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June 21, 2024 96 mins

In this episode of Weirdhouse Cinema, Rob and Joe return to the glorious world of 80s Charles Band productions with 1984’s “The Dungeonmaster,” a supernatural dreamscape with eight directors starring Jeffrey Byron, Richard Moll and Leslie Wing. It’s time to reject the devil’s reality and substitute your own! 

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Stuff to Blow Your Mind, a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:13):
Hey you welcome to Weird House Cinema.

Speaker 3 (00:15):
This is Rob Lamb and this is Joe McCormick. And Hey,
we're back from our break with a brand new episode
of Weird House Cinema. Today we're going to be talking
about the nineteen eighty four sci fi fantasy action anthology
film The Dungeon Master aka Rage War aka the Charles Band.

Speaker 2 (00:37):
Sampler platter, that's right, and I think sampler platter is key. Okay,
I'll come back to this time and time again, but
this movie really does feel like they are saying, Hey,
what can what does Charles Band have to offer to you?
Are you thinking of financing a load of mid budget
genre film? Consider all that Empire Pictures has to.

Speaker 3 (00:56):
Offer exactly, consider all the props in costumes we already have.

Speaker 2 (01:01):
Yeah you need some desert apocalypse vehicles, we got them.
Yeah you need some Gromlins, Oh we got gromlins.

Speaker 3 (01:08):
Oh my god, this movie has great gromlins. Now. I
wonder if you were able to find out the answer
to this, are the gromlins in this film also leftovers?
The same way the Metal Storm props are reused or
is it were these original monsters, Like did John Carl
Beechler make original monsters?

Speaker 2 (01:27):
I don't know for certain on this, but I suspect
Beekler created something custom here. I feel like Beechler's segment
he is one of the he's one of the special
effects guys in general for this picture, but also he
wrote and directed one of the segments. I get the
impression that he put a lot of energy into this,
and I think these are this is a fresh Gromlin

(01:48):
that we have.

Speaker 3 (01:50):
So this movie is sometimes build as an anthology film,
and I think that is correct in a sense, but
it could also be misleading because when you think of
an anthology film, usually you think of like three to
five self contained stories that each sort of have a beginning, middle,

(02:11):
and end, and they are chained together by some kind
of framing narrative. This is not like that. Instead, this
is chaining together something like seven different roughly five minute
little things in the movie they referred to as challenges.
So the main premise here is that there is a
man played by Jeffrey Byron who is so good at

(02:33):
computers that the devil or some wizard that seems to
be somewhat equivalent to the Devil says I'm going to
challenge you to a series of contests, and each of
these contests is by a different director affiliated with the
Charles Band Cinematic Universe.

Speaker 2 (02:50):
It would kind of be like, and now that I
think about this potential comparison, I really like this idea
and I kind of hope someone does it. It's like
if you did a film The Labors of Hercule, and
each labor was a segment directed by a different director,
written and directed by a different filmmaker, and at the
end you had like a complete film. But it's also

(03:12):
less than that because it's you can't really take each
individual challenge or segment out of this movie and enjoy
it on its own. For the most part, Icaus you
sort of can, but like they're not really self contained units,
and even as a whole, they don't necessarily build much
one to the other. In fact, different cuts of the

(03:34):
film have included them in different orders and it doesn't
really matter.

Speaker 3 (03:38):
Yeah. Yeah, this movie, also, I will say, has big
written by a thirteen year old boy.

Speaker 2 (03:45):
Energy it does, which is one of its charms. It's
like there is an there's an innocence to it in
that regard, and it has this in common with a
number I think of these sort of Charles Band produced
pictures from this time period.

Speaker 3 (03:59):
Yeah, so that's very much true. It has the sort
of desires and sensibilities of like a thirteen year old
Nintendo addict. But also it is a really fun movie.

Speaker 2 (04:09):
Yeah. Absolutely, It's a terrifically fun film, full of goofy moments,
ambitious special effects on a budget and a time constraint.
I want to say, I want to say that this
was all shot in like five weeks or something, you know,
that makes sense, and it mostly good natured charm for
the you know, on the whole. It's it's also a
place where you have a lot of first time directors

(04:31):
really going at it, guys who would continue to grow
up in the Charles Band Empire pictures Full Moon Universe,
and here they are like hitting the ground running, you know,
doing the best they can. Again with limited resources, limited time,
and having to work with the constraints of this picture.
I will say, you know, again, very disjointed, challenge segments

(04:54):
that don't necessarily build one to the next. But at
the same time, this film takes place almost entirely within
the dreamscape, and therefore it's almost kind of fitting that
there is this. There's sometimes a feeling of like weird
repetition that things don't make a lot of sense. There's
a lot of dream logic, either intentional or unintentional.

Speaker 3 (05:16):
The solution to most of the challenges is the same,
and it's not a very interesting one.

Speaker 2 (05:22):
Yeah, Like, imagine if you were a dungeon master, as
the title suggests, and the solution to all the puzzles
who gave your players was blasted in the gym with
a laser you know that would do.

Speaker 3 (05:35):
A little do a little beat boop on your computer
and then it shoots a laser that was it.

Speaker 2 (05:40):
Was the seven more times than you got it.

Speaker 3 (05:43):
I think this movie should also be taken as a
tribute to long suffering girlfriends everywhere. You know, they love
their dude even though he's somewhat irritating and gets them
into insanely unappealing situations, like Jeffrey Byron, this is the
third time this week that your relationship with an artificial
computer woman has gotten me kidnapped by the devil.

Speaker 2 (06:05):
Absolutely well, that kind of leads nicely to my elevator
pitch for this is Ladies and gentlemen. The following contest
is a seven round competition for the dominance of reality.
In the Black Tides, representing magic and immortality, it's Mestima
the Devil. In the red Shorts, the very short red
running shorts, we have Paul Bradford representing computers and the

(06:28):
teachings of Wayne Dyer and girlfriend having so ring the bell.

Speaker 3 (06:34):
Oh man, I'm ringing it. If you can't hear, I'm
ringing it.

Speaker 2 (06:39):
All right. Let's you know, we don't have to promote
the film. Let's let the trailer audio promote the film
a little bit. I don't know if we'll run the
whole thing. This one repeats itself a little bit, but
let's have a taste.

Speaker 4 (07:00):
He is a warrior in a wasteland without mercy. He
has survived where countless others have died. He has destroyed
all that would kill. He is the only one who
can face the challenges of.

Speaker 3 (07:22):
The Dungeon Master.

Speaker 4 (07:28):
You are a worthy of Doonet.

Speaker 2 (07:34):
Bring the Dark.

Speaker 3 (07:38):
The Excalibrate.

Speaker 4 (07:42):
A warrior trapped in a timeless void, locked in mortal
combat against the Overlord, to the agonies of strange beasts
and lost souls prepare for the end. The Dungeon Master
rated PG.

Speaker 3 (07:59):
Thirty.

Speaker 2 (08:03):
All right, So the Dungeon Master. One word, how do
you find it? How do you watch it for yourself?
If you would like to? Well, For physical media enthusiasts,
I highly recommend the excellent Aero Video Blu ray release
from I Believe twenty twenty three, if you can find it.
I rented it from Atlanta's own video drome, but it
seems like it's harder to get a hold of right now.

(08:24):
I don't know if it's out of print or it's
like there's some sort of rights thing or what have you,
but I couldn't find a place where you could actually
buy it.

Speaker 3 (08:31):
So I watched two different versions of this movie. The
first time I saw it was a few weeks ago
because a friend of mine showed it to me that
was on some kind of disc. I don't know which
disc release it was, but I figured it took me
a while to figure out which cut I was looking
at where, But originally I saw the theatrical cut, and
then when we picked it for the show, I went

(08:53):
back and rewatched it on to B which is the
only mainstreaming option I'm aware of now where you can
watch this movie. And it turned out that was a
different cut of the film, the extended cut, which has
a long sequence at the beginning, grossly violating the film's
theatrical PG thirteen rating. And then also it has a

(09:14):
different order of the challenges.

Speaker 2 (09:16):
Yeah, that's right. There are at least three main releases
of the film, three main cuts. There's the US theatrical cut,
there is the original Rage War cut that was the
original title for the picture, and then there's the Euroage
War cut. So the US theatrical cut, in my opinion,
sadly chops off the excellent opening dream sequence directed by

(09:39):
Charles Band in order to secure that precious PG thirteen rating.
More on that sequence in a bit. The Euroage War
cut edits out some of the nudity in that sequence,
along with apparently part of Mestima's cat torture monologue from
later on in the film, which is not come on,
not a great loss, but also not like that terrible.

(10:01):
It's just a monologue. He's not doing anything other than
chewing up the scenery. And like you said, also the
challenge sequence differs between Rage War and Dungeon Master cuts.
But again for the most part, it doesn't really matter
what order you see the different challenges in. But in
my opinion, I think you're best off with the Rage

(10:22):
War cut. This is available on the Arrow Disc. This
is seemingly also the version on two B, but again
the Arrow disc has like all three versions, so you
can sort of mix and match, pick and choose and
so forth.

Speaker 3 (10:34):
Now I can't remember, because I know we talked about
this off mic as well, But did we already mention
in this episode that neither of the titles have anything
to do with the movie?

Speaker 2 (10:44):
Oh? Yeah, Like, there's not really a Master of Dungeons.
There's absolutely there's not. You might assume from the title,
as I long did, that this was going to be
some sort of a Dungeons and dragonsploitation film, you know
about the dangers of dungeons and dragons. You know, at
the time period, there are no dangers of dungeons and dragons,
of the danger of having a good time. But there's

(11:07):
none of that. Yeah, there's very arguably a dungeon master
in this. And there's not a Rage War either, whatever
a rage war would be.

Speaker 3 (11:15):
There's a little bit of rage, there's really not a war.
I mean there's like a fistfight.

Speaker 2 (11:20):
Yeah, and that's pretty much yet. But I have no
better title suggestions here, so really really, I mean they're
both find titles from the Empire Pictures standpoint. All right,
let's get into the people behind this picture. So we're

(11:42):
gonna have to approach this one a little bit differently
because this film has eight credited directors due to its
various multiple dream sequences and the connecting material. So instead
of listing them all right here up top, we're going
to touch in on those individual directors and write as
we roll through the plot later on. But I will

(12:04):
go ahead and just cover the rest of the connections
as usual, because again, this is not a true anthology film.
The core cast remains the same throughout the picture, but
we do have to just at the top just acknowledge that, Yeah,
this is very much a Charles Band production. And Charles
Band is credited as one of the directors. I think
he directed all of the connective tissue in the picture.

(12:25):
He has an original story credit and he was also
the producer.

Speaker 3 (12:28):
Oh yeah, I loved how based on a story by
Charles Band. What was that story?

Speaker 2 (12:33):
Like?

Speaker 3 (12:34):
Did he write this out as fiction?

Speaker 2 (12:37):
I mean they one of the things that they asked
I should mention that that excellent Arrow release has a
nice extended interview with Jeffrey Byron, who plays Paul Bradford,
our hero, and one of the questions they asked him
is like, was there actually a full script? And he's like, yes,
there was a full script for this film, though you know,
I guess portions of it were of course written by

(12:58):
different rectors, because each director also wrote their segment, and
presumably Charles band like wrote out the connective tissue as well.
So so yeah, I guess he just he had this
idea one day, what if you were so into computers
and so good at it that the Devil himself took offense.

