Conquest review by The Grim Ringler

When my friends and I are lookin’ for a good time, you know, lookin’ to cut loose after a hard work of drinkin’, stinkin’, and whorin’, there ain’t nothin’ better than a good old fantasy film. You know, with muscley guys, and half-nekkid damsels, and maybe some of them there critters that wanna do dirty things to the damsels and maybe a bad guy that wants to do weird stuff. For us, that’s a good time. And just recently I picked me up this here movie called Conquest, which, if you’re like me and my friends, fits the bill for a roarin’ fantasy picture like no other. You can keep your Hobbits, give me some sweaty foreign guys any time.

And yes folks, here we have a very gory, very odd fantasy picture by the one and only Lucio Fulci, a man best known for a slew of cheapie horror films long on style and creeps and short on logic. And for good or ill, Conquest is all that Fulci is famous for (infamous?) and more. A pretty mindless fantasy romp, I was surprised how well I even liked the movie, cheesy special effects and all.

The story, if you really expect there to be one, is about a young warrior who goes on a quest from his homeland to find great evils and vanquish them with his mystical bow. The warrior arrives in a land of heavy mists and a dark, horrible ruler, a woman nude save for a golden mask and a g-string who supposedly controls the sun along with an army of werewolf warriors and other bugaboos bent on keeping the populace under control. On his quest to find the evil of this world and vanquish it the warrior comes across another warrior, a man of enormous strength but with little use of humans. They form a fast friendship and the two wander the barren landscape. When the strange, and naked, ruler of the land realizes that the new warrior in town is the same one she has been having visions of – seeing him killing her no less – she puts out the order to kill he and his new friend and then my friends, it’s on. Wave after wave of werewolves, zombies, mutants, and other assorted monsters rear their ugly heads in an attempt to lay low our heroes, only to be turned back every time. The quest though is taking its toll on our ‘hero’, as he begins to re-think the whole notion of questing and saving people and all that and when he decides to give up and head home it’s left to our beefy friend the barbarian to take up arms against the evil that has taken over his land….or he can just go off and hang out with his animal friends again. Whichever.

Now, in all honesty, fantasy films are generally pretty lame. Sure, there are now three classics of the genre – the LOTR films – but I cannot think of more than a few that are even watchable, so the bar is set pretty low for Conquest, but even so, this is a heck of a fun movie. Strange plot? Sure. Hell, there IS no plot, other than one fella wanting to go and kick ass on some baddies, thus making him a ‘man’. Naked evil chick? Got ya covered, even if she isn’t. Needless gore? Hell yes. This is the first time the film has been released in the states uncut and man, what a difference some grue makes. Seeing blood spurting, people getting pulled in half, people being brained, heck, it warms the heart. And the creatures, for such a no-budget film, are pretty good. The heck of it is that there gets a point where they seem to start recycling monsters towards the end, simply putting some more stuff on them to make they appear different. Maybe I am wrong, but I tell you what, there were two races of critters in this movie that looked like they fell from the Sleestak tree and I don’t think it was a coincidence. And I really like the character of the barbarian. He’s a jerk, a straight on jerk, and thank god. He could give a crap about saving people; he is in it for himself and no one else. The most humanitarian thing he does is to save an animal from time to time, and heck, that just makes you love him all the more. But is he a ladies man? Sure. Commenting about one cave of women the two heroes happen upon he is asked – ‘Is that your woman?’ His reply is classic – ‘When I pass by she is.’ Great stuff. the writing is, well, bad. Worse though is the ending, which happens and kinda leaves you wanting more, much, much more, but this is a classic characteristic of this director’s films. He was high on style, low on sense. The worst thing of all in the film though are the very bad special effects shots – such as a magically flying bow which is nothing more than a bow being rolled along in front of background plates, and there is the silliest thing in this movie – towards the end when all the ass is being kicked the heroes can fire the bow, with no arrows, and magic, laser arrows shoot out. Dozens at a time, all of them seeking out there targets and killing them. That’s swell. But even with all the cheese, this is a fun movie. There is a meanness and ruthlessness about the film and it carries on to the treatment of the characters and that’s refreshing. Hell, they kill off one of the main characters towards the end, off screen and in the most un-heroic of ways, and it’s cool. It’s cool that they said – eh, screw them, let’s kill ‘em. This is Italian cheese at its finest.

The disc, put out by Blue Underground is more of an afterthought than anything else. If you are a fan of Fulci it fills out your collection and that’s about it. And as a release like this, there are no extras save for some still pictures and trailers. Whoo! The film sound is very loud and low on effects so you’ll wanna crank it but the image is clean, if muddy thanks to the weird mist/fog that permeates the picture’s landscape.

This is not a good movie. At all. But that doesn’t make it not a fun movie to watch. Yes, it is very funny, and very silly, but it’s also pretty action packed and gives you exactly what you ask for out of these – a good time. Throw in some weird dialogue and great gore and you have a fun night of sweaty beefcake and naked villains, can you beat that? I think not.


6 out of 10 Jackasses
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