EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally wrote about this on March 6, 2020. Now it’s back for Cannon Month.
John Norman is a professor of philosophy and the creator of the Gor series of books, which are basically male-dominated bondage science fiction fantasies that also feature critiques of modern society and the exploration of philosophical themes from a Nietzschean view. And you thought incels were a brand new thing, huh?
The series began in 1966 with Tarnsman of Gor — which this movie is based on — and was put on hold when DAW refused to publish the twenty-fifth installment, Magicians of Gor in 1988. The series returned in 2001 with Witness of Gor. There’s also an entire subculture called Gorean flourishes online, as you can only imagine that it would.
So yeah. Somehow, this got made. And so did a sequel, Outlaw of Gor.
Professor of physics Tarl Cabot (Urbano Barberini, Demons, Opera) is pretty much a loser with the ladies until he gets a magical ring that sends him to the world of Gor. Think Den from Heavy Metal and you have the picture.
He also comes into conflict with Oliver Reed, playing the priest-king known as Sarm, who is looking for the Home Stone to create more paths to Earth. Our hero accidentally kills Sarm’s son before he’s knocked out and left for the buzzards. Luckily, he’s saved by Talena (Playboy Playmate of the Month for June 1986 Rebecca Ferratti, who is also in Cheerleader Camp and Embrace of the Vampire), the barbarian princess of Ko-ro-ba.
Of course, while Cabot strikes out at home, he somehow scores with this vision of womanhood because on Gor, men are the rulers. But he’s still a moron and activates the Home Stone, sending him home to, one assumes, spill his seed, hack the carrot and sail the seas of mayonnaise all by himself.
Gor at least has some great character actors like Jack Palance, Paul Smith (Bluto from Popeye and the landscaper in Pieces) and a young Arnold Vosloo.
Norman almost didn’t get the movie made, as his publisher wanted nothing to do with it. He told the fanzine The Gorean Voice, “Ballantine Books refused to do movie tie-ins to either film; they failed even to answer my letters. My attorney finessed his way around Ballantine’s rights department and contacted the legal department at Random House. The movies were made by going over the heads of the censors.”
It was produced by Harry Alan Towers (who you may remember ran a vice ring that implicated the United Nations, JFK, Peter Lawford and several others when he wasn’t producing Jess Franco movies) and action film impresario Avi Lerner. Direction was provided by Fritz Kiersch, who also brought us Children of the Corn and Tuff Turf.
If you ever played lots of D&D and wondered why the popular girls liked jerks and figured, “I’m going to treat them badly, too!” Good news. You are the target audience for this movie.
You can listen to The Cannon Canon episode about Gor here.