The Dungeonmaster (1984)
Charles Band’s attempt to cash in on the Dungeons & Dungeons craze is, well, crazed. Big computer dork Paul Bradford (Jeffrey Byron, Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn) somehow gets warped into the underworld, where he must save his girlfriend (Leslie Wing, The Frighteners) by doing battle with Satan, logically played by Bull from TV’s Night Court (Richard Moll).
To win, Paul must emerge victorious in Satan’s seven challenges; each of the septet of segments is helmed by a different director, including Band, Ted Nicolaou (TerrorVision), John Carl Buechler (Troll) and stop-motion wizard David Allen (Puppet Master II).
Thus, Paul does battle with the following:
1. desert warriors;
2. a cave gnome;
3. mute midgets;
4. a stone creature;
5. frozen people;
6. a slasher; and
7. a horned demon puppet named Ratspit.
Unfortunately, there’s no suspense generated by these skirmishes, because all Paul has to do is punch a button or two on his computer wristband capable of emitting a laser, thereby taking care of anything and everything. Through it all, he spouts nerdy dialogue like, “I reject your reality and I substitute my own!” Them’s fightin’ words.
A hair over one hour long, The Dungeonmaster is a prime example of Band’s Empire Pictures catalog. Everything in the movie — the haircuts, the fashions, the effects, the art direction (but primarily the appearance of hair-metal band W.A.S.P.) — screams, “I am from the ’80s!” This is not a bad thing. In fact, I’m dying for a DVD. —Rod Lott