We can not talk about The Conquest, probably our weirdest and most fascinating entree into the Barbarian (aka Sword and Sorcery) genre without talking about the man who directed it- Mr. Lucio Fulci. Starting his career as a director of Italian comedies he subsequently moved to more fitting (and by that I mean more violent) genres like Spagetti Western and then horror movies. He claimed worldwide fame with the notorious Zombi 2 (aka The Zombie) billed as an unofficial sequel to Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (something akin to the things Albert Pyun is doing- just better).

Now, many of those hyper- violent and gory films were scripted by his collaborator Dardano Sacchetti (sort of like Jagger/Richards of the Giallo Horror). So, when Lucio decided to take a break from  he  usual routine and try his luck with a (supposedly) A-budgeted project (co-production between Italia, Spain and Mexico) inspired by the early Conan the Barbarian craze and didn’t bring Sacchetti with him that created rift between them and they  never  collaborated again. Many people consider The Conquest the turning point after which Fulci’s career never reached former highs (although the loss of quality can also be attributed to Fulci’s  problems with the diabetes and his constant battles with depression). “So, was it all worth it?” you ask. Well, you’re about to find out.

conquest_poster_01

Film starts with a very ethereal (and also very foggy) ceremony that marks the boy’s passage towards the manhood (and also equips him with an armor and a magic bow (more about that later). Then we are bombarded with extremely synthesizer- based score that sounds incredibly like as of a bad outtake for the He- Man cartoon. Things get more crazy from there with an inarticulate chants performed by seemingly barely legal naked girl with a golden mask and feathers (I am not making this up- and you can see this pic as a proof).

 conquest-1983 Sabrina Siani ( Ocron) continued to be just as naked in all her other roles,  unfortunately she also continued to be just as flat

 

Enraged pack of Dog-men (yes, such things do exist in this universe) attack the human village and ravage it completely.Poor leader who tried to reason with them gets his head opened and brain smashed for his efforts and they even find the time to pull apart one lady (a most horrible death if there is one).

http://rutube.ru/video/7f54cc108341f5d590d7717ef5f6b17d/

Saving a lady from the snake the boy- Ilias provokes a wrath of some local barbarians. Enamored with his bow they try to take it from him but end up taking only arrows (to the knee of course). Unfortunately he runs out of arrows and stars runing for his life. Just when it seems that it’s too late a musclebound barbarian appears and starts wrecking hawk with his BARBARIAN NUNCHUCKS!!!

Barbarian Nunchucks, so fuzzy you could die!

Barbarian and the boy start the journey together all the while having interesting moral dilemmas (it’s ok to eat an animal, but only if someone else has killed it, also it’s ok if you kill the man that killed the animal and eat his animal). But golden headed maiden still plots their doom and they are forced to run for their lives faced with a pack of Dog-men. After escaping they found themselves in another village, by coincidence the same one where cute girl that Ilias saved lives. The two of them sneak out after the dinner when everyone is sleeping and… SHE GETS BRUTALLY KILLED BY THE DOG-MAN!!! Then they proceed to rape and slaughter everything that moves. Our hero somehow survives but gets overwhelmed and captured- presumably so they can eat him
for dinner.

Conquest_Full_Movie_1983_-_Fighting_Fantasy_Horror_Luc.mp4_002076407A hero, or a dinner?

It all falls down to his nunchucky-wielding barbarian friend Mace and he doesn’t disappoint.He uses diversion-  gunpowder explosions while he frees his friend and then together they start chopping up terrified Dog- man. They maybe are good guys but that doesn’t mean they are into mercy and all that stuff. In the meantime the evil Ocron is performing a mystical ceremony by rubbing herself with a really big snake (if there is some symbolic in this I won’t point it out). She summons the evil master Zora to this plane offering him his body and soul in return for the Ilias’s head and his bow (man, she must really like that bow).

Conquest_Full_Movie_1983_-_Fighting_Fantasy_Horror_Luc.mp4_002538452

 

Ilias insists on punishing Ocron for her crimes and his barbarian friend reluctantly agrees to take him to her.They go hunting for food but get surprised by some cartoon arrows.They escape on the raft but Ilias almost dies from the infection (arrows were obviously not just drawn by hand by also poisoned). While he struggles Mace the barbarian fights of some swamp yetis and then confronts the dark lord Zora. Zora using old Mortal Kombat trick copies all of Mace’s powers (and his good looks) and now we have ourselves a barbarian nunchuku fight! That alone is worth the price of the movie.

Not that’s what I call- ACTING!

Now Ilias finally realizes it’s time to go back to his mystical land and that he’s got nothing to be ashamed of (I mean he almost died minutes ago) but as he’s sailing of his barbarian friend gets captured by those crazy yeti  creatures. He sees not other way and returns and with that demonstration of courage he finally becomes a man. Also when you’re a man you get cool laser arrows like this.

conquest_shot2lMan, this is badass!

He saves his friend and finds the time to play with the dolphins (no, I don’t know how that fits anything) but mighty Zora is still not stopped. He menages to surprise them in their sleep and capture them. And then- beheads Ilias!? Ok, I have to admit I’ve never seen the main character headless in the third act of the movie before. Ocron tries to drain the mystical power from the head of Ilias but fails because his soul has already moved on and we have final confirmation of that in the vision of Mace who gets visited by Ilias ghost. Mace following the instruction burns his friends body and covers himself with ashes for protection. And then- IT REVENGE TIME!

Now, that’s a lot of revenging!

As you can see Ocron finally loses her mask (she has a funny wolf head) and soon her life too. She does get reborn as a white wolf but that’s another story (one I’m afraid we’ll never learn).The End

Verdict: So, was it all really worth it? Well, my guess is- probably not. But still- this film stands firmly as a the most fascinating anomaly in the Barbarian genre. With it’s extreme gore and nudity, strange and surreal atmosphere, and unexpected story structure ( bravely choosing to deviate from Campbell’s Heroes Journey standard) The Conquest deserves to be admired.

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