Dragonslayer: 1981 fantasy film comes to 4K with Guillermo del Toro commentary

The 1981 fantasy film Dragonslayer is coming to 4K UHD and Blu-ray with over an hour of special features & commentary with Guillermo del Toro

Paramount Home Entertainment has announced that they will be giving the 1981 fantasy film Dragonslayer a 4K UHD and Blu-ray release on March 21st – and copies are already available for pre-order at THIS LINK! The discs will include over an hour of new special features, as well as an audio commentary with Dragonslayer director Matthew Robbins (who wrote the screenplay with Hal Barwood) and Dragonslayer fan Guillermo del Toro.

Robbins and del Toro have worked together several times over the years, co-writing the screenplays for Mimic, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Crimson Peak, and Pinocchio.

Dragonslayer has the following synopsis: Set in sixth-century England, an ill-tempered, fire-breathing creature—ominously known as Vermithrax Pejorative—terrorizes its citizens until a young sorcerer’s apprentice named Galen (Peter MacNicol) is reluctantly tasked with confronting the beast. For Galen to succeed, it will take more than magic to defeat the dragon.

A press release notes that the film received an Oscar nomination for its visual effects, which were provided by Phil Tippett. Tippett pioneered a technique called “go motion” on this project, incorporating blurring into each frame for more realistic images. Vermithrax Pejorative, the fire-breathing creature at the center of the story, was created using a combination of go motion and 16 massive dragon puppets.

The 4K UHD restoration was done under the supervision of Robbins. The special features on the discs include:

THE SLAYER OF ALL DRAGONS: Step back in time with director/co-writer Matthew Robbins, dragon supervisor Phil Tippett, and ILM’s visual effects master Dennis Muren as they revisit DRAGONSLAYER. Their stories and memories take viewers deep into the dragon’s fiery lair as they recount the challenging journey from concept to screen.

WELCOME TO CRAGGANMORE: A look back at the impact of Star Wars and its visual effects on Hollywood, the origin of DRAGONSLAYER and its screenplay, and the film’s casting.

A LONG WAY TO URLAND: Pre-production begins in England as the film takes shape. The young filmmakers seek gritty medieval realism through the production design, cinematography, and costumes.

VERMITHRAX PEJORATIVE: The filmmakers take on the daunting task of bringing a dragon to life like never before, utilizing every ounce of movie magic available including Phil Tippett’s breakthrough go-motion animation, cutting-edge practical animatronics, visual effects, and compositing.

INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE: Production woes at every turn, horrific baby dragons, and the challenge of creating Vermithrax’s iconic lair plague the filmmakers. Phil Tippett offers a mini-masterclass on crafting powerful creature performance through detailed animation.

THE FINAL BATTLE: The team faces the unique challenges of the film’s stage-bound climax, filmed entirely against a blue screen. Director Matthew Robbins looks back on the incredible work done in the final stages of film editing, the beautifully dense sound design, and Alex North’s amazing score, which utilized pieces from his legendary unused 2001: A Space Odyssey score.

There will be a limited edition steelbook release of the Dragonslayer 4K UHD that boasts collectible packaging with a removable O-sleeve featuring an image of the theatrical poster, which, when removed, reveals original artwork of the final battle with Vermithrax Pejorative.

Are you a fan of Dragonslayer, and will you be buying this new release? Let us know by leaving a comment below. I have actually never seen the movie before, but now I’m hyped to check it out.


Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.