Showing posts with label Sword and Sorcery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sword and Sorcery. Show all posts

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sword and Planet - Groupread Topic for May June 2014

Sword and Planet Group Read 2014

Sword & Planet

May-June Groupread is "Sword and Planet": Only one topic for the next two months,  but it is a big one! Please join us (any sci-fi adventure with swords will suffice).

Discussion Link (click and join): https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... 

Banner: Enjoy the mashup of  Frank Frazetta's version of John Carter and Barsoom (drawn from below coverart)!
Thuvia, Maid of Mars / The Chessmen of Mars
A Princess of Mars
The Gods of Mars / The Warlord of Mars
The Mastermind of Mars and A Fighting Man of Mars

Testament: The Life and Art of Frank Frazetta

Thuvia, Maid of Mars / The Chessmen of Mars (Barsoom, #4-5) The Mastermind of Mars and A Fighting Man of Mars (Barsoom, #6-7) Testament  The Life and Art of Frank Frazetta

Background elements from:
A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1) The Gods of Mars / The Warlord of Mars (Barsoom, #2-3) 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sword and Sorcery Movie Queue: 2014 and beyond

Sword and Sorcery list (Link)

Instead of maintaining separate postings for Sword & Sorcery movies (blog link) each year, I am now doing that via one list on the IMDB (the internet movie database).  Please suggest any additions/edits.  Here are some of the cool features:
  • Sort List: by Ranking, US release date (and flip/inverse ordering)
  • Immediate Streaming:  Click the buttons on the side to see which one's you can stream immediately...and if you are a Amazon Prime member (watch some for free...right now!).
  • Quiz: there is a fun quiz offered for this list
  • Trailers and Reviews
  • Export the List (so you can graph trends, like the quality and quantity of the genre)

2014 Highlights:  Some neat films are coming out in Dec 2013/2014, including:

  • 47 Ronin
  • A 300 sequel
  • Seventh Son
  • Hercules (2 of them actually)
  • Hobbit sequels

IMDB Sword and Sorcery movie list




Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Slimy Trope: Sewer Entrances in Sword & Sorcery Movies

When did invading a fortress via a sewer become popular?  

I do not know precisely, but there has been a recent surge.  Between late 2011 and mid-2012, I saw three Sword & Sorcery movies that employed this tactic (details below).  Two of these involved the protagonists breaking-in to their infested homes.  I think the originality has been exhausted now, and I hope this fad fades away. 

Star Wars IV: A New Hope 1977

Death Star Fortress- Sewer Exit-Escape

George Lucas deserves credit for cinematically popularizing a fortress escape sewer-scene in his 1977 Star Wars IV, A New Hope (Death Star garbage compactor scene). Ostensibly, Star Wars is Sci-Fi rather than Fantasy, but it employs most every Fantasy trope that exits.  It certainly seems to have inspired the 2011 Conan the Barbarian break-in into Zym's tower (below).

The Sword and The Sorcerer 1982

King Cromwell's Castle: Sewer Entrance

The hero Talon sneaks through the sewers to rescue potential heir to throne Prince Mikah and his sister Alana.


Conan the Barbarian - 2011

Khalar Zym’s Castle: Sewer Entrance

More special effects were dedicated to the randomly-placed, lurking sewer-serpent "dweller" than were used to demonstrate the power of the magical mask of Acheron motivating the story.  So strangely, this scene was more exciting than the climax of the movie (Here is a link to my rant on that).


Solomon Kane – 2009 globally (2012 in USA via Video Streaming)

Josiah Kane’s Castle: Drainage Entrance

I enjoyed this movie (Link to review) , but I took a sigh when this sewer-trope was demonstrated. 

Snow White and the Huntsman 2012

Ravenna’s (and Snow White’s) Castle; Sewer Entrance

Snowwhite had escaped the castle via the drainage tunnels, so when she returns with and army, she sends some dwarves in to raise the gate.  Very clever...I suppose.







Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sword and Sorcery Movie Trends - Quantity and Quality

Movie Queue: The last few years I have been capturing lists of forthcoming Sword & Sorcery movies (Link to IMDB :Sword and Sorcery: Past and Future Listings).  Moving beyond that, in an attempt to capture a list of  past Sword and Sorcery movies, I assembled a Pinterest Board.    

This exercise made me realize that I had missed seeing Roger Corman's 1980's Cult Classics movies: DeathStalker I,II,II, IV, the Barbarian Queen I,II, and the Warrior and the Sorceress (there are even more, most merely recycle footage). Amazon has a collection deal, in which I can get 4 of those.  Would it be worth my time/money (6hrs/$18USD) to complete this gaping hole in my life? How essential are these B-movies toward developing a well-rounded S&S groupie? I have since ordered the movies...and will be watching them soon...more on that below.

Therapy: I had turned to the Sword and Sorcery group on Goodreads for some biased advice.  There author Bruce Durham directed me toward a great website that details what elements Sword & Sorcery movies are expected to have, and has a great list of movies listed by release date.  To see the trends over time I graphed a histogram:

Quantity - Movies per Year


Quality

Trends: The trickle of movies in 1960's and 1970's was notably composed of Ray Harryhausen's classic clay-mation masterpieces (Jason and the Argonauts, Sinbad movies). The trends show clearly how John Milius's 1982 "Conan The Barbarian" movie, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, inspired a lot of others; it had followed closely on the heels of "Clash of the Titans," Ray Harryhausen's last animated masterpiece.  Some featured new perspectives, like Excalibur, Fire and Ice, and Legend...and were good enough to enhance, not dilute, the genre (another blogger tackled the 1980's category thoroughly-link).

Unfortunately many "Conan clones" generally lacked in quality.  Well actually, even Arnold's next Conan film, "the Destroyer" was more cheese than it was entertainment...and the 2011 Conan reboot with Jason Momoa (which, despite a good performance from Momoa) had a blatant disregard for basic story-telling.  The 2010 reboot of Clash of the Titans and its sequel 2012 Wrath of Titans were lackluster (a third film is in development, for what that is worth).  So with all this, should we have hope that quality fantasy will return?

Future of Hope: Yes, fans should be hopeful.  Peter Jackson's excellent treatment of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings in 2001 seems to have sparked another surge.  With the excellent translation of George Martins Game of Thrones on HBO (being a series and not a movie, that is not captured in the graph), Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy in progress, a live action version of Fire and Ice in the works, and even a sequel to Solomon Kane brewing...we have reason to beleive that the portfolio of Sword & Sorcery movies will grow in quantity and quality.  In fact Dealine.com reports that "Legend of Conan ~2014" intends to redeem Conan's credibility:
"There are no plans for Momoa to return. Morgan said that in his mind,The Legend Of Conan not only skips over that film, but also the 1984 sequel that Schwarzenegger starred in. The direct link is to the original, which was directed by John Milius from a script he wrote with Oliver Stone."
Deathstalker: Anyway, as we await new flicks, I find myself checking out the old ones I had missed.  I do not expect much. There is a stunningly hilarious and through review of the Deathstalker series on cinemassacre.com from 2010 (embedded video below). It dissects the absurdity of the series, even going as far as to quantify the ratio of fight scenes to women's breasts shown per movie.  Of course, I have not seen the movies yet, but have just received them by mail and I am mentally prepared now.  What is sad is that many of these had great covers by artist Boris Vallejo, which promised to deliver serious Sword & Sorcery.  Great marketing I suppose.
Boris Vallejo covers for the Deathstalker Series

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Sword and Sorcery Film Queue


I will periodically update this page throughout 2013. Here is the link to last year’s queue, provided since many films slip from year to year: 2012 Sword and Sorcery Film Queue.

