Posts Tagged ‘Barbaren’

The last film of the Ator trilogy (things  get a bit complicated so it can also be considered a third of the quatrology) Ator: The Iron Warrior is what I would consider the most mind boggling of the bunch. While first two films: Ator The Fighting Eagle and Ator: Blade Master  were relatively straight Italo-Sword and Sorcery films (made by Joe D’Amato  just in time to cash in on the whole Conan The Barbarian craze of the 80’s).

D’Amato being a true cinema exploitator in heart  gave up on the further sequels when he found out there will be no Conan 3. So, the third Ator was instead directed by Alfonso Brescia (under the pen name Al Bradley) who changed the direction of the franchise into a more art house and psychedelic territory- sometimes to it’s own detriment.

 

 

Film begins with young Ator playing with his twin brother Trogar (this of course completely contradicts the story of him being adopted as a baby). Trogar ends up kidnapped by an evil redhead witch Phaedra. Now, next thing we know Phaedra ends up imprisoned for her crimes (I’m guessing not just the kidnapping because they sentence her to 18 years).  Also sorcerers hold her in a hula-hoop shape prison while they announce their verdict. I guess magic hula- hoop is the only way to contain a powerful witch (you learn something new every day).

This looks suspiciously like a 80’s synth- pop video!

Now, from the exchange between Phaedra and the good witch Deeva (black lady with a giant hair, previously seen in The New Barbarians) we learn that one of the twins was prophesied to protect the future of newborn princess Janna (so Sleeping Beauty kind of a deal?)  Anyway, 18 years later Phaedra returns without an ability to kill but with a mysterious warrior dressed in red and black with a metallic skull mask to do her biding. Who could that be? I wonder…

Once released Phaedra‘s fist order of business is to destroy the life of the young princes (Savina Gersak, a famous Yugoslav actress at a time) as much as she can. I also noticed that princess has one eyebrow colored in red– I guess that was the style at a time? She starts by making a scene in the court and the princess even treats her kindly! That doesn’t really stop her thou. Iron Warrior makes an epic entrance and starts destroying everything and everyone on his way. Princess somehow manages to run away but the King ends up speared six ways ’till Sunday.

 

 

Ator ( now with a darker and braided hair and wearing something that looks like a medieval version of a Mad Max costume) aimlessly wandering the lands  finds Princess Janna and saves her form the evil dwarf- like creatures  and confronts the mysterious Iron Warrior for the first time. Fight ends in a draw.  He decides to help Janna defeat Pheodra and regain her rightful place in the kingdom. Phaedra keeps performing her tricks like placing an impostor claiming to be Janna’s father, the deceased King or trapping them in a haunted castle.

I especially like the part when he throws a spear at him, and he catches it and throws it back…

Eventually Ator and Janna manage to find sorceress Deeva in her cave and she sends them to an island that has risen from the waves. There they must locate a gold chest, but Phaedra tricks Deeva, imprisons her and  then takes her place. Two of them don’t really figure out the switcheroo, at least not in time.  When Ator finally figures out that something is terribly wrong he goes on offensive and kills almost the whole army of the Kingdom. Witch just keeps pranking him and after his mighty sword proves ineffectual he decides to switch things up and sticks a torch in her mouth!? Didn’t see that one coming!

Take that you evil witch!

Now, when it seems that he finally saved the day Ator frees Princess Janna (yes, she has a habit of being captured all the time ), and she hugs him but then she does that evil stare into the camera, like she is possessed or something. That kind of faux- horror ending just seems out of place in a story like this.

She’s evil, EVIL!

Verdict: Now what Brescia does manage to achieve is the strange dreamlike atmosphere that is omnipresent in the whole movie . And it’s usage of strange angles and  frequent use of  slowmotion are somewhat ahead of time. Unfortunately, bizarre editing will often leave you scratching your head wandering what the hell just happened so any moments of actual excitement are few and far between.

Aftermath: D’Amato was by all accounts displeased how Ator 3 turned out and he publicly said that he doesn’t consider it a part of the series. So he personally took back reigns with the Ator 4 aka Son of Ator aka  Quest for the Mighty Sword and that movie is fascinating story all by itself. Noted for the absence of series lead Milles O’Keefe (replaced by his “son”, burly Eric Allan Kramer) but also for it’s usage of a Hobgoblin costume taken directly from the set of the infamous Troll 2! If fact that prompted the movie to be released as Troll 3 in Germany making it unlikely sequel of two different franchises! You don’t see that happening every day.

This will show everybody!

Thanks and acknowledgments: This is dedicated to our German friend who keeps reading and supporting (especially our Sword and Sorcery posts), people like you make it all worthwhile.

