HAWK THE SLAYER (1980) – On Blu-Ray Now

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Directed by Terry Marcel
Available on Blu-Ray

People live in fear at the hands of the evil Voltan who’s been murdering men, women and children throughout the land. When Sister Abbess is taken from the local monastery and held to ransom for 2000 gold pieces, only one man can save them: Hawk. Courageous Hawk recruits his band of warriors including a giant, elf, dwarf and injured soldier to take on his arch nemesis, his own brother Voltan, who’s not only responsible for the kidnapping of Abbess but also the death of his wife and their father.

Kids fantasy flick HAWK THE SLAYER has finally landed on Blu-Ray and with the announcement of a sequel in the works called Hawk The Hunter, there’s not a better time to check out this cult classic.

Shot in England, HAWK THE SLAYER is essentially a story of good versus evil and for all the kids growing up during the 80’s, the sword fights and battles will surely have pleased the youngsters in a time where fantasy films were few and far between. Whilst HAWK THE SLAYER is no Lord of the Rings and suffers somewhat from a basic plot and budget restrained effects (arrow shooting scenes seem to be repeated often and speeded up for effect), the film offers plenty to enjoy in its own charming way and to 80’s kids, this would have been marvellous. Unfortunately, its not a film that has aged terribly well and kids these days would not appreciate it at all, instead opting for CGI superheroes with about as much charisma as a plastic bag. However, HAWK THE SLAYER is a film with heart and you can certainly see what they were trying to achieve if you embrace the hammy performances.

Jack Palance seems to relish the role of pantomime villain Voltan with his shielded eye and sinister black attire, who’s towering, stiff presence is enough to intimidate anyone. John Terry stars as the handsome Hawk who uses his brain along with his magical sword in an attempt to succeed in exacting revenge and justice against his wicked brother. Even though Hawk is the titular character, it’s his band of warriors that steal the show. Crow (Ray Charleson) is the lightening fast archer elf who’s skills are often on display and paramount to the success of the group in battle. Giant Gort (Bernard Bresslaw) and dwarf Baldin (Peter O’Farrell) provide the comedy with their massive appetites and banter-filled exchanges with each trying to get the biggest piece of the pie or what other edible feast is on offer. Injured warrior Ranulf (William Morgan Sheppard) aids Crow with the use of his crossbow and a blind witch (played by Rocky Horror’s Magenta, Patricia Quinn) leads them on the right path to complete their quest.

Whilst the sets and costumes are enough to help make the magic come alive on screen, there’s another element that will surely dazzle viewers: the score. The score for HAWK THE SLAYER sounds as if it should belong to a 70’s sci-fi movie rather than a sword and sorcery fantasy flick like this, but somehow it suits the film down to the ground and adds a certain charm to the movie. It’s definitely a work of art in itself and reminds me of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds.

Network Distributing have brought HAWK THE SLAYER to Blu-Ray and it’s a terrific high definition transfer from the original 35mm cut negative in its ogirignal theatrical aspect ratio with 2.0 audio. The disc also has special features including the original theatrical trailer, raw textless elements and some fantastic behind-the-scenes, on-set and interview featurettes that will transport you back in time and see what it was like to make the movie in that era. These aren’t short ‘couple of minute’ feaurettes either; they’re quite substantial and worth watching for any film fan!

Simple and cheesy but with mass appeal and an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for many adults, HAWK THE SLAYER is a light-hearted B-movie blast from the past that, despite its weakness in various areas, comes together to form something rather special.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About Bat 8015 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Webbed.

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