Looking back at Lucio Fulci’s 1983 fantasy, Conquest!

Welcome back ghouls! After the last film I reviewed, Boorman’s beautiful epic Excalibur, anything would seem a bit less majestic, but believe me the film I chose for this piece is an epic all right…an epic piece of…well, let’s just take a look at the evidence so that you can form your own opinion as I dive face first into a realm of laser arrows, werewolves, and ludicrous amounts of nudity…not that you’ll be able to see much of it. That’s right kids; this article is all about Lucio Fulci’s (Zombi, The Beyond) 1983 fantasy, Conquest!

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Let’s see. Our film opens with youthful hero Ilius receiving some gifts consisting of a dodgy leather vest and a bow that belonged to Kronos which, according to the old man who gives it to him, can shoot arrows composed of sunlight (which, exactly like all solar rays, looks like blue lasers). It is also about this time that you will realize that you can’t see s**t, as 90% of the image is so full of thick grey smoke that you will think your house has burst into flames…an effect that lasts for the remainder of the film.

Next we are introduced to the sorceress Ohkren. I would love to show you what she looks like, but since she is full on naked for the duration of her screen time save for the metal mask she wears, that will not be possible on a family friendly site like this. Anyway, Ohkren likes to ingest hallucinogens which give her visions of her own demise at the hands of a faceless warrior armed with a laser bow (believe me, this will not go as you think).

Additionally Ohkren’s henchmen are werewolves who also take drugs and apparently have legs constructed of rubber bands (or the realm in which they inhabit has had all soil replaced with trampolines) as they leap about in later scenes to a ludicrous degree.

Soon Ilius runs afoul of Ohkren’s hoppin’ mad wolf pack as he attempts to rescue a woman. Things look grim until they are rescued by Mace, a wig coiffed barbarian who can talk to animals (a truly unique element unseen in any other film released one year prior to this one starring Marc Singer). So Mace joins Ilius in exchange for learning the secret of the magic bow which Mace uses to kill an old caveman for no apparent reason other than he’s an incredible a-hole.

Conquest-arrows-of-light

Mace an Ilius have another run in with Ohkren’s leapin’ lupines and yet again escape. Ohkren, who really should have known that this task (or any really) was waaaay too difficult for drug addled creatures with the IQ of a German Sheppard whose past time is licking lead based paint, calls in the armored warrior Zora to finish the job after messily disposing of the wolf-men’s leader.

Ohkren’s warriors soon capture Ilius after brutally murdering a tribe of cave people who took the duo in, and knock Mace unconscious. Soon Mace comes to and sets of to rescue Ilius which he quickly does.

The two then set off to destroy Ohkren, but as will happen in times like this, the friends build a raft and abandon it without explanation, are attacked by a plant that unleashes poison quills which strike down Ilius, and run afoul of some sort of zombies as an attempt is made to find an antidote. Mace then has a battle with himself, which is in fact Zora in disguise, after which he cures Ilius with the antidote.

Then as the movie returns to normalcy, Mace leaves as he believes that Ilius’ quest to defeat Ohkren is impossible. Soon Mace is captured and crucified by web covered monsters. Ilius, knowing he can’t complete the quest alone, returns for his friend. Attempting to kill all of the creatures, and failing like a champ, Ilius gets to see Mace pushed in to the sea.

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But don’t worry, Mace doesn’t die because he is rescued by dolphins. Yup. But you know who does die? Ilius. He is captured and then decapitated by Ohkren. Yes, the hero of the film dies, and guess what? He stays dead. It is caveman killin’, wig wearin’, pal to the dolphins Mace that saves the day by shooting Ohkren with the magic bow (with one shot…I guess the task was not as impossible as Mace thought).

And that is Conquest. I should confess that while this film is undeniably trashy and borderline inept in some (or all) areas; it is without a doubt a great time! It’s impossible for me not to love something as flat-out insane as this. Should you watch it? Maybe. With its constant nudity, gore and stupidity it really is not for everyone. If you do feel that this is for you, the film can be purchased here.

Stay Spooky!

Daniel XIII

Daniel XIII: equally at home at a seance as he is behind the keyboard. Raised on a steady diet of Son of Satan comics, Kaiju flicks and Count Chocula comes the proprietor of The House of Thirteen Doors. What arcane knowledge lurks behind the preternatural eyes of the Ouija Board Kid?

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10 thoughts on “Looking back at Lucio Fulci’s 1983 fantasy, Conquest!

  1. Atari Adventure Square says:

    Ahh Daniel, you leapt into the maw of Fulci’s mental dragons and boldly barded the unsung tales of madness that conjured up this foggy nightmare.

    Caught in the movie’s dreamspace, the viewer who remains through the ordeal is rewarded by a Lynchian vision of unreality, a liminal crack in the celluloid cosmos that hints at a director’s delusions of deity that allows such a world to come to life.

    Like the few Fulcis I saw at a young age, this one was seen in a confused haze and quickly forgotten in details, but remembered in general impressions of incredulity – the same thoughts you had for your enjoyable review left us in both tears of laughter and boredom.

    I’d have to revisit this one today (no…I, I just can’t…but…it calls me)
    In comparison to something less trashy but still below B-grade like Swords and Sorcery, Beastmaster and Yor, this one is a fuzzy memory and – as you point out – liable to remain so even while watching it.

    Still, I dare say this is Must-See fare for its combination of Sword flick (far too few of ’em), of cheesiest of cheesecake on a silver platter, and of token of godfather of gore himself Lucio Fulci, one of the boldest madmen of cinema, capable of bridging the widest gap between ridiculous and sublime horror (though more in Zombie and Gates of Hell than in this one).

    Ah, I’ll stop there and enjoy your recount of the experience of watching Conquest, once again…after revisiting it…(no…mustn’t…)

  2. It’s just one of those films that you can’t help but love even though every single part of it demands that you don’t, and I say that as a big fan of Fulci! I’m glad you enjoyed the piece, and if you do re-watch the film please, please share your impressions of it now!

  3. Dar says:

    As far as 80’s cheapo sword&sorcery films go, this one had good ideas.

    But not enough beautiful naked girls to make it memorable.

  4. I agree Dar, the ideas were there, it just became truly bizarre in the execution. As for the nudity quotient, I have to admit that that was a big draw to films such as this at the time…

  5. Holy cow, Daniel XIII! Somehow I missed this post, sorry about that. I have actually never had the privilege of catching this film, I’ll need to correct that mistake. :)

  6. Chris X says:

    I have an unashamed love for this flick. I love most of the trashy absurd fantasy films from this era though. Can’t get enough.

    If anyone has any suggestions beyond the obvious (the Ator flicks, Yor, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Barbarian Queen, etc) I’m all ears.

  7. Have you seen Hundra (a Conan-esque tale but gender swapped with music by Ennio Morricone) or Prosperi’s Invincible Barbarian and The Throne of fire?

  8. Daniel, you do realize you keep totally filling up out movie watching time with these great suggestions don’t you? Hundra is now added to the list!

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