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Gor

Once, long ago, there was a comedy website that only wanted three simple things: to make people laugh, to teach them a few things, and to be able to issue our own traffic citations to people who put eyelashes on headlights. It succeeded in two of those goals, before getting piledriven into the dirt by corporate scavengers. Some of its archives have been deleted, some of them have been corrupted, and some just suck. You decide which one this is. It’s…

Gor is a fantasy film from the late ’80s based on a series of erotic Men’s Rights manifestos, and it is about three simple things: Nerd revenge fantasies, women knowing their place, and underbutt.

Gor’s protagonist is just a grown-up version of that one kid on the playground who insisted he fought off a gang on the way to school, stole a car at lunch, and had a date with his Canadian supermodel girlfriend penciled in for that afternoon. You will see his soft, underbaked buttcheeks several million times.

The movie opens on a stuffy college Physics professor lecturing his students on the subject of Gor, a parallel earth with fantasy overtones, and the fact that it totally exists, because his ring can take him there if the circumstances are just right. After dutifully scratching down terms like ‘counter-earth’ and ‘dimension stone’ in preparation for the easiest Physics test in history, the class stands up to file out. The professor intercepts his teaching assistant, a perky young blonde who doesn’t seem to return his affections. This conversation really only serves to establish two things: The professor’s main character trait, and his name. He is an uncertain man, lacking in confidence and not well respected by his peers. And his name is Tarl Cabot.

One of those things is probably responsible for the other.

Tarl is a non-stop barrage of High School Movie Nerd stereotypes. The cafeteria workers take his lunch money but only after they’ve beaten him up for it. He’s the only college professor with a locker just so he can get stuffed in it. He’s one cancelled Star Trek spinoff and an unattended rifle away from a campus-wide emergency alert. He awkwardly dorks all over the blonde’s face for a few minutes before she finally ditches him and rides off with the cool jock instead.

Wait…weren’t they just teachers? There’s a cool jock college professor? What does he teach, Nerdflushing 212? 

Heartbroken and dejected, Tarl departs campus alone in his shitty Volvo. Then a mysterious storm hits and, blinded by the rain, he rams his car into a tree. The camera pans slowly over the wreckage, until it reaches the driver’s seat and we realize – he’s not there! Tarl has been transported to the magical world of Gor! That’s the mechanic we’re working with here: Mystical caves, enchanted books, magical phrases – fuck ’em. The only way to trigger pan-dimensional teleportation to Gor is by tasting the steering wheel of a beat up 1960 Volvo PF544. And that’s probably a fitting welcome to this lush fantasy world…

Tarl barely has time to take in his surroundings before he spots a band of raiders attacking a village in order to steal their Homestone, the soul of their community. Overseeing the massacre is the sinister Priest-King Sarm, pictured here with his elite warlords…

Looking like they’re all sharing one Skeletor costume.

One of the horsemen spots and pursues Tarl, and there’s a good solid minute of him frantically running in front of horses, tripping over nets, and screeching in panic, which is more than enough to unhorse and defeat several of the most skilled soldiers of Gor. 

These barbarians have spent their whole lives riding the unforgiving badlands and killing its bravest warriors, but nothing could prepare them for a single flailing dork and his sloppy khakis. At the end of this carnage, Tarl is left wounded and unconscious, but has also killed the bandit’s leader: The son of Priest-king Sarm, who will vow revenge!

When he awakens, Tarl is being tended to by a slave girl, Talena. Skanks, loincloths, giant hair, sassiness – Talena is everything the ’80s considered sexy strapped onto some breast implants and set loose to do what she does best: find new and interesting excuses to bend over.

Gor could have been a solid comedy: A modern day nerd sent back in time to engage in hilarious shenanigans with a barbarian horde! Jerry Lewis would have killed that premise, and then done yellowface over its corpse. But Gor is not a comedy, so instead of an hour of Tarl teaching hulking berserkers the importance of Calculus, we get the shortest, least believable training montage in cinema history.

The montage takes roughly thirty seconds, and consists of only two scenes: Tarl cowering away from a sparring session, then dodging thrown spears without looking, and Tarl fumbling with a quiver of arrows, then splitting them Robin Hood-style. Even by the movie’s chronology, he goes from power-nerd to elite warlord in just under an afternoon. To commemorate his entry into manhood, Tarl is given his very own set of armor. It’s just too bad all they had left were child sizes.

Girl child sizes.

Sexy girl child sizes.

Thrilling adventures ensue! In order to pass as slavers, the proud female lead turns to Tarl and whispers “just remember to hold me, and treat me like a slave.” The crew stumbles across a bar hosting a Filthy Lesbian Wrestling night, which Talena obviously must participate in. Our heroes fight raiders; they get caught in quicksand; they acquire a dwarf.

Now take a good long look at that screencap up there. Do you see what’s coming next? You do? Well, fucking good for you. What do you want, a medal? Too bad, because all I have to offer you is dwarf grundle.

Our heroes eventually sneak into the nefarious Sarm’s citadel and then stand around for all of forty-five seconds before being easily, easily captured. Now remember at the beginning of the film, when Tarl accidentally killed Sarm’s son through dorkarate, and the evil ruler vowed revenge? Good for you!

The movie doesn’t.

