The past couple of movies that Came from the Thrift Store have been flicks that I had fond memories of from childhood. I have no such affection for Gor because I’ve never seen it before. I have however seen it’s sequel, Outlaw on Mystery Science Theater and thought it was pretty funny. This one features more of the same.
Tarl Cabot (Urbano Barberini) is a meek professor who gets into a car accident and is magically transported to the mythical
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Luckily there are some (unintentionally) funny moments to keep you semi-amused. I especially liked the iron bat wings they made poor Oliver Reed wear on his head. The guys who made the video box must’ve thought so too because they feature him pretty prominently on there.
You can also get a chuckle out other moronic shit in the movie. Like how Tarl’s companions teach him to be this great swordsman in less than a day. The pathetically low budget is also good for a laugh. I think my favorite scene took place in a slave palace where the owner (Paul L. Smith from Pieces) forced some girls to fight in mortal combat. But instead of some elaborate Thunderdome set-up, all he did was roll out an old Oriental rug for them to fight on! Brilliant.
Gor is unable to maintain this kind of silly momentum for the course of it’s running time. It starts to run out of steam once Tarl and his men storm Reed’s castle and the abrupt finale is pretty weak. I did like the gratuitous set-up for a sequel though where Jack Palance waltzes onto the screen and announces his villainous intentions and no one ever really seems to notice.
I think the big reason Gor never really pops like it should is because director Fritz Kiersch just doesn’t have the chops necessary to make a sword and sandal epic. We know the man can film kids massacring adults (like in Children of the Corn) and he certainly knows how to film the definitive James Spader musical (that would be Tuff Turf), but Conan Lite just isn’t this guy’s forte. Stick to what you know Fritz.
Professor Tarl gets the best line of the movie when he tells his class, “Laugh if you will but the Counter-Earth lies close… very close to each of us!”
The next It Came from the Thrift Store flick is yet another slice of 80’s hokum starring beefy Italians: After the Fall of New York.