Speaker 3 (13:17):
I guess you could take this as a sort of
update on the like, I don't know, Merlin or Doctor
Faustus kind of thing.

Speaker 2 (13:25):
Yeah, Devil went down to Georgia, right.

Speaker 3 (13:27):
Yeah, you're at you're at the edges of human knowledge
and skill and experience, and then, like you, you receive
a contact from the world beyond. Except Mistema doesn't primarily
tempt Paul. He does at one point, but he's not
mainly there to be a Methistopheles saying, like, you know, here,
let's make a deal. He wants to fight Paul. He

(13:48):
wants to say, like your computer against my monsters.

Speaker 2 (13:53):
Right, but he doesn't even really fully understand like computers
as like technology as a as like the opposite of
magic or anything like. He seems to think that technology
is magic and he is here to prove his own
magical superiority. All right, Well more on the plot here
in a bit. But yeah. Charles Band born nineteen fifty one.
We've talked about him before in the show Prolific B

(14:14):
movie writer, director and producer. Active since the early seventies
and still pumping him out. He's often compared to the
late Roger Corman, recently passed rest in peace, but I
think he's I think it's largely an accurate comparison. As
a producer, he's known for various eighties films under the
Empire Pictures banner, such as this one, followed in nineteen

(14:34):
eighty eight after its closing with Full Moon Productions, which
gave us some of the most memorable nineties video rental
store selections, and continues to give the world such later
day Full Moon franchise titles as Evil Bong in the
Ginger dead Man's film series.

Speaker 3 (14:50):
Now, my impression of the arc of this career is
that in both cases it leans heavily on horror movies
that are funny, but the difference being that, like as
time went on, the jokes became more overt and explicit,
whereas earlier on most of it was like horror movies

(15:11):
that you know, were funny, but they weren't winking at
the camera. They were just like playing it mostly straight
but being silly.

Speaker 2 (15:19):
That's right. Yeah, And you know, there's something to be
said for like the Empire Pictures period, you know, actually
getting some theatrical releases such as Metal Storm, which we've
talked about on the show, and then later on it
becomes increasingly like video rental store aimed, and then you know,
ultimately in the modern era it's more about a digital
film and so forth. So yeah, yeah, there's a lot

(15:40):
of analysis one could do about, like the changing business
of motion pictures. And certainly there's something to be said
for a company that's been able to stay around this
long in some form or another and still making you know,
some some level of profit, even if it's I don't know,
I was going to say something about like maybe not
making as much of a cultural impact, But who am

(16:01):
I to doubt the cultural impact of the Evil Bong series.

Speaker 3 (16:04):
I doubt the Evil Bong series will have any lines
of dialogue that entered the public consciousness the way I
reject your reality and substitute my own has.

Speaker 2 (16:14):
That's right, that one has has its own reach for sure.

Speaker 3 (16:17):
Yeah, well we'll get to that later.

Speaker 2 (16:19):
So I'm not going to go through all the Charles
Band stuff here, but I do want to sort of
place the Dungeon Master in contact. So this was Band's
sixth directorial effort, following seventy three's Last Foxtrott in Burbank.
This was his first film, a sex comedy, edited by
John Carpenter. Then there was seventy six's Crash, starring Jose

(16:39):
Ferrer and John Carradine. There was nineteen eighty two's Parasite
with Demi Moore. Then came nineteen eighty three's The Alchemist.
In nineteen eighty three's metal Storm The Destruction of Jared
Sin a theatrically released three D motion picture that we've
talked about on on Weird House Cinema.

Speaker 3 (16:55):
Metal Storm The Destruction of Jared Sin was wonderful because
it has such a complicated title, but once again, much
like Dungeon Master, the title is misleading. There is a Jaredson,
I don't know if there's a metal Storm, and Jaredsen
is not destructed in the film. He escapes at the end.

Speaker 2 (17:14):
He's fine, that's right, but still kind of a fun time. So.
But the interesting thing though, according to Jeffrey Byron, is
that production on Rage War began the next day after
they rap production on metal Storm. So like they had
the rap party, everyone went home at eleven pm, and
then the next day six am, everyone's up and working

(17:38):
on Rage War.

Speaker 3 (17:39):
Beautiful, and it's clear that they're not just reusing some
sets and costumes and props and all that from Metal Storm.
But it's got the same hero. So if you'll recall,
in metal Storm, Jeffrey Byron played the Luke Skywalker character,
it was Tim Thomerson who played the Han solo character.
There's sort of a sort of Star Wars meets Mad

(18:00):
Max is the concept of Metal Storm, and Jeffrey Byron
returns this time to be our computer geek turned hero.

Speaker 2 (18:09):
That's right. Jeffrey Byron born nineteen fifty five, Star of
metal Storm. Like we said, he was already a reasonably
experienced TV actor prior to his work with Band. Started
out as a child actor and actually appeared in the
nineteen sixty three john Ford film Donovan's Reef. Interesting fact two.
John Ford was his godfather, and he was also in

(18:32):
an episode of the original Twilight Zone. He continued to
work extensively in television after these two Band productions, occasionally
with film roles, and in twenty twenty two he worked
with Band again on the band produced mini series The Resonator,
a Full Moon production.

Speaker 3 (18:48):
The Resonator.

Speaker 2 (18:50):
Yeah, I don't know much about it, but I think
for a while I was subscribed to like the full
Moon channel on Prime and I saw it featured there
about it? Never push play?

Speaker 3 (18:58):
Okay, I'm going to make a face comparison that did
not occur to me until just this very moment. But
close your eyes and picture this Jeffrey Byron, remove the hair.
Just look at the face. A little bit like a
more baby faced version of Vigo Mortensen.

Speaker 2 (19:16):
Do you see do you see? Yeah? Yeah, a bit
a bit. In this film he has the he's wearing
glasses a lot because he's supposed to be a nerd,
but he's one of these. He's like a glasses on nerd,
glasses off hunk, which we often see in pictures, especially
this time period. You also see the you know, the
female variation of this as well, but he's got those

(19:38):
glasses on. I have to say, I think I think
he's really fun in this. He brings a lot of
energy and enthusiasm to the role, and I found that
he's the extras with him on the arrow disc or
rather insightfully, he has a lot of great things to
say about the production and the folks that he worked
with kind of sums up the like the feeling that
a lot of a lot of the people involved here

(19:58):
were getting to do things for the first time. I'm
you know, first time directors. Byron got to got to
write one of the segments as we'll discuss, got to
work with his brother on that segment, and also got
to bring in various like friends from acting school that
he wanted to work with, So you know, everybody was
really excited. People got to do a lot of fun things,

(20:20):
and it seems like it was a pretty pretty fun
production for the most part. So it's always nice to
hear those stories.

Speaker 3 (20:27):
This is one of the reasons I imagine people are
skeptical about the idea that this movie had a full
script because it feels so much like they're just doing
whatever they could think of or whatever they wanted to
do with what they had. You know, it seems very
much a It has an intense feel of improvisation.

Speaker 2 (20:46):
It really does, so I too kind of take that
full script with a grain of salt. I wonder how
much of it was, like, you know, like scene five,
we do something with the cars from metal Storm.

Speaker 3 (20:57):
Yeah, yeah, maybe the full script had had markers like
Jeffrey Byron fights a troll.

Speaker 2 (21:04):
Yeah, because yeah, there's not a lot that goes on
beyond that in some of these segments.

Speaker 3 (21:09):
Oh no, no, I meant like there is, but like
what would be filled in later as well? What access
to locations do we already have, what sets do we have,
What props and costumes do we have? What kind of
troll makeup can we get together? And it has that
feel of that it was either something that was from
a previous movie or somebody was on set wanting to
try something and this is what they did.

Speaker 2 (21:30):
Yeah, absolutely, all right. We've been talking about Masteema the
demonic figure in this kind of a devil, kind of
a wizard, played by the terrific Richard Mole, who lived
nineteen forty three through twenty twenty three. Mole sadly passed
away since we last talked about him on Weird House Cinema.
He had a role in Metal Storm, but yeah, towering

(21:50):
I believe. He's six ' eight classically trained actor, best
known for his role as the good natured giant bailiff
Bullshannon in all nine seasons one hundred and ninety three
episodes of the sitcom Night Court from nineteen eighty four
through nineteen ninety two. So this film and Metal Storm,
which again he was also in in a reduced part,

(22:11):
played like a mutant, like warlord or something. These were
both cyclops. That's right, he was a cyclops. These were
right before Night Court, so he'd end up shaving his
head of course for the Bullshannon roll. But he actually
had a full head of hair for Metal Storm that
they covered up with a bald cap. And I'm not

(22:31):
sure at this point if he still has a full
head of hair and or if he's wearing a wig.
But what we end up with is Richard Mole with
this long black hair. He ends up looking a bit
like Christoph Limbert if Christoph Limbert took the teenage mutant
Ninja turtled Mutagen you know, and grew, you know, about
three feet tall and so forth. But it's a really fun,

(22:55):
over the top devil Wizard performance here.

Speaker 3 (22:58):
He's Richard Mole taken to like ten percent dead heite
status with Christoph Lambert styling.

Speaker 2 (23:04):
Yeah, all right. We mentioned the long suffering girlfriend, and
Paul's long suffering girlfriend is the character Gwynn Rogers, played
by Leslie Wing born nineteen sixty three. So Wing was
coming off of I believe, a few TV roles and
would largely work in television up to around two thousand
and eight according to the databases, but she also pops

(23:25):
up in such films as nineteen ninety three's Calendar Girl,
nineteen ninety six is the Frighteners in nineteen ninety eight
Strange Land, that's the Dee Snyder scripted horror film. She's
mostly a tongue in cheek damsel in distress in this film,
as well as, of course a technophobic, long suffering girlfriend.
But I don't know, I thought she was able to
shine through the limitations of these roles, and also generally

(23:48):
looks phenomenal in every scene, in part I think due
to the costume design by Kathy Clark.

Speaker 3 (23:53):
Agreed. Yeah, so she plays like a Paul's girlfriend who
is an aerobics instructor. Because it's nineteen eighty four. You
know what else would the main character's girlfriend be. She
teaches aerobics classes, and we get to see those. They're
just like, let's check in on the aerobics class. And
she clearly is jealous of Paul's relationship with this talking

(24:16):
computer woman that seems to dominate his life and his
decision making. And at the beginning of the movie, I
feel like we I don't know if this was like
the intention of the script, but I feel like we
identify very much more with Gwynn than we do with
the hero because he's acting ridiculous. She's like, you know,

(24:36):
you're spending too much time with this computer woman. Why
don't you, you know, let me know where I stand
relative to her, And he's like, no, no, we should
get married. See the computer told me it would be
a good idea. Yeah, so she's the one really making sense,
But also she spends a lot of the movie, just
being like chained to various surfaces in different types of underwear,

(24:57):
being like save me, Paul, and he's like, okay, I'll
save you. I do appreciate that one of the less
creative segments in the movie, which is essentially just a
scene from Metal Storm slotted into this movie, does do
one thing right, which is they finally give Gwynn a
chance to fight back against the bad guys when they

(25:17):
arms her with a plasma rifle and she starts blowing
up desert buggies.

