Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

UK movie (1983). Columbia. Pr Ron Silverman. Exec pr Ted Mann. Dir Peter Yates. Spfx Robin Browne, Derek Meddings, Paul Wilson and many others. Mufx Nick Maley. Modelmaking sv Terry Reed. Screenplay Stanford Sherman. Novelization Krull * (1983) by Alan Dean Foster. Starring Francesca Annis (Widow of the Web), Lysette Anthony (Princess Lyssa), Bernard Archard (King Eirig), Alun Armstrong (Torquil), David Battley (Ergo the Magnificent), Bernard Bresslaw (Raoul, the Cyclops), Tony Church (King Turold), Freddie Jones (Ynyr), Graham McGrath (Titch), Ken Marshall (Prince Colwyn), John Welsh (The Blind Seer). 121 mins. Colour.

Despite occasional Technofantasy trappings, this is Sword and Sorcery set in a Science-Fantasy venue – in what is in effect a Secondary World, the planet Krull. Led by the Beast, the Slayers arrive on Krull to enslave the people there. The kings Eirig and Turold reluctantly agree to join their kingdoms and abdicate in favour of their respective children, Colwyn and Lyssa, who are in Love and wish to marry. But the forces of the Beast (for whom read the Dark Lord) capture Lyssa. Colwyn embarks, with the help of wise oldster Ynyr, on a Quest to rescue her and save the world, gathering Companions as he goes. The Black Fortress, a rocky Edifice that is not only the lair of the Beast but the Beast's spaceship and, internally, the Beast's body, spontaneously shifts position on Krull's surface with every dawn, making the quest more difficult. At last, after many – often original – fantasy twists, Colwyn slays the Beast and thus destroys the fortress and the Slayers as a whole.

K is High Fantasy at its best. Undoubtedly produced as a UK response to the string of successful US Science Fantasies begun with Star Wars (1977), it transcends that medium. Some moments are derivative – echoes of even The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) are detectable – but the whole glorious mixture produces a rattling adventure. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.