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!
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.
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.
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.
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