Ricky Hanson Video: The Beastmaster 1982
The Beastmaster is a 1982 sword and sorcery film directed by Don Coscarelli and starring Marc Singer, Tanya Roberts, John Amos and Rip Torn. Loosely based on the 1959 novel The Beast Master by Andre Norton, the film is about a man who can communicate with animals, and who fights an evil wizard and his army.
Commercially, The Beastmaster was not considered a box office success during its original cinematic run, but later received extensive television exposure and success on cable in the American market on channels TBS, TNT, and HBO. The original film spawned two sequels as well as a syndicated television series that chronicled the further adventures of Dar.
In the kingdom of Aruk, witches tell high priest Maax [/ˈmeɪ.æks/ MAY-aks] a prophecy that he will die at the hands of King Zed’s unborn son. Maax sends one of his witches to kidnap and kill the child, but before she can, a villager rescues the child and raises him as his own son in the village of Emur. Named Dar, the child learns how to fight and develops his ability to telepathically communicate with animals. Years later, a fully grown Dar witnesses his people being slaughtered by the Juns, a horde of fanatic barbarians allied with Maax. Dar, the only survivor of the attack, journeys to Aruk to avenge his people. In time, Dar is joined by a golden eagle he names Sharak, a pair of thieving ferrets he names Kodo and Podo, and a black tiger he names Ruh.
Dar meets a slave girl called Kiri before getting himself lost and ending up surrounded by an eerie half-bird, half-human race who externally dissolve their prey for nourishment. As the bird-men worship eagles, they spare Dar when he summons Sharak and give him an amulet. Dar soon arrives at Aruk where Maax had assumed total control with the Juns’ support. Maax has taken the children of the townspeople and is sacrificing them to his god, Ar. After having Sharak save the child of a townsman named Sacco, Dar learns that Kiri is to be sacrificed. On his way to save her, Dar is joined by Zed’s younger son Tal and his bodyguard Seth, and learns that Kiri is Zed’s niece as the three work to save her. While Seth gathers their forces, Dar helps Kiri and Tal infiltrate the temple and rescue King Zed.
An obstinate Zed leads his forces to attack the city, despite the prudent warnings of Dar, who leaves the group in anger. They all are easily defeated and captured, and Dar decides to return to save them from being sacrificed. In the conflict that follows, Maax reveals Dar’s relationship to Zed before slitting Zed’s throat and facing the Beastmaster. Despite being stabbed, Maax is revived by a witch and, when he attempts to kill Dar, Kodo sacrifices himself to cause the high priest to fall into the sacrificial flames. The victory is short-lived as the Jun horde approaches Aruk, arriving by nightfall to face the trap Dar and the people set for them. Tal is wounded as Dar succeeds in burning most of the Juns alive while defeating their chieftain before the bird-men arrive to consume those remaining. The following day, Seth invites Dar to be the new king, but Dar explains that Tal would make a better king, and he leaves Aruk. Dar sets off into the wild with Kiri, Ruh, Sharak and Podo, who has given birth to two baby ferrets.