The Dungeonmaster appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a decent but dated transfer.
Sharpness looked largely positive. Occasional instances of softness materialized – especially during some low-lit interiors or sequences with lots of smoke - but the majority of the film offered mostly appealing definition.
I discerned no problems related to jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes created no distractions. Grain felt natural – if heavy at times – and I saw no print flaws.
Colors tended toward a low-key natural palette without any dominant hues. These lacked much vivacity but they felt appropriately rendered for the most part.
Black levels appeared reasonably dark – if a little too thick at times - while shadow detail presented acceptable delineation. The image remained perfectly watchable, even if it never impressed.
Though not great, LPCM monaural soundtrack of Dungeonmaster held up fine given its age. Dialogue occasionally sounded a little reedy, but the lines remained intelligible and reasonably natural.
Music showed nice range and dimensionality. Effects seemed similarly positive, though a little distortion popped up at times. Nothing here excelled, but the soundtrack seemed acceptable for its age.
This set includes three different versions of Dungeonmaster. We get US Theatrical (1:13:35), Pre-release (1:17:59) and International (1:17:23).
As implied by the running time, “Pre-release” offers the longest and most complete cut. It also appears to offer the filmmakers’ original vision for the film.
“International” loses some nudity from “Pre-release” and arranges the segments in a different order. “US” drops a prologue and also alters the sequencing of the episodes.
Alongside the “pre-release” version, we find an audio commentary from actor Jeffrey Byron with film critics Matty Budrewicz and Dave Wain. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects and related domains.
Though Budrewicz and Wain occasionally contribute notes, they mainly act as interviewers. This leaves Byron as the primary participant in the commentary.
Given that he appears in virtually every scene during Dungeonmaster, that seems fine, and Byron contributes a fairly useful look at the project and his career. That said, he namedrops too much, so if you down a shot every time he mentions that John Ford was his godfather, you’ll pass out.
Also, Byron makes many grandiose but inaccurate claims. He inflates the impact of the theatrical release to 1983’s Metalstorm and claims Full Moon Picture enjoys many millions of Instagram followers whereas it actually has fewer than 30,000.
These flights of fancy – and a lot of self-promotion – drag down the track. If you can get past them, though, Byron nonetheless provides an informative commentary.
Via I Reject Your Reality and Substitute My Own, we hear more from Byron. He sits for an interview in this 15-minute, seven-second piece.
Byron discusses his career and aspects of his work on the film. Some of this repeats from the commentary, but Byron nonetheless delivers a nice overview.
In addition to two trailers, we get an Image Gallery. It presents 11 stills that mix shots from the movie, ads and video release art. It seems insubstantial.
With a basic premise that mixes fantasy, science-fiction and action, The Dungeonmaster shows promise. Unfortunately, the final product seems cheesy and mediocre at best. The Blu-ray comes with dated but generally positive picture as well as a few supplements. Chalk up Dungeonmaster as an ambitious disappointment.
Note that this release of The Dungeonmaster comes only as part of a five-film package called “Enter the Video Store: Empire of Screams”. In addition to Dungeonmaster, it brings four other movies from Empire Pictures: Dolls, Cellar Dweller, Arena and Robot Jox.
The set includes non-disc-based elements as well. According to Arrow, it comes with “double-sided posters featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ilan Sheady; 15 postcard-sized reproduction art cards; an Arrow Video store "membership card"; an 80-page perfect bound book featuring new writing on the films by Lee Gambin, Dave Jay, Megan Navarro, and John Harrison, plus select archival material.”
My review copy lacked these components. Nonetheless, I figured I should mention them.