An Unexpected Journey 

Dec 14th 2012 (...but can be seen in 2013 )
And the rest of the trilogy:
Dec 13th 2013: “Desolation of Smaug”
Dec 17th 2014: “There and Back Again


2013 Hammer of the Gods


Facebook Movie Page and Trailer Link
I heard about this via the Goodreads Sword and Sorcery group (link).
- Action epic sees a passionate young man transform into a brutal warrior as he travels the unforgiving landscape in search of his long lost brother Hakan The Ferrocious, whose people are relying on him to restore order to their kingdom

The Seventh Son Releases ~ Jan 2014

From Wikipedia: "The Seventh Son is an upcoming fantasy film based on the first installment in Joseph Delaney's children's dark fantasy novel series The Wardstone Chronicles titled The Spook's Apprentice."

Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage (~2013)

Patrick Stewart’s narration may give this some street cred.




Likely to be released sometime 

Clash of the Titans 3 ~ 2013 

RELEASE DATES



300: Rise of an Empire

2014



47 Ronin

Dec 25th 2013



Sequel(s) For Solomon Kane (~2014?)

According to Fangoria magazine's interview with Michael Basset. FANGORIA: So we can expect a sequel to SOLOMON KANE? BASSETT: We intend to film more of Kane’s adventures. The first one has done very well in festivals around the world; now we have to wait and see how it’s received by a larger audience. Our intention is to make a trilogy, and if everything goes as planned, we will leave for South Africa to start production on part two.

 

Hunstmans Sequel (2014?)


Legend of Conan (2014)

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as Conan (~2015 "Legend of Conan" movie). Multiple news sources claim it will ignore the silly Conan The Destroyer and poorly produced 2010 Conan reboot (with Jason Momoa, who did okay but not well enough to compensate for other issues)...in other words, the 2015 movie is being designed as a direct sequel to the 1982 Conan the Barbarian.

A Fire and Ice live action movie began being produced in 2012 (and a possible Death Dealer after that?!~). IGN reports this remake of the rotoscoped classic in which Frank Frazetta and Ralph Bakshi teamed up.



God of War, 2014?

"300" meets "Clash of the Titans" in this movie adaption of the video game 

Narnia 4 Movie More Chronicles of Narnia
2014? maybe?…
And after that… Narnia V: The Silver Chair is planned.

 

Little hope of being made...

 

Future Release

Elric movie:

Check out Michael Moorcock's blog for details.
Castlevania: Based on Konami's popular vampire games; this movie has been bounced around since before 2009.
The Power of the Dark Crystal (ever?)

Announced in 2005, this sequel to the Dark Crystal (1982) has stumbled, always making some forward progress.
Bran Mak Morn  ????

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sword and Sorcery Group - Goodreads

Thanks to Goodreads member Periklis for setting up a Sword & Sorcery Group on Goodreads and for sharing the moderator roles with me.  He titled it appropriately as "An earthier sort of fantasy: Sword & Sorcery" - the earthier description is a bit cryptic but is explained on the site.   

Essentially, if you like to read Dark Fantasy you should stop by.   Haven't checked out Goodreads yet?  You should if you like books.  From getting advanced review copies via Giveaways, getting smart phone Apps to scan your books and catalog your library, and enabling you to connect with your favorite authors... Goodreads is the social networking site for book worms of all types (and all over the world; Periklis hails from Greece!).  

This Sword & Sorcery group just started (~Oct 2012) and has already attracted authors such as Howard Andrew Jones and Nathan Long, publishers like Rogue Blades Entertainment, and acclaimed editors like Forrest Aguirre.  

You are invited too! Click here!




An earthier sort of fantasy: Sword & Sorcer...
An earthier sort of fantasy: Sword & Sorcery 27 members Books and related material (videos, podcasts & blogposts) about Sword & Sorcery.

View this group on Goodreads »






Monday, November 12, 2012

BLOODSONG: VALKYRIES OF HEL - Bloodsong returns in 2013!


