Inspired by the learned Doctor Noisewater's post on "Shitty Miracles", I have decided to put up a post about one of my favorite "so bad it's good" movies... not quite a shitty miracle, but a glorious hunk of pure cheese.
I was introduced to the movie Hawk the Slayer by Chuck of Tuck, a classmate of my older brother Sweetums. Chuck was a fixture at our house, one of the rotating cast of characters who would drop in regularly in the sitcom of our family life. Like most of our family friends, he was a goofy brainiac who reveled in nerdy pursuits. To give a perfect example of Chuck's personality, he was a big "Smurfs" fan while in high school- one day, he was watching T.V. and his father paused to ask him what he was watching:
"Charlie, what are you watching?"
"The Smurfs and the Magic Flute."
"The Magic Flute? It's nice to know you're getting some culture."
Anyway, one day, my siblings and I were hanging out at Chez Chuck, and he introduced us to the incredibly cheddarific Hawk the Slayer, a wonderfully daft movie starring a scenery devouring Jack Palance as a Darth Vader knockoff, complete with a similar helmet and an all-black ensemble... come to think of it, the hero is a knockoff Jedi Knight. I like to think of Hawk the Slayer as a low-budget, ham-fisted take on The Lord of the Rings. Indeed, I view Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" movies not as a bad version of the Good Professor's novel (I wasn't a fan of the movies, finding them to, as the professor would put it, "seem fair but feel foul"... I mean, WTF, Jerky Jackson? Why would you give Gandalf's best line to fucking Wormtongue?) but as an overlong, bloated remake of Hawk the Slayer.
I actually prefer Hawk the Slayer to Jackson's "LotR"- it handles the "dwarf as comic relief" trope better and it doesn't have long, draggy stretches. Here is the film in all of its cack-handed glory. Watch it and bask in its handling of genre staples- it has an elf who is a bionic Vulcan, a fully automatic super crossbow, a hero who has a cheesy little "flute" intro every time he appears on screen (of course, this is super cheesy unless Ennio Morricone is providing the music), a loathesome hunchback slave trader who gets his comeuppance in spectacular fashion, the Rocky Horror Picture Show's Magenta playing a "strega ex machina", a plastic-y looking drop bear in a cheeseball haunted forest, and did I mention that the "comic relief" dwarf is actually funny? Plus, it has the great line, "The Iron Hills are no more." Whoa, an entire range of hills is gone? Did they get creamed by an asteroid? Did they fall victim to mountaintop removal mining?
Enough of my yapping, do yourselves a favor and bask, bask in the glory that is Hawk the Slayer:
As you can tell from the end of the movie, there was a setup for a sequel, which sadly never materialized. There is a proposed sequel that seems to be languishing in development hell, but we'll see if it ever materializes. They should bring back the surviving cast members of the first film and do a film called Hawk the Elder.