Speaker 2 (25:22):
That's right. Yeah, that is the I think the big
redeeming quality of that segment, which is otherwise not one
of my favorites. But yeah, at least we get to
see this character act in a strong fashion.

Speaker 3 (25:32):
But Leslie Wing, as we were saying, does also bring
a good sense of humor to this role, Like even
in some of the Damsel in distress scenes, she has
some very funny moments and funny line deliveries.

Speaker 2 (25:43):
Absolutely, all right, that's the core cast. Those are the
characters we keep coming back to. But I do want
to just mention a few cameos of note, and well,
of course mention them again when they pop up. The
entire band wasp, that's w asp. No one's exactly sure
what it's staying as for perhaps white Anglo Saxon Protestants,
which I'm not sure they were or are, but I

(26:06):
think there always been a little shifty on what it means,
if it means anything, and maybe it doesn't, because this
is like an eighties hair metal band, right, like a
little bit yeah, what a little bit hair band, a
little bit Black Sabbath kind of, but not much.

Speaker 3 (26:20):
It seemed to me. The idea is they're they're a
hair metal band, but they were intentionally trying to be
shock rockers, like they were. They were saying, Okay, people
have this idea that these hair metal bands are are
evil and immoral and decadent. What if we just like
tried to appear as as immoral and decadent as we

(26:40):
possibly could. So the main the main singer's persona, as
far as I can tell, he's like, what if what
if Ozzy Osbourne were a much worse guy? That's me?

Speaker 2 (26:52):
Yeah, And I'm going to sing directly about it, not
really with details, but just I'm going to tell you
that I'm that I have no morals and so forth.

Speaker 3 (27:00):
A line from the song he sings in the movie
it says, I have no morales.

Speaker 2 (27:05):
The front man we're talking about here is Blackie Lalss
great name, born nineteen fifty six, who is tremendous in
this section. So I look forward to talking about Blackie
Lalss later on a few other kind of weird inclusions here.
Peter Kent born nineteen fifty seven plays one of the zombies,
but he was Arnold Schwarzenegger's longtime stunt double. We also

(27:28):
have phil of Fondo Caro born nineteen fifty eight, who
plays one of the Stone Canyon people.

Speaker 3 (27:34):
Oh okay, Yeah.

Speaker 2 (27:35):
He's a very familiar face from various genre pictures, pictures
that generally have some sort of a little person role,
so he's been in everything from Return of the Jedi
and The Doors to Goolies two, Phantasm two, and various
band productions. He's really good. He has a lot of charisma,
so you'll often encounter him in and out of monster

(27:56):
suits and pictures from this time period.

Speaker 3 (27:58):
He does have a lot of chance to use personality
in this role. He mostly he's just one of two
guys who steals Jeffrey Byron's wrist computer and runs away
with it. And then that leads Jeffrey Byron to have
to like see some stop motion.

Speaker 2 (28:11):
Yeah. Basically, it's like one of those moments where if
you've seen a lot of films from this period, you'll
be like, Hey, I know that guy, where's he going?
And you don't really see me? Okay, yeah, okay. And
then finally we have an actor credited with the name
Gina Calabresi playing the girl in the opening dream sequence.

Speaker 3 (28:28):
Oh yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2 (28:29):
Now, this is also the name of a character from
the Miami Vice TV series, so it seems like this
might be a stage name. But she was also in
the nineteen eighty six sci fi girl's rock band Vicious Lips,
so worth singling out here. She has very, very fetching eyes,
as we'll discuss all right in the score. Hey, this
is a Charles Band picture, so I don't have to

(28:50):
tell you that his brother Richard Band born nineteen fifty three,
was of course involved with the score for this picture.
But Shirley Walker, who lived nineteen forty five through two
thousand and six, also has a score credit. She has
pretty extensive credits as well, and was one of the
few female American film and television composers and conductors working

(29:10):
during her heyday, and by working, I mean at times
like getting like full credit for being like the sole
composer on various film scores, and she also worked at
other levels on various scores. She played synth on the
score for Apocalypse Now and worked in various capacities on
scores for such films as eighty four's Goolies, nineteen ninety

(29:33):
six's Escape from La I believe she and Carpenter share
credit for that one, and she was also involved in
the score for nineteen eighty nine Batman. She was also
nominated for three Primetime Emmys, including one nomination for the
classic Batman the animated series show.

Speaker 3 (29:48):
Oh that had great music for a cheah.

Speaker 2 (29:50):
Yeah, so she was reading a bit about her. She's
generally remembered well for her contributions to film score and
TV scored during this era. All right, and then effects.
We'll come back to the effects later on, because some
of the key people directing some of these sequences were
also big effects names.

Speaker 3 (30:19):
Was it time to talk about the plot?

Speaker 2 (30:21):
Yeah, let's let's dream fall into the schlock. Let's do it.

Speaker 3 (30:24):
Okay, Wait, are we talking about the extended opening sequence?

Speaker 2 (30:27):
Or not, Yeah, let's do it, because I, in my opinion,
it's really good. It sets a nice tone for the
rest of the film. And I was a little hesitant
because I'd heard like, well, there's one cut of the
film that has full frontal nudity at the top, and
they had, and they removed it before the theatrical release,
which might made me think that it was going to
be like more scandalous or trashy, but that's clearly not

(30:51):
what they were going for. I think they were going
for something like more Charles Band directed.

Speaker 3 (30:55):
Artsy uh huh. Well, it seems like they were trying
to get out of the R rating territory orient into
the PG thirteen.

Speaker 2 (31:01):
Yeah. Yeah, so they're like, we can't have full frontal
female nudity at the beginning, even if it's tasteful, because
we want that PEG thirteen. All right.

Speaker 3 (31:09):
Well, so the extended version starts with Jeffrey Byron lying
asleep on a bed with like an electrical lead, like
an EKG patch attached to his forehead and to his wrist.
He's very moist and sweaty looking, and he's in a
dark room full of fog. This is obviously some kind
of dream land, and he stirs and comes awake, and

(31:32):
he sees in the room a woman in a red
dress with hair blowing in the wind, standing there in
the fog giving him eyes, like really giving him eyes.

Speaker 2 (31:41):
And their great eyes, like I said, just really stares
trying to do so, I mean not Meg Foster level,
but like sub Meg Foster intensity.

Speaker 3 (31:49):
Yeah, So she walks out of the room. He gets
up to follow, and he follows her as she goes outside.
And then this is one of those scenes where I
feel like somebody just found a cool looking location in
the world and they were like, let's shoot something there,
and this is it. So she like goes up a
staircase onto a weird concrete bunker like construction that is

(32:12):
one of many identical concrete constructions lined up in the
in the sand in this clearing. Do you know what
we were looking at here, Rob?

Speaker 2 (32:23):
It is a bit particular of like fortification location somewhere
in California, but I don't remember what the name of
it is. Our California natives can chime in, but yeah,
it also is very reminiscent of a number of former
fortifications in the United States that I've visited on vacations
and so forth. It looks really hot, you know, it's hot,

(32:44):
like just so much direct sun.

Speaker 3 (32:45):
Well, and Jeffrey Byron is sweaty as heck in this
in this part of the movie. So they're kind of
chasing each other around playfully in slow motion, running around
these bunkers, and they go into a dark hallway with
a bright light at the end of the one and
runs in silhouette, and Jeffrey Byron chases and she's like, ooh,
come down here, and then she suddenly disrobes and is like, yes,

(33:09):
I love you, Jeffrey Byron. And so they get onto
a bed in this dark bunker and start to mess around.
But then suddenly at the other end of the room,
a steel bulkhead door that looks like it belongs on
a submarine swings open, and from the other side of
the door, which is glowing with pink light, these beefy,

(33:32):
ghoulish mutants pour into the room. And by the way,
this is all still in slow mo with dreamy music playing,
and they kidnap the dream woman and slam the door
shut behind them.

Speaker 2 (33:45):
I like it. I'm already intrigued. What's going on in
this dream? What does it represent.

Speaker 3 (33:50):
I also like that the monsters here are different types
of like they're mixed in appearance. One is a full
on monster head with huge protruding jaws and fangs, and
some of the other ones just look like regular people
but just sort of dirty and dressed in rags.

Speaker 2 (34:06):
Yeah, it's kind of like that moment in the Simpsons
Treehouse episode The Shinning when all the random monsters spill
into the refrigerator to grab Homer and drag him away. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (34:15):
Yeah, anyway, she gets dragged off beyond the submarine door,
it's slams shut and then bam. Empire Pictures presents Jeffrey
Byron in Rage War. This is the version that is
not called Dungeon Master.

Speaker 2 (34:30):
All right, so this is the Rage War cut. But
if you're watching the US theatrical cut, you don't get
any like dreams or nudity or monsters. You just get
Jeffrey Byron waking up right and at the beginning is
just like, oh, and that's the beginning of the picture.
And so I just feel like it's less intriguing. Instead
of asking what does this dream represent? Who's the woman?
Who are the monsters, It's like how long was this

(34:51):
guy asleep. I guess.

Speaker 3 (34:53):
I mean, I can understand another reason for cutting it
out beyond just like trying to get the rating they wanted,
which is it makes Jeffrey but I know it's just
a dream, but still makes Jeffrey Byron seem a little
unfaithful because the woman in his dream is not Gwen.

Speaker 2 (35:08):
That's right. Yeah it doesn't really And yeah, his faithfulness
does come up at times as a plot point. So yeah,
I could see that being a reason for it. And
I can also imagine it being a situation where if
your Charli Band or Charlie Band, as jeff Jeffrey Byron
kept referring to him. You've brought in all these young guys,
you know, to have their first shot at directing something,

(35:30):
and then you got to make cuts. You know, you
cut your own dead. It makes sense. So you know
you're filming this project, it makes sense to go ahead
and just cut your own intro, especially if it fulfills
other needs.

Speaker 3 (35:41):
Now I have another interpretive question about the opening sequence.
We get to know the artificial intelligence, the computer that
is Jeffrey Byron's companion here. It is named Cal and
it has a woman's voice and in many ways is
treated as an actual feminine entity in addition to just
having a woman's voice, like Gwynn is jealous of it

(36:03):
and so forth, And so it makes me wonder, is
the woman in the opening dream sequence supposed to be
a fleshly embodiment of cal the computer woman.

Speaker 2 (36:14):
Yeah? I could see that working. All of these things
would make a lot of sense if the plot didn't
just veer off in a kind of drastically different direction
with the introduction of Mestema. You know, yeah, because all
of this would work if it were like a nineties
Outer Limits episode about falling in love with the computer,
and lord knows there are episodes of that show about
this very topic. But yeah, then it becomes like, and

(36:35):
then what if the devil showed up the challenged you
to a game of dream Battle.

Speaker 3 (36:39):
Yeah, it could have been Charles Band presents her. But
then it's just like, oh, here's a demon lord coming
in to do some magic. So anyway, after the credits,
Jeffrey Byron wakes up. He's been asleep, fitfully hunched over
a desk in his apartment, wearing a suit. He was
sleeping in his suit, always a good move. A computer

(36:59):
general feminine voice says repeatedly, late for repair appointment, please respond,
going over and over. This is the voice of cal
Get used to it. There will be a lot of
it in the movie. Jeffrey Byron thanks his computer and
gets up to leave, and then we see him at work.
He's doing repairs on computer equipment. It's nineteen eighty four

(37:20):
and he is a world class computer geek. He seems
to be replacing CPUs in some giant mainframe or maybe
it's just a copy machine.

