Yor, the Hunter from the Future (1983)
Antonio Margheriti (as Anthony M. Dawson)
Reb Brown (Yor), Corinne Clery (Kalaa), Luciano Pigozzi (Pag), John Steiner (Overlord), Ayshe Gul (Roa)
"Yor's World, he's the man! Yor's World, he's the man! [Yor's World!]
Lost in the world of past, in the echo of ancient blast. [Yor's World!]
There is a man from future, a man of mystery. [Yor's World!]
No trails to lead the way, in his search for a yesterday. [Yor's World!]
Misty illusions hiding, his famous destiny. [Yor's World!]
Yor, the touch of fire. Yor the proud and free desire.
He never sees the sun, he's always on the run, him and his days are gone.
They say he will go on, his search goes on and on.
Yor's World! He's forsaken the name! Yor's World! And the world goes like fire!
Yor's World! Conquers all, dares to fall! Yor's World! And the world goes like fire! He's gonna make all them wild beats look tame tonight, in his pride!
Yor's World, he's the man! Yor's World, he's the man! Yor's World, he's the man! Yor's World, he's the man! [Yor's World!]
He dreams so wild and strong. Can never fail or go wrong. [Yor's World!]
He's got the fire burning, it's there in his mind. [Yor's World!]
He dares to take each chance. Knows the dangers at just one glance. [Yor's World!] His thoughts become alive, he's born survivor! [Yor's World!]
Yor, the touch of fire. Yor the proud and free desire. [Yor's World!] He never sees the sun, he's always on the run. Him and his days are gone. They say he will go on. The search goes on and on.
Yor's world! Here to stay, come what may! Yor's world! And the world goes like fire! Yor's world! Conquers all, dares to fall. Yor's world! And the world goes like fire! He's gonna make all them wild beats look tame tonight, in his pride!
Yor's World, he's the man! Yor's World, he's the man! Yor's World, he's the man! Yor's World, he's the man!
Yor's World! Here to stay come what may! Yor's World! And the world was like fire! Yor's World! Conquers all, dares to fall! Yor's World! And the world was like fire!
Yor's World! Here to stay, come what may! Yor's World! And the world was like fire! Yor's World! Conquers all, dares to fall! Yor's World! And the world was like fire!
Yor's World! Here to stay, come what may! Yor's World! And the world was like fire!" -opening song.
Whilst not making pastiches of popular horror movies, the Italian movie industry in the seventies and eighters had a special love for two genres: post-apocalyptic movies and sword and sorcery pictures. Both genres are easy to do on a budget as all you need are some existing empty lots or woods and you just throw a few actors in costume and you've got a movie.
Yor, the Hunter from the Future is a combination of those genres, pulling a Teenage Caveman-esque third act twist to reveal that Yor is a descendant of a more technologically advanced remnant of humanity in a post-nuclear future where humanity has regressed to the dark ages and dinosaurs once again roam the land.
It's a solid idea that's done with such overly-sincere ineptitude that it's impossibly charming to watch. It stars Reb Brown (the action star so earnest and goofy that he makes Jan Michael Vincent seem grizzled) as the titular Yor, a barbarian who shows up apropos of nothing to save a tribe of cave people from a dinosaur only for them to be attacked by blue cavemen.
Yor manages to save a woman and her adopted father (Luciano Piggozi of Exterminators of the Year 3000) from the cavemen and sets out looking for a woman with a pendant similar to his to find out where he comes from. He fights a different group of cavemen only to meet yet another group of friendly cavemen before they're attacked by a U.F.O.
Yor then travels to a technologically advanced island where he learns that the world he inhabits is a post-nuclear wasteland and that a being called The Overlord is going to do a thing to make himself all-powerful but it was too complicated or stupid for me to have recalled what it is. The film then transfers from Conan pastiche to Star Wars pastiche as Yor fights to stop Overlord's cyborg army, foil his master plan, and save the day.
Sword and sorcery pictures from this era are notoriously pretty awful. The original Conan is pretty good and Don Coscarelli's The Beastmaster holds up pretty well but most of these movies are laughable at best. Yor is certainly no exception.
Yor himself is hardly the grizzled barbarian type, he's more of a plucky country boy type whose sheer Reb Brownish-ness is his most distinguishing characteristic. The "novel" that the film claims to be based on is actually a comic book series that I have never read due to them having never been released in English but my understanding is that the post-apocalyptic twist was not part of the original series. Does that make Yor a sort of stealth adaptation of Jack Kirby's Kamandi The Last Boy on Earth? I like to imagine so, the character of Yor certainly has a lot more in common with Kamandi than any stock Robert E. Howard-type barbarian.
What sets Yor apart from so many of its contemporaries is that it is just so meanderingly stupid and innocently earnest that it's endearing. The plot makes as much sense as the main character's catchy and nonsensical theme song (which makes less actual lyrical sense than I Am the Walrus but is the most enjoyable song from a sword and sorcery picture this side of the theme from Deathstalker II)
Yor and his cohorts wander from scenario to scenario with very little overarching story or plot. We don't even meet the film's villain until the final third of the movie. In the meantime, Yor murders or beats up various miscellaneous crew members dressed up as cavemen in faux slow-motion to disguise the fact that Reb Brown takes to fight choreography about as well as he does nuanced acting.
But the film features gloriously dumb set-pieces like Yor throwing a flaming sword underhanded to impale and enemy or riding the corpse of a giant bat like a hang glider to a musical stinger from the film's theme of "Yor's world, he's the maaaaaan!" At one point a stunt is performed using plastic action figures and those who are paying close enough attention are rewarded to an awkwardly edited shot where it's painfully clear that neither of the people in the frame are human beings.
While there's certainly fun to be had here and Reb Brown's goofy bravado carries quite a bit of the film on its shoulders it does start losing steam pretty quickly. Since the plot doesn't really have any sort of structure the movie drags a lot between action sequences, which still puts it head and shoulders above its peers (Deathstalker II, again). What I'm trying to say is that, though enjoyable, this is no Robot Holocaust.
The magic of the film is that it takes itself 100% seriously and that Reb Brown undercuts that with his shaggy-dog looks and persona. Brown is basically a golden retriever made human and that makes him about the cuddliest action hero to grace the world of cinema.
The costumes, the acting, the dubbing, and the writing are all terrible but there's some decent production design here. The sets are sparse but look pretty nice and the fake dinosaurs look decent for the probable budget this movie had to work around.
There was apparently a good amount left on the cutting room floor as the movie was intended to be a miniseries originally. Somewhere, a 225 minute cut of the movie exists on DVD and I must say I have never been more morbidly curious to see something in my life. Alas, we must make do with a theatrical cut alone.
Yor, the Hunter from the Future is a bit of a meme at this point. The internet is well aware of the film's antics primarily thanks to Noah Antwiler's review from 2008. The thing is, if you've seen that review then you've really seen all the parts worth seeing. This is certainly more enjoyable than Ator, the Fighting Eagle or Hawk the Slayer but it's still a bad, dumb movie like the rest.
Yor's got charm but its moments of weirdness and lunacy aren't as close together as you may want. It's absolutely a bad movie worth seeing, just don't expect much out of it. Even in the canon of Reb Brown's film career there are more entertaining bad movies. Fortunately the film is newly released on Blu-ray for something like $8 and the song and Reb Brown's goofy mug are worth that price alone. Brown even has a commentary on the disc where he reminisces about the filming and he's just as affable and self-aware as you'd hope.
Next Time on Doomsday Reels
"We'll make it one block at a time."