Aug 28, 2021

"Legend": Tom Cruise Grins, Tim Curry Growls, and Everyone Gets Drenched with Pollen

When Legend premiered in April 1986, I was living in West Hollywood, where everyone assumed that 23 year-old Tom Cruise was gay.  But no one I knew saw it.  Last night we watched the director's cut, and I found out why.  

Scene 1: In his brightly-lit lair, the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry with horns and 9-inch nails) gives plot exposition to his lackey, Blix, who speaks in rhyming couplets:  He was about to make it so the sun wouldn't rise again.  But then two unicorns appeared out of nowhere, so Blix has to get rid of them first.  Also, the only thing that can stop his plan is inn-o-cence.

Scene 2:  Inn-o-cence, aka Lili, is wandering slowly through a forest where bails of pollen, flower petals, and glitter are floating around, obscuring the camera and covering her face (how can she breathe?).  There are several long close-up shots of her face as she grins idiotically.  She is apparently very high.

Eventually she arrives at a peasant's house, where she can't seem to remember her lines.  

Peasant woman:  "Would you like a biscuit?"

Lili:  Grins idiotically.  "Ummm....what? love coming here."  

Peasant woman:  "I'll get you a biscuit."

Scene 3: 
Back to the forest obscured by bails of pollen.  Lili yells "Jack!" about a hundred times.  Then Jack (Tom Cruise) appears, and she says "Jack!" another hundred times, while he grins idiotically.  Lots of tight close ups of their faces covered with glittery stuff.  Jack has bad teeth.

  Then they stare at each other for a long, long time.  Just when I think that he's feral and doesn't speak, Jack says that he'll finally take her to the place she's been begging to go to for months.  

Scene 4:  Stalked by Blix and his comic-relief lackeys, Jack and Lili go to the place, a nondescript piece of the pollen-drenched forest, and stare for a long, long time, while I wonder what the big deal is.  Then two unicorns appear. "They'll only be here for a short time," Jack says.  Then why was Lili begging to see them for months?

Lili starts to walk over to them.  Jack stops her in a panic. "NO!  You absolutely cannot go near a unicorn!  It is absolutely forbidden!   It is the worst sin of the pollen-drenched forest!"

But Lili ignores him and walks over, while Jack stares in horror.  She touches a unicorn horn.  They go rogue and run around her, neighing angrily, while she kneels and screams.  (No one notices that Blix and his lackeys have used the confusion to blow a poison dart into one of the unicorns.)

Wait -- why were Blix and his lackeys stalking the girl?  How did they know that she would lead them to the unicorns?  Or does the Lord of Darkness want her, too?  Her inn-o-cence is a threat, or something?

Scene 4:  Later, Lili gets horny (she touched a unicorn horn and got horny -- get it?), and tries to seduce Jack, who is not sure if he's ready for sex.  She sweetens the deal by throwing her ring into the lake and offering to marry him if he retrieves it.  So he dives into the water and looks around.

At that moment, Blix and his lackeys approach the dead unicorn and sever its horn, which is the source of all magic in the world.  Huh?

Suddenly the pollen-drenched forest turns into a snow-drenched forest, where snowflakes and for some reason bubbles obscure the camera and collect on people's faces.   The lake is now iced over.  Lili runs away, leaving Jack to drown.  But he breaks through the ice and survives.

Scene 5:   Lili runs to the peasant's house where she got the cookie. Everyone inside is frozen in place.  She hides as Blix and his cronies come in to fool around with magic and do some plot exposition. 

 Then the Lord of Darkness shows up: they have successfully killed one unicorn, but a second is left, so the sun will rise again.  Take care of it!

Meanwhile, Jack is approached by Honeythorn Gump (David Bennett), a pedophile's dream -- a little boy in a loincloth -- who is extremely high.  He stares at Jack for a long time, grinning idiotically.  Then he gets his eyes to bulge and yells "A human touched a unicorn!  The worst sin in the pollen-drenched forest!  Did you think you could perform such a sacrilege without consequences?"  Hey, it was Lili.  Jack tried to stop her.

Honeythorn says that he won't kill and eat Jack if he answers a riddle.  Jack answers, and Honeythorn has a meltdown, screaming and kicking and rolling around on the ground.  Wait -- you agreed to the riddle penalty.  

Then, all nice, Honeythorn says "Let's gather the gang and try to fix this."  His lackeys consist of two comic-relief dwarves and a ball of light that looks identical to the pollen floating around, but turns into a horny fairy when no one is looking.

That's enough scene-by-scene analysis.  Next there's a lot of staring while grinning idiotically, some magical foes, and the Lord of Darkness (who suddenly has a father, the King of Darkness) deciding that he wants to marry Lili. 

 Jack rejects the horny fairy, who then refuses to rescue him from a dungeon (fortunately, she rescues her friends, who are in the same dungeon, so he can kind of tag along)  He saves the day by reflecting sunlight into the castle, which blasts the Lord of Darkness off into space.  

