The Beastmaster is one of the great sword-and-sorcery films to emerge in the wake of Star Wars and Conan the Barbarian. Though it has never been a subject of Comicon’s Your Weekend Cheesy Movie, its sequel has and, well, there’s a lot of love for the original film here. Starring Marc Singer as barbarian who could telepathically communicate with animals, it’s a step above many of the other films in its genre thanks to Coscarelli’s talents as a writer and director.
But according to EW, the film’s original film negative is missing and director Don Coscarelli is asking the public for help in tracking it down. “The rights holder sent [someone] to pick up the negative and the guy put it in his vault in the San Fernando Valley” the director told the site. “Then he sold the house and now he [doesn’t] know where it is.”
It’s an all-too common story, especially in the go-go film market of the early 1980s, when fly-by-night distributors bought up anything vaguely related to Star Wars, Conan, or Mad Max for a quick buck, but viewed the films as even less than commercial art. Nevertheless, Coscarelli has hope the fans will help him track down the negative; going so far as to set up a website, Where is The Beastmaster?, to coordinate the search. The ultimate aim is the discovery of the lost film elements in order to restore it and produce a proper video master of the film.
As it happens, the cult classics of the 1980s represent a huge market for those still in the physical disc business. Films like The Return of Swamp Thing and Chopping Mall have received lavish Blu-ray releases with prints from the camera negatives resulting in astonishingly great picture quality. The Beastmaster definitely deserves its Ultra HD release as well. Hopefully, the fans can help Coscarelli make it happen.
According to the director, the negatives will be contained in six film cans, each marked “The Beastmaster OCN” — “OCN” meaning “Original Camera Negative.” The trail of the cans is detailed on the website. Thought it is possible the negatives were junked some time ago, miracles do happen. The negatives to the legendary z-grade film Manos: The Hands of Fate were found in a bulk auction purchase, leading to a Kickstarter campaign to restore the negative and, eventually, a Blu-ray release. Similarly, missing scenes from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis were discovered after they were thought lost for 80 years.
“As they used to say in the labs, when we were making Phantasm, nothing’s ever lost, it’s just misplaced,” Coscarelli said. We definitely want this to be the case for The Beastmaster.
The Beastmaster is one of the great sword-and-sorcery films to emerge in the wake of Star Wars and Conan theCOMICONRead More