Speaker 4 (37:28):
I don't know.

Speaker 3 (37:29):
It's some kind of big thing, like you know, mechanical
machine hulk inside inside an office, and he's like all
up in the computer guts, just like yankin out circuit
boards and having a look. And we learn that Jeffrey
Byron is known as the best troubleshooter in the business.
And we can see why because when he looks at

(37:49):
a circuit board, he doesn't just see it with his
human eyes. He's robbed. Let me know if you had
a different understanding. But the way I interpreted what we
see is that when he looks through his glasses, which
look like regular glasses on the outside, they do some
kind of analysis, like he's got terminator vision through his glasses,

(38:09):
so he's actually made like Google Glass or something. A
good bit early.

Speaker 2 (38:14):
Yeah, I was confused for a little bit because at
first I was like, is Paul a robot? Is he
an android or a cyborg? Like where are we going
with this, Charles band? But then yet becomes clear that no,
he just has Google Glass a few decades early, and yeah,
this is enhancing his computer repair abilities among other things,
as we'll discover.

Speaker 3 (38:32):
Well, but it is ambiguous because that is how I
interpreted it, that he has this AI. You know, he
has a computer with artificial intelligence. He has a wristwatch
and a pair of glasses that are augmented with that
computer somehow, like the computer is instantiated in them. But
also later Gwyn makes a reference to that experiment you

(38:54):
were in that linked you with cal and so I
don't know what that means that he has some enhanced
ability to communicate with a computer beyond what a normal
computer geek would have because of an experiment.

Speaker 2 (39:09):
That's a good point. Yeah, but yeah, we never hear
anything else about that. There's no further development on that
plot point anyway.

Speaker 3 (39:16):
The guy he's working for in the office is just
like computers ah, they're everywhere. And so Jeffrey's character, as
we've said, his name is Paul. I'm gonna start calling
him Paul instead of saying Jeffrey Byron every time. At
the end of the workday, we see Paul coming out
of this big, futuristic looking office building and talking to
a coworker of his. The coworker offers him a ride home,

(39:36):
but Paul is not going to accept because, as always,
he wants to run home. Paul is into fitness, and
Don thinks this is disgusting. Yeah, So we see Paul
like running around and sort of tapping on his glasses
or tapping on his wrist to initiate some kind of
thing that Cal is doing, Like I think she's timing
his run to get home or something. Now, if Cal

(39:59):
were just being a fit bit here, that would be
one thing. Oh, that's very cool, and people didn't have
those in nineteen eighty four. But Cal has other powers,
essentially computer telekinesis. So Paul uses Cal to like he's
running down the sidewalks and he will like beat boop
on his watch or on his glasses to change the

(40:20):
color of traffic lights suddenly, so that he never has
to wait. He can always just run across and never stop.
Very cool, Paul, very safe.

Speaker 2 (40:29):
Yeah, and again to your point, we have to remember
Paul is possibly an android. I don't think I really
thought about this enough during my viewing of the picture. Yeah,
like that's clear, and we don't know he could be
like full android. We don't know how much of him
is human anymore. And it doesn't matter.

Speaker 3 (40:46):
Yeah, it doesn't. Also, during this jogging and cybercrime sequence,
we meet Gwynn, who is Paul's girlfriend. The camera just
sort of stops by her dance aerobics class, and my lord,
the eighties of it all here. This is one of
the most eighties looking scenes I have ever witnessed.

Speaker 2 (41:05):
Oh absolutely yes, the sheen of sweat, the cut of
the athletics gear, the serious look in the eyes. I
am a child of the eighties, so I'm here for
any and all eighties aerobic sequences, from ful Chee's Murder
Rock to the recent and I thought quite good TV
series Physical, Like, if it's about aerobics, I'm probably you've

(41:28):
got my attention. Let's see what it's what's going to happen?

Speaker 3 (41:31):
Specifically, it's dance aerobics, like they're doing a synchronized dance
routine into a mirror and they're you know, they got
the full like the spandex, the legwarmers, the headbands, the
frizzy hair. It's just great.

Speaker 2 (41:43):
Yeah. And it's often a situation where there's either like
no emotion on the face of the individual doing it,
or there is like like heightened emotion like this, like
you know, almost kind of like a plastic exuberance and
like a big smile something.

Speaker 3 (42:00):
This was really making me think about the Key and
Peel champions.

Speaker 2 (42:05):
Oh yeah, that was great. So it's great. You know
they have this in common. This couple is really into
fitness in their own ways.

Speaker 3 (42:12):
Yes, exactly. So.

Speaker 4 (42:13):
Oh.

Speaker 3 (42:13):
Also, on the way home, Paul stops because he sees
a vendor selling flowers and he's like, oh, got to
get some flowers for Gwynn. But then he opened the
stops and he opens up his wallet and he has
no money. And it's funny because we get a real
good shot of the empty wallet. There's just the puckered wallet,
there nothing in it, and making sure you understand, but
no problem. Paul goes to a nearby ATM and then

(42:37):
uses his computer powers to get money out of the ATM.
Now we I think had a different understanding of what
was happening here. I interpreted this as Paul was stealing
money from some random account to go buy the flowers.
But you thought maybe he was getting his own money out,
in which case, why would he need to like hack it.

Speaker 2 (42:55):
At first I thought he was hacking it, But then
there is a line shortly following this. I think when
he gets back to his apartment about yeah, he gets
a call or something I don't remember, but there's something
about his account being overdrawn by like twenty dollars. But
now I'm second guessing myself and wondering if that's in
both cuts or if that's something that was added because

(43:16):
they didn't want to make it seem like he was
a thief, because Paul is supposed to be a good guy.
You know, he's supposed to be I guess, you know,
lawful good And it's a little more ambiguous if he's
like just getting money out of random ATMs, just using
his Android powers.

Speaker 3 (43:30):
Yeah, I don't know. Another way to interpret it is
that if his account is overdrawn, that would be the
obvious reason that he could not get his own money out,
and would have to steal from the ATMU. But yeah,
it could be. They also put that in to suggest
like no, no, no, he was getting his own money. It's
just I don't know. But so anyway, he uses cowl

(43:51):
to hack an ATM and one way or another gets
money out of it buys flowers. So back home, Paul
has computer stuff everywhere. There are big circuit boards leaning
up against the walls. There's a printer with just reams
of god knows what's spewing out of it and piling
up on the floor. It's that kind where what is
printed out of it is all like attached. You got
to tear it off. I guess. The apartment has a

(44:13):
raised entryway with a step down into the living room,
which I always like.

Speaker 4 (44:17):
Uh.

Speaker 3 (44:18):
And when Paul comes in, he now has a ring
top six pack of diet coke with only one can
hanging on the rings. Did you notice this? So that
implies to me that he stopped, possibly stole more money
to buy six diet cokes and drink five of them
on the way home.

Speaker 2 (44:35):
Well possibly so oh, I do want to add one
little tidbit from the Jeffrey Byron extras on the disc.
This is Jeffrey Byron's actual apartment at the time end
of the film, like they that I love I love
it when they have those details like that's how like,
you know, kind of like Gorilla and low budget everything was,
you know, it's like, what do we have to work

(44:55):
with here? We got those leftover Apocalypse cars and do
we have an apartment? Can we just shoot at your apartment? Yes?
Absolutely we can.

Speaker 3 (45:03):
This is Jeffrey Byron's real empty wallet. This is Jeffrey
Byron's real computers spitting out realms.

Speaker 2 (45:08):
Of whatever it maybe.

Speaker 3 (45:10):
Yeah, anyway, he pops the last diet coke and drinks
it while talking to Cal. They're talking about I think
this is the part where Cal's like, bank account overdrawn
twenty dollars.

Speaker 2 (45:20):
That's right, that's what it was.

Speaker 3 (45:22):
Yeah, yeah, And then Gwenn comes home. She comes home
with groceries, talking about how she bought swordfish steaks, and
he's like, Gwen, let's get married. But there is a
point of friction in the relationship, which is Paul's other relationship,
the one with Cal and Gwinn is like, Paul, I
am not going to marry you until we work out

(45:44):
where I stand relative to that computer, and this is
the part where she mentions quickly that he had that
experiment done to him, which is what linked Cal to
his brain.

Speaker 2 (45:55):
I guess, I guess, so yeah yeah, but.

Speaker 3 (45:58):
Again no details given up that it's just a vague,
vague sort of suggestion.

Speaker 2 (46:02):
It's still a red flat for sure.

Speaker 3 (46:04):
Yes, So Paul cooks dinner for them. Apparently he did
a very nice job cooking dinner. She's like, hmm, that
was so good. But then he blows it by being like,
oh yeah, Cal found this great recipe for me to use. Uh,
And she's just exasperated by this, and then he offered
He's like, how about some dessert and pulls out a
box and it's got an engagement ring in it, and

(46:27):
Gwynn says, you know, Paul, I love you, but I'm
still not ready for this. You're just too obsessed with
this computer. You got to you gotta do something different.
Paul has a great response to this. He tries to
convince Gwnn that she should marry him because Cal said
it was a good idea. So he like sits her
down in front of the computer and like inputs. He's
you know, do doo, dude, Like inputting things on the keyboard,

(46:50):
and uh, says Cal, tell me the probability of success if, like,
you know, a woman like this marries a man like this,
And Cal says, probable outcome sex sass, and she looks annoyed.

Speaker 2 (47:04):
Yeah, come on, Paul, get it together.

Speaker 3 (47:06):
Anyway, they go to bed. They sleep on the sleeping
on a fold out couch in the living room of
the apartment. So I don't know if Jeffrey Byron's apartment
here had a bedroom, but uh, that's where they are.
And then we see through Paul's glasses. They're like sitting
it's a framed shot. The glasses are sitting on a
table and we're looking through the lenses, and in the
lenses we see these jets of green fire lut rising

(47:31):
up and it's like, oh, something magical is happening. And
it's happening sort of through the augmented reality interface of
his computer enhanced glasses, and this takes them into some
other dream. We see Jeffrey Byron wake up in a
dream world and he's wearing a different outfit immediately, so

(47:51):
this is not just his pajamas. He is like in
sleeveless black tights and they are covered by what I
think is supposed to be armor, but it is this
very goofy looking padded gray thing with bulky wristwarmers, one
of which has computer stuff in it.

Speaker 2 (48:08):
Yeah. I mean it's goofy. I won't argue against that,
but when you consider how goofy a costume like this
could be in a picture of this caliber, I feel
like we got to cut it some slack. Plus they
do kind of make fun of it later on, so
I think it's supposed to be a little outrageous, you know,
and particularly in the slasher segment where he's like running

(48:28):
around and countering, you know, police officers, and they're kind
of like, what are you wearing here?

