If you’re a film buffs of a certain age, you probably experienced some manner of sexual awakening while watching 1982's The Beastmaster, an action-fantasy romp that, despite being rated PG, offered sex-starved teens both female breasts and Marc Singer’s chiseled, glistening torso. Well, it’s time to pay back director Don Coscarelli for those early pangs of arousal. The Phantasm filmmaker, you see, is on the hunt for the film’s negative, which is currently in the wind after years spent in a San Fernando garage.
“It’s basically six film cans and then outside it would have The Beastmaster and it’s called ‘Original camera negative,’ ‘OCN,’” Coscarelli explained to EW. “There’s a chance [it] just went into a dumpster, never to be seen again. But there are a lot of rabid film collectors out there. A lot of times they gather up this stuff and it’s of uncertain lineage. A lot of them hang onto it because they don’t want to tell people they have it, or whatever. This would be an open license [to] be a hero to a generation of Beastmaster fans.”
And there are plenty of Beastmaster fans out there. Despite an underwhelming theatrical release, the movie cultivated an audience during its endless replays on TBS, TNT, and HBO the ‘80s and ‘90s. Now, Coscarelli is curious to see if there’s room in today’s Hollywood for a very hot man who can telepathically communicate with animals. (The answer is yes.)
As the director details on a website devoted to his search for the negative, he and co-writer Paul Pepperman recently reclaimed the film’s copyright and recapture rights and have plans to both restore the cult classic and shop around a remake. “A lot of latchkey kids watched that movie over and over again,” he told EW. “Now they’re adults, and, with luck, some of them are running studios. So, we’ll see what happens.” Scoring the negative is integral to producing the best possible restoration.
Per a timeline on Coscarelli’s website, the negative was last seen in the garage of the attorney of one of the film’s previous rightsholders. The negative, however, was abandoned in 2015 after the attorney sold the house and moved out. It’s been missing since then.
“As they used to say in the labs, when we were making Phantasm, nothing’s ever lost, it’s just misplaced,” Coscarelli said. “We have this fervent hope that maybe we can reinvigorate this fan base of ours to go out and help find it.”
Revisit the film’s original trailer below, then go sort through all those film canisters in your basement. If one of them is Beastmaster, please think of the fans and contact Coscarelli right this second. If you love something, the old saying goes, set it free.
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