Posts Tagged ‘Barbarian’

Our blog generally has a soft spot for Barbarian fantasy and we usually try to have a month every year where we concentrate just on Sword and Sorcery films be it an American productions like  Sword and the Sorcerer or more esoteric ones like The Conquest.

But this time we’re not here to discuss any single movie (even though you can read our review of The Barbarians)- this time we’re here to talk about people who weren’t just an actors ,people who were barbarians 24/ 7!  The Barbarian Brothers, Peter and David Paul.

via  Nick’s Strength and Power

Even though they never formally competed in bodybuilding they were crazy- obsessed gym rats often displaying almost absurd feats of strength like those you can see in this Japanese TV Show.

I especially like the backing vocals from the giant!

It seemed inevitable that they would transcendent the fitness world and go into films and that happened with when notorious Cannon Films decided to back them up. They already had some experience co- producing Sword and Sorcery flicks in Italy so it’s seemed like a perfect fit. Interestingly the original director was going to be our (Serbian) famed director Slobodan Šijan ( Who’s Singing Over There, The Marathon Family) and he even went as far as to scout locations but Šijan was eventually replaced with a B-movie maestro Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust).

 

They followed it up with films like Think Big (as idiotic truckers hired to transport toxic waste), Double Trouble (with brothers paired against each other as a Criminal and a Cop) and Twin Sitters (actually the first Barbarian Bros. movie I ever watched). Their career got another great wrinkle when the legendary Oliver Stone cast them as Hun Brothers in young Tarantino penned Natural Born Killers. Unfortunately their scene was cut in the theatrical release, but you can see it in all it’s awesomeness in the Director’s Cut version!

..and yes that’s a young Tony Stark with a mullet interviewing the Barbarian Brothers!

As the 90’s ended their draw as the leads faded tooDavid Paul branched out into Poetry and Photography (mostly for muscle magazines ) and you can even buy his collection Art of Bodybuilding (with foreword by non other than Arnold Schwarzenegger) right here.  He is also trying to establish himself as a director with a faith based, experimental film on the way but all in all he actually seems like a chill dude.

On the other hand his brother Paul is roaming the college campus of University of Rhode Island calling himself a “Knight of Light” possibly claiming to be a second coming of Jesus Christ.

…we’re not too sure, but you can judge for yourself

Anyway, here’s another Barbarian Rap to enjoy!

 

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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.

Talon, a mercenary with a three- bladed sword born of royal heritage gets recruited to help a princess save her brother and the whole kingdom from the evil tyrant  who conquered their land. Yes, it’s as stupid as it sounds, maybe even more so. Directed by none other than our old friend Albert Pyun (Nemesis, Cyborg) it represents one of the earliest examples of the Barbarian Craze of the 80s, interestingly enough it was released before Conan in the US, but after Conan’s  premiere in Spain.

Too bad the movie doesn’t look this good

So let’s get down to business. Evil king Cromwell  has an evil need to rule one of the neighbor kingdoms too, so he travels to a deserted island to find a corpse of Xusia the evil wizard. He sacrifices  some witch to awaken Xusia from his death and than naturally partners with him to conquer the lands of good but incredibly rich (that goes together right?) King Richard.

With the help of the devilish wizard armies of good are easily defeated, all 15 soldiers (it seems Richard was spending his money elsewhere) are lying dead of the battlefield. Then Cromwell unprovoked decides  to kill (already dead!) wizard who singlehandedly won him the fight by stabbing him and then throwing him down the cliff in one of the more ridiculous scenes in this movie. As you can guess that kind of ungratefulness and pure stupidity will come back to bite him in the ass later.

When his father fails to come back young prince Talon goes after him (with a triple sword none the less). He finds a battle already lost and arrives just in time to witness his father Richard’s execution. Not only does he fails to stop the death of his father, he even managed not to save his Queen mother (it really wasn’t his day). Then, to top it all he almost died himself when Cornwel’s  soldiers came after him, but he narrowly makes his escape and then flees the Kingdom.

“Accurate representation of medieval combat styles”

Some years later Talon returns to former Kingdom of his father but now as a grizzled veteran, a  warrior  and a leader of a wild pack of mercenaries. He also wears a cloak made of wolf- skin which makes him look big and muscular (things he is most certainly not- as we see later in the  “grand” finale of the  film). What happens next is quite confusing. The twins-  rightful heirs to the Throne get attacked and a brother Mikah ends up being kidnapped by military adviser Machelli and his soldiers.  Sisters seeks help and offers the only thing she can- herself to the “handsome” mercenary Talon– who as I remember should be THE TRUE HEIR to the Throne. How the hell are those too claiming the rule of the same kingdom – are they his lost lost brother and sister never menchened until now?!) – apparently not because he accepts the dangerous mission and the sex that will inevitably fallow it!

“Getting ahead of our-self, aren’t we?”

Things of course get a bit complicated, the first plan falls apart and as he frees prince Mikah but his sister Alana ends up captured instead. Talon narrowly escapes as always but he gets to kill a couple of dudes in the process so it’s all good. After that failure he FINALLY gets down to business devises a plan, gets his soldiers (who were hiding in the whorehouse) and ultra- dramatically crashes the weeding of Alana and the Evil Titus Cromwell (he like any other villain with good publicity has to force a girl to marry him). Some over the top battling in the main whole ensues and than the the King runs away with the bride to be- straight into Catacombs (never a smart thing to do) – Macelli intercepts them and  the truth is FINALLY revealed!!!  Military adviser Macelli is in fact even more sinister dead wizard XUSIA! Yeah, he had nothing better to do for freakin’ 11 years than to pretend he is an ally of Cromwell and wait (???) for his revenge. He would probably wait some more (22 years for example) if it hadn’t been for Talon trying to take what’s his.

Instead of acting like a rational human being and fleeing with the girl (he is a master at running away, is he not?) Talon somehow manages to end up in the middle of Cromwell/ Xusia battle, terrible hand drawn effects, glowing fingers and all!

                        On the plus side Princess Alana looks incredibly like Sister Hyde aka Martine Beswick

Although Cromwell tries to fight back he proves to be no match for the sorcerer, but Talon finds himself  able to resist Xusia’s magic just long enough to send one of his trademark projectile sword right into the heart of a demon wizard. Xusia dies for a third time, comes back again for an extremely short period of time before being stricken down by Talon (hopefully really for the LAST TIME). Talon then saves the princess from mutated Boa- Constrictor snake for a good measure and procides to take his reword– and we must agree he earned it fair and square!

Something like that

Mikah has no problem with Talon plowing his sister ’cause he gets the Throne and everyone is happy as  a bunch of pigs in a mud.  Talon leaves with a big smile on his face into some brave new adventures… that we thankfully won’t have to watch.

Verdict: Cheesy as Hell, gets boring after first 20 minutes or so but picks up with a ridiculous ending! Anyway it won’t top The Beastmaster as my main go- to  B Movie Barbarian flick but at least they tried.

Trivia: The film even spawned a short-lived production line of plastic swords in resemblance to Talon’s sword. Yes, you heard it right, somewhere there’s a possibly disturbed individual who played with a three- bladed sword as a child!