To kick off our Sword and Sorcery Season let's have a look at the things that a premium, top drawer, cream of the crop Sword and Sorcery film needs.
- If your parents are alive, even one of them, then don't bother applying for a job as the hero in a Sword and Sorcery film. Both parents have to be murdered by sword, maybe even beheaded, by the film's big bad.
- Someone has to have some strange facial hair. Beard without moustache is a favourite look. Or a porn tash if you're Sean Connery.
- There has to be a haggard, crusty old witch dressed in rags. Preferably blind.
- Our hero has to have an iconic weapon or a signature move.
- A really, really irritating small humourous companion (like Scrappy Doo) is generally included.
- The heroine partakes in blouse removal. The hero has a good peep/leer.
- The hero comes up with a crafty plan to bed the heroine.
- The villain has to ham it up like Pek's gone out of fashion (technically Pek is pork, but you get the gist).
- The hero has a plucky band of helpers: the big strong one, the short, sneaky, thieving one, the child out to prove they can fight, the old fella with beard (preferably blind, again) and don't forget the cyclops played by an out of work Carry On thespian.
- A training scene. Either the hero training or the hero training someone else.
- A boy to man transition scene (or girl to woman - did Red Sonja have one of these? Most probably).
- The film poster is a blatant Simon Bisley rip-off.
- Someone wears sandals.
- Everyone lives in huts or castles. You don't get Sword and Sorcery films set in the back streets of Grimsby.
- Get bonus points a-plenty if Julie Andrews plays the blind witch. Not the heroine though (see bullet point 6). That would be bad. For a previous feature, I had to search for a Julie Andrews image and up came a picture of her displaying her begonias. More a case of Mary Pop-outs. I still have nightmares and night sweats now.
So there you have it. You can use this to judge the quality of the choice selection of films we have lined up for you in this season. Or better still, turn it into a drinking game. This has the added benefit that if Julie Andrews does turn up as the heroine you can drink yourself to oblivion and forget the whole dreadful experience.