This week on Trailers from Hell, “The Descent” director Neil Marshall–who directed Sunday night’s much-debated action-packed “Game of Thrones” episode– professes his love for Matthew Robbins’ 1981 “Dragonslayer” from Paramount.
Director Matthew Robbins’ gothic fairytale is the missing link between the stop-motion animation of Ray Harryhausen and the super-real imagery of contemporary CGI. Thanks to special effects master Phil Tippett’s “go motion” techniques, “Dragonslayer”‘s dragon, a lithesome bat-like creature that terrorizes the medieval kingdom of Urland, is uncannily natural. The movie’s overall design is the cinematic equivalent of an elegant storybook illustrated by N.C. Wyeth but the film itself, though produced in tandem by Paramount and Disney, is anything but child-like, with virgin sacrifices, gruesome bloodletting and the unexpected death of of a beloved character that lend the tale unexpected gravity. Starring the great Ralph Richardson as the resolute wizard Ulrich and Peter MacNicol as his callow but brave apprentice.