• Kelly M. Hudson

Fulci Does Conan!

In another time and another place, a mystic land teems with danger and excitement. Enter young warrior Ilias (Andrea Occhipinti) who is outfitted by his people with a magic bow and arrows. He is sent on a quest to confront and defeat any evil he encounters. It is his rite of manhood. Along his way, he crosses paths with an older outlaw named Mace (Jorge Rivero) who bears a strange marking on his forehead (the sign of Eibon, a tie-in to the Fulci horror films) and is a valiant warrior who wields stone nunchakus. Together they encounter the evil and strange witch Ocron (Sabrina Siani), a half-naked woman who wears an odd golden mask on her face and live, writhing snakes across her torso. She sends her wolf-men troops to kill Ilias and Mace but they fail time and time again. They cannot counter the bow and arrows, weapons they’ve never seen before, apparently. She summons her god Zora (Conrado San Martin) and the fight is on! Can Ilias and Mace defeat this perverse evil, or will they both die in the attempt?

Conquest is a fevered delirium of a film. Lucio Fulci directed this one and yes, it has plenty of gore (especially early on, including an awesome gag that involves ripping a woman in two) and naked ladies. The whole thing moves along like a nightmare, the logic and unfolding of events belonging to those of a dream rather than a careful, linear plot. Ilias and Mace stumble from one attack to another and between then, Ocron and her minions torture and kill the unsuspecting people of this realm. There’s really not much more to the movie, to be honest. It’s a series of inept battles and angry villains. Things come together in the end and the final battle featuring Ilias shows he has mastered his magical bow and arrows (because the bow glows, as do laser arrows that appear out of thin air), finally becoming the warrior and man he was always striving to be. The action is almost non-stop, but most of it comes across as staged and not terribly thrilling. Still, this movie never sits around on its ass for very long, and it keeps things moving.

This was a film with a super-low budget and very short shooting schedule. Fulci did what he could, turning what should have been a real piece of crap into something kind of amazing. This was supposed to simply be a Conan clone but instead it becomes this weird, bizarre journey into a nightmare realm, a throwback to the old Italian Hercules movies of the 60s. Fulci keeps the action brisk, the blood flying, the boobs shaking, and gives it a surreal twist. All of this, as well as a fabulous, pulsing synth score by Claudio Simonetti make Conquest definitely worth watching. Just don’t expect to be wowed by an intricate plot or stellar acting. Great fun!

Three Stars out of Four

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