The Beastmaster was made by Don Coscarelli, a promisingly talented director who has made far too few films. Coscarelli previously made his impression on the genre with the mini-cult horror film Phantasm (1979). Phantasm, Phantasm II (1988) and Coscarellis later mini-masterpiece Bubba Ho-Tep (2002), show him as a talented director but Coscarelli lucked out here. (He has been vocal about his dissatisfaction with the finished film, much of which he puts down to producer interference).
The swordfights are routine, the fantasy backdrop is unimaginative, while the location photography lacks any sense of place. Moreover, the plot is slackly paced the first half seems to consist of too many incidents with Marc Singer encountering characters in the wilderness. There seem too many trivial subplots going on, which drag the proceedings down when what the film needed was to bustle with pulp energy. It is far too long by half, none the more so than at the long, drawn-out climax. The most amusing part about the film are the priests who carry with them a set of hooked nooses to conduct ritual suicide by throwing the hooks up to hang themselves from the ceiling.
Producer Sylvio Tabet directed an abysmal sequel Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time (1991), which transported Dar into the present day. This was followed by a only marginally better made-for-cable sequel Beastmaster 3: The Eye of Braxus (1996). Both sequels featured Marc Singer, an actor who has always seem caught halfway between being an action hero and a serious actor. A passable tv series The Beastmaster (1999-2001) followed, produced by Sylvio Tabet, with Marc Singer being replaced by Daniel Goddard.
Don Coscarellis other genre films are:- Phantasm (1979) and its sequels Phantasm II (1988), Phantasm III/Phantasm: Lord of the Dead (1994) and Phantasm IV: OblIVion (1998) set in a surreal world of dream horrors; Survival Quest (1988), a weak teenage wilderness brutality film; Bubba Ho-Tep (2002), featuring a middle-aging Elvis and JFK tackling a mummy in a retirement home, which is arguably Coscarellis best film; and the mind-bendingly hilarious John Dies at the End (2012). He also wrote-produced Phantasm: Ravager (2016).