A few years ago, when the New Beverly Cinema did a Sword and Sorcery night, DEATHSTALKER II was on the menu. I flew out of Chicago to Los Angeles to see one of my absolute favorite films on the big screen, with director James Wynorski and star John Terlesky in attendance. The film was inarguably the smash hit of the night – and the icing on the cake was that, far from being ruinous – the print screened that evening was gorgeous.
It turns out it was Jim Wynorski’s personal print, and he told me that the only other time it had been threaded before that evening was to make Vestron Video’s VHS/Laserdisc master. Unreal.
When Shout! Factory – a company that truly cares about cult – announced that they had acquired the rights to many of Roger Corman’s classic titles, I asked a company rep if Deathstalker II was among them. She confirmed that it was. Upon this discovery, I begged them to contact Jim Wynorski and utilize his pristine print for their eventual release.
I can’t tell you if they followed through on that plea, but I can tell you that SHOUT! reps just confirmed to me via Facebook that the cut of Deathstalker II included in their upcoming SWORD & SORCERY COLLECTION is JIM WYNORSKI’S APPROVED CUT.
The same cut fans of the film fell in love with on VHS. The same cut I saw at the New Bev.
The previous New Horizons DVD release of the film was inexplicably marred by the inclusion of pointless clips from the first Deathstalker film and weathered B-roll from Wynorski’s shoot – tweaks that really ruined the intentional comedic rhythms of the film (the filmmaker commentary turns it into a running joke, with Wynorski quipping that the film has been restored to its original “roadshow length”). Shout’s looking to change all that.
Finally – for the fist time ever – Deathstalker II (along with the other films in the collection – The Warrior and the Sorceress, the awesome Barbarian Queen, and the original Deathstalker) will be presented with anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 transfers! Amazing!
The collection is up for pre-order at SHOUT! Factory’s webstore. It streets August 23rd.
Visit the original SEWER SUBTERRANEA DEATHSTALKER II retrospective!