Masters of Magic (2004)

Director Anthony Stephens and writer Tony Garcia may have few credits but they also made a sword and sorcery film for a budget of about what ten minutes of that Dungeons and Dragons flop coming out this year cost to shoot.

This was on Mill Creek’s Catacombs of Creepshows box set which probably used to sell for a buck at used stores and is now approaching $100 on eBay, thanks to having movies like FungicideTartarus and Death Becomes Them on it.

This movie is so magical that every magic user yells “Fireball” before acting like they’re throwing a fireball and all that happens is that the video effect reverses the color and goes to black and white quickly and I kind of love that effect, one with no uncanny valley, one that people may say is cheap but it works.

An evil Necromancer (Charles Iceler) has been creating an army of zombies who barely have any blue tint but if they say they’re zombies, well…they are. They’re opposed by a thief named Dewin (Marie Noelle Marquis), a warrior woman called Nika (Stefanie Pschill), an adventurer (who very well could be a ranger but I didn’t have time to ask him his character class) and a priest in a pink robe who is pretty much a non-stop homophobic joke, but you know, 2004 was as much 18 centuries ago as it was 18 years.

There’s also a floating sword that looks great. Yeah, I get it. It’s an easy effect. But it was like being in a live action version of Gauntlet.

It’s incredible that in a world where Lord of the Rings can be watched in seconds that anyone would be brave enough to make their own fantasy movie with big aims and ideas in direct inverse relation to their budget. The costumes are great, the synth at the beginning just works and yeah, the swordfights are borderline child in the backyard, which says to me they didn’t fall into the logic of every other dungeon SOV (Song of the SwordWay Bad Stone) and hire some renaissance faire people to stab one another.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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