In 1983, the science fiction fantasy movie, Krull made its debut. The big budget movie – a co-production between the UK and the US – told a dark story about a prince who sets out to rescue a princess from a horrifying creature known as the Beast.
In the movie, Prince Colwyn gathers together a strong group of allies to aid in his plight, including a magician, and a cyclops amongst others. The group traverse the land in search of the Beast, while being hunted by the Beast’s deadly army, the Slayers.
Those who grew up on Krull will recall the sheer imagination and ambition of the production. It brought huge swathes of fantasy to the big screen, and while it was a little rough around the edges, it has developed a loyal following over the years.
In this post I am taking a look back at Krull with a collection of facts about the movie. Here you will discover some interesting titbits about the film that you may not be aware of.
Calling the shots
Krull was directed by the late English director, Peter Yates. Throughout his career, Yates directed a number of well-known projects, including Bullitt (1968), The Deep (1977), and Suspect (1987), amongst others.
Yates also directed the Cliff Richard-starring film, Summer Holiday (1963). Yep, the guy who directed Krull, also directed Cliff’s big bus movie!
One of the things Krull has become most known for (certainly over here in the UK) is its eclectic cast, which includes a number of actors who are well-known to British audiences. The cast includes Ken Marshall, Liam Neeson, Freddie Jones, David Battley, Bernard Bresslaw, Alun Armstrong, Robbie Coltrane, Trevor Martin, Lysette Anthony, and Todd Carty.
Dub be good to me
In Krull, actress Lysette Anthony plays the role of Princess Lyssa – the princess who is held captive by the Beast. However, while Anthony performs the role on screen, it is not her voice that audiences hear.
Throughout the movie, Princess Lyssa is voiced by actress Lindsay Crouse. The character was dubbed by Crouse because the movie’s producers felt that Lyssa should have a more mature voice than Anthony could provide.
Krull’s chief villain, the terrifying Beast was brought to the screen through a combination of special effects, including an animatronic suit. The character’s voice was that of actor Trevor Martin.
Martin was a stage and film actor, known for his appearances in popular British shows including Doctor Who, Van der Valk, Z-Cars, Coronation Street, The Bill, and Inspector Morse.
As multiple points in the movie, the gang of heroes face off against the Beast’s frightening army of Slayers. In total, 40 Slayers costumes were created for the movie.
That sinking feeling
One of Krull’s most memorable scenes takes place in a swamp and involves the group of heroes encountering quick sand – only, it’s not really quick sand! The sand effect was achieved through the combination of four tons of painted cork and a huge tank of water.
A world at war
When it came to designing the swamp scene, the production crew wanted to create a dank, desolate landscape. This led to Production Designer, Stephen Grimes drawing on real-world imagery to shape the setting.
Speaking about the swamp scene in the pages of Marvel’s Krull adaptation (Marvel Comics Super Special #28), Grimes, said: “When I was designing the sequence, I couldn’t get out of my mind photographs I had seen of the crosses on the battlefields of the Somme in World War I.”
The majority of Krull was filmed in the UK, with the production shoot largely taking on sound stages at Pinewood Studios. This included the use of the 007 Stage, which provided a home to the movie’s swamp scene.
In addition to Pinewood, a small number of scenes were filmed on location, in parts of England and in Italy. One of the scenes shot in Italy was of Lyssa’s castle – which in reality was a 40-foot model, placed within the Italian landscape to make it appear is if it were real.
Caught in the web
Another memorable scene in Krull is the sequence involving the creepy Crystal Spider. Master Animator, Steve Archer – who had previously worked on Clash of the Titans (1981) – spent sixty days working on this scene, which involved a mix of models, optical effects, and stop motion.
If you think the special effects in Krull are impressive, it’s not that surprising, they were overseen by British special effects designer, Derek Meddings. Amongst his portfolio of projects, Meddings worked on Superman: The Movie (1978) and Superman II (1980), as well as various Gerry Anderson productions and multiple James Bond movies.
The music man
The score for Krull was composed by James Horner – the same composer behind the music for Aliens (1986), Willow (1988), Jumanji (1995), Titanic (1997), Avatar (2009) and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), amongst others.
Despite its cult status today, Krull was not a box office success during its release – in fact, it was a flop. The movie was budgeted at around $30 million, but only took $16.9 million.
And finally, to accompany the theatrical release of Krull, the movie was joined by a novelisation, a Marvel Comics adaptation, a board game, as well as an Atari computer game. The movie was later released on a variety of home video platforms including VHS, Betamax, and laser disc, while today it is available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital streaming.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Krull on It’s A Stampede!. For more classic movie-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.