Film Club
Screening Dates
  • October 22, 2023 11:00

“[A] landmark … Almost nobody can overcome Dragonslayer … Vermithrax is perhaps one of the most perfect creature designs ever made.”

Guillermo del Toro

Intelligent, awe-inspiring, and the source of one of the most foreboding stop-motion creations of all time, Dragonslayer is the pinnacle of 80s fantasy filmmaking. Director Matthew Robbins was inspired by the Sorcerer’s Apprentice” sequence in Disney’s Fantasia, as well as the legend of St. George and the Dragon. The screenwriter for Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express and del Toro’s Pinocchio, Robbins wanted to make a film far away from Hollywood clichés—instead of knights in shining armour, everyday people are the ones with the power to see through the mysteries of this world. Nearly every scene gives us a chance to discover, piece by piece, the arcane laws, rituals, customs, magical powers, and dangers of this distant time and place. The action emanates from the threat of Vermithrax, a dragon who commands the fear of a king and all his subjects. Valerian (Caitlin Clarke), undaunted, seeks the wisdom of a sorcerer and his apprentice to undo Vermithrax’s reign of terror.

Underrated … Ranks well above Disney’s live action … Vermithrax is the best dragon ever put on film and has the coolest dragon name as well.”

George R.R. Martin

Filled with mysterious and uncanny occurrences that pass serenely into the steady flow of the narrative … Sophisticated [and] vivid … Dragonslayer does not condescend to a child’s view of the world.”

Dan Sallitt, Chicago Reader

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