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7/10
Above average Viking movie by Mario Bava
Leofwine_draca30 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Mario Bava's first credited Viking movie (after he worked as an uncredited director on LAST OF THE VIKINGS, made in the same year and also starring Mitchell and Ardisson), is an above average entry for the genre enlivened by stylish direction from Bava which makes it a cut above the rest. The plot is different and involving and the characters fleshed out enough to make you interested in their actions. Primarily noted as a horror director, Bava can't resist inserting a scene involving a girl chained in a dank dungeon being terrorised by a tarantula held over her face in a glass tank towards the end of the movie, a macabre treat for his loyal horror fans. Elsewhere, he shoots imaginative scenes involving men climbing up ladders made out of freshly-shot arrows and the like which make for entertaining and surprising viewing.

Cameron Mitchell stars as Aaron, a just and noble viking warrior. George Ardisson is his younger brother Erik (after having also played Mitchell's brother in LAST OF THE VIKINGS), the film's real hero character, and is surprisingly good in the role. Meanwhile Andrea Checchi makes for a convincing but underused villain and the addition of real-life twins Alice and Ellen Kessler to the cast makes for novelty value. Bits parts come from the muscular Joe Robinson (TAUR THE MIGHTY) as a viking rival of Aaron's, and Tony Kendall - later a Euro action man appearing in all kinds of genres - amusingly showing up before he was famous, acting and looking very odd.

The photography is as good as ever, the movie is ambitiously made on a low budget and often cuts back and forth between England and Norway, and the music effective. What makes this film work, though, is the inventive plot - as involved as you're going to get in this Viking sub-genre - and the characterisation, which combined with the strong cast helps to make an intelligent, straightforward, and largely entertaining action-adventure yarn, offering up just about everything you could want from the genre without ever resorting to silliness. Bava's final viking movie was 1965's KNIVES OF THE AVENGER, which throws a unique spaghetti western slant on the genre.
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Great Visuals and Action
Michael_Elliott2 November 2017
Erik the Conqueror (1961)

*** (out of 4)

Eron (Cameron Mitchell) and Erik (George Ardisson), as children, witness their father brutally murdered during a Viking massacre. After the massacre Erik is taken in by the Queen while Eron grows up as a viking. Twenty-years later the two are on a collision course.

ERIK THE CONQUEROR is quite the action picture as director Mario Bava certainly made the film look like a much bigger budget than I'm sure it had. There's no question that this film was riding on the success of THE VIKINGS but obviously the Italian production didn't have the big stars, the big budget or an unlimited amount of resources. That's what made Bava so special. He could take a small budget and make the picture look like something from a major studio.

I think the weakest thing here is the actual story since it's really nothing original and there's really nothing here that we haven't seen countless times before. Where the film succeeds is on every other level and we can start with the wonderful cinematography. This is certainly a beautiful picture to look at with the camera-work really bringing the settings to life. You've got the wonderful use of color that adds to the picture and just take a look at the camera work during the opening battle. This battle sequence was perfectly shot and it manages to grab you and throw you right into the action.

The action scenes are all handled with extreme craft and perfection. The movie certainly contains some rather violent moments to add to the fun and I'm sure the kiddies watching this during a matinée were quite shocked. The film also benefits from some nice performances with Mitchell leading the way. He was very strong in the lead role and managed to really sell the character. Ardisson isn't quite as good but he's at least fun as is Alice Kessler and Ellen Kessler as the love interest.

ERIK THE CONQUEROR isn't a masterpiece but it's certainly a highly entertaining action film.
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8/10
Sword and Sandal Done Right
Mark Turner5 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
It's been written that much of the output from Italian studios in the sixties were little more than remakes of movies from other countries. It's even mentioned in one of the extras on the new blu-ray release of this film. The thing is that's not always a bad thing. Consider that a movie like A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS was a remake of YOKIMBO, a Japanese samurai film. The same was true of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN here in the U.S. Putting your own spin on another film can work and did. Unfortunately not so much in current fare.