C. Dean Andersson
(a.k.a. Asa Drake) authored an entertaining horror/fantasy trilogy about a heroine called Bloodsong in the 1980's. He has been working on a omnibus reboot and a sequel (Valkyries of Hel). Specific dates not revealed yet. My favorite Sword and Sorcery showcases necromancy; a lot of the weird fiction had this in short stories form. The Bloodsong trilogy struck a nice balance of horror and fantasy in a trilogy of novels.  Here is his synopsis of "The Hel Trilogy":

"The "Hel Trilogy" is the first three Sword and Sorcery books of Bloodsong, a Norse warrior woman fighting to save and protect her daughter and folk from evils and threats in Viking Age Scandinavia. The Bloodsong books were reprinted by Hawk Books in 2000 as WARRIOR WITCH, WARRIOR REBEL, and WARRIOR BEAST, all three under my real name, C. Dean Andersson".

Several years ago Andersson told GW Thomas in an interview (link) that he was working on a sequel featuring Bloodsong; the sequel it has yet to officially emerge but it is nice to know that progress has been made Here is his Sept-2012 announcement on Facebook :
"The first three Norse warrior woman Bloodsong novels, in preparation for their ebook omnibus debut, are being enhanced with new and expanded scenes and revised text. The original stories are unchanged, of course, but time is now being spent on them that was not available under publisher deadlines when they were originally written in the pre-Xena 1980s. The cover painting by Boris Vallejo, created for the second Bloodsong novel, shows Bloodsong and her daughter, Guthrun, fighting together against their enemies, and is being used for the omnibus' cover through a new agreement with the artist. Meanwhile, a new Bloodsong novel, Valkyries of Hel, is being written. Altogether now, on three...BLOODSONG LIVES! BLOODSONG AND FREEDOM!"
I am always excited to be able to touch base directly with authors--in this case, it was Facebook. As a giddy fan, I copy our communications...and invite you to track down your favorite authors!


  • September 24, 2012

  • Seth Lindberg Awesome news. Any idea when Valkyries of Hel will be published?
  • Bloodsong Freyadis Guthrun's Daughter Seth Lindberg I'm hoping next year sometime...can't be sure yet...still working on the Omnibus enhancements, then have to finish writing Valkyries...but I'm having a blast doing both!
    7 hours ago · Unlike · 1
  • Seth Lindberg The Bloodsong trilogy exhibited a great blend of horror and fantasy that is seldom approached; I anxiously await the Omnibus and Valkyries. For what a fan's enthusiasm is worth, I'd gladly help plug your work when "Valkries of Hel" is ready to share (ie via Goodreads.com, blog post/interview, etc.). Thanks for the details.

  • Bloodsong Freyadis Guthrun's DaughterThanks! As I go back through the trilogy, I am amazed myself (in a generally good way) at some of the stuff I'd forgotten was there. But I am seeing things now, between characters or inside a character, that I feel needs bringing into clearer focus, and a character like Jalna in the first one who ended up being important in the second and third ones, is getting extra attention and added scenes. The enthusiasm of fans is everything! Appreciate the offer to plug it etc...any and all help will be appreciated!



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Doomed Sword and Sorcery Heroes – A Reading List

This list is limited to Sword & Sorcery books featuring protagonists who fight despite having no chance of winning (i.e. living, saving their people, freeing themselves from a curse, etc.).  Not everyone gets excited about reading about "doom," but some of us relish watching a hero resisting death's embrace.  A happy ending is not what all readers want; some of us just prefer wild journeys (the struggle is the focus, not the end).

Bran Mak Morn- by R. E. Howard
R.E. Howard's Bran is less famous than his Conan, but Bran is arguably more doomed: he leads a devolving people and culture (the Picts), is embattled by the forces of Rome and must work with dark magic to survive.
Elric of Melnibon√© - by  Michael Moorcock

The abject albino prince Elric shares his doom with his dying civilization. Action packed Sword & Sorcery at its finest. (Wiki link)
Kane in Gods in Darkness - by Karl Wagner

Loosely based on the biblical Cain cursed not to die, Kane is an immortal warrior and general.  The series has an ambiguous sci-fi foundation that hints at alien technology, but despite these undercurrents the Kane series are decidedly fantasy masterworks.  Want a doomed hero who has military prowess?  Read Kane.   
Julian the Apostate in We are all Legends - by  Darrell Schweitzer

