Sunday, August 16, 2015


You silly, English, bedwetting types.

There have been films about medieval times since the beginning of film. Knights have managed to stay popular into modern times. You will find more sets of toy knights in a toy store over the once popular toy cowboys. The films, usually, fall into the categories of Arthurian legend, Chaucer based, Sir Walter Scott based, and historically accurate (read: boring).

I've selected three films, two from the 70s and one from 2001 that uses rock songs from the 70s, that veer off from the typical medieval film into their own little kingdoms.

He told them about how he wanted to try a threesome.

1. TORTURE DUNGEON (1970):  All I need to say here is this is a knock-off of the Tower of London, directed by Andy Milligan. Of course, that wouldn't be much fun. Would it? This is the story of Norman, Duke of Norwich, a one-armed, tantrum-throwing, self-proclaimed "tri-sexual" (because he will "try anything"), who tries to take the throne of the kingdom of Terragon by killing everyone of the heirs to the throne ahead of him. Norman (Milligan regular Jeremy Brooks a.k.a Gerald Jacuzzo) looks like a cross between Freddie Mercury and Sonny Bono, while Terragon looks suspiciously like Staten Island.

(L to R) Peter the Ear, Peter the Eye & the nose of Peter the Nose

As with any Milligan film, the dialog is filled with snippy remarks and mentions of gang rape, incest, necrophilia, child abuse, and sadism of all sorts. Add to this a collection of characters such as the kingdom's council made up of Peter the Eye (Milligan regular Neil Flanagan), Peter the Ear and Peter the Nose. The last two characters are played by two uncredited brothers, wearing Beatle wigs, who would fit in more in an episode of The Sopranos than a Medieval drama. The most outrageous character is Magda the marriage councilor. She dresses like a butterfly and sings and dances, while trying to explain how to have sex to the young heroine (Susan Cassidy). The top portion of Cassidy's costume does come together, so her boobs tend to flop out during a chase scene.

She's giving advice on sex and she picked out that outfit.

TORTURE DUNGEON in many ways could be called Milligan's masterpiece, but I prefer to see it as Milligan's twisted fairy tale of Medieval England.

The late Heath Ledger

2. A KNIGHT'S TALE (2001): I realize some will say a movie from 2001 doesn't belong on a retro blog, but the director of this film felt that the 1370s were probably similar to the 1970s, so I think it can be reviewed here. Not only is this loosely based on Geoffrey Chaucer's A Knight's Tale, but Chaucer is a character (often buck naked) in this movie. This comedy-adventure not only spins a engaging yarn of a young man's quest to achieve his dream of becoming a knight, but satirizes the sports culture. The film is filled with turn of the Millennium pop culture references and a great soundtrack made up of 70s classic rock.

He looks like Carson and Letterman would throw him off

The film stars the late Heath Ledger as William, who has dreamed of being a knight since childhood. He comes of age as the squire for a knight. When the knight dies before a tournament, he takes his place using a phony birthright written by Geoffrey Chaucer. He not only befriends Chaucer (Paul Bettany), but Prince Edward and the feisty widow blacksmith, Kate, who makes him armor with a Nike swoosh on it. William falls in love with a noble woman, Jocelyn. He also makes an enemy of a arrogant knight named Count Adhemar, who is sort of a Medieval version of a 80s teen comedy preppy jock, but baring an uncanny resemblance to actor Oliver Reed.

One fun thing to watch for is a flashback, where an old man, who mocks young William's desire to be a knight. It is actor Berwick Kaler, who appeared in several of Andy Milligan's films (not TORTURE DUNGEON though) including, The Rats Are Coming, The Werewolves Are Here, The Body Beneath and as Tobias in The Bloodthirsty Butchers.

A KNIGHT'S TALE is fun and exciting, once you get past the fact that it doesn't take Medieval history very serious.

3. MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1974): Only the Monty Python guys could take King Arthur and stand it on it's head. To tell much about this movie would give away this best gags before some people would see it. Everyone should see this before they die. If you don't watch it or rewatch it, we will be forced to say "NEE" to you.        

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