Back in the pollen-drenched forest, Jack says goodbye to Honeythorn and his lackeys, kisses Lili for a long time, makes plans to see her tomorrow, and then returns to Honeythorn and his lackies.  Wait -- he said goodbye, as if he wouldn't see them again, and one five-minute-long kiss later, he's back?  None of this makes any sense.

Nope.  No one shows any skin except for the prepubscent David Bennet and Kiran Shah, who plays an elf saved from being baked in a pie.  Obviously you take a guy's clothes off before cooking him.

Gay Characters: Maybe Honeythorn is into Jack.  Jack is unwilling to have sex with Lili or the horny fairy, but that may be because he's a forest creature, and sex represents civilization or something.

Heterosexism:  Jack and Lili are in love, of course.  The Lord of Darkness turns out to be hetero-horny.

My Grade: Ugh. Tell your actors to lay off the weed, and cut back on the pollen!


  1. Back then I think people were more naïve. I mean, Beastmaster gave us a 14-year-old king who doffs his disguise for a loincloth in the final scene.

    Hell, the whole mess about Damian Wayne's conception is because when she was introduced in 1971, his mother was the same age as another Robin, and dating Batman. (You thought I was going to mention Terra?) X-Men has Colossus with Kitty Pryde. (Oh yeah, Wolverine has his own Robin-like companions. She's the "Dick".)

    It's funny because this same time period has the SRA nonsense, even experts on child abuse insisting SRA is real, but the call is coming from inside the house!

    1. "The Beastmaster" is Mark Singer who was not 14 at the time

    2. I believe he was referring to 14-year old Josh Milrad wearing nothing but a loincloth as the young Tal.

    3. Yeah. I was mostly mentioning innocence.

      Brian Singer, by the way, is related to Marc Singer, and had a job on Beastmaster. You may recall Brian Singer from the X-Men movies with the creepy dialogue between a teenager and a two-hundred-year-old man. And the molestation charges. Gross.

    4. I assume that you're being hyperbolic and referring to Dr. Xavier? He's all about recruiting teenagers, but which movie specifically are you referencing?

  2. This is a spectacular looking film which needed a script. Ridley Scott made commercials and this looks like a big budget commercial. Cruise is fine but any good looking young guy could have played the lead. Tim Curry steals the movie and that amazing make up- the best scene is Lily's seduction scene. Darkness should have been bisexual and there should have been at least one scene in which he capture Tom and chains him up.

    1. I did like the weird spooky dance number, but I couldn't tell if the dancer was the Lord of Darkness himself or a miscellaneous spirit.

    2. I think the dancing creature is just an evil spirit sent by Darkness to seduce Lily. If you are a fan of classical fantasy film you can see the references to Jean Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast" The movie sets and make up are still impressive- this was all pre CGI so they had to be done for real

    3. Het has more of a history as loss of innocence. Entirely for very male reasons: No one considers jerking off with friends to "count", and they regard virginity as similarly het-focused.

      Horror movies tend to use gay seduction that way, but horror movies use gay as code for unhinged.

    4. The idea is that only a female virgin could touch a unicorn

    5. That's why the unicorn horn made you horny. It was a phallic symbol. In China they take powdered unicorn horn for virility. I don't know where they get it.

    6. In The Cloisters museum in New York they have the beautiful hunting of the unicorn tapestries and a unicorn horn which I imagine is really from a Narwhal.

  3. Did everyone in West Hollywood in 1986 assume Tim Curry was gay?

    1. Everyone in West Hollywood in 1986 assumed that everyone was gay.

  4. Your, *synopsis* was funny at times, but I don't know, off-beat, too! Especially that Jack didn't try to have sex with Lili because it was akin to civilisation? For me, sex is the opposite of anything civilised. It's dirty. It's messy. It's hot. It! Is! Primal!

    And anyway, Jack was Gay! Brave and kind, but nonetheless, gay.

    Legend was as Queer as can be, and I ain't referring to the West Hollywood, Castro District, etc, type of queer. No, I'm referencing queer as in odd, out of place, strange.

    The film was like David Bowie in Wonderland eating loads of funny mushrooms, drinking lots of Absinthe, and wearing David Lee Roth's wardrobe rejects.

    And yeah... how in the Hell didn't every actor, animal, crew people, etc, not die from breathing in all that damn dust, pollen or whatever that crap was floating around in just about, if not Every Scene Of Legend. Maybe that's what turned Tom Cruise gay, lol, lol, lol...

    Tom P.

  5. Should note, Grump was played by David Bennet, aka Oskar from THE TIN DRUM. He was actually much older than he looked, maybe even legal; he had a delayed puberty that made him a natural at playing preternatural children-roles. I'm happy to report he finally did 'grow up' and is still acting in his native Germany.


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