I have now rewatched "Deathstalker," "Deathstalker II," and the imaginatively titled "Deathstalker III."
And while number one has a certain flair in the evil wizard with the face tats; and number two has the unforgettable Monique Gabrielle in two roles that both require extensive breastal exposure, plus John La Zar (as the sorcerer) using up all his little riffs that got cut from "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls"...
Number three is superior.
Because of Thom Christopher as the evil wizard Troxartes.
You probably know Thom from "Law and Order" reruns. He usually plays a New York jerk of some kind - boardroom jerk, attorney jerk, ordinary bald schmendrick-type jerk.
Thom's got damn good teeth, and they really get a workout in "Deathstalker III." Rarely has so much scenery been chewed by one actor.
He gives us demonic "I shall rule the world while clad in a fleece blanket from Target" laughter. He sashays through what the discerning critics of Mystery Science Theater rightly called the worst swordfight in cinema history. (The longest, too, according to Joe Bob Briggs' post-screening assessment for The Movie Channel.)
But most of all, Thom's Troxartes channels Gloria Swanson.
Now is that eerie or what?
The costume department was on the ball in this flick. The head henchman does his thing wearing a helmet clearly inspired by the cover of Cher's 1978 album "Take Me Home."
So while John Allen Nelson does not bring the same insouciant charm to the title role as D2's John Terlesky, and Carla Herd does not get nearly as nekkid as Monique, in Thom Christopher's Troxartes we have the stuff of greatness.
Three and a half coils, if I can find them.