Speaker 3 (48:33):
Yeah? Yeah, yeah, the police officers who don't like jelly donut,
that's right. Yeah. So Paul wakes up dressed in this stuff.
He's in this outdoor landscape, green, lush forest, and he
starts walking around and he comes to a waterfall where
a dream world version of Gwynn. So doing better? Now,
now this is your real girlfriend in the dream. He

(48:56):
comes to a waterfall where a dream world version of
gwyn So she's like very different looking. She's sort of
dressed in a sparkly fairy tale outfit. She's got this,
you know, very elaborate makeup on, and she's like swimming
around under the falls and he tries to call out
to her, but she can't hear him. And then he

(49:17):
starts melting and his skin is blistering and sloughing off,
and he starts banging against an invisible barrier in the
air between him and gwyn which in alternate shots is
represented as a rock wall, so like he can't reach
her and he's melting. Then he wakes up back in
his apartment and Gwinn isn't there. Then he turns blue

(49:39):
and gets zapped to somewhere else. So this is kind
of convoluted, going back and forth these different places, and
somewhere else he goes is a location we will return
to between each of the challenges we see in the movie.
It's kind of this desert landscape. It's like a big, craggy, dry,
desiccated mud flat in the nighttime, and it's illuminated by

(50:01):
these standing jets of fire like we saw reflected in
the classes earlier. Gwenn is here. She is chained up
to a rock in her underwear, yelling at Paul for help,
and Paul is like, Okay, let's try to figure out
what's happening here, and Gwenn replies, Paul, these are real chains.

Speaker 2 (50:21):
All right. So at this point, like they're in a
shared dream state. I guess, like the conjoined dreaming is
taking place. Yes, but then it's like it's very heightened
and they do not have complete control. They're definitely not lucid.

Speaker 3 (50:33):
Here, right, right, So they're trying to figure out what's
going on. Gwenn and Sis the chains are real, and
then uh oh, here comes the big bad. The movie
really starts to cook when Mistema appears. So Mistema is
Richard mal dressed like Dracula.

Speaker 2 (50:51):
I guess, yeah, yeah, they even added to little Widow's peak.
I noticed that.

Speaker 3 (50:54):
Yeah. So he's got the long hair, he's got the big,
big collar, pointy collar, some frilly stuff inside the collar,
and he's just looking very severe. I think they also
put some contacts in his eyes to make the pupils
or irises kind of gleaming.

Speaker 2 (51:10):
I think you're right.

Speaker 3 (51:11):
Anyway. What Mistema does first is he zaps Gwen with
a laser from his eyes, and this magically changes Gwen's outfit.
It changes her into some kind of ancient gown. I
don't know what you'd call this outfit, but she looks
kind of like a like a princess in a movie
about ancient Greece.

Speaker 2 (51:30):
Yeah, like she's supposed to be in a sword and
sandals kind of a deal.

Speaker 3 (51:32):
Yeah, yeah, Yeah. And then Mistema also zaps Paul and
changes him back from his pajamas into the costume he
was wearing a minute ago with the gray padded parts.
So did we really need the first dream segment? I
don't know. There was a lot of back and forth
there that just kind of gets canceled out.

Speaker 2 (51:53):
Yeah, they're just kind of creating a lot of extra
work here for Kathy Clark.

Speaker 3 (51:57):
Yeah. So anyway, the first thing our new villain says
is you are a worthy opponent for Misteema. So we
get some of the basic implication of why the villain
has showed up here. He is impressed by something about Paul.
He thinks he thinks Paul is strong, Paul is powerful,

(52:18):
and Paul is a challenge for him. So he says
to Paul, now you have all power centered on you.
You may call upon your machines, your magic machines, and
then he commands that Paul neil.

Speaker 2 (52:32):
All right, all right, So different ways of looking at this,
Like Paul is either like he's either so good with
computers that he's attracted the eye or of the Lord
of Darkness. Either either he's ahead of all the Silicon
Valley guys working at the time, or Mastema has previously
challenged and defeated the likes of Steve Wosniak in dream combat,

(52:52):
or going back to the android thing, like yeah, like
Steve Wozniak is not an android, Paul is. Paul is
like literally something special that could attract the ire of
a demon.

Speaker 3 (53:03):
Well maybe he is, okay, so here's here's the next thing.
So Paul does neil when Mistema commands him, and then
Mistema zaps a sword into existence in his hand. He
raises his arms and he screams by the power of
the Prince of Darkness, and then he you know, does
the nighting thing to Paul, and he says, I dub

(53:26):
the ex calibrate, which is spelled with an eight for
the eight part, So X calibrate. It's like excalibre and
calibrate And what did in your mind, Rob, what did
X calibrate refer to did it refer to exclusively the
computer or did it refer to Paul or did it

(53:49):
refer to the composite team of Paul and the computer.

Speaker 2 (53:55):
I guess it's the composite that's That's the best I
can think of. And with the other caveat that, it's
probably just a situation where it sounded cool. But if
I'm being generous, I guess it's supposed to be this
composite individual.

Speaker 3 (54:08):
Okay, Well, after this Cal, which is still the computer,
maybe now excalibrate or maybe Cal is just part of excalibrate.
Whatever Cal is inside Paul's wristwarmer. So he's got a
little pit boy, you know, thing on his wrist that's
a computer screen. And Cal starts talking and doing like
a green text on a black screen readout which says

(54:28):
it says like Misteema equals Beelzebub, Belile Satan, and Mistema
thinks this is hilarious. He praises Paul's magic powers. Paul
tries to explain that it's not magic, it's technology, but
Mistema is not hearing any of this. So Mistema explains

(54:55):
he's been searching for a worthy magical opponent for centuries.
Finally he found in Paul. I do wonder how did
he become aware of Paul. I don't know. But he
explains that Paul must face, with the help of his
risk computer, seven challenges, and if he fails even one
of them, Mistima will devour both of their souls, his

(55:16):
and Gwinn's. And Gwynn is like Paul, I think he
means business.

Speaker 2 (55:21):
All right. Well, now the challenge has been laid out,
Paul has no choice but to accept. And this is
where we start getting into the challenges again, each one
directed by a different director. Charles Band is going to
direct one. Charles Band directed the Connective Tissue. And I
also want to add that when you look at the

(55:41):
directorial credits for this picture, there's also a guy by
the name of Michael Karp born nineteen fifty nine who
just directed additional scenes, so he's in there somewhere as well.

Speaker 3 (55:53):
Okay, Now, as we said before, the order of the
challenges is different depending on which cut you're watching, So
I think think we're going to talk about them in
the order they are presented in the Rage War cut
the extended version. So the first challenge in that is
the one known as Ice Gallery, written and directed by
Rose Marie Turco.

Speaker 2 (56:13):
Yeah, writer director. I don't believe her birthday. To his
public record, she only has a couple of credits on IMDb,
this and the nineteen eighty three drama Scarred, which she
also wrote and directed. So yeah, I'm not a lot
known about her, but this is her work.

Speaker 3 (56:29):
So in this challenge, Masteema teleports Paul somewhere else so
that he ends up like falling down a tunnel and
he emerges into a frosty cavern filled with frozen characters.
It's like if there were a horror movie wax museum
inside the Wampa Cave on Hawth. So there is a
sexy werewolf man kind of like, you know, an open

(56:52):
button shirt with you know, a good physique, but he's
got a were wolf head. He's sort of a white wolf,
you know, he's a very cold, frosty looking werewolf. There
are also zombies, and then in the background there's some
stuff of questionable cultural sensitivity, like there is a witch
doctor type character with a bone through his nose. There

(57:14):
is also a wax figure of a guy in a
Victorian era top hat with a fluffy red Cravat, and
Paul and Gwynn are both here. They're both here in
the icy cave full of wax figures, and they're wandering
around calling out to one another, but they can't find
each other. And Paul says, looks like Mestima's private art gallery.

(57:34):
And then Paul wipes the snow off of a plaque
underneath the top hat guy and discovers that he has
labeled Jack the Ripper. So I guess the mystery is solved.

Speaker 2 (57:44):
It was him. So at this point I was just
trying to figure out, like what's the theme here? Like
why are all these individuals here? Is it? Like, okay,
history's greatest monsters, like a wax museum, you know, Hall
of Killers and so forth, Here's the werewolf, here's Jack
the Ripper. But then it takes some other interesting directions.

Speaker 3 (58:03):
Yeah, yeah, okay, so monster, I mean, Jack the Ripper
was like a real person and the werewolf is a
is a fictional monster. But okay, so you know whatever.
But then Gwinn comes across a frozen Albert Einstein. Not
just Albert Einstein standing there like the others, he is
sitting on a throne of ice, cradling a big pointy

(58:24):
cluster of crystals, like he's, you know, a wizard examining
a palanteer, and Gwinn says, oh my god, that s Einstein.

Speaker 2 (58:34):
Yeah, why is he here? I don't know, you know,
he was you know, he's no saint, but I don't
know if he's really like belongs in there with a
werewolf and Jack the Ripper. But okay, okay, movie, let's
go with it.

Speaker 3 (58:44):
Gwinn says, there's bloody Mary. How does how does windo
bloody Mary? By sight? They also identify Louis the sixteenth
with his head in a guillotine, and then Paul says,
looks like every criminal in the world is here again
and the werewolf Einstein.

Speaker 2 (59:03):
Hi, I mean the case can be made. The case
can be made.

Speaker 3 (59:06):
The samurai over there is a criminal for some reason?
What did he do?

Speaker 2 (59:10):
He's a ronan, I guess.

Speaker 3 (59:12):
Okay, So Gwen then starts freezing solid, yelling out for
help while Paul sinks under the floor and disappears, and
then Mistema is like, you know, Gwenn's saying, I'm freezing.
I can't move my legs, and then Mistema's voice over
comes in and says, shall I warm you up? And
then the lights turn red and she thaws out. She

(59:33):
thaws out, but so does everybody else, and Jack the
Ripper comes alive, and the werewolf comes alive. They're all
now menacing, and Jack the Ripper grabs Gwen and starts,
you know, holding out a knife like he's gonna like
he's gonna get her. But then Paul comes to the rescue.
Like first he sank under the floor, but then he
crawls out of a tunnel. He a samurai tries to

(59:55):
attack Paul, but he defeats the samurai by I think
pressing some buttons on is wristwarmer, which like electrifies the samurai.
And then the samurai you know, gets hit with a laser,
gets electrified and falls over. And then Paul runs and
hits Jack the Ripper with a rock, and then they
figure out the solution to the puzzle. They have to

(01:00:15):
use Einstein's ice crystal as a grenade in order to
defeat the monsters, the criminals, and the random dudes. Challenge
number one bested.

Speaker 2 (01:00:25):
All right, all right, it is a pretty fun one.
I think it's a good one to kick things off.
In this cut of the film agreed.

Speaker 3 (01:00:31):
As with many of the ones that will follow, there
are things that don't make a lot of sense, but
as you know, it was a fun ride. So Paul
wakes back up in the holding area again this is
like the craggy desert arena, and you know, Mistema is impressed.
He's like, your performance was quite good. Ex calibrate and
then Paul asks where Gwynn is and Misstema says trust me,

(01:00:55):
and Paul says, yeah, well I don't think so, Mistema good,
comeback all right. So then we were on to challenge
number two. This is the one called Demons of the Dead,
directed by John Carl Beekler.

