Due to popular demand and a good convo in features last night on old Sci-fi and Fantasy films, I've decided to bring back FFS on a movie kinda controversial in geek circles. There are arguments on this film's quality that doesn't quit, but imho it deserves its place among the annals of good movies of the genre and era, so it makes my FFS list. I'm talking about Krull:
As the spinning Glaive (known in this movie only as "the Glaive") flies across the screen amidst an outer-space backdrop, we're introduced to our movie by title. A giant asteroid approaches a grey planet illuminated by twin suns. Although there's something artificial about it. The rocks look more like spires. Sure enough, it seems to be some kind of spaceship, and slows down to root itself into the ground on-planet.
Cue the voice of Ynyr the Old One (Freddie Jones), who also acts as our narrator. Ynyr informs us that many planets have been conquered by "the Beast" and the army he commands, known as "the Slayers". The asteroid ship is the Beast's fortress, and the Beast's only goal is (surprise) to rule all civilization and thus, the entire universe itself!
However, Ynyr goes on to explain he was also led to know that a woman of ancient name would marry a great warrior king in the world of Krull, and their son would come to rule the planet, and then the universe...
On planet Krull, we see a short montage of Slayers (dark-armored guys looking like a mix between medieval knights and Boba Fett) marching from village to dell, wreaking havoc on all who cross their path. Then, a beautiful castle on the plains, where we meet Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony), peeking over a high balcony.
Lyssa is the daughter of King Eirig, who in turn agreed to a pact with rival King Turlord: that with the arrival of the Beast and his army of Slayers, their two kingdoms would be ill-advised to remain at odds. An alliance is imperative, and in order to seal the deal, Eirig's daughter would marry Turlord's son, Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall).
Actually, Eirig isn't even the one forcing the marriage on Lyssa. He'd be fine enough with a simple treaty. Fortunately, Lyssa and Colwyn are madly in love, and have no problem whatsoever in solidifying an alliance through uniting their royal families. So that night, at dusk, a marriage ceremony commences, complete with soldiers stamping their weapons and Lyssa picking up fire with her bare hands to bestow upon her new man.
But wait! Danger approaches as Ynyr sits outside the castle watching a large group of Slayers move in. They crash the wedding, and swords start clanging. Unfortunately, since the Slayers are technically from outer space, they're not like normal knights. Their weapons shoot laser beams, and defeating one means a bright display of laser light, accompanied by a screeching noise and whatever slimy bug is inside controlling the body, crawling out and into the ground.
The Slayers win this time, killing nearly all the guests, including both Kings Eirig and Turlord. Princess Lyssa was being escorted to safety by some guards, but they too were killed and Lyssa is taken on horseback by the Slayers before Colwyn gets knocked out cold.
The next morning, Colwyn awakes to Ynyr trying to revive him. With the castle destroyed and Lyssa gone, Colwyn now looks to Ynyr and his vast wisdom to guide and discipline him. First, in order to ensure the Beast may be vanquished, they must retrieve the Glaive.
A great weapon and symbol of righteousness from lifetimes past, the Glaive can only be wielded by one of pure heart and all that bullshit. Fortunately, it seems to be kept inside a mountain like right by the two, so Colwyn climbs up and into a cave where it floats like a little starfish inside a molten lava pool.
Meanwhile, Lyssa is trapped within the Black Fortress, which seems to hold a huge likeness of the Beast where all rooms and hallways are located. As she looks out of a room designed as the Beast's eye, his voice booms forth, explaining he will be the King that Lyssa chooses to marry... Oh noes!!
Now that Colwyn has his weapon, Ynyr informs him it's time to locate Krull's most powerful elder and wizard, the Seer. But suddenly a beam of light flies by, and we meet Ergo, a bumbling amateur in the art of magic. This guy had potential, but unfortunately is only there for comic relief and an opportunity to show off special effects, seeing as how he's almost never of any help in the least in this storyline. Either way, after managing to turn himself into a duck, he tries to separate from the others, only to come face to face with a cyclops. Running off, he hops on Colwyn's horse and now they have a party of three.
We then see the Black Fortress disappear and then reappear in a different location, from a hazy plain to a wintry mountain scene. Like Ynyr stated, the Beast's lair has the advantage of relocating every day at sunrise. Inside, Lyssa is spoken to again by the Beast, who tries to seduce her with images of the crown she would wear if she chooses him as her new man!
Colwyn's party goes on, and meets up with a group of rugged bandits (including Liam Neeson in an early role). Since only the jailer and the King have the keys to their shackles, their leader, Torquil, believes him when he says he may be the only hope for Krull and that with their help, they can prevent their entire planet from falling to the Beast. Now they move on as a team, and Ergo faints when he sees that Cyclops again.
Ynyr explains that the Cyclops was only trying to kill a shadowing Slayer, as his people have a long, hard history with the creatures. At one time all Cyclops had two eyes and lived on a planet far from Krull. When they encountered the Beast they made a deal involving losing an eye for the ability to see into the future. But, having been cheated, the only future they ended up seeing was the day of their death. Needless to say, it's been rough living ever since.
