Deathstalker Remake Reveals First Look at Roger Corman Fantasy

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Updated

Fans of vintage fantasy look forward to good news: the beloved sword and sorcery cult classic, Deathstalker, which enlivened the ‘80s and gave the Conan The Barbarian franchise a run for its money, is slated for a grand return. Steven Kostanski is directing a fresh remake, which gifted the film and fantasy world some juicy first look images. It’s probably unnecessary to say, but the legendary Roger Corman produced the first film in 1983, which earned a well-deserved and peerless niche in fantasy, generating a robust cult following through subsequent home video and TV spots. 

Daniel Bernhardt As The Deathstalker


Daniel Bernhardt—recognized widely for his work in big-deal projects like John WickBarry, and Nobody—will be playing the iconic role of the titular Deathstalker. 

Conjuring (no pun intended) horror vibes, this reimagined take on the character sees him as a seasoned barbarian—one cursed by a magical talisman and thus forced into a conflict with an evil wizard alongside a band of vile assassins. 

Bernhardt, describing himself as “thrilled” to collaborate with Kostanksi, confessed an adoration for the genre and a genuine astonishment at the creature effects the director churned out in his “creature shop.” 

Steve Kostanski


Decades later, as if not a day had passed, the beloved universe is being reimagined—with a modern twist. 

Prior to this Deathstalker revival, many fans will know Kostanksi for his behind-the-camera work on such projects as The Void and PG: Psycho Goreman. While production on his reimagining is ongoing in Canada, the first look offers more than enough exciting aesthetic goodness.

Sales for the film, undertaken by production outfit Raven Banner Entertainment, were launched at the Cannes Film Festival; conducting business at such a storied and revered event signals strong market interest in the nostalgic, innovative reboot. 

A Fun Sandbox

Fantasy fans and film buffs should take note of this creature shop mention, as Kostanski’s reputation for expert, impressive practical effects precedes him.

As Deathstalker fans will probably be happy to hear, the director consistently rises above the fray of over-reliance on CGI in today’s film world by employing genuine creature suits, prosthetic FX make-up, and even stop-motion animation—all forged in his Action Pants FX shop.

Such an approach ensures the preservation of the tactile, gritty feel of the original films, an aesthetic scores love and remember. Moreover, the director will doubtlessly enhance this analog approach with modern techniques.

For his part, Kostanski characterized the Deathstalker universe as a “fun sandbox to play in,” adding that because the franchise’s lore has been interpreted in myriad ways, the universe encourages one’s imagination to run wild. 

A New Comic

Produced by Hanger 18 Media, the executive production team includes the iconic Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash (!). And, for comic geeks, Vault Comics will launch a new titular comic series, written by Tim Seeley and illustrated by Jim Terry, ahead of the film’s release.

If the comic’s sales are anything to go by, the film should find an eager audience: the comic sold out within a week. 

Deathstalker’s Future Looks Bright

Ultimately, sporting a stellar cast, impressive production team, and director lauded for his imaginative approach–a signature style based on practical effects–the Deathstalker remake looks poised to provide an excellent reentry into the singular universe. 

Source: Variety