Dragonworld: The Legend Continues (1999)

AKA Shadow of the Knight

Starring Drake Bell, Tina Martin, Andrew Keir, James Ellis, Judith Paris, Constantin Barbulescu, Richard Trask

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


Dragonworld: The Legend Continues might sound like a sequel to Full Moon’s Dragonworld, but no, it’s actually a prequel! The legend continues… in the past! In this particular case, though, the title seems to refer to the story line used to craft the film, continuing the legend from Dragonworld that explained how a baby dragon was suddenly in 1990s Scotland after all the dragons died out hundreds of years ago. This was one of my favorite parts of the original, so it was a great surprise to see it continued. This makes Dragonworld: The Legend Continues a more-than-worthy follow-up to Dragonworld, and in a lot of ways I actually like this one better.

John McGowan is roughly around age 11 or 12 in Dragonworld: The Legend Continues, and his grandfather Angus (Andrew Keir) is teaching him about the magical properties of their land. Angus attempts to show John the power of the ley lines intersecting underneath a circular grouping of stones, but this causes lightning to strike and crack the center stone. Unfortunately for the McGowans and their dragon Yowler, this stone was the prison of the evil knight MacClain (Constantin Barbulescu), AKA the guy who killed all the dragons. Immediately after being released, he sets out to finish what he started and kill Yowler.

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Talisman (1998)

talisman_1Starring Billy Parish, Walter Jones, Jason Adelman, Ilinca Goia, Constantin Barbulescu, Oana Stefanescu, Claudiu Trandafir

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Like a lot of B-Movies, the logic employed in Talisman is shaky at best. What separates Talisman from the pack, though, is how well-realized and enjoyable it is; multiple times while watching it, I thought, “Wow, this is legitimately a good movie!” I don’t think it’s quite there for straight-up mainstream people, but Talisman is far better than your average late-period Full Moon film. I’ve held off on watching this one because, for reasons I’ve forgotten, I thought it would be dumb, so it’s a nice surprise to find it’s actually a competently made picture from underrated low-budget maestro David DeCoteau.

Elias (Billy Parish) is a new student at the Gornek International School for Boys, a boarding school where troubled kids are sent when they’ve exhausted their last traditional option. Apparently, there’s only seven kids who fit this description, and judging by the dominance of Burke (Jason Adelman) over the “student body,” the school isn’t all that strict. They might have some strong disciplinary measures, like locking everyone inside their rooms at night, but the rehabilitation of these delinquent youths is obviously far from the minds of the staff. But whatever, this isn’t called Boys School, it’s called Talisman, so I don’t care if the fictional school makes sense, or is “doing the right thing for these kids.”

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The Secret Kingdom (1998)

51TZAVR8HJL._SS500_The Secret Kingdom (1998)
AKA The Tiny Kingdom

Starring Billy O’Sullivan, Tricia Dickson, Andrew Ducote, Gerald S. O’Loughlin, Jamieson Price, Andreea Macelaru, Florin Chiriac, Constantin Barbulescu, Bogdan Voda, Eugen Cristea

Directed by David Schmoeller

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Like many Moonbeam films, The Secret Kingdom starts out with a fun premise and then drives it into the ground. Well, in this case they drive it under the sink, and I really shouldn’t be that harsh. Most of The Secret Kingdom is unadulterated WTF fun. The film opens in New Orleans, and surprise, surprise — it’s actually New Orleans! Later, the film transitions to the Romanian locales you expect from this era of Full Moon, but the series of events that opens the film would be fantastic no matter where they were shot.

The Secret Kingdom starts with a boy in his early teens, staring at his toy horseman. He compares it to the statue of the horseman in the square in front of the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. He goes back to staring at the toy intently, and then walks around New Orleans. Some might call this the most exciting introductory scene to a movie ever, but I thought it went on for a ridiculous amount of time… long enough for me to think, “WHAT IS GOING ON?” Thankfully, it gets a lot more interesting, real fast. And by “interesting,” I mean that it dives deep into WTF territory.

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Vampire Journals (1997)

Starring David Gunn, Jonathon Morris, Kirsten Cerre, Starr Andreeff, Ilinca Goia, Constantin Barbulescu, Mihai Dinvale, Dan Condurache, Mihai Niculescu, Petre Moraru, Rodica Lupu, Floriela Grappini, Diana Lupan

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: High. The trailer sold me on this many months ago, but I wanted to get through Subspecies in order to see it in context.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


After the rousing, impressive finale of Subspecies III, there aren’t too many ways to go with the series that would seem wholly plausible. So for the next entry in Full Moon’s premiere vampire series, writer/director Ted Nicolaou completely changed his focus, starting with a fresh batch of ancient vampires and the desirable innocents they pursue. This gothic group is only marginally connected to the Radu storyline (OK, besides one off-hand mention of Radu, it doesn’t seem to be connected at all), but the delicious backstory is enough here to satisfy fans of gothic cinema and Full Moon films alike.

Zachary is a rare beast, a vampire with a conscience. Drawn into the vampire’s world unwillingly and witness to the death of his love, Zachary vows to destroy the bloodline that created him. He arms himself with an enchanted sword and with a wonderful, bloody decapitation the movie begins. His main quest lies in Bucharest, where the devious Michael Bolton-esque vampire Ash stalks Sofia, a classical pianist. Zachary must remain vigilant and save the girl from his evil clutches!

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