Mazes and Monsters is a 1982 made-for-TV movie directed by Steven Hilliard Sternabout a group of college students and their interest in a fictitious role-playing game(RPG) of the same name. The movie starred a 26-year-old Tom Hanks in his first major leading film role.
The film was adapted from a novel of the same name by Rona Jaffe. Jaffe had based her 1981 novel on inaccurate newspaper stories about the disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III from Michigan State University in 1979. Media accounts differed substantially from Egbert's actual story. William Dear, the private investigator on the case, explained actual events and the reasons behind the media myth in his 1984 book The Dungeon Master. Jaffe wrote her novel at a breakneck pace in a matter of days because of a fear that another author might also be fictionalizing the Egbert investigation.
The working title for the film was Dungeons & Dragons, but CBS dropped it in favor of the novel's title, presumably to avoid lawsuits over use of the trademarked name.The film premiered on CBS in 1982. It stars Tom Hanks, Wendy Crewson, David Wallace and Chris Makepeace (Meatballs, My Bodyguard, Falcon and the Snowman). The movie is currently available on VHS tape and DVD.
Mazes and Monsters came out in the heyday of the RPG Dungeons & Dragons (the novel's title is a thinly veiled reference to the game) and was seen by some as a warning to parents about the dangers of RPGs. It came out at a time when Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) was being attacked by groups who alleged that it promotedSatanism and other forms of occult activities.
Like the book on which it is based, the film treats the playing of roleplaying games as indicative of deep neurotic needs. At least one protagonist is (or at least appears to be) suffering from schizophrenia (or some analogous condition) and in the end, the attainment of adulthood by other players is accompanied by the abandonment of role-playing games.
1. ^ Kushner, David. "Dungeon Master: The Life and Legacy of Gary Gygax". Wired.com. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
2. ^ IMDb Mazes and Monsters Release dates page
3. ^ Lowrey, Michael J. (as "Mike Lowery"). "Tales stranger than fantasy" [a review of the novel and of Hobgoblin]; Dragon #75, p. 741