Back in the 1980’s, every studio in town was chasing the success of Star Wars by releasing their own sci-fi epics. In the meantime, Conan the Barbarian brought the fantasy genre back to the mainstream, and if you put Star Wars and Conan The Barbarian together, you might get something like 1983’s Krull.
A pricey epic from Columbia Pictures, this fantasy flick was directed by Peter Yates, and starred Ken Marshall as the swashbuckling hero Colwyn, a handsome prince armed with a sword and something even cooler – a mystical weapon called The Glaive. He embarks on a quest to save his beloved (a dubbed Lysette Anthony) with a merry band of thieves (including a young Liam Neeson) from a terrifying beast. The score by James Horner should have been enough to make this a classic, but it crashed and burned at the box office.
On an estimated $27-30 million budget, the film only managed to gross $16 million. It didn’t help that the mostly British cast was filled with unknowns. Lead Ken Marshall had played Marco Polo on TV, but was otherwise unknown. Probably the most recognizable face in the cast was Freddie Jones, who’d at least been in movies like The Elephant Man. For some bizarre reason, Columbia opted to release it in the wake of Return of the Jedi, which made very little sense all things considered. It fared a lot better on home video and HBO, where it became a staple for children of the eighties, and to this day its something of a cult hit (we previously covered it on The Best Movie You Never Saw). So grab your Glaive and let’s revisit the mystical land of KRULL!
Fantasizing About Fantasy Films is written and narrated by Jessica Dwyer, and edited by Bill Mazzola. Each episode takes a deep dive into the world of 1980’s fantasy epics. Check out some of our previous episodes below: