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David Allen, Charles Band, John Carl Buechler, Steven Ford, Peter Manoogian, Ted Nicolaou, Rosemarie Turko
Jeffrey Byron, Richard Moll, Leslie Wing
Writing Credits:
David Allen, Charles Band, John Carl Buechler, Peter Manoogian, Ted Nicolaou, Rosemarie Turko, Allen Actor

A demonic wizard challenges a modern-day computer programmer to a battle of technology vs. sorcery, with the programmer's girlfriend as the prize.

Rated PG-13/NR.


Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English LPCM Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 73 min. (US Theatrical)
77 min. (International)
78 min. (Pre-release)
Price: $99.95
Release Date: 6/27/23
Available as Part of “Enter the Video Store” Five-Film Collection

• 3 Versions of Film
• Audio Commentary with Actor Jeffrey Byron and Film Critics Matty Budrewicz and Dave Wain
• “I Reject Your Reality and I Substitute My Own” Featurette
• Trailers
• Image Gallery


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-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
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-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Dungeonmaster [Blu-Ray] (1984)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 31, 2023)

Did you ever want to see a movie that combined Tron and Dungeons & Dragons? If so, 1984’s The Dungeonmaster might hit the spot.

Talented computer programmer Paul Bradford (Jeffrey Byron) lives with his girlfriend Gwen Rogers (Leslie Wing). Paul developed "X-CaliBR8", a semi-sentient computer that he seems more focused on than his romantic partner.

Eventually both Paul and Gwen end up sent to a bizarre realm lorded over by an ancient and evil wizard named Mestema (Richard Moll). With a miniaturized version of X-CaliBR8 by his side, Paul needs to use technology to beat magic and save Gwen.

Unusually, Dungeonmaster approaches its narrative in an anthology manner. While the characters carry through to all the episodes, the movie uses seven writers and seven directors to fulfill its segments.

This seems like an intriguing approach, as it allows the various confrontations to each take on a different vibe. In theory, at least, as the mix of directors doesn’t appear to add up to much.

Though I searched for true distinctions among the efforts of the various filmmakers, these attempts came to little. I suppose I should view that as a positive, since it allows Dungeonmaster to flow in a natural manner.

However, it also means the use of so many directors feels pointless. Why bring on all those filmmakers if the end product doesn’t demonstrate a need for them or any obvious differences?

Not that I expect any changes behind the camera would mean much. Dungeonmaster might not offer the worst fantasy film I’ve seem, but it never threatens to turn into anything engaging.

Like many films, Dungeonmaster enjoys a promising premise. A battle between a magical figure and one who uses technology sounds intriguing.

Unfortunately, the movie never finds a groove, and it remains firmly in the land of low-budget cheese. Oh, we do occasionally find some fun effects – mainly via the use of surprisingly good stop motion creatures – but too much of the film comes across as the cheap drive-in fodder it was.

This disappoints because Dungeonmaster really does provide promise. The missions on which Mestema sends Paul deliver potentially compelling segments and come with glimmers of inspiration.

The final product just can’t overcome its inherent lack of real spark behind it. The episodes come and go without much impact, as the filmmakers explore them in a dull, forgettable manner.

Which seems like a shame. Aspects of Dungeonmaster imply a better than average mix of fantasy and action, but the end result never turns into anything especially engaging.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

The Dungeonmaster appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a decent but dated transfer.

Sharpness looked largely positive. Occasional instances of softness materialized – especially during some low-lit interiors or sequences with lots of smoke - but the majority of the film offered mostly appealing definition.

I discerned no problems related to jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes created no distractions. Grain felt natural – if heavy at times – and I saw no print flaws.

Colors tended toward a low-key natural palette without any dominant hues. These lacked much vivacity but they felt appropriately rendered for the most part.

Black levels appeared reasonably dark – if a little too thick at times - while shadow detail presented acceptable delineation. The image remained perfectly watchable, even if it never impressed.

Though not great, LPCM monaural soundtrack of Dungeonmaster held up fine given its age. Dialogue occasionally sounded a little reedy, but the lines remained intelligible and reasonably natural.

Music showed nice range and dimensionality. Effects seemed similarly positive, though a little distortion popped up at times. Nothing here excelled, but the soundtrack seemed acceptable for its age.

This set includes three different versions of Dungeonmaster. We get US Theatrical (1:13:35), Pre-release (1:17:59) and International (1:17:23).

As implied by the running time, “Pre-release” offers the longest and most complete cut. It also appears to offer the filmmakers’ original vision for the film.

“International” loses some nudity from “Pre-release” and arranges the segments in a different order. “US” drops a prologue and also alters the sequencing of the episodes.

Alongside the “pre-release” version, we find an audio commentary from actor Jeffrey Byron with film critics Matty Budrewicz and Dave Wain. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects and related domains.

Though Budrewicz and Wain occasionally contribute notes, they mainly act as interviewers. This leaves Byron as the primary participant in the commentary.

Given that he appears in virtually every scene during Dungeonmaster, that seems fine, and Byron contributes a fairly useful look at the project and his career. That said, he namedrops too much, so if you down a shot every time he mentions that John Ford was his godfather, you’ll pass out.

Also, Byron makes many grandiose but inaccurate claims. He inflates the impact of the theatrical release to 1983’s Metalstorm and claims Full Moon Picture enjoys many millions of Instagram followers whereas it actually has fewer than 30,000.

These flights of fancy – and a lot of self-promotion – drag down the track. If you can get past them, though, Byron nonetheless provides an informative commentary.

Via I Reject Your Reality and Substitute My Own, we hear more from Byron. He sits for an interview in this 15-minute, seven-second piece.

Byron discusses his career and aspects of his work on the film. Some of this repeats from the commentary, but Byron nonetheless delivers a nice overview.

In addition to two trailers, we get an Image Gallery. It presents 11 stills that mix shots from the movie, ads and video release art. It seems insubstantial.

With a basic premise that mixes fantasy, science-fiction and action, The Dungeonmaster shows promise. Unfortunately, the final product seems cheesy and mediocre at best. The Blu-ray comes with dated but generally positive picture as well as a few supplements. Chalk up Dungeonmaster as an ambitious disappointment.

Note that this release of The Dungeonmaster comes only as part of a five-film package called “Enter the Video Store: Empire of Screams”. In addition to Dungeonmaster, it brings four other movies from Empire Pictures: Dolls, Cellar Dweller, Arena and Robot Jox.

The set includes non-disc-based elements as well. According to Arrow, it comes with “double-sided posters featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady; 15 postcard-sized reproduction art cards; an Arrow Video store "membership card"; an 80-page perfect bound book featuring new writing on the films by Lee Gambin, Dave Jay, Megan Navarro, and John Harrison, plus select archival material.”

My review copy lacked these components. Nonetheless, I figured I should mention them.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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