It’s STACK‘s Friday Flick time, where each week we recommend a slice of classic movie viewing that’s sure to get your weekend off to a great start. This week, it’s The Beastmaster.

Director Don Coscarelli is best known for the horror cult classic Phantasm, but he also gave us this cheesy, highly entertaining and family-friendly sword and sorcery romp in 1982. Featuring a hunky hero, Charlie’s Angel Tanya Roberts, cute animals and a hissable villain, The Beastmaster is easily the best of the many post-Conan knock-offs that appeared throughout the eighties.

When a prophecy foretells the downfall of the evil high priest Maax (Rip Torn) at the hand of the King’s unborn son, he magically transfers the child into the womb of a cow for sacrifice. But his plans go awry when the boy, Dar, is born with the power to control animals. After his village is burned and his dog killed by Maax’s hordes, the adult Dar (Marc Singer) embarks on a mission of vengeance, swinging a big sword, battling sinister bird warriors, spying on skinny-dipping slave girls, and assembling a group of human and animal allies along the way.

Four reasons why The Beastmaster rocks

1. Rip Torn’s snarling villain, sporting schoolgirl braids and a prosthetic nose. He’s as much fun here as on The Larry Sanders Show.

2. Marc Singer’s beastly pals, which include a pair of mischievous ferrets, a tiger that’s been dyed black, and an eagle for lots of swooping POV shots.

3. Tanya Roberts, playing cheesecake to Singer’s beefcake.

4. It makes the most of a modest budget and feels like a bigger movie than it actually is.

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Check out STACK‘s other Friday Flick recommendations here.