So the four main heroes travel into the forest, where a magical barrier separates the Seer's hideaway from the world. Using a floating emerald, they attempt to find out where the Black Fortress lies, but the Beast smashes away the image. The Seer tells the group there is only one place where the Beast can't oppose his magical sight, but to do that, the party must escort him and his child assistant Titch into the Great Swamp.
And they're not far into it before Slayers show up. A fight ensues, with the skirmish won out by the Cyclops, who came to aid the Seer and his new-found companions on their journey. Once again, a new addition to the party is made, as well as a new trap set by the Beast. Quicksand suddenly grabs a hold of one of the bandits, and while the aid of all men is needed to help out, the Beast shows up as a doppelganger of the blind Seer and takes his place on a rock.
With a member of the party dead, the Beast (through Seer's form) tries to lure Colwyn away in order to kill him, but is destroyed by the Cyclops' spear - since the new companion saw the sand spit out the real body of the Seer. Now the party is at a standstill, until Ynyr reluctantly claims only one being remains who can help them - the Widow of the Web. She is a witch known by all to be mysterious and a killer of all who enter her lair... but Ynyr claims he knows her from back in the day, before she turned. He may be able to enlist her aid in Krull's darkest hour.
While he sets off alone, the rest of the party veers off to meet up with a few of the bandits' wives in a nearby village. As they eat and re-stock, Colwyn is approached by a beautiful woman who attempts to seduce him. According to the wives, she simply showed up earlier, ousted from a destroyed village. But, as Colwyn is firm in his devotion only to Lyssa, he rebuffs her advances.
And this is just what angers the Beast! Appearing in Colwyn's form to Alyssa, he attempts to convince her her Prince will fail her and proceeds to show the embrace between Colwyn and the woman, who turns out to be a minion of his. Yet thanks to Colwyn's denial, the Beast destroys the minion with a wave of his hand.
Meanwhile, at the Widow's Web, Ynyr tiptoes across massive strings of spider silk, which give off a tinkling sound that attracts a huge, transparent-white arachnid. Though seeing as how Ynyr is no ordinary traveler, he calls out the Widow's name, and the decrepit old hag allows him time to reach the illuminated core of the web via magical hourglass.
The story of the Widow turns out to be a sad one. Ynyr and she were once an item, in love but separated thanks to his personal ambitions. He left her pregnant, and instead of calling him back with the news, she killed her baby out of hatred for him. As a result, she now lives as an old, feeble crow in the middle of the giant spider's web - yet with Ynyr's assurance he holds no resentment for her, she is finally able to see herself as beautiful for the first time in decades.
The Widow tells Ynyr where the Black Fortress will rise next, and, using the last of her powers, she gives her life in return for the mission by gifting Ynyr with her life-sands from the hourglass. With these sands, Ynyr is able to escape the web and the giant spider, who ends up killing the Widow. And alas, the sands slip through his hands just as he reaches the party's encampment, and so Ynyr's life comes to an end after giving the information on the Fortress's location.
As the Widow stated, the Black Fortress disappears from the snow mountain and re-materializes in the Iron Desert. Colwyn and the gang decide to take fire-mares as a quick ride to the Desert, leaving the Cyclops behind - they figure this must be the point he has foreseen as his place to die.
The fire-mares are so dumb I'm not even showing a picture. That's right, they're nothing but regular horses with some fire animation under their hooves. We get it, they're faster than the average horse. And we get some chroma-key screens of landscapes with our mare-riding heroes in the foreground for a good 5 minutes.
Anyway, by the time the party reaches the Black Fortress, it's apparently been almost a day already! In fact, you can tell sunrise is just moments away. The group begins climbing the spires of the Fortress, and Slayers emerge from sliding rock walls to shoot their beam weapons, killing another one of the bandits. But Colwyn inevitably manages to overpower a Slayer after the Cyclops appears suddenly to help the group! As Slayers start to retreat into the Fortress cuz of its time to shift locations, the party makes it inside before the thing warps into a verdant field.
Unfortunately, the Cyclops dies in a closing door, and Liam Neeson bites it as well. Then Ergo and Titch are separated from the rest - but for once, Ergo's magic works out and he becomes a tiger! He destroys pursuing Slayers, saving himself and the boy.
But the remaining bandits aren't doing so well. Also separated, a booby trap pins them in place. It's now up to Colwyn alone to take out the Beast and save his friends. He finds Lyssa quickly, and uses the Glaive to open a wall and get her out. Slayers then file in, and Colwyn uses the Glaive as a sharp boomerang to wipe them out three at a time... yes, things that could've been of use had he whipped that thing out EARLIER.
But whatever. The Beast finally makes his appearance, and all it takes is for Colwyn to throw and the Glaive takes him out. Really? No! The Beast gets up again, and Lyssa tells Colwyn it's their undying love that can be used to thwart the creature. Finishing their vows from their wedding ceremony, Lyssa produces fire that Colwyn uses to throw at the Beast, taking him out permanently. Urrghh...
So now the whole place is crumbling down, as everything does when you kill off the main boss, for some reason. Our heroes manage to make it to an outer wall, where Colwyn uses the Glaive to open a hole for the party to escape. As they watch, the remains of the Black Fortress get sucked up into the sky, Ynyr's voice repeats what he squawked before the story began, and it's:
Krull (c) 1983 Columbia Pictures Corp.