Instead of torture or beheading or something else suitably sinister, Sarm throws the gang a medieval swinger’s party. This is supposed to woo Tarl over to the side of darkness, because even darkness needs somebody to run the IT desk. Sarm suggestively whispers “let me show you something” and then gestures over to a parade of naked mimes…

He demands that Tarl watch him engage in bisexual make-out sessions…

Then Sarm drags a slave girl over to Tarl while screaming “please him! Please him! Please him well!” 

Look, there are “tempting the hero” scenes, and there are “let me watch while you make my son’s murderer cum” scenes. I see what gets you off, Sarm, and I know the sign over your hot tub says this is a judgment-free zone, and I’m sorry if this harshes the sexmimes’ buzz, but you’re kinda fucked in the head.

Somehow Tarl resists the temptation to bang a slave while the father of a man he killed and the understudies of Cats watch him penetrate. Instead, he escapes with a different slave girl. As they flee down a hidden escape tunnel, Tarl and the new girl join up with Talena, and the next ten minutes are of a level three geek expertly navigating a cave with his two nubile, bikini-clad sex servants. 

That is the exact plot to a depressingly erotic game of Dungeons and Dragons I played in 1992, when I did not fully understand my own sexuality, but I knew it was better than this. 

Unfortunately, the rest of Tarl’s party gets turned around in the caves and wind up stumbling right back into enemy hands. After freeing the other slaves, stealing back the Homestone, and valiantly fighting off a dozen guards, Tarl returns to save his friends. 

We’re here. 

The big showdown: Tarl vs. Sarm! A man who doesn’t know how to start fucking against a man who does not know how to stop! The climactic battle is upon us! 

Here it is:

That’s it. That is the entirety of the final fight scene. An arrow through the neck from off-screen. It takes all of three seconds. Also Jack Palance happens:

Having never appeared for even a second of screentime prior to this, Jack Palance tragically shows up in the final minutes of Gor. You were so close! You were very nearly not in Gor! At least he doesn’t do anything. He just mutters something ominous, and then kind of wanders away, hopefully into a better movie.

Now that the threat is over, Tarl and Talena are free to admit their true feelings. And with all the subtle eroticism one would expect from people whose sexual experience is measured in upvotes on r/theredpill, our screenwriters oblige: Talena sultrily whispers “now that you have helped us break the bonds of slavery, we owe a…service to you.” To which Tarl replies: “We can discuss that.” 

SMASH CUT right to them fucking.

But what’s this? The Homestone has begun to glow! Tarl stops mid-thrust to get up and fondle it, because even in fantasy, he understands more about geology than girls. 

He inserts his ring into a hole on the stone, and is transported back to Earth, presumably with the world’s first case of pan-dimensional blue balls.

Back at the college, Tarl uses his newfound confidence to knock out the bully teacher, and the blonde that previously rejected him rushes into his arms for doing so. That’s just good characterization right there: It’s a well known fact that the two things women find most sexually irresistible are ‘punching your coworkers’ and ‘punching their boyfriends.’

Gor should end here. It has done everything it set out to do: Everybody sure is sorry they picked on the nerdy math guy, all the women lust after him, an entire world worships him as a king – he’s the undisputed best at both punching and humping, where else is there to go?

Ask Jack Palance, who suddenly reappears to give a strange monologue in a Greek Orthodox Mickey Mouse hat.

That’s right: He’s setting up a sequel. Because Gor was not just one hilarious misstep in the history of fiction. It is a rich and storied universe, inspiring a total run of twenty-nine novels, two movies, and even roleplaying games. The books alone sold over 10 million copies. That’s how our world works. I know brilliant authors who will die in squalor and I’m not even including myself, but Gary Gorgax bought himself a private island by writing titty-words for fantasy incels. 

12 replies on “Gor”

You know, I almost confused Gor for Den, from Heavy Metal fame. There are just enough similarities to really throw me off. Guess the “Nerd travels to a Sword & Sorcery Fantasy World where he becomes a Fuck-Lord” is just one of those genres that blurs together after a while.

Listen, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I’m just saying that there’s a LOT of overlap. At least John Carter wasn’t a total nerd.

Thank you, kind person. I will be spending two weeks in “surgery recovery vacation” (america #1!) blitzed on oxycodone shortly, and this tip neatly accounts for about two hours of that.

When I looked at the VHS cover at the top of the article I wondered why they couldn’t find a better picture of Oliver Reed to use than one where he was clearly falling-down drunk. Then I realized, “Oh, yeah, Oliver Reed”.

Still, the sequel did end up being one of the better of the old Mystery Science Theater episodes.

For anyone truly curious about where the story goes, it’s: nowhere. The sequel is almost exactly the same as what’s described here, only instead of the villain being a man with weird predilections and an inexplicable attraction to Tarl, it’s a woman who’s all of those things. Oh, and Tarl has an even nerdier sidekick who’s also a sexual predator and almost immediately betrays him into slavery. Plus, it contains much, much more Jack Palance glowering than the original.

So yeah, the sequel is even worse, but it makes a great MST3K episode. (I mean, honestly, it’s worth watching the episode just for the musical tribute to all the butt shots.)

You’re shocked at the asshole joke in a college faculty? Colleges do have PE teachers and athletics coaches after all.

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