The short version is this: the film involves a huge knight who is terrorizing people near or in a forest. The scene I recall is from the end where the hero defeats the knight. The chest of the armor opens up to reveal that the knight was actually a sort of medieval robot piloted by a small man or dwarf, who dies shortly after the fight.
I think many of the scenes take place in a dark forest. I’m pretty sure it is a medieval setting, but in a B movie sort of way. I don’t believe there’s any magic, and the main character wasn’t a barbarian (IE he wore full clothing)
I saw the movie in the late 80s or early 90s. I think we rented the VHS and I don’t think it was especially old at the time. Meaning I think it is from ’88–’92. 1995 is a hard stop (but ’88–’92 is probably more on target). I’d be very surprised if it was older than 1980.
I have another recollection of the main character riding his horse down a very very steep hill, leaning so far back that his hand is almost touching the ground behind the horse. I could be mixing up two movies but I’m pretty sure it is from the same one.
It is absolutely not Labyrinth. I’ve been reading summaries and looking at posters on wikipedia for hours now and I’ve ruled out most of the major and not-so major fantasy/sf/horror films. I think this was a limited release indie film we just happened to come across at the video store one time. At this point I’m wondering if I can find some kind of registry. I’m slowly working my way through all titles in IMDB in that time period.
I saw this movie once about 30 years ago and have thought about it occasionally all my life. I did an idle search recently and I found a guy who has been looking for the same movie for years! Now that there are two of us I really feel a duty to nail this thing down.
One more thing: he drew a short animation based on his recollection! And the animation is uncanny–he really captured the essence of the scene. Linked here: https://imgur.com/5wyQ2td
This would be a dragon that is a spaceship controllee by a humanoid. Maybe?