 

 

 

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Cave Dwellers is actually a sequel to Ator: The Fighting Eagle and its original title was Ator: The Blade Master. However, this film was done by the same people who did various other films back in the day so they changed the title, changed the credits and added footage from another film in the credits! Rumor has it that Cave Dwellers didn’t have a script and most of it was improvised on the spot. Wow. But you know what, that explains a lot about this movie. Let’s start with the basic plot.

Old man Akronas (played by Charles Borromel) creates some kind of mystical weapon called Geometric Nucleus (sounds like something you wouldn’t like to mess up with). Akronas feels that it can further the evolution of man, but fears what wicked men like Zor will do with it. Zor knows about this thing and tries to take it. Before telling his daughter Mila (played by Lisa Foster) to go “to the ends of the earth” to find Ator we get 5 minutes of flashbacks from original movie in which is shown how Ator had defeated the evil Spider King. Three minutes later and Mila is already on the other side of the Earth where she finds Ator (played by Miles O’Keeffe). On her way there she managed to kill several professional soldiers and get arrow to the her tit (I guess thats why you can’t quite aim at woman’s heart). Meanwhile, the evil Zor (played by David Brandon) has arrived to Akronas’ estate the moment Mila went out. He is quite an odd villain – big moustache, philosophing a lot while enjoying in sound of his own voice. And he imagines that he is something like Sharlock Holmes since he uses similiar interrogation methods on Akronas instead of just plain torturing him like any other good villain would do.

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I used to trace Ator all the time but then I took an arrow to the tit

On the “other side of the Earth” Ator cures Mila’s tit (no, it’s not what do you think) and now he starts philosophizing. Seriously, everyone in this movie are talking some serious, heavy shits instead of just going pew pew all the time. Like the fact that Ator is using too many words for a bodybuilder isn’t confusing enough. Anyway, he wants Mila to prove him that she is really a daughter of Akronos. So he locks her in the cell with nothing inside under excuse that “if she is really the daughter of the Great One she’ll know what to do” (hm maybe I should use this the next time when government’s clerk comes to my home demanding from me to pay my bills). Then Mila in MacGyver style makes explosive literally out of nothing and blasts her way out. So they hit the road. Evil Zor uses his evil spells to lure them into some cave where they get attacked by cannibalistic neanderthals (?) and invisible monster. Wow how did they think of that? Hm I know. They were like “Hm we don’t have any budget so let Miles slaps himself while pretending to fight with some invisible monster”. This scene is so hilarious that you’ll have to check it out down here:

 

After cavemen encounter (contrary to the popular belief barbarians did exist at the same time as cavemen) Ator decides to visit a small peaceful village, the birthplace of his parents. He tried to organize them to fight against Zor. Instead, they betrayed, poisoned and captured him and Mila. All of that in exchange of Zor’s promise they won’t need to give sacrifices to the Serpent God. But nevertheless, Zor’s soldiers still pillaged them and burned their village. Talk about choosing a wrong side. Ator and Mila have been taken directly to Zor who plans to sacrifice them to the Serpent God along with several virgins (one them is big bearded guy). Ator somehow manages to free himself, then to defeat soldiers, Serpent God puppet and escape the castle. All of that with one swing and a bit of wrestling.

 

Now when they are free at last they want to go back to the castle they escaped from. Mila suggests secret underground passage (it’s an old castle after all) but Ator has better idea. He will attack from the sky using a fucking paraglider! You can actually hear soldiers stationed on the castle walls saying “Is that a bird”. Well, they didn’t live to see the answer since Ator bombed them with dead exploding herrings. After clearing his way through Ator lands safely onto castle walls and faces Zor in another 1v1 sword-fight. Where he defeats him, obviously. But no clichee will be left out. Akronas didn’t allow Ator to kill Zor under excuse of fair trial. In that moment, seemingly weaken Zor attacks Ator despite any healty logic and ends up impaled on the sword (this was to ensure that none of the cliches would be left out). Happy-end, Geometrical Nucleus (whatever that might be) is safe once again. Mila starts hitting on Ator but he ditches her with the most painless line he could think of: “When I defeat all the evil in the world then I’ll come back to you”. Absolute win!

Is that Ator up there?

Conclusion: Most of the costumes, sets and props look thrown together at the last minute or reused from other low budget productions. Some of this works OK, but most of the time you are wondering why there are handrails in the castle that appears to be 1500’s Bavaria, when the voice over explained that this movie occurs in the dark ages. Why are there samurai running around, and yet the snake cult temple looks distinctly Mediterranean? And how comes that Mila took only 3 minutes to reach Ator but when they went back the same way to the castle it took them over 40 minutes? I know you travel slower when in party but come on! I have to mention camera and night filters which are especially bad during zoomed in scenes. Of course, archive footage, flashbacks from the first part and shameless ripping off Conan the Barbarian are mandatory.