Director Mario Bava was a man who had one of the best concepts of visualization when it came to cinematography. The images he places on the screen are interesting and captivating. That becomes obvious in this movie, a remake of sorts of the film THE VIKINGS. While I loved that original film I found much to enjoy in this one as well.

In 786 AD a Viking king Harald lands on the shores of England willing to make peace with the English, a country he and his kin have plundered for years in the North Sea. King Loter is willing to agree to terms and sends Sir Rutford to negotiate the peace. Instead, Rutford ceases the opportunity to take out the Vikings with an ambush, killing the king leaving only a few to escape. He also uses them as a patsy when he has one of his men kill Loter as well.

Some of the Vikings survive. Among those still alive are the Harald's two sons Eron and Erik. Eron is rescued and returned home while Erik is saved by the Queen and raised as her own. Both are raised differently with two opposing views of the world based on their environments.

Twenty years pass and the Vikings are now led by Eron (Cameron Mitchell). Once again they set out to plunder the English coastline and seek vengeance for the treachery of the past. Erik has been placed in charge of the English fleet and sets out to confront them, not realizing that Rutford has planted one of his own men onboard to ensure Erik never makes it back. The unknowing brothers battle and Erik is thought lost at sea only to wash ashore on the beaches of the Viking land.

Rutford offers the Queen his hand in marriage which she refuses realizing how treacherous he is. Rebuffed he offers his obedience to Enron and becomes his ally instead.

We know that eventually the two brothers will face off against one another and that a winner will be determined. If not something else will interfere with their reunion. Rutford will have to pay for his actions. And somehow, the Vikings and the English will have to settle their differences. It is the journey to these things that makes this movie both interesting and entertaining to watch.

Growing up in the sixties the sword and sandal movies as they were called were a staple of my TV movie diet. They showed every week on the local VHS channel, everything from Hercules to his many sons to Samson and more. Watching them now I'm surprised how much I enjoyed them but still find something in them. Somehow this movie evaded me back then. Fortunately I made up for it with this release.

The acting here isn't nearly as broad as I've seen it in other Italian movies in this genre. Make no mistake, they were the leaders in this sort of film back then. Here the acting is more subdued when needed and widely open in other scenes as called for. Mitchell, an actor mostly associated with the TV western HIGH CHAPPARAL, comes off nicely here. But it is the visual stylings of Bava that take center stage. The movie might not be Oscar worthy but it does offer solid storytelling that holds your interest throughout.

I've seen a number of these movies and never have I seen someone capture such colorful and fantastic shots. Bava used brightly colored lights in many of his movies and that usage of light is on display here in scenes taking place in the Vikings main building. He also does an amazing job capturing shorelines, horizons and more. Many of those images would make great pictures to be placed on the wall they are so rich and well done.

Once again Arrow Video has taken what was once a washed out scratched up mess and turned it into a gorgeous presentation. It's a beautiful 2k 1080p hi def transfer and it shows. Extras include a new audio commentary track by Tim Lucas the author of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK, GLI IMITATORI a comparison between this film and its unacknowledged source THE VIKINGS, the original ending and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys. I will continue to sing the praises of Arrow Video as long as their output remains as top of the line as this one proves. If you enjoyed the film in the past then by all means pick up this edition. It will be like seeing the film as you've never had the chance before.
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9/10
Two Viking brothers, separated as children, meet as grown men to conquer or be conquered.
Jon Ted Wynne (wynne-1)25 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
One of my favourite movies of all time is the Kirk Douglas-produced adventure saga THE VIKINGS.  I love that movie.

I've known of the Viking film ERIK THE CONQUEROR for years but just never got round to watching it.  I suspect I thought there was no way this Italian-produced spectacle could come anywhere near Douglas' vision.  After all, ERIK THE CONQUEROR is a film that intentionally invites comparisons to the Douglas film.

Well I'm sorry I waited so long! With a beautiful new Blu-ray and DVD transfer from Arrow Video, ERIK THE CONQUEROR can now be enjoyed in all its restored glory.

And what a magnificent film it is!  Directed by the Cinematographer-turned-Director Mario Bava, a cult favourite whose reputation is predominantly based on his being a master of horror films--sort of a Grand Guignol/Italian Alfred Hitchcock--ERIK THE CONQUEROR is packed with glorious compositions, opulent colours and action and spectacle galore.

And of course, being one of the first "Sex & Sandal" films, it has beautiful women in skimpy outfits.  It is when pursuing some of these more questionable elements that it becomes apparent that ERIK THE CONQUEROR is not as good a film as THE VIKINGS.  But it is still a superb film in its own right. (And I have nothing against women in skimpy outfits--I'm just saying that sometimes giving sway to more sensational content can compromise the artistic intent of a film. Sometimes.) Instead of watching with a critical attitude: "Oh, that's a rip-off of THE VIKINGS", it makes much more sense to simply enjoy the comparisons.  One of the extras on the new release does just that, it compares the two movies, sometimes with segments from each film shown side by side.  This is almost as fun as watching the movie.  Yes, there are two brothers at the core of the story whose strained relationship accounts for much of the drama.  Yes, there is a stunning sequence when Erik climbs a drawbridge with the help of strategically-placed arrows from his dead-eye archers, a sequence that is so obviously inspired by (better than "a rip-off of") the scene in THE VIKINGS when Kirk Douglas climbs a drawbridge with the help of several battle axes which have been thrown by his men to help him gain access to the enemy's castle.  ERIK THE CONQUEROR is full of segments like this.

If there is one element that stood out for me as being superior to THE VIKINGS it was the way several shots of the sky looked like paintings, especially during battle scenes.  It is one of the major achievements of ERIK THE CONQUEROR. It brought to mind Kubrick at his visual best, i.e. BARRY LYNDON.

But when you get right down to it, THE VIKINGS remains a superior movie to ERIK THE CONQUEROR.  Why?  Sheer star power.  Kirk-Tony-Ernie-Janet, as well as some solid supporting actors like James Donald and Frank Thring give THE VIKINGS a weight that ERIK THE CONQUEROR simply can't match.  Cameron Mitchell is the only star of note.  He is terrific, though saddled by being 20 years too old for the part. That and having his lines dubbed into Italian while the English subtitles and his mouth movements clearly match.  Some of the Italian actors are terrible, including one sad attempt at comic relief.  Were Cameron Mitchell (a really wonderful actor who never got his big break) supported with actors of greater or equal talent, ERIK THE CONQUEROR may have transcended its status as a B movie.  A brilliant B movie, but a B movie, nonetheless.

Still, ERIK THE CONQUEROR will appeal to action fans as being one of the very best of its kind.
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6/10
Bava Does Vikings
gavin69426 September 2017
In the 9th Century, two Viking children, separated since their early childhood with one raised by the British and the other by Vikings, meet after nearly 20 years as rivals as war breaks out between Britain and the Vikings for control of England.

The film is a loose remake of the American film "The Vikings" (1958), starring Kirk Douglas. Credit was not given at the time, which really is not out of the ordinary for Italian productions. Just look at the endless string of "Jaws" ripoffs. Bava's film borrows the estranged twins idea, the duel alongside the castle, and the showing of a viking funeral. Interestingly, to get around his lack of budget, the biggest change is setting much of "Erik" underground because on-location (Norwegian) settings were just not possible. "Erik" also has a similar plot to Sergio Corbucci's "Duel of the Titans" (1961), though that setting was Rome rather than northern Europe. Most likely, Corbucci was ripping off the same source.

