Mazes and Monsters (1982) – Tom Hanks Walks on The Nerdy Side of the Tracks
Way back in the early 1980s there was a gaming craze that was gathering popularity – Role Playing games, and the number one game of that genre was (and still is) called Dungeons and Dragons. Like any craze that involves youths using there imagination to envision something fantastic, there were people with too much time on their hands that had to put their nose in others business and tell them that fantasy role playing games were dangerous. Hell, they would lead to youths descending into a fantasy world in their mind and never come back. Mazes and Monsters is a movie that attempts to warn one of these evils – like the anti-drug movies of the 1950s and 1960s.
Starring one time famous Canadian actor, Chris Makepeace (of Meatballs fame) and then star of the popular sitcom Bosom Buddies, Tom Hanks – yes, that Tom Hanks. This isn’t Tom Hanks first movie, as that dubious distinction goes to the movie, He Knows You’re Alone. Still, I doubt he talks about this film much.
So, what can I say about this amazing piece of Canadian made movie obscurity? Aside from it’s terrible? Not very much, I guess.
Four friends gather together to play a popular role playing game called Mazes and monsters. Pretty normal, but one of them, the misfit rich kid, played by Chris Makepeace discovers some near by caves and suggests that they take their game to the next level – Larping. What is Larping? Larping stand for Live Action Role Playing – that’s when nerds get together and dress up as their role playing characters and act out their role playing game. Well that’s what they decide to do. Unfortunately the experience sends Tom Hanks’ already mentally delicate character over the edge into a world were he believes he is his character. Tom then takes off for New York to complete a fantasy quest that is in his mind – sending him into danger – Oh and he messes up a bum in an alleyway who he perceives to be a dragon – Yeah…
So, his friends have to find and save him, which of course ends in a nail biting race against time.
This movie is very silly, and has definitely not aged well. That being said, it is interesting to see Tom Hanks so early in his career – he has come a long way since then. At lease it’s easy to find the movie: it’s available in full on Youtube. Check it out if you can stomach it.
Here is a clip of Tom Hanks freaking out:
And here’s the entire movie, in all it’s cheezy glory:
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