I recently talked about Milton Subotsky’s Thongor: In the Valley of the Demons, scheduled for a 1979 release and nearly the first sword and sorcery film, and now I find out that Paul Morrissey had plans along the same lines in 1977. Of course, plans for a live-action The Lord of the Rings film go back to 1969, and there were several earlier films (Harryhausen’s fantasy output, notably) that are true to the spirit of sword and sorcery, all the way back to Fritz Lang’s Die Nibelungen (1924). However, the phrases “sword and sorcery” and “heroic fantasy” weren’t coined until 1961 and 1963, respectively, and were meant to describe a very specific genre descended from the pulps.
Paul Morrissey is best known for directing a number of barely watchable Andy Warhol vehicles in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and I’m not sure Torc would have been any better. The Variety ad, meant to garner interest at Cannes, is clearly trying to emulate the underground fantasy comics of the time, including Heavy Metal and Richard Corben’s Fantagor.
(Image via Temple of Schlock)