What if I told you there was a barbarian flick, directed by Lucio Fulci, and even had a soundtrack by Claudio Simonetti of Goblin? You might have an interest in seeing it, and depending on your taste in film, you might be severely disappointed On the other hand, you might be greatly amused. That’s what you get with The 1983 film Conquest, an enjoyable romp of swordplay, loincloths, scantily clad villains, and not to mention excessive gore.
After the huge success of Conan The Barbarian in 1982, a lot of copycat flicks were released, in an effort to cash in on the success. Some of the more popular of these efforts were Beastmaster, YOR, and even the rotoscope animated feature Fire And Ice. Most of the time, these were low-budget,campy and somehow, wildly enjoyable. Robert E. Howard would have been so proud.
Side note: In case anyone’s wondering, I LOVE Conan The Barbarian.
Which brings me to this particular film. Definitely not one of Fulci’s greatest efforts, but I’d be lying if i didn’t say I have a soft spot for it. It’s schlock, but there isn’t a moment that goes by that’s not enjoyable. It’s your typical “by-the-numbers” 1980’s barbarian movie. You have our heroes, a wanderer from a faraway land, and the rugged nomad he teams up with. You have the magic weapon, a bow and arrow that emits a strange blue light whenever it’s brought into use.
Of course you can’t have a film such as this without villains. Conquest definitely features some of the more entertaining foes you’ll find in a film such as this. From wild dog-men and half naked gladiator types running about, and a sorceress who spends most of the film naked, Straddling a giant snake.
Naturally, it wouldn’t be a Lucio Fulci film without, you guessed it: Gore! Although not at the excesses of some of his earlier films, he still managed to sneak in the splatter that made him well known. These include people getting ripped in half, cannibalism, and even the occasional pus dripping wound. Hey, we have to keep the fanboys entertained, don’t we?
As far as the films effects are concerned, “low budget” is definitely the accurate term to use. The cinematography consists of a heavy use of filters, which gives the impression you’re watching this through a giant vat of vaseline. I also believe, this is probably the one film that’s surpassed Terry Gilliam, as far as the use of a smoke machine is concerned. All of these things add to why viewing this is so enjoyable.
Although the film flopped at the box office, it still retains a loyal cult following, even to this day. Personally, I’ve come to enjoy this one over the years. It’s not his “gates of hell” trilogy, but it’s down right entertaining. Which at the end of the day, is what film is really about.