Forget the divide between baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials, our society can most easily be divided into those who are old enough to have seen Don Coscarelli’s 1982 sword and sorcery masterpiece The Beastmaster roughly one hundred times on HBO (or maybe TBS if you’re slightly younger) and those who have not. If you haven’t seen it, get thee to Amazon Prime in the US, where you can currently watch one of the best fantasy flicks of its era for free.
The Beastmaster stars Mark Singer as Dar, a young warrior in the kingdom of Aruk, which resides in a world that may or may not actually be our own. Because of some horrifying magical shenanigans surrounding his birth, Dar is able to communicate directly with animals, and his allies include a panther, an eagle, and two adorable ferrets who serve as his “thieves.” For kids of the early 1980s, The Beastmaster was an alternately thrilling and terrifying revelation, full of surprisingly graphic violence, some truly terrifying imagery (those weird bird people scarred me for life), and a pretty dark and serious tone for a guy who looks like He-Man who talks to animals.
In fact, raise your hand if as a small child you tuned into the middle of Beastmaster and thought for sure you were watching a Masters of the Universe movie, with Singer looking like Prince Adam come to life and Tanya Roberts as Teela. Anyway, I digress.
The point here is that The Beastmaster comes from the mind of genre maestro Don Coscarelli, who, along with co-writer Paul Pepperman, once again have the rights to the original screenplay. The news came via Coscarelli himself, via social media, and that’s where the remake idea comes in.