These days, kids getting into fantasy rpgs have a number of film and TV influences to draw from should our increasingly post-literate world make Appendix N unpalatable. There have even been D&D movies! If we want to stick with quality examples we’ve had the Lord of the Rings films and the D&D-without-the-name Record of Lodoss War, not to mention things like Harry Potter that (while not Medieval) have plenty of magic.
Such was not the case back the eighties. We had to savor what sword and spell films we had, however dubious their merits. Sure, we had several great films from Harryhausen, various Arthurian adaptations, and Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings and Fire and Ice. The quality tended drop off pretty precipitously after the top tier, though, but even those films were invested with extra magic due to their spotty availability on home video.
Staying in the realm of Boris Vallejo posters and bare breasts (which seems to Argentina, based on where these movies were made) we come to Barbarian Queen. I don’t think it actually provided much gaming inspiration for us, really--and its lack of magic and ancient Rome setting make it technically not a fantasy--but it had other charms that made these deficits easy to overlook in that early gaming era.
It looks like later this month we'll all get the change to revisit these Argentine/American epics in the company of the first two Deathstalker films when Roger Corman's Cult Classics brings them to DVD.
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