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E.C. McMullen Jr.
"'Some People' ... may be the standout story in the book."
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E.C. McMullen Jr.
"'Willow Blue' will burrow under your skin and stay there long after you've put the book down."
- Jeffrey Reddick, Creator of
IN OTHER BOOKS
E.C. McMullen Jr.'s
CEDO LOOKED LIKE PEOPLE
in the anthology
FEAR THE REAPER
"This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I've read in a long time."
- Steve Isaak,
The Silver Scream
E.C. McMULLEN Jr.,
GEORGE A. ROMERO,
and many more.
Extensively quoted in
The Unauthorized Companion
Robert S. Rhine's
CIRCUS OF HELL
GAHAN WILSON &
Featuring comics by
E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
"And all for this lunacy called 'love.' This distemper that strikes down both beggar and king. Never again! Never!"
The early to mid-80's were rife with teenage sex comedies, the Brat Pack, 50's inspired Sci-Fi/Horror flicks and their various remakes, action films starring the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme. While this is all a fact that can't be disputed, another thing that is a dead certainty: it was an Age Undreamed of and Days of High Adventure.
Yes, my friends, from the Mists of Fable and Pulp Novels of the 30's, and stories inspired by such scribblings, came the era of the genre known as Sword & Sorcery flicks.
Theaters and video stores were inundated with films and their numerous knockoffs which had Barbarians and half naked Damsels-in-Distress being menaced by dragons, demons and monsters of every description. In 1981 there were movies like CLASH OF THE TITANS, DRAGONSLAYER, THE SWORD & THE SORCERER, and some parts of the animated HEAVY METAL. 1982 saw CONAN THE BARABARIAN and BEASTMASTER. 1983 had KRULL and more animated fare like FIRE AND ICE.
While there are some great titles in there (some not so great), my go to movies were always CONAN THE BARABARIAN and the subject of this review, EXCALIBUR. The movie was directed, produced and written by (screenplay) John Boorman (DELIVERANCE, ZARDOZ, and God help me, THE EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC). EXCALIBUR marked the big screen debuts of greats like
Other pivotal actors who had big screen debuts before this include Nigel Terry as King Arthur (FEARDOTCOM),
This magnificent visual feast of a film starts right in the thick of things with a battle going on between Uther (Byrne) and his knights against those of Duke Cornwall (Corin Redgrave: THE MAGUS, SURREAL ESTATE, ULTRAVIOLET [TV], CLOSE YOUR EYES). Eventually, both sides tire of the fighting and strike a truce. That lasts all of about five minutes and they are back at it again. Why? Because Uther saw Cornwall's old lady, Igrayne (Katrine Boorman) dance! He decides to throw away all he has gained to hopefully get laid! What comes later, he righteously deserves.
Merlin (Williamson) tries to warn him off and to think with the head at the end of his neck and not the one further south, but... as it always does, good advice falls to the wayside, unheeded. Reluctantly, Merlin weaves a spell to help Uther rape Igrayne (never mind that she is an unsuspecting participant), under the guise of good ol' Cornwall. The jig is up nine months later when baby Arthur comes along. Merlin takes off with the future King of Camelot, as per his and Uther's agreement. Either Uther has a change of heart and mind, or he couldn't deal with Igrayne' wailing any longer, but whatever the case, he goes after Merlin.
Cornwall's men, still pissed about Uther's betrayal, set upon the King. Before Uther gives up the ghost, he rams Excalibur, sword of Gods and Kings, into a nearby stone and exclaims loudly that no one will rule except him.
Exit Uther two seconds later. Cornwall's knights try to extract the sword from the stone to no avail.
I won't go into all the hoopla that follows this. Much of it is already known. The source material for EXCALIBUR is mostly based on Le Morte d'Arthur, by Sir Thomas Mallory. The movie covers pertinent plot points that are known of the Arthurian Legend, from the Sword in the Stone, to Arthur's sending his knights on a quest for the Holy Grail to his untimely demise. All through the story, the narrative is rife with deception, betrayal, murder and black magic. History even repeats itself when Morgana (Mirren) does the exact same thing to her half-brother, Arthur (Terry) that Uther did to their mother. Morgana wants their son, Mordred to ascend to the throne and unseat his father as King.
To say this doesn't go over too well is an understatement. More fighting ensues. This movie is full of it in some form or other. They manage to squeeze a lot of things in in the 140-minute run of the film. A LOT of things.
Finally, I want to say that Paul Geoffrey as Perceval totally steals this movie for me. Anytime he is onscreen, he's a joy to watch, even when he is a wet behind the ears squire, to being knighted by Arthur, to the grueling trials and tribulations he endures to find the Holy Grail. Paul Geoffrey, you totally rocked that role, man.
Four Shriek Girls.