Speaker 2 (01:01:08):
That's right, John Carl Beekler born nineteen fifty two died
twenty nineteen. Legendary practical effects and makeup master that we've
talked about on the show previously, I think specifically in
our episodes on Arena, the Eliminators and Terror Vision. He
worked on a number of cult classic horror films, including

(01:01:30):
eighty five's re Animator, eighty six is from Beyond Just
a master of flesh and blood, this guy. He also
had a great career as a director, helming eighty six
as Troll eighty seven, Cellar Dweller, Friday the Thirteenth, The
New Blood, and nineteen nineties Goolies Go to College, just
to name a few there.

Speaker 3 (01:01:48):
His Friday the Thirteenth movie is often considered a fan favorite.
It's the one where Jason faces off against the girl
with telekinesis.

Speaker 2 (01:01:57):
Oh, God, that one's great. I love that one. So
they'd say that's the that's the shining jewel. Great effects
in that one. And that's the thing about Beekler. And
that's the thing about this segment is like you can
tell he went all at it. This was his first
directorial effort, I believe. And also he did all the
special effects, so he's really throwing everything at the board here,

(01:02:18):
like limited runtime, limited resources, but he makes the most
out of it, right.

Speaker 3 (01:02:22):
So Paul awakes in a cave full of cobwebs and
pink lights, and then these zombie warriors start shambling out
and attacking him. The zombies in this sequence look really great.
They've got these sort of like sunken dark eyes and
they look really just evil. They're excellent design.

Speaker 2 (01:02:42):
Yeah, this is my favorite of the challenges. I love
the vibrant color. I like this nightmare world of zombies,
flesh caves, and ultimately imp kings. So it's really good.

Speaker 3 (01:02:53):
So Paul starts doing battle with these zombie warriors, but
the problem is they return to life every time he
defeats them. He's like beating him up, hitting him with
swords and stuff, and so he can chop their heads off,
but they just sort of get back up, pick up
their heads and come at him again. So Paul runs away,
but this was funny to me. Not far away. He
runs like ten paces to the side and encounters a

(01:03:16):
nasty little grimlin king sitting on a tiny throne, which
introduces itself as rat Spit, caretaker of the dead. This
what do you want to say about the design of
rat Spit, rob.

Speaker 2 (01:03:29):
Oh, I mean big gromblin energy. Here Beekler is credited
as playing rat Spit, so I assume he's the puppeteer
because it's an obvious puppet. I guess he's the voice actor.
It's a little rough around the edges, but in all
the right ways for a gromlin, you know, like I
want it to look like an obvious puppet, Like that's
part of the pleasure of the thing.

Speaker 3 (01:03:50):
Rat spit has a gold necklace, has these goat like horns,
is like a nasty little devil. One side of his mouth,
the upper lip is just like raised in a permanent sneer,
and he is holding a scepter that looks to me
kind of like a very elongated sweet potato.

Speaker 2 (01:04:09):
Yeah, he could easily be on the cover of a
metal album. He's really awesome. Perhaps the band's name is Ratspit.

Speaker 3 (01:04:16):
Oh yeah, maybe so. Ratspit says he's the Caretaker of
the Dead, and then Paul goes dead. This is a
common Did you notice that a lot of the dialogue
in the movie had this kind of pattern where, you know,
a monster villain would would say something like, I'm Caretaker
of the dead and the character just the other character
responds dead, just sort of like please continue. Basically. Yeah.

(01:04:41):
So Ratspit explains that Paul is here to be tested
against that which every man must face death. So the
zombie warriors attack again, and Paul first tries to survive
by blasting the zombies with ex Calibrate. You know, he
like presses a series of keys on his wrist thing
and it zaps the with lasers, but that doesn't work.

(01:05:02):
Then he comes up with a new plan, zap the
crystal on Rat spits sweet Potato staff and that makes
the zombies disappear. And then Paul, after this, is made
to face a new challenge, a zombie version of himself.

Speaker 2 (01:05:17):
Oh and this one looks really good too, Yeah it does.

Speaker 3 (01:05:20):
It does look like Jeffrey Byron basically.

Speaker 2 (01:05:22):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:05:23):
So Paul stares down zombie Paul. But then Zombie Paul disappears,
and Ratspit is incredulous. He's like, how could you have
defeated it? You know, this was your own destiny, but
Paul says it is not his destiny. Then comes the
most famous exchange in the movie. A voiceover of Misteema
comes in and the voiceover Estema says, in a future reality,

(01:05:47):
I shall destroy you, and Paul replies, I reject your
reality and I substitute my own.

Speaker 2 (01:05:54):
Boom. Yeah, there you go. This is a This is
a famous line from this film. I mean, you know,
as famous as anything from The Dungeon Master is. And
Jeffrey Byron talks a little bit about it on the
extras on the Arrow Disc and he says that it's
actually a line that's stuck with him, you know, throughout
his life. And lines up with a lot of the
ideas that he got into via the likes of Wayne

(01:06:16):
Dyer manifesting and so forth. So I think that's fair.
You know, the line is hokey and awesome on our
side of the screen, but I can understand how like
a long percolating line spoken by the actor, embodied by
the actor playing that character, even in something like rage War,
might come back to you again and again and you know,

(01:06:38):
even you know, be in power.

Speaker 3 (01:06:40):
I don't remember this from my own viewing, but I
read online that one of the hosts of MythBusters was
fond of quoting this line. I assume to say, like, no,
I'm not going to accept defeat on whatever we're trying
to do, and I'm going to make it work.

Speaker 2 (01:06:55):
Yeah, that's awesome. I mean it's it may not be.
It's not the Litany against fear, but if it helps
you get through your day, go for it. It's fine.

Speaker 3 (01:07:03):
Okay. So challenge number two defeated. Oh wait, I did
forget one detail about it, which was very funny. There's
a part where Paul is mouthing off to Rat Spit,
and I think he calls him spit Rat, and Rat
Spit corrects him. He's like rat spit.

Speaker 2 (01:07:17):
Yeah, he's very defensive on that point.

Speaker 3 (01:07:20):
But yeah, So back to the desert with Paul.

Speaker 2 (01:07:23):
That's two down right. We've done two challenges, two of
them down now, and the movie could end at any
moment because if he loses one, that's it exactly.

Speaker 3 (01:07:32):
Yeah. So this interlude after the challenge, it starts off
with Mastema just being a horrible creep and groping at Gwinn,
and then Paul stops it by shooting him with a
laser from excalibrate what else this does put a stop
to it, and Mistema sort of backs off and then
pivots to having an animated dragon duel.

Speaker 2 (01:07:54):
Yeah, it's pretty fun, like it has a color scheme
that reminds me of Disney's Sleeping View, I bet you know.
So it's it doesn't last long, it doesn't seem really
go anywhere, but it's fun. It's nice.

Speaker 3 (01:08:06):
Yeah, and then it goes on, so they have the
animated dragon duel and then it's onto just something else.
So it's very non sequitor a series of things here.
The next thing is Mastema says, do you fancy music?
This is a piece of my own composing, and then
we get a terrible dissonant wall of sound. It's the

(01:08:27):
choirs of hell, screams of the damn to that sort
of thing. And then Paul responds by programming Excalibrate to
play rock and roll music, very eighties rock and roll music.
And then Masteema, seemingly offended, is like, you call this
noise music, you shall have your fill of it. So
what do you think the next challenge is going to

(01:08:48):
be about? It's heavy metal.

Speaker 2 (01:08:50):
Ah yeah, And this one's a lot of fun too.
This one is written and directed by Charles Band.

Speaker 3 (01:08:55):
So we are instantly transported to a Wasp concert. They're
in side of club. Everybody in the club is wearing
black leather and a lot of people have gothy makeup on.
Gwinn is being held hostage on stage by the band Wasp.
She's in some kind of rock and roll torture device

(01:09:17):
on the stage, and it seems that to get to
her and save her, Paul is going to have to
go through Wasp.

Speaker 2 (01:09:24):
That's right. And oh man, there's a lot unwrap here. So,
I mean Gwenn's outfit looks amazing. Here, we get a
lot of Blackie Lawless as we'll discuss. And it's interesting
too that this sequence was shot at the historic Whiskey
A Go Go venue in West Hollywood, though apparently in
the dead middle of the night, after closing time, because

(01:09:45):
you know, they had shows they need to do, so
after the concert was finished, after the concert goers we're
out incomes Charles Band and crew and they filmed this
awesome sequence.

Speaker 3 (01:09:55):
Man, that must have been really because I'd imagine the
concerts go pretty late there.

Speaker 2 (01:09:59):
Yeah, I would guess so, Like I think Jeffrey Byron
and the extra said something about it being at midnight,
but I'm thinking that's too early. Yeah, It's like I'm
thinking they were picking up around like two or three, right,
I don't know.

Speaker 3 (01:10:11):
Yeah, Whiskey a Go Go closing up by midnight, Yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:10:14):
Because this is a venue that goes back to the
early sixties and hosted all sorts of acts like the
Beach Boys, that Doors, Motley Crue, Parliament Funkadelic, and of
course probably WASP I'm getting at least in this movie. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:10:28):
So this short segment, this challenge is sort of a
It embodies a larger genre of horror movies that would
also be happening at this time period, which is sort
of metalsploitation. It's like heavy metal meets some kind of
monstrous evil.

Speaker 2 (01:10:44):
Yeah, a little metalsploitation on your sampler platter here, and
we'll have to, at some point in the future come
back and do it like a proper full metalsploitation film
in which your heavy metal bands are either actually demons
or actual devil worshipers, and and so forth. It's a
subgenre that I think is a lot of fun. But yeah,

(01:11:05):
we get a lot of Blackie loless here, looking like
a no fielding parody of an eighties rocker. But he's
just all in on it, just just snarling, big eyed,
crazy rocker hair. I love it.

Speaker 3 (01:11:19):
So Paul of course has to go save Gwynn. But
in order to do that, he will have to face
his greatest challenge yet, which is getting from the bar
area back to his spot in the pit, you know,
getting through the crowd. He has a hard time.

Speaker 2 (01:11:32):
Yeah, that's kind of the core part of this challenge,
isn't it, moving through a crowd? Yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:11:37):
I Meanwhile, Wasp is singing a song about how they
are bad. This is the song about I have no morals,
I do evil.

Speaker 2 (01:11:44):
Show, don't tell Wasp come on?

Speaker 3 (01:11:46):
Yeah yeah, now, so I do enjoy heavy metal, I'm
not personally a big fan of Wasp. However, this dude's
outfit is top shelf. His jacket has circular saw blades
attached to the sleeves, and that's just smart. I mean,
that's convenient, like you never know when you're gonna need him.

Speaker 2 (01:12:04):
Yeah. Yeah, it hats off again to Kathy Clark.

Speaker 3 (01:12:06):
Here. So the singer from Wasp is holding Gwynn hostage
and Paul gets up on stage to rescue her, but
then he gets knocked They knock him down into the
pit again, and the Wasp guy is like, you know,
he's indicating that he's gonna kill Gwinn with a with
a machete. But then Paul he thinks about it, and
he does some beat booping on his Excalibrate and it

(01:12:29):
tells him that he can defeat the singer by disintegrating
him with high frequency sound. But the ultimately that just
ends up looking like it blasts him with a laser
again like it does with everything else. So he does that. Also,
the singer was mastema.