We Are All Legends is a must-read for fans of doomed protagonists. It is Sword and Sorcery for the adult crowd. Darrell Schweitzer tapped into his extensive weird fiction expertise to craft this great string of tales. It mixes the horrific atmosphere of H.P. Lovecraft, with the story telling action of R. E. Howard, with the emotive style of C.A. Smith. (Review Link)
Druss the Legend – by David Gemmell

More “Sword” than “Sword & Sorcery”, Gemmell imbued his aging hero Druss with qualities quintessentially legendary.  Druss returns from his retreat to protect a mountain fortress from an encroaching barbarian horde.  Epic battles abound, and Druss transitions to an respected ghostly status fueling a series of books.
Dilvish, the Damned by Roger Zelazny

Zelznay is better known for his The Amber Chronicles series which blended swashbuckling fantasy and a trippy sci-fi world.  Zelzany (a native Ohioan) also wrote yarns of a hero returned from the dead which are as satisfying. 

Brian Rouwen in The Accursed by Robert Vardeman
In 2010, Vardeman recently wrote a novel adaption for the God of War video game series.  Turns out he has been writing for decades, and in 1994 he published a series regarding a cursed warrior (I just added this to my to-read queue).  This serves as a placeholder for all the other doomed heroes I have yet to discover.
Lord Endenken Lysis in Lords of Dyscrasia- by S. E. Lindberg

Looking for a unique dark adventure?  Follow Lord Lysis, a doomed protagonist who battles otherworldy evil in the Underworld! (Link to About)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sword & Sorcery Film Queue 2012

Fantasy Movies Coming Soon

MAR Wrath of Titans:
Can they make-up for the poorly made 2010 Clash of the Titans 3D with a sequel?
MAR John Carter of Mars: How will Disney treat Edgar Rice Burrough’s (Tarzan author) sci-fi fantasy?
MAY Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage: Patrick Stewart’s narration may give this some street cred.
JUNE

Snow White and the Huntsman:
Thor actor Chris Hemsworth teams up with the Vampire Diaries chick (Kristen Stewart) for some epic action.  Should be an interesting comparison versus Julia Roberts’ rendition of Snow White in Mirror Mirror due out this year as well.
JUNE Pixar and Disney's Brave (2012) - Disney tries out Heroic Fantasy!
AUG Silent Hill Revelation (sequel): Okay, not 100% Sword and Sorcery, but it is a mix of Horror-Fantasy and Pyramid Head does have a large sword and Michael Basset (who just delivered Solomon Kane) is leading the effort.
DEC The Hobbit (2012); stymied by a writer's strike and a legal tangle with the Tolkien estate, the prequel(s) to the Lord of the Rings trilogy promises to be great.

Unknown Release Dates



A Fire and Ice live action movie being produced in 2012 (and a possible Death Dealer after that?!~).  IGN reports this remake of the rotoscoped classic in which Frank Frazetta and Ralph Bakshi teamed up.  Bill Frazetta confirms the film's progress in this video from Comic Con 2011:
Release overseas in 2011.
Not available in US yet.
Solomon Kane
, a well received depiction of R.E.Howard's doomed, religious hero. Click here to request it to come state-side by "Demanding" it.
Red Nails (Since 2006) this endeavor has struggled; based on REH's only full length Conan novel...see some pre-production animations that surfaced.
Elric movie: Check out Michael Moorcock's blog for details.
Castlevania: Based on Konami's popular vampire games; this movie has been bounced around since before 2009.
The Power of the Dark Crystal (2011??) Announced in 2005, this sequel to the Dark Crystal (1982) has stumbled, always making some forward progress.
Red Sonja: Let's hope it is better than the 1985 version... if it is made at all.  The lead role was to be played by Rose McGowan, but she switched assignments to play Marique in the 2011 Conan the Barbarian movie
Bran Mak Morn
At the Mountains of Madness: More weird horror/fantasy than Sword and Sorcery, but it is Lovecraft...and Guillermo del Toro was involved.
Narnia 4 Movie Narnia IV: The Magician's Nephew
2014? maybe?…

And after that… Narnia V: The Silver Chair is planned.