The Dungeonmaster / Eliminators Blu-ray Review

A double dose of epic Sci-Fi fun from the 80s

Deep from MGM’s vaults comes this double feature of Eighties’ goodness, chock full of dated special effects and a humorous retro charm. The Dungeonmaster and Eliminators are both delightfully cheesy sci-fi films produced by Charles Band. Richard Moll and Denise Crosby are the biggest stars in each film, but each film’s sci-fi wackiness are their true main attractions. These are fun slices of nostalgia made on minimal budgets and sure to entertain anyone that grew up with them.

The Dungeonmaster is probably the biggest attraction in this double feature. Richard Moll (Night Court) stars in this wonderful guilty pleasure from the 1980s. Dated computer graphics, a mishmash of fantasy & sci-fi tropes, and cheesy dialogue combine into a delightfully nostalgic trip back to low-budget filmmaking last seen in the 1980s. Also known as Ragewar, the movie could have worked easily as a lesser Roger Corman creature feature.

Paul, a young computer genius, is forced to pit his skills against Mestema (Richard Moll). Moll delivers a hilarious over-the-top performance as the devilish villain, giving his best Vincent Price impersonation. Paul faces a series of seven death-defying challenges with the aid of his talking personal computer. Mestema has kidnapped Paul’s girlfriend, Gwen (Leslie Wing). Did I mention that hair metal band W.A.S.P. makes an appearance?

The Dungeonmaster is simply a fun exploration of fantasy and sci-fi tropes from the 1980s in an adventure plot. The entire cast looks like it is having a blast in their outrageous costumes. Mestema looks like a Dungeons & Dragons reject, while Paul goes around with what must be the first appearance of wearable computing in film history on his sleeve. It is deliciously fun and a true guilty pleasure for anyone that survived the 1980s.

Eliminators is less satisfying but still entertaining in its own way. This movie is definitely for big fans of Denise Crosby, who would go on to minor stardom in Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is another cult classic for its introduction of Mandroid, a part man and part machine hero presaging RoboCop. Mandroid seeks revenge on the evil scientist who created him, Abbott Reeves. Enlisting the help of a beautiful scientist and a mysterious ninja, he pursues Reeves to his jungle lair in hopes of stopping him before he can further harm the time-line and humanity. Eliminators throws in several crazy story lines. It includes time travel, a ninja, mad scientists and a scheming mercenary.

Unlike the impressive, big-budget cyborg created in RoboCop, Mandroid is basically a guy walking around in a cheap costume.

Eliminators gives the strong impression that it was going for a unique twist on the action team formula established by the A-Team on television. Throw several different personalities together on a bickering team of heroes as they unite to take down a common bad guy. In that regard it works fairly well. What doesn’t work for me are the special effects for Mandroid himself. Unlike the impressive, big-budget cyborg created in RoboCop, Mandroid is basically a guy walking around in a cheap costume. I guess some will find that charming but much of the movie is played straight. It makes completely suspending disbelief a hard proposition in a movie that already has so many wacky elements.

This is a perfect double-bill for those into cheesy Eighties’ movies. Both are a great deal of fun with their low-budget ethos. There is much to like about both films, though The Dungeonmaster is the true stand-out of the two. Scream Factory even includes the unrated version of it, featuring nudity that wasn’t in the original PG-13 theatrical cut.

Movie ★★★★☆

Dungeonmaster Blu-ray screen shot 11

Scream Factory provides serviceable transfers for both movies, released together here on a single BD-50. The Dungeonmaster receives a slightly better transfer than Eliminators from better elements. Eliminators appears to be from an original film print, the cue marks are still visible. Neither look fantastic but I think longtime fans should be happy for the most part. They are both true high-definition film transfers that substantially improve on prior home releases.

The Dungeonmaster clears up once you get past the rough opening dream sequence and becomes reasonably sharp for low-budget 1980s filmmaking. This unrated 78-minute version is presented in decent 1080P resolution with moderate detail and fairly strong colors. It is framed at an appropriate 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Encoded in AVC, the video encode does a satisfactory effort with the film stock’s grain. Some scenes are surprisingly sharp with a consistent contrast and acceptable black levels. Only a few stray scratches mar the print’s condition.

Eliminators suffers from slightly more posterization and macroblocking in its AVC video encode, despite averaging 25 Mbps. The less-than-ideal film print is stable and clean for a 1986 B movie. This transfer is softer with less detail, which is what you would expect from its inferior elements. Washed-out colors and fuzzy grain mark this video presentation, though it is certainly watchable. The 95-minute feature is also presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

Video ★★★☆☆

The Dungeonmaster receives a clean 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack with its original monaural mix. The dialogue and its hokey music effects have crisp sound fidelity. For a low-budget film, the sound quality is quite good and offers decent audio. I have heard far worse from movies of this ilk on Blu-ray.

Eliminators gets a superficially more impressive stereo 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack. The action film boasts fine sound quality with excellent LFE action for an older mix.

Optional English SDH subtitles are offered for both films in a white font.

Audio ★★★☆☆

Scream Factory actually managed to dig up the director of Eliminators, Peter Manoogian. He also directed one of the segments in The Dungeonmaster and was familiar with Charles Band’s production process. Like always for a Scream Factory double feature, pretty cool reversible art on the interior of the inside cover includes alternate posters for each film.

The Dungeonmaster Theatrical Trailer (01:57 in SD)

Interview With Director Peter Manoogian (32:30 in HD) – This new interview has the director behind Eliminators and part of The Dungeonmaster discuss the typical working process behind a Charles Band movie production. He covers both films, discussing their cast and other behind-the-scenes information. Most interesting is how these films were made in the first place.

Extras ★★☆☆☆

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.

Dungeonmaster screens:

Eliminators screens: