35 years after its initial release in the United States, this cult classic, made from an Italian-French-Turkish mini-series, is still fun to watch and perhaps still has its catchy theme song.
In a prehistoric wasteland, Yor is a hero who takes on anyone who stands in his way. When he ends up protecting a group of villagers from some bandits, he eventually falls for Kalaa. However, as Yor fights for justice, he begins to question where he comes from. He sports a medallion and searches for answers along with Kalaa and Pag, Kalaa’s father figure. When the group comes across a band of sand mummies, one of them, Tarita, is revealed to be sporting a medallion similar to Yor’s and Yor spares her as she may have some answers for him.
Yor soon learns that his parents were once survivors of the nuclear holocaust and that Yor is not a caveman in prehistoric times, but actually in the future. Advanced technology is still around. However, it has been taken over by a tyrannical warlord called the Overlord. The Overlord has been reveling in his power while everyone else has been suffering. Yor learns there are some rebels, Ena and the Elder, who plot to overthrow the Overlord, but need all the help they can get and Yor decides to help in order to make the world a better place.
Originally a comic book from Argentina by Eugenio Zappietro (under his psuedonym Ray Collins) and Juan Zanotto, Italian cult film director Antonio Margheriti loved the comic and decided to adapt it into what started as a 4-part mini-series in Italy for RAI only to compress it down to a 90-minute theatrical version for its international release. For the international release, Margheriti resorted to using the pseudonym he would be known for: Anthony M. Dawson.
Playing the heroic Yor, a pre-cursor perhaps to the look of Mattel’s hero He-Man, is Reb Brown. Brown, a veteran who previous to this role, played Marvel’s iconic Captain America in two made-for-TV films, seems to have that charisma meant for B-movie stardom. Brown did endure a lot during shooting of the film, which started in the winter of 1982 and then after a month, returned and eventually lost 35 pounds. Brown makes the most of his lead role of Yor, a hunter who questions his origins and once learns it, he is shocked at first but decides to move full speed ahead.
In this age of sword and sorcery if you will, the lead female is usually a damsel-in-distress type and Corinne Clery’s Kalaa starts out that way. However, as the film progresses, she does become helpful and in a pivotal scene, she does attempt to kill another woman when she is worried that Yor may end up loving that girl instead of her. Alan Collins, who is actually Italian actor Luciano Pigozzi, makes for a good mentor for Kalaa and ally to Yor in Pag. John Steiner plays the typical B-movie warlord who goes a bit over the top at times in his role as the Overlord, the tyrannical warlord who has held advanced technology from the rest of the world.
Yor: The Hunter from the Future is still hailed a cult classic today. And it may spark some interest in seeing the full mini-series if it is available. Plus you just can’t help but resist listening to Oliver Onions’ theme song.
WFG RATING: C+
Columbia Pictures presents a Diamant Film/RAI International production. Director: Anthony M. Dawson. Producer: Michele Marsala. Writers: Anthony M. Dawson and Robert Bailey; based on the comic book created by Juan Zanotto and Ray Collins. Cinematography: Marcello Masiocchi. Editing: Alberto Moriani and Giorgio Serralonga.
Cast: Reb Brown, Corinne Clery, Alan Collins, Carole Andre, John Steiner, Ayshe Gul, Aytekin Akkaya, Marina Rocchi, Ludovico Della Joio.