As far as casting goes, Cameron Mitchell is the definitive American "star" of Italian films. During the 1960s, Mitchell starred in numerous Italian sword and sandal, horror, fantasy and thriller films, several of which were directed by Mario Bava, including "Blood and Black Lace" (1964) and "Knives of the Avenger" (1966). He also participated in Spaghetti Westerns, like Corbucci's "Minnesota Clay". (In Hollywood lore, Mitchell's claim to fame was introducing Marilyn Monroe to Arthur Miller.)

Then we have the German-born Kessler Twins, who were big hits in Europe at the time. In the States, the Kessler Twins were not as popular as they were in Europe but soon appeared in Robert Aldrich's "Sodom and Gomorrah" (1962, while Aldrich was in exile) as dancers and appeared on the cover of Life Magazine in that year. Did "Erik" help get them the part in the Aldrich film?

Anyway, "Erik the Conqueror" is a fine film in its own right, even if we acknowledge its lack of originality. There is an epic ship battle that rivals anything in the more contemporary Disney "Pirates" franchise, for example, and the various techniques to create a big-looking film are admirable. Bava knew how to push the limits of budget, and this paid off. The film made back two or three times its production cost. Oddly, though we know Bava for his horror work, in Italy the horror genre was not terribly popular and the "sword and sandal" theme was a bigger draw. (Mitchell claims that Bava never had an unprofitable film. Whether this is true or not I don't know, but none come immediately to mind.)

The Arrow Video Blu-ray offers a brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative. Viewers are given the choice between the original Italian and dubbed English mono audio. There is a new audio commentary by Bava expert Tim Lucas, who reveals some of the interesting matte techniques used and declares this Bava's "most underrated film". Heck, we even get "Gli imitatori", a comparison between "Erik the Conqueror" and "The Vikings", as well as the film's original ending. This release is bursting with love.
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7/10
Above average viking movie by Mario Bava
Leofwine_draca8 July 2016
Mario Bava's first credited viking movie (after he worked as an uncredited director on LAST OF THE VIKINGS, made in the same year and also starring Mitchell and Ardisson), is an above average entry for the genre enlivened by stylish direction from Bava which makes it a cut above the rest. The plot is different and involving and the characters fleshed out enough to make you interested in their actions. Primarily noted as a horror director, Bava can't resist inserting a scene involving a girl chained in a dank dungeon being terrorised by a tarantula held over her face in a glass tank towards the end of the movie, a macabre treat for his loyal horror fans. Elsewhere, he shoots imaginative scenes involving men climbing up ladders made out of freshly-shot arrows and the like which make for entertaining and surprising viewing.

Cameron Mitchell stars as Aaron, a just and noble viking warrior. George Ardisson is his younger brother Erik (after having also played Mitchell's brother in LAST OF THE VIKINGS), the film's real hero character, and is surprisingly good in the role. Meanwhile Andrea Checchi makes for a convincing but underused villain and the addition of real-life twins Alice and Ellen Kessler to the cast makes for novelty value. Bits parts come from the muscular Joe Robinson (TAUR THE MIGHTY) as a viking rival of Aaron's, and Tony Kendall - later a Euro action man appearing in all kinds of genres - amusingly showing up before he was famous, acting and looking very odd.

The photography is as good as ever, the movie is ambitiously made on a low budget and often cuts back and forth between England and Norway, and the music effective. What makes this film work, though, is the inventive plot - as involved as you're going to get with this viking sub-genre - and the characterisation, which combined with the strong cast helps to make an intelligent, straightforward, and largely entertaining action-adventure yarn, offering up just about everything you could want from the genre without ever resorting to silliness. Bava's final viking movie was 1965's KNIVES OF THE AVENGER, which throws a unique spaghetti western slant on the genre.
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6/10
Well-done adventure movie following the exploits of a group of Vikings led by Cameron Mitchell
ma-cortes27 September 2010
Movie costumer of early England under partial Viking rule. In the 786 A.D. , two Viking children (one time grown-up Cameron Mitchel, George Ardisson), separated since their early childhood with one raised by the English and the other by Vikings . The Viking half-brothers fight it out the throne . This entertaining adventure contains pillaging ,ax-throwing, manly talk about the glories of Odin , Viking soap-opera , storming of castles and final heroic jumping into walls on fortress where finds enemy .

