KINO LORBER BLU RAY RELEASE: Ghost Warrior (1984)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was first on the site on June 7, 2022 but is back as this film has been released on blu ray by Kino Lorber. It features a new interview with special makeup effects artist Robert Short and an audio commentary by action film historians Brandon Bentley and Mike Leeder, as well as a theatrical trailer. You can get it from Kino Lorber.

A samurai named Yoshimitsu (Hiroshi Fujioka, the original Kamen Rider) is overwhelmed in battle and falls into a frozen lake where he freezes over the decades before skiier find his body. Soon, Dr. Richard (John Calvin) forgoes the traditional autopsy and revives the swordsman with some blue lights and introduces him to a modern world he can’t come close to understanding even with the help of an Asian studies expert named Chris Welles (Janet Julian, Humongous). Then one night, a janitor breaks in and tries to steal the thawed Japanese swordsman’s katana and gets sliced in half, sending Yoshimitsu on the run (but not before listening to watching the WASP footage of them performing “Tormentor” from The Dungeonmaster).

He wanders Los Angeles, saves an old vet (Charles Lampkin) from a street gang and getting into no small manner of trouble. Unlike so many frozen out of time movies, things in no way go smoothly or end happily.

Also known as Swordkill, this shot in Richmond, Virginia film was one I’ve been trying to find for some time. It was co-produced by Arthur Band, who must have had a calming influence on Charles for this one (Richard did the music making this a Band family effort).

It was directed by J. Larry Carroll, who edited RoarDracula’s DogThe Texas Chainsaw MassacreMassacre at Central High and The Hills Have Eyes before writing Tourist Trap and tons of cartoons, as well as directing only this one movie, which was written by Tim Curnan, who also wrote the wonderful Forbidden World.

It’s 81 minutes long which is exactly how long this movie should be, never staying past its welcome and filled with exciting swordplay and no small amount of sadness.

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