a blog by keith calder, a film and television producer

Why I've Never Seen The Highlander Movie

When I was a kid, I was a huge fantasy nerd. If it had swords, dragons, or magic then I was there with my nose pressed up to it whether the story was told in books, television, or movies. This could be tricky for movies, because I wasn't allowed to watch R-rated movies, and a lot of fantasy movies involve naked folk and/or heads being chopped off. Of course, Highlander has both. So it was strictly off the table.

As a young teen, I found out that there was a “Highlander” TV show, and I became obsessed with it. That was my Highlander experience. Duncan MacLeod was my Highlander, and Adrian Paul was a movie-star to me.

I am Duncan MacLeod, born four hundred years ago in the Highlands of Scotland. I am Immortal and I am not alone. For centuries we have waited for the time of the Gathering, when the stroke of a sword and the fall of a head will release the power of the Quickening. In the end, there can be only one.

Yup, that's my Highlander.

Years later, I was finally allowed to watch R-rated movies and I bought a bunch of DVDs to catch up on what I had missed as a kid. One of those discs was the Highlander movie. I started working my way through the pile of discs, falling in love with films like Terminator, Total Recall, and Robocop. I finally got to Highlander, but when I opened the case the disc was cracked in half down the middle. Shit. I went on with my life, and the rest of the pile of DVDs.

After college, I moved to Los Angeles to go to a graduate film program. I bought more stacks of DVDs, trying to catch up on my film education. And there it was in the bargain pile, Highlander on DVD. Of course I bought it.

A few days later, I was ready to watch Highlander. I open the case, and this disc is also cracked in half down the middle! Now I don't know if there was some screw up at the DVD factory when it came to make the Highlander discs, but I have another theory. Duncan MacLeod won't let me watch another incarnation of Highlander.

A couple years ago, still a virgin to all things Highlander movie, I was on a long-haul flight from Los Angeles to Dubai on an Emirates flight. The kind of flight where you have time to watch a lot of movies, and the type of plane that has a huge selection. They have Highlander. Finally!

It's about 40 minutes in. I'm really into the movie. It has swords and immortal heroes and epic parking garage fights and Sean Connery. I could see this replacing the TV show as the canonical Highlander for me. And then it happens. The movie file seems to be corrupt, and it just won't play any further without horrible stuttering and audio dropouts. Shit. Duncan MacLeod's blade comes crashing down once again on the neck of the Highlander movie.

But no worries, I have another long leg of travel coming up from Dubai to Johannesburg. I'll just pick up where I left off.

Seatbelt fastened. Plane in the air. Time to browse the movie list. OK, good, here's Highlander. Let's get it going. Fast forward to where I left off. Play. Shit. The same corrupt movie file! Somehow Duncan MacLeod has destroyed every digital copy of the Highlander movie traveling around world on Emirates airplanes.

So now I've given up. There can only be one, and his name is Duncan not Connor.

#Film #Highlander #ThereCanOnlyBeOne