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Fire and Ice


By Tom BakerPublished 3 months ago 3 min read

Frank Frazetta is widely regarded as the "Father of Fantasy Illustration," at least in the modern sense, and Ralph Bakshi is an all-around genius in his own right, having put out a succession of wildly divergent animated films, from the X-rated blue humor of Fritz the Cat (1972) to the rumble-in-the-jungle drama of American Pop (1981) and Heavy Traffic (1973). He also was the first to plumb the depths of the immortal Tolkien "Rings" saga, with his admittedly incomplete adaptation of the first third of the famous trilogy (the sequels, regrettably, were never made), The Lord of the Rings (1978). A confessed long-time lover of fantasy epics, Bakshi also made the cult favorite Wizards (1977), which had voices provided by Mark Hamill of Star Wars legendry, among others.

Here, Frazetta and Bakshi combine their respective gifts, both as artists and animators, to produce a Sword and Sorcery tale that is both action-packed and as darkly edged as one of Conan's swords. It deals with that hoary old chestnut of a tale, the Evil Prince and His Witch Mother Who Weaponize a Glacier (no kidding), sending a wave of ice across the face of the world, along with some orc-like minions that are all animated Planet of the Apes rejects with Hare Krishna haircuts and loincloths. (No one wears very much of anything in this cartoon.)

The people flee before the glacial onslaught, and a warrior named Larn is thrust out from his village, the only survivor. In Firekeep, a kingdom beyond the reach of the ice, as of yet, the beautiful Princess Tygra is kidnapped by the evil orc minions of Julianna and Nekron (the glacier duo). Tygra is kidnapped, escapes, meets Larn, and starts to fall in love; but then is recaptured and escapes again. Something like that.

Darkwolf, a kind of Bronze Age Batman, rides up on his horse with a wolf-head hat that hides the top half of his face, and a dadgummit battle axe I once rolled 2d6 for damage on. His image is indelible, made famous by Frazetta on a book cover I think (probably for something by Robert E. Howard) I first saw decades ago, and he's not scoring high on his charm attribute.

An icy, evil witch and her hulking, monstrous son find the Princess at one point, and plan to hold her for ransom to Nekron, whose orcs simply kill them both; but this is okie dokie because she comes back later reanimated as an undead, and it's a shivery scene straight out of a Hellboy graphic novel. (Hellboy didn't exist then, so maybe it's more something from an EC comic where the ghoul comes back to avenge his murder, striding forth from the grave, dripping cadaver gruel and like, really intending to twist the knobs and turn the tables on his cheating wife and her scheming, murderous lover. But I'm digressing wildly.)

To say any more would be in danger of spoiling the film for those who haven't seen it yet. I'll let Wikipedia take care of that aspect of the affair. Suffice it to say, Fire and Ice is badass, holmes; it's an action-packed fantasy aimed at the tweens too jaded for elves and gnomes, but not yet sufficiently grizzled for Deathstalker. But I'm aware kids pretty much watch anything they want these days, internet streaming and all.

(Note: Fire and Ice is "Sword and Sorcery" fantasy, not "High Fantasy"; you may well wonder what's the difference. Well, probably a few layers of clothing, I reckon, har-har.)

There are flying pterodactyl dragon-birds borrowed from Heavy Metal, as well as talking skeleton-witches, magic, massive swordplay, and "lave versus glacier." How in the fiery hell could you meet such a film with an icy reception?

Sorry about the closing line. It's Friday night, and I'm feeling low-energy.

As Stan Lee would say (and I think he speaks for all of us):


Fire and Ice original trailer


About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.:

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Comments (5)

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  • Rick Henry Christopher 3 months ago

    Excellent review as always Tom. I really enjoyed the trailer. That is some fascinating animation.

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    My question is, shouldn't they be freezing their arses off with all that ice and nakedness? I love watching these, break from the porn of regular tv.

  • L.C. Schäfer3 months ago

    This sounds pretty epic, tbh. Might have to give it a whirl 😁

  • Tom Baker (Author)3 months ago

    Hey man, thanks for reading! Cheers!

  • Never saw it. Sounds like some Saturday morning fun.

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