Speaker 2 (01:12:45):
I feel like if they'd had more time and maybe
thought this little bit more. He could have like like
opposed heavy metal music with like electronic ambient music, you know,
like it could have been more of a proper duel
back and forth, and then electro ambience wins. You know,
it's like the powers of Steve Roach overcome the powers
of Loss. But we don't have that much time.

Speaker 3 (01:13:08):
I reject your reality and substitutino. Yeah, so back to
the desert once again, more kind of bandying about threats,
and dialogue between Misteema and you know, Exclibrate or Paul

(01:13:31):
Msteema is like, you performed magnificently, and Paul starts bismirching Misteema.
He says, you know what you are. You're the lowest
of the low. You use people for your own entertainment,
your own little whims and fancies. So they start kind
of laser zapping back and forth at each other, but
Paul's laser does nothing to Misteema, and Misteema explains, this

(01:13:55):
barrier cannot be penetrated. It is powered by a thousand
dead souls, so you know it's hard to get through.

Speaker 2 (01:14:01):
That, all right, Yeah, fair enough, and then we're popped
into the next challenge. This next one is the Stone
Canyon Giant sequence, and this one's written and directed and
special effects by David Allen, who lived nineteen forty four
through nineteen ninety nine. Stop motion animation legend that we
previously talked about in our episode on the Band produced
Robot Jocks, which, of course Joy has excellent robot stop

(01:14:24):
motion animation in it.

Speaker 3 (01:14:26):
God, I love robot Chocks.

Speaker 2 (01:14:29):
So Alan sadly died in nineteen ninety nine at the
age of fifty four, but during his career he worked
on the Howling Willow, Freaked Ghostbusters to Young Sherlock Holmes,
and a ton of Charles Band Full Moon productions, providing
the sort of stop motion work that really set some
of those films apart, you know, that kind of like
old fashioned Harry Howsen esque stop motion work. So he's

(01:14:53):
the man behind the cool animation bits and laser blasts
and cue the Wings Serpent. And when he died, he
was working on The Prime Evils, his sort of magnum opus,
and it was left unfinished at the time, but there
were enough notes and materials left behind that his colleague
Chris Indicott and stop motion animator Kent Burton were able

(01:15:14):
to keep working on it. Charles Band ended up raising
some money through Intoggo that allowed them to finish it,
and it was finally released in twenty twenty three. It
even really received a limited theatrical run. I haven't seen
it yet, but fans seem to love it. I think
it's just, you know, chocked full of those old fashioned
Harry Housen style effects, and hey, you know, it'd probably
make a good double feature with Phil Tippett's Mad God. Oh.

Speaker 3 (01:15:39):
I just looked it up. This looks great. I'm gonna
have to check this out.

Speaker 2 (01:15:42):
Yeah, yeah, I've looked around at reviews and folks really
seemed to really enjoy it. But yeah, anyway. Prior to
Dungeon Master, Allen had worked on numerous films with stop
motion elements, everything from Equinox in seventy to Flesh Gordon
in seventy four, but also films like eighty one's The
Howling and eighty three's Twilight Zone the movie. But his
only directorial credit, according to IMDb, was a nineteen sixty

(01:16:04):
eight short film titled Raiders of the Stone Ring. So
this was his first I guess real chance it coming
in and directing something, and then he would follow this
up with puppet Master two in nineteen ninety that's his
only other featured directorial credit.

Speaker 3 (01:16:20):
So in this segment, Paul gets transported unconscious to a
rocky canyon it looks like somewhere in southern California, and
he gets his wrist computer stolen by a couple of
locals while he is asleep, and then he wakes up
chases to get the computer back, but this chase leads
him to a temple with a giant stone statue on top,

(01:16:40):
and Cal starts sending the alert. The computer says sensing
occult power and man if only all computers could do that.
The statue wakes up and becomes a lumbering stop motion
hulk that chases Paul through the ravine and eventually in
this case Paul will actually Cal figures out that the

(01:17:01):
stone giant is a god named Tammock, which is from Indonesia.
That was an unexpected detail, and this information seems perhaps
useful in figuring out that in order to defeat it,
Paul must use his computer to zap it with a
laser in the head.

Speaker 2 (01:17:19):
So exactly the same solution to all of the challenges.

Speaker 3 (01:17:23):
Okay, yeah, but once again challenge bested.

Speaker 2 (01:17:27):
Yeah, and ultimately this one is a lot of fun
because you have this great stop motion creature and you know,
if you know just a little bit about stop motion work,
you know it takes forever and is a very laborious
way to create cinematic magic. So you know, most of
the effort went into creating this creature and having it actual,
having an actual interface between it and our live action performance,

(01:17:51):
and it works really well.

Speaker 4 (01:17:52):
You know.

Speaker 2 (01:17:52):
It's short, sweet, to the point, but a lot of fun.

Speaker 3 (01:17:55):
Yeah. So after this, Paul comes back to the desert
another interlude with Misteama, and Mistema's got a new thing.
And now Mistema is like, Okay, if you let me
keep Gwen, I'll let you go free and I will
give you wealth sufficient to create your own empire. And
so Mistema creates this big pile of gold in front

(01:18:15):
of Paul, and Paul like picks up a piece of
gold and he's like nah, tosses it down, doesn't take
the bait. Next, Misteema tempts Paul with three beautiful women
who appear and they sort of vamp around him, rubbing
his arms. And then when Gwenn sees this, she yells foul,

(01:18:36):
So will Paul surrender Gwenn sold to Satan in exchange
for three demonic brides.

Speaker 2 (01:18:41):
Gwinn thinks there's a chance.

Speaker 3 (01:18:43):
Yes, Gwinn, clearly she's worried. Yeah, but Paul no. He
thinks about it for a minute, but then Gwenn like
yells at him with a scolding tone, and Paul steps away.
He's like, nope, I turn it down. I reject your reality,
and I will save Gwen. And this leads Miss Stema
to raise his arms and shriek in a truly hilarious manner,

(01:19:05):
and then we're transported to the next challenge, which is
the one called Slasher.

Speaker 2 (01:19:10):
Yeah. This is the one written by Jeffrey Byron and
directed by his brother Steve Stafford, who used the pseudonym
Steve Ford on this one. This is also alluding to
their godfather with the Ford moniker, but Byron also cast
several disacting school friends in the sequence. His brother, Steve
born nineteen fifty had previously done a lot of work

(01:19:32):
as a camera operator on such films as seventy four's
Young Frankenstein nineteen eighties, The Ninth Configuration, which is a
very weird film eighty two's Tutsi and Byron indicated in
the extras on the Arrow Disc that he perhaps had
had some additional directing experience as well before this, but
IMDb lists this as Stafford's first directorial effort is directorial debut.

(01:19:55):
He'd go on to direct nineteen nineties The Color of
Evening and various TV projects. It also has a long
and apparently ongoing career as a helicopter pilot for film productions,
like stunt work but also like aerial camera stuff.

Speaker 3 (01:20:08):
Okay, so this one begins in an alleyway. Paul appears
in an alley. There's like a newspaper headline I think,
showing Gwyn's death and indicating she is the victim of
a serial killer. And then Paul finds a dead body
in the alley next to him, but it's somebody else,
it's not when and then Mistima comes in with voiceover

(01:20:30):
and explains, look, the article you saw is a premonition
of what tomorrow's paper will be. You have one hour
to find Gwynn and save her from this serial killer,
or you will be defeated. Did I get that right? Yeah?

Speaker 2 (01:20:47):
Okay, this is not one of my favorite segments. It doesn't.
It's fine. It's fine.

Speaker 3 (01:20:55):
Cops arrive, they find Paul just next to a dead
body in this alley. They arrest him, throw him into
the police car, and then drive away, just leaving the
dead body there with no one guarding the crime scene. Amazing.
So Paul, while they're riding in the police car, Paul
looks out the window and he sees Gwynn on the sidewalk,

(01:21:16):
so he's like, oh, there she is. I need to
get back to her. She meanwhile, we learn is going
to a dancer audition, so I guess she's still like
she did, you know, dance aerobics in the real world.
In the stream world, she's just a dancer and she's
going to an audition that she saw an ad for
in the paper. Paul uses the computer to like laser
lock pick his handcuffs, and then meanwhile, we see the

(01:21:39):
serial killer puttering around his house from behind. The actor
who plays the serial killer looks a lot like Paul
Riser as Burke, and he's I don't know. He's like
collecting newspaper clippings about all his murders, typical serial killer stuff,
typical stuff. He's like getting out a box of new scalpels.

(01:22:01):
The cops are having a conversation about hating jelly donuts,
and then in the middle of this, Paul just dives
out of the police cars. So this apparently is not
the kind that has doors that lock from the outside.

Speaker 2 (01:22:11):
Maybe he picked them with his android brain.

Speaker 3 (01:22:13):
Oh maybe. So cal tells Paul where the next murder
will take place. It's a dance auditorium, and he runs
to get there. He gets there and he's looking around
inside for Gwen. But and the computer tells him like
sixty seconds to challenge termination, I guess, meaning to stop
her from getting serial murdered. And he's really taking his time.

(01:22:38):
He's just kind of wandering around looking like Gwen Gwenn.
But then finally he sees her. He's like, oh, there
she is. He walks in on Burke, getting ready to
stab her, but then he saves her. That was that
was it. He saves her from the serial killer. And
then the cops come and they grab a serial killer.

Speaker 2 (01:22:53):
So that's that segment. You know, it was different from
the others. It stands apart, you know. It has some
ever so light laughs in it, so I you know,
but for the most part it's another one of these
segments that really feels like it's just a promotional example
of what Empire Pictures can do for you.

Speaker 3 (01:23:10):
Okay, challenging number six, there's only two left. This one
is the one called Cave Beast, and it was directed
by Peter Minoogian, who we remember from Arena.

Speaker 2 (01:23:19):
That's right. I believe we talked about him twice born
nineteen forty nine, because he directed the stupendous The Eliminators
in eighty six and then Arena in eighty nine. This
was his debut directorial credit, but he served as Band's
first assistant director on Metal Storm as well as some
other pictures.

Speaker 3 (01:23:37):
Eliminators was the one with the Mandroid, the Ninja, the
Mercenary and by you Betty.

Speaker 2 (01:23:44):
Oh yeah, it's the one that's mostly about boats.

Speaker 3 (01:23:49):
It's so about boats.

Speaker 2 (01:23:50):
Oh.

Speaker 3 (01:23:51):
Eliminators was great. By you, Betty. I love by you, Betty.

Speaker 2 (01:23:54):
Yeah. And Arena, of course is an alien boxing film
that is great. It's like what if Star Trek was
mostly about alien Mma and that's your movie.

Speaker 3 (01:24:03):
We still talk about by you Betty in our household
pretty often. It's it's She's a point of reference for
some reason, I guess because she's out like working in
the heat on the sweaty river. So like whenever we're
like getting sweaty working in the yard or something, it's like, oh,
I'm feeling like by you Betty over here.

Speaker 2 (01:24:19):
There you go, all right, But Cave Beast, you can
guess where this is going and what it's what the
main threat.

Speaker 3 (01:24:25):
You know, they are really reusing some locations. So I
think the Stone Canyon exterior is the same as the
exterior and this thing. From from what I can tell,
we're also just seeing caves over and over that may
well be the same cave set shot from different angles.

