On this day back in 1983, science fiction and fantasy fans excitedly rushed to movie theaters to feast their eyes on a new cinematic marvel titled KRULL! The trailer (see below) suggested a world of myth and magic featuring a ragtag band of heroes in the mold of a typical DUNGEONS & DRAGONS adventuring party doing battle with fearsome enemies in exotic locations.
With an impressive (especially for the time) budget of $27 million, KRULL was a well-financed epic that so desperately wanted to be the next STAR WARS, but alas, that was not to be. Despite the budget, rather impressive special effects, superb cinematography at the hands of veteran Director of Photography Peter Suschitzky (STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK), and a talented and attractive cast, the film was considered a box office failure and the hope for sequels and extensive lines of merchandise was squashed. For example, while a line of 3-1/4″ action figures was commissioned (with prototypes by G.I. JOE sculptor Bill Merklein), the line was cancelled. We did, however, get a boardgame and card game (both from Parker Bros.), a decent cartridge for the Atari 2600, and even a stand-up arcade videogame!
As for DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, rumor has it that early on the film was intended to be the official tie-in movie for the game. In 2007 however, the late Gary Gygax (co-creator of D&D) said in an interview: “To the best of my knowledge and belief, the producers of KRULL never approached TSR for a license to enable their film to use the D&D game IP.”
While KRULL certainly has its flaws, there are plenty of other charming and even outright impressive elements that make it worth viewing. The sequences with the fire mares – gorgeous Clydesdale horses – are stunning; Lysette Anthony is adorable as Lyssa, although you might be surprised (as was Anthony) to learn that all her lines were dubbed by American actress Lindsay Crouse; and the sweeping score by James Horner is not to be missed and might well find its place in your game table soundtrack! And keep your eyes peeled for appearances by two young, fresh-faced actors named Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane!
To learn a lot more about this film, check out CINEMA AND SORCERY: THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO FANTASY FILM – written by G2V’s very own Scott Woodard (that’s me!) and Arnold T. Blumberg – in either print or e-book!