The Greatest D&D Movie Ever

William T. Thrasher

Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to share something special with you. Something that is at once a shred of pop culture garbage, a celebration of geekery, and a lot of fun for those who know how to read a bad movie. It is Shakma!, the greatest Dungeons and Dragons movie ever made!

I first came across this gem of a film late one Friday night on Dr. Madblood's Movie, the local late night horror of my hometown Norfolk, VA.  At first I though it was just another apesploitation creature feature, but then I saw the crucial difference. The protagonists and list of victims are almost entirely gamers who refuse to stop playing, even when an escaped laboratory monkey with an ax to grind starts knocking them off one by one.

Here's the spiel: A collection of medical students at a well-to-do university meet every weekend to play a fantasy role-playing game. The game is never referred to by name, and it has a distinct live action component, but it is as much a game of Dungeons & Dragons - if nor more-so - than the game played in Mazes & Monsters (to be covered in The 2nd Worst D&D Movie Ever). Taking advantage of the unused space in the lecture halls after hours, the GM sets up encounters in classrooms rooms and the players must venture from room to room solving puzzles, disarming traps, and doing all the things that heroes do. The GM coordinates the whole thing from a small office and keeps in touch with the players through walkie talkies.

This weekend the group is meeting in a building that just so happens to have an animal testing lab on the top floor, and a neuro-augmented drug-crazed baboon - the titular Shakma! - escapes and starts knocking off players whenever they wander away from the group. Sadly, for the first half of the film the players think the sounds of an ape goring their friends to death is all part of the game, fully expecting the "dead" players to be hanging out with them at the end of the game. By the time things come to ahead the surviving players have a real monster to slay and a real woman to save. Also, Roddy McDowall is there.

Friends, if you want to see the greatest film about D&D and the people who play it ever made, waste a Saturday evening with Shakma!. Unless you have a game to play.

See the Shakma! trailer!