Speaker 2 (01:24:41):
Yeah, I mean it is a dream, so it has
kind of a dream logic sense to it, you know,
where it's like, oh, man, I was having this dream
about this cave and there were zombies in it. But
then I woke up. But man, I went back to sleep,
and what I had another cave dream, like a slightly
different one. I was fighting just one monster this time.

Speaker 3 (01:24:57):
This time the monster is a troll and Paul is
playing like the Banana bomb game with the troll there
on different ends of the cave, throwing things at each
other like rocks and throwing these crystal shards at one another.
Somehow it ends when somehow a blast coming from somewhere
causes a rock fall which lands on the troll. I

(01:25:18):
watched this twice and I don't understand how or why
the troll was defeated.

Speaker 2 (01:25:22):
No, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. The
troll looks good, though, Oh yeah, a little devil horns,
kind of a gargoyle look to it.

Speaker 3 (01:25:28):
I agree, yeah, good look control. And then the troll
win killed, transforms into a beautiful angel, like a beautiful
woman in an angel costume.

Speaker 2 (01:25:39):
Yeah. Played by stunt woman Diane Carter born nineteen fifty,
who worked on such films as nineteen eighty is the Return,
which we covered on Weird House, Blade Runner, and Star
Trek to the Wrath of Khan, in which she also
plays a regular one scientist. But here, Yeah, she is
an angel and her outfit is on the verge of
endangering that pg. Thirteen.

Speaker 3 (01:26:00):
There is so much of that in this movie. It's
almost like they're trying to save money on the costume
budget with you know, you don't want to spend too
much on materials.

Speaker 2 (01:26:09):
Yeah, but again, it's a solid costume. Kathy Clark I'll
mention her again, knocked it out of the park with
these costumes.

Speaker 3 (01:26:16):
I mean it looks like they give her full like
feathery angel wings, even for she never stands up. She's
just like laying here the transformation form of a dying troll. Yeah,
the hair too is feather I don't know. Can you
explain the ending here? So I'm gonna quote it. I'll
say what happens? Dreamy music starts playing in a gentle voice.
The angel says, you didn't listen. You would have won

(01:26:38):
if you just walked out of the cave. Paul says,
I didn't know. I had no idea. She says, I
too transgressed and was banished to this cave. He says,
I'm sorry. If there's something anything I can do, She says,
you've done it. She disappears, and then Paul challenge bested.

(01:26:59):
Paul's trained ported back to the desert of Mistema. That's it.

Speaker 2 (01:27:02):
Wow, Yeah, I have no idea what any of that means, Like,
was she a real angel?

Speaker 4 (01:27:06):
Like?

Speaker 2 (01:27:06):
I don't know it. It makes no sense, but check
it off the list because it's accomplished.

Speaker 3 (01:27:12):
Okay, So this time, Mistema is sitting in a big chair,
surrounded by rocks, fire spears, shoved into the ground, green light,
and here begins Mistema's famous monologue about setting fire to
a cat that starts off when I was a lad.

Speaker 2 (01:27:29):
Yeah, it kind of goes on forever too and with
lots of details, don't I think it's kind of funny
that it was cut for the euro release. But on
the other hand, it's like, yeah, this goes on too long.

Speaker 3 (01:27:43):
Paul responds to the lighting a cat on fire story
by giving a discourse on the Sanskrit concept of a himsa,
which is the principle of causing no harm. The way
Paul explains it is respect for every living creature. And
Mistema really doesn't like this. But by the way, I
have questions about Mastema's monologue. At some point Misteema was

(01:28:06):
a lad. I thought he was Satan.

Speaker 2 (01:28:08):
Hmm, yeah, I don't know. He's maybe yeah, I don't know.
He's a mortal who becomes a demon lord later because
of all his sins.

Speaker 3 (01:28:17):
Maybe, Okay, So Misteema does another monologue after Paul talks
about a himza. I feel like we should give a
grade after we assess Masteema's essay here. So the Essay
goes like this, what conceit? What hypocrisy? You mortals think
you are so full of heart and soul, love and kindness.

(01:28:37):
You think your God looks down on you with tenderness
and mercy. You're mistaken, my friend. It is humanity, not
the devil that is read in Tooth and Claw. It
is your God that reiins down terror on you. Okay,
I mean I feel like the logic does not really
connect from one sentence to another. Is he mad? Is

(01:28:58):
he talking about God or human humans or what?

Speaker 2 (01:29:01):
Yeah? Who's the bad guy here? Who you placing the
blame on? And what does it have to do with
anything else in the film?

Speaker 3 (01:29:07):
Nothing? Nothing? Anyway, Paul tells Mastima that he is bored
because he has no heart and no soul, which makes
immortality unbearable. So Mastema gets really mad and teleports both
Paul and Gwynn to the final challenge. This is the
one called Desert Pursuit aka a five minute version of
metal Storm The Destruction of Jaredson.

Speaker 2 (01:29:28):
Yeah, this is the one where they just they are
straight up using leftover apocalyptic vehicles that they just used
to shoot metal Storm, And it's written and directed by
Ted Nicolau born nineteen forty nine. We've talked about Ted
previously because he directed one of my favorite horror comedies
of all time nineteen eighty six is Terror Vision, So

(01:29:48):
go back to that episode if you want to hear
more about him. But suffice to say that this sequence
with his directorial debut, and it's basically just one big
action sequence using those leftover Apocalypse cars. It may be
in many respects it's my least favorite challenge in the picture,
but like we pointed out earlier, at least Gwynn gets to,

(01:30:09):
you know, be the hero, the hero for a change,
and blow things up with a plasma rifle. So it's
got that going for it. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:30:15):
I appreciate that. I mean, it's just it's fun in
the same way that Metal Storm is fun. I feel
like we appreciate this less because we've seen metal Storm.

Speaker 2 (01:30:22):
It's true, Yeah, but maybe if.

Speaker 3 (01:30:24):
You hadn't seen metal Storm and didn't know they were
just you know, essentially lifting a scene out of that
and putting it in here, it might be more exciting.

Speaker 2 (01:30:32):
This is the leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich exactly. Well, yes,
I take that. You know, you're generally the my memory
is the leftover turkey sandwich was better than Thanksgiving, So
it's not that it's something else, it's leftovers reheat.

Speaker 3 (01:30:46):
So Paul and Gwyn appear in an airplane graveyard in
the desert. Cow does a scan and determines inhabitants hostile.
The inhabitants immediately show up. They're you're basic, you know
if they made it of Tuscan raiders and lords among us.
They're guys in sci fi desert punk outfits with hockey masks.
They were probably exactly the same costumes used in Metal Storm.

(01:31:08):
They drive cars that were used in Metal Storm. Paul
uses his wrist computer to blast the guys and steal
one of their desert buggies. The warriors getting another one
of the buggies and speed after them. So it's sort
of a dollar store mad Max car chase. And yeah,
this is the part where Gwinn she's like fed up
with it. She's like, I'm I'm done with all this,
and she grabs a plasma rifle and blows the other

(01:31:31):
cars to bits. So it's more blasting, but from a
different source than the previous blasting. All of the previous
lasers came from Paul's wristwarmer. Now it's this big gun
that Gwinn has. It's the only segment where Gwyn gets
to shoot bad guys instead of just screaming for help.
So congrats on that. But then it also ends with
like Mistema sending them into a game of chicken with

(01:31:54):
another desert remote desert car, and like the cars hit
each other and blow up. But I guess somehow our
heroes get transported out of them back to the desert,
and then the final sequence is just is just a
fist fight between Paul and Mistema and that's how it ends.

Speaker 2 (01:32:11):
Yeah, Like basically, Paul is like, well, you know what,
you have all these advantages because you're immortal and nothing cols,
why don't you have a mortal fist fight with me
and we'll settle it that way, a good old fashioned
cowboy slug fest, and Esteema's like, let's do it. And
then they just have like a just kind of a
mediocre brawl at the edge of a pit and Misteema

(01:32:32):
like falls into said pitt and is defeated, and like
basically the movie ends at that point. I think we
get our one like shot of like, oh they're together
and happy now. But then we're done.

Speaker 3 (01:32:41):
No, it's not just that he yeah, pushes Mastema into
the pit. After the fist fight, they get transported back
to their apartment. They're standing there in their apartment and
then Gwynn says, she's like, Okay, Paul, let's get married.
And also, I'm cool with your computer now.

Speaker 2 (01:32:57):
I like Cal, Yeah, where what changed her mind? There
was nothing in the challenges that would support that. But okay,
fair enough.

Speaker 3 (01:33:08):
I mean I think she was right to begin with. Again,
you know, you should be accepting of your your partner's
hobbies and interests, even if they get a little obsessive sometimes.
But Paul is clearly way too obsessed with this computer.
It's not healthy.

Speaker 2 (01:33:21):
Yeah, it's the reason they just went through these demonic challenges. Yes,
so really she should be like, Paul, we need to
have some time apart. I need to think about this. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:33:32):
I could understand if at the end she was like,
you know, tamp it down a little bit, Just tamp
down the cal a little bit. You treat it more
like a hobby, spend some time on it. But you
can't let cal determine your entire life. And it seems
instead like the conclusion is she's okay with cal. Cal's
going to make all her decisions for us now hand
things over to Skynet.

Speaker 2 (01:33:53):
But on the other hand, like he has saved the day,
right he and to gather, they have defeated the demonic threats.
So fair enough, happy ending has been earned, so I'll
accept it. And it is a lot of fun. You know.
We can rag it for a rag on it for
its various lapses and logic and how this jointed it

(01:34:14):
can feel, but it's a lot of fun. None of
the there's never really a dull moment. You're constantly trying
to figure out what's happening, you know, just flowing with
the dream logic and these often abrupt changes and shift
in tone. So yeah, it's a lot of fun.

Speaker 3 (01:34:31):
Okay, that doesn't for me.

Speaker 2 (01:34:33):
Yeah, there's nothing much else to say other than yeah,
if you're interested and you haven't seen it, go watch
The Dungeon Master aka Rage War, and you can also
puzzle over all of these questions as well. All right,
we'll go in and close it up here, but we'd
love to hear from everyone out there as always. Do
you have particular memories experiences related to viewing the Dungeon

(01:34:54):
Master aka Rage War. Which version did you see? Do
you have thoughts on Whiskey a Go Go? You have
thoughts on any of the locations featured in the film
California people right in. We'd love to hear from you,
And just a reminder that Stuff to Blow Your Mind
is primarily a science podcast with core episodes on Tuesdays
and Thursdays, but on Fridays we set aside most serious

(01:35:16):
concerns to just talk about a weird film on Weird
House Cinema. And if you want to see a list
of all the movies we've covered on Weird House Cinema
thus far, go to letterbox dot com. It's l E
T T E R B o x D dot com.
Our username there is weird House, and we have a
nice list of everything we've covered. You can look at
all the box art. It's like go into a video
rental store, but you know in your mind and online

(01:35:39):
and so forth, so yeah, check it out. It's a
lot of fun.

Speaker 3 (01:35:43):
Huge thanks as always to our excellent audio producer Jjposway.
If you would like to get in touch with us
with feedback on this episode or any other to suggest
a topic for the future, or just to say hello.
You can email us at contact a Stuff to Blow
Your Mind dot com.

Speaker 1 (01:36:04):
Stuff to Blow Your Mind is production of iHeartRadio. For
more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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