Yor: The Hunter from the Future 35th Anniversary

| January 9, 2018

It’s here on Blu-ray at my side: Yor: The Hunter from the Future (1983) starring Reb Brown. That this is something I can write in all honesty at this time is nothing short of magical. While Yor by no means has or likely ever will change the world of film in any substantive way, it is a film I love. So weird, funny, and scatter-brained is Yor that I’ve devoted an inordinate amount of time to it during my adult life. I’ve researched it (not that there’s much out there on it), podcasted about it, and in 2012 hosted a midnight screening of it for the Chicago Reader-celebrated Facets Nite School summer series, organized by The Underground Multiplex. For that particular screening, I created a Yor hymnal (see the previous link), lectured about the film’s genre trappings (more on that below) and even co-wrote and performed a comedy sketch in which I interviewed Yor himself (played by Tyler Pistorius)!

Clearly I’ve had a lot of fun with Yor and so did everyone at that midnight screening back in 2012. Sadly, with the film being previously available only on MOD DVD, it just wasn’t out there for audiences to discover unless some weirdo like me came along and shoved it in their faces. On January 16, 2018, however, Yor will at last be available on a shockingly reasonably-priced 35th Anniversary Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment. The Blu-ray even includes a brand new commentary track by star Reb Brown, a man whose work has brought great joy to my wife and me, as well as all other MSTies out there with his portrayal of David Ryder in Space Mutiny (1988).

Yor: The Hunter from the Future, directed by Italian genre maestro Antonio Margheriti (credited as Anthony M. Dawson) is a one-of-a-kind hybrid of science fiction, fantasy and historical action akin to the Italian peplum movement, and further weaves together elements of the caveman picture, the post-apocalyptic quest film, and the space opera. In short, it’s a hot mess, genre-wise, but that’s what makes Yor such a blast to watch. You’ve literally no idea what’s going to happen next.

This is in no small part because Yor: The Hunter from the Future, as released by Columbia Pictures in 1983, was in fact an 88-minute condensed version of Margheriti’s four-part television miniseries, Il Mondo di Yor, adapted for Italian television from an Argentinian comic book. It moves at breakneck pace from one action set piece to another. And losing 2 1/2 hours of the story leaves the characters and audience little room to breathe, contemplate, or even process the insane series of events and plot twists before them.

As an Italian-Turkish co-production, Margheriti shot the series over the course of about six months on location in Turkey, specifically in the mountainous Cappadocia region and on the shores of the Mediterranean. As a product of Italy, the sound was all done in post-production, so when the film came to the States, it was dubbed into English, even though many of the actors, including the film’s star, Reb Brown, had obviously been speaking English in the first place. One of the two great tragedies of the film, and perhaps the only thing I’d say Yor has going against it is that Brown, who you might also know from Captain America (CBS, 1979) or Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985) is that when the film was dubbed into English, Brown was not able to dub himself.

The second tragedy was that film was actually nominated for 3 Razzies in 1983. First among them, a nomination for Reb Brown as worst new star. This particular nomination is rather strange since, as I just noted, Brown was dubbed by someone else (voice actor Gregory Snegoff), making it virtually impossible to gauge his performance here. The other two nominations were for the music, one for the score and the other for the original song, “Yor’s World” by Guido and Maurizio de Angelis, who performed under the monicker Oliver Onions. Yet, by my estimation, “Yor’s World” is perhaps the most epic theme song ever written for a film.

The theme song warns us during the title sequence that you’re entering “Yor’s world,” and that “he’s the man!” But just what kind of man is he? Well, Yor quite literally fights anything that moves (dinosaurs, mummies, robots, purple cavemen), he’s something of a womanizer as women are throwing themselves or being thrown at him constantly, but most importantly, he commits numerous acts of casual genocide while wearing nothing but a necklace and a loin cloth. And despite his genocidal tendencies, Yor is actually the hero of the film. The film, in fact, presents him to us as a kind of cross between Abraham Lincoln and Conan the Barbarian, somehow positioning him as the savior of the people of the future, even though the majority of people he encounters throughout don’t make it to the end credits.

Confounding, hilarious, and so very 1980’s, Yor is a film that truly must be seen to be believed. So if you’re curious about the film at all, pick it up on Blu-ray. The film looks worlds better than I’ve ever seen it on MOD DVD or VHS and the Reb Brown commentary provides a lot of entertainment in its own right. Plus, the Blu-ray will currently put you back less than $8 on Amazon and it’s still in pre-order, so satiate your curiosity and hurl yourself headlong into this 88-minute bullet train ride through Yor’s world!

About the Author:

Jef is a writer and educator in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a degree in Media & Cinema Studies from DePaul University, but sometimes he drops it and picks it back up again. He's also the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com and is fueled entirely by coffee (as if you couldn't tell).
Filed in: Video and DVD

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.