in this – it’s slow, boring and clumsy, and there are ample opportunities, when Trox has a free arm with a sword in it but doesn’t use it to kill DS, where you can guess they were just pushed out there and told to improvise. It’s all a bit half-arsed, to be honest.

It’s not terrible, though. The evil assistant, after her boss / lover is killed, reveals she quite fancies Alan Moore the wizard, and his look to camera is funny – and not all DS’s lines are crap. But it’s a very pale imitation of its predecessor, and the air of pointlessness hangs over all proceedings. Still, part 4 has the DS from part 1 back to play the character, which might prove to be interesting. I wonder if anyone will make a “you looked weird for a few years back then” joke in it?

Rating: thumbs down