Fairly elaborate but comic-book level costume adventure of Vikings battling the British for power and glory in the 9th Century . This enjoyable picture packs adventures, thrills, good action scenes and is very amusing. Cameron Mitchell is good , he gives a nice performance as leader of a band of Vikings driving his ship sets sail for the unknown land in search of Britanny kingdom . Big-name Italian cast as George Ardisson, Folco Lulli , Andrea Checchi and colorful secondary casting as Franco Ressel , Raf Baldassarre, Franco Giacobini and the gorgeous Kessler sisters who had an ephemeral career as singers. Although full of stupid historical errors and unbelievable events , the film is pretty entertaining. Great location footage with sweepingly photography of booth England , Dover and Britanny and Titanus , Appia studios , Roma, Italy. Shimmer and glimmer cinematography by Mario Bava. Spectacular and evocative musical score by Roberto Nicolisi. The picture is handsomely shot and directed with verve and muscle by Mario Bava . Rating : Good, fine battle scenes and wonderful cinematography and locations make the movie a standout . This throughly amusing historical epic stands up to teens and adults viewings . Don't miss for Bava aficionados.

This basic costume epic belongs to Viking genre such as : The classic ¨The Vikings(1958)¨ by Richard Fleischer with Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis , ¨The long ships (1963)¨ by Jack Cardiff with Sidney Poitier and Richard Widmark ; ¨The Norseman(1978) ¨ by Charles B Pierce with Cornel Wilde and Mel Ferrer ; ¨The Viking queen(1967)¨ by Don Chaffey with Don Murray and Andrew Keir; ¨The Viking sagas(1995)¨ by Michael Chapman with Ralph Moeller , among others .
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9/10
Epic adventure with great visual panache--one of Bava's very best.
BrentCarleton23 September 2008
Mario Bava really outdoes himself with this story of two brothers separated in infancy, who grow to be rival leaders in a battle between Scandanavia and Britian.

This yarn, replete with monumental battle sequences on both land and sea, magnificent coastal and interior castle settings, and bravura use of color simply amazes in its ambitious achievements.

The film opens with a battle sequence on the seashore, by turns both thrilling and horrifying as the soldiers meet with death by spear while the nearby coastal village is burned, with women and children scattering to their doom.

With this breathless sequence, Mr. Bava introduces the audience to a breakneck pace that never lets up.

The story such as it is, is played engagingly on the level of an Errol Flynn film, intelligent enough for adults, but close enough to a comic book for whatever youngsters may be in the audience.

It is, however, the visuals that linger in the mind: a grotto with an enormous twisted tree upon which are bound two captured adulterers, bathed in that phosphorescent green light that Mr. Bava was so adept at casting; a stunning vista of the seashore at twilight with two women in billowing robes silhouetted against a sky banked with tempestuous cloud formations, Georges Ardisson and his mother flanked by flaming braziers, amidst tall stalagmites, in a setting that might be from Dante's Inferno, (and recalls a similar setting in Orson Welle's "Macbeth" and countless others.

Mr. Bava painted his masterpieces not on canvas but on celluloid.

The cast is both attractive and serviceable, with Mr. Ardisson and the luscious Kessler Twins deserving of special commendation. Indeed the Misses Kessler, (as Vestal Virgins) perform a sword dance with such delicacy and intricate footwork that it is easy to see why their cabaret act was once the toast of Europe.

Highly enjoyable for fans of the genre.
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6/10
Bava and the Vikings
bensonmum21 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Two very young Viking brothers are separated during a battle that claims the life of their father. One brother, Eron, is brought up to one day take his father's place as the leader of the Viking people. The other brother, Erik, is brought up by his adopted mother Queen Alice to one day rule England. But when Eron and the Vikings invade England and take Queen Alice hostage, these two brothers will lead their armies into battle against one another. What will happen when these two brothers discover their common bond?

