Weird Midieval-horror from my childhood
October 22, 2012 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Time for another round of "name that obscure, weird movie I saw as a kid"!

I saw this when I was 6 years old, on a trip to India during the summer before 1st grade. So, this would've been around 1988. My parents left me with someone (an uncle?) who took my brother and I to a movie theater and showed me the only movie that was playing in English. I feel pretty certain the movie was British, or had actors doing British accents. It was set in Midieval times and had a group of knights as the main characters. There weren't any typical fantasy elements, though, and I recall it was a really grotesque, gory horror movie. It wasn't gory or R-rated until the last half hour of the movie, when the knights went exploring down into the depths of a cave by torchlight. I just remember a lot of fighting, and a whole bunch of bad things happening in terrifying ways. Most memorably, people's limbs were being hacked off, but they were still alive. The main character(s) were very much lacking in limbs by the end of the movie, and there was lots of blood. So, very dark, British (?) Midieval horror with loss of limbs. Yep, a weird movie by anyone's standards, but especially for a wide-eyed 6 year old. Was I hallucinating this?
posted by naju to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you extremely sure that you're not thinking about the Black Knight bit of Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

I can see parts of that being scary to a confused 6-year-old who didn't know it was a joke.
posted by Sara C. at 12:24 PM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

This is a really, really long shot, but - it wouldn't be Monty Python Holy Grail, would it?

Again, it's a long-shot - Holy Grail wasn't horror - but the Black Knight had the limbs-getting-hacked-off-but-still-alive thing, and they went into a cave at the very end, and I can see how a very young child would have processed that as "scary" rather than "funny".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:26 PM on October 22, 2012

Yeah, the Monty Python movie was the first to come to my mind too, and the fight in the cave at the end sounds a lot like the confrontation with the rabbit of Caerbannog. I could see how a 6 year old might think Holy Grail was a horror movie.
posted by carsonb at 12:26 PM on October 22, 2012

It did have a lot of blood.
posted by Nomyte at 12:28 PM on October 22, 2012

And it is a "weird movie by anyone's standards".
posted by AmandaA at 12:31 PM on October 22, 2012

I'm no expert, but, Monty Python and the Holy Grail was released in the late 70's. Would it be showing in an Indian cinema ten years later?
posted by Hanuman1960 at 12:36 PM on October 22, 2012

Oh man, I'm laughing so hard right now imagining my 6-year-old self seeing Monty Python as a gory, bleak horror movie! That's perfect.

I don't want to discount that as a possibility. But still, I remember the end of the movie being a protracted slog through a dark, torch-lit cave, a huge chunk of the movie rather than a skit. And the grand guignol limb-hacking was being done in this cave setting, not outdoors. Approximately none of my (flawed little kid) memories are awakened by watching these Monty Python bits.
posted by naju at 12:39 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

OK, try this Rutger Hauer movie: "Flesh & Blood (stylized as Flesh+Blood) is a 1985 film co-written and directed by Paul Verhoeven. It is set in the year 1501 in Italy, and follows a group of mercenaries as they loot, rape and kill."
posted by Nomyte at 12:44 PM on October 22, 2012

Could it have been dubbed Hong Kong B-movie, in the vein of The Story of Ricky Oh?

No idea why such a movie would have been set in Medieval Europe, but there was some weird stuff coming out of Hong Kong in the 80's and 90's, for sure.

Likewise, could it have been from any other country/part of the world and dubbed into English with British accents? There's just so fucking much insane stuff that was coming out around that time, from all over the place.

I don't know the Indian movie scene of the 80's enough to have a sense of whether foreign films dubbed into English would have been shown in cinemas, or what the relative quality level and provenance of English language movies would have been. Were most cinemas showing big Hollywood releases, or was it the kind of random B-movie stuff we Americans were getting on late night basic cable? Or weirder, like Ilsa The She-Wolf or Dario Argento stuff?

(On preview, Nomyte somewhat alludes to the sort of thing I'm talking about.)
posted by Sara C. at 12:46 PM on October 22, 2012

Yeah I'm also clueless about the Indian movie scene of the 80's. The one Indian movie I remember was being advertised like crazy during my trip was a movie called Supercar. I still remember the jingle "Car, car! Supercar!" being played on the radio constantly. This was in Chennai/Madras, so it was probably a Tamil movie.

During the trip, we also rented a VHS copy of The Golden Child (1986) that I really liked.

As far as this unknown movie goes, it's as if that Flesh+Blood movie went on for an hour and a half with quasi-historical Middle Ages action and drama, then suddenly switched to Dario Argento / Dead Alive territory. Not sure I can explain it better than that.
posted by naju at 1:07 PM on October 22, 2012

Excalibur gets fairly nasty . . . .
posted by The Bellman at 1:40 PM on October 22, 2012

So you are saying you saw this movie in India in the Summer of 1988?
posted by dgeiser13 at 1:45 PM on October 22, 2012

Okay, using my google-fu a bit here:


Pathfinder (Scandanavian?)

The Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey

Those are my thoughts. The Navigator has digging through the earth to get to 20th century New Zealand (how freaking bizarre is that?)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:46 PM on October 22, 2012

So you are saying you saw this movie in India in the Summer of 1988?

Yep. Though it had a cast of white actors and was in English.
posted by naju at 1:48 PM on October 22, 2012

So would the film have been rated R? Meaning your Uncle would've taken you to a film like that? Or could it be PG-esque with just hints of violence that your mind may have overblown?
posted by dgeiser13 at 2:07 PM on October 22, 2012

There's a movie called Dragonslayer that has a long, very scary bit in a cave, with torchlight and magma fire. Not so much the hacking off limbs though. But it's very atmospheric and creepy.

Just a thought - seeing movies in Nigeria was always a bit hit-and-miss, with reels in the wrong order and chunks accidentally left out. If India was anything like that you might not have seen the proper end of the film, which is kind of like a medieval photo-opportunity when the king comes along and put his sword in the dead dragon - very low-key and hard to forget.
posted by glasseyes at 2:10 PM on October 22, 2012

Roman Polanski's MacBeth?
posted by canoehead at 2:27 PM on October 22, 2012

It wasn't a Conan movie was it? Which one had James earl Jones as the bad guy? had tunnel, or cavernous fight scenes at the end, keeling, obligatory limb and head hacking...
posted by Max Power at 2:30 PM on October 22, 2012

Would you recognize Bruce Campbell? It sounds closer to the plot of Army of Darkness(1992) but Evil Dead II (1987 )ends with the main character time travelling to 1300 and losing limbs certainly plays a key part in the plot!
posted by Gable Oak at 3:53 PM on October 22, 2012

I immediately thought of Excalibur.
posted by OmieWise at 5:46 PM on October 22, 2012

Total longshot here, and I can't remember how it ends, but the question made me think of Jabberwocky.
posted by hap_hazard at 2:27 PM on October 23, 2012

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