Erik the Conqueror was one of the few films directed by Mario Bava that I had not seen until last night. Overall, it's a very entertaining, if not overly original, Viking epic. If you've seen the 1958 movie The Vikings with Kirk Douglas, a lot of the plot in Erik the Conqueror will seem similar. Still, with Bava's directorial touches, his eye for color, and his interesting camera movements, there's enough here to keep things feeling fresh and to overcome a limited budget (if you look close enough, you'll see the same extra die at least five times in the opening fight scene). The opening shot alone featuring skulls, two lovers wrapped in barbwire, and dancing girls is as visually pleasing as any of Bava's other movies. The cast is solid. Cameron Mitchell (always a favorite of mine) and his blond crew cut fit the role of the Viking Eron quite nicely. George Ardisson might even be more impressive in the role of Erik. They are joined by the Kessler twins who, while not the greatest thespians to appear on screen, are perfect in their roles. Add to it a slew of extras, some impressively staged fight scenes, and a nice looking castle set, and Erik the Conqueror is a must see for Bava fans like me.
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7/10
ERIK THE CONQUEROR (Mario Bava, 1961) ***
MARIO GAUCI4 July 2007
The first peplum to be officially directed by Bava (and his first collaboration with Hollywood actor Cameron Mitchell) is, as can be expected, a virtual clone of the classic spectacle THE VIKINGS (1958) – if, obviously, done on a much smaller budget. That said, unlike the later KNIVES OF THE AVENGER (1966), the film does feature a few sweeping action sequences (many of them replicated practically wholesale in the following year's ATTACK OF THE NORMANS [1962]; see above).

The plot concerns a couple of Viking brothers separated at birth during a vicious attack: one of them is raised by the British Queen and, therefore, becomes his sibling's sworn enemy. Also involved are a couple of identical vestal virgins – played by the then-popular singing duo, the Kessler Twins – who, obviously, both go against their vows (and thus risking death if caught) by falling for the brothers. The Viking community, largely confined to living as cave-dwellers, provides plenty of opportunity for Bava's trademark atmospherics and flair for composition and, as was the norm for him at this stage in his career, he officially acted as his own cinematographer!

The typically jovial, uncouth and heavy-set Viking leader is played here by Folco Lulli (though he is killed in the very opening sequence!), while Andrea Checchi – from Bava's own BLACK Sunday [1960] – fills in for the role of chief villain (his death via a succession of arrows may well have been inspired by the unforgettable demise of the "Macbeth" character in Akira Kurosawa's superb Shakespearean adaptation THRONE OF BLOOD [1957]). Though a decent actor, Mitchell comes across as a generally glum presence in these type of pictures; here, he ends up by sacrificing himself for his brother and, consequently, receives the requisite fiery viking burial (even if the film's budget apparently didn't afford this spectacular effect – since it cuts abruptly to a two-shot of the lifeless Mitchell and his grieving intended for the fade-out)! Curiously enough, while Mitchell is the nominal male lead, the English title of the film makes it sound like the younger brother is the conquering hero of the piece!

While I already owned the film, taped off Italian TV, this second viewing came via a rental of the bare-bones Italian DVD; given the picture's lack of exposure in R1 land, I wonder whether it will eventually be included in Anchor Bay's hopefully-not-long-in-coming "The Mario Bava Collection Vol. 2"...
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5/10
Roll on DVD!
John Seal10 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Mario Bava's viking epic Gli Invasori is rumoured to have been picked up by Anchor Bay for a digital overhaul sometime in 2007, and their disc can't arrive a moment too soon. Currently unavailable on home video, this film was granted a perfunctory video release by Panther Entertainment in the late 1980s, and that's the version this review is based upon. From the badly pan and scanned evidence displayed on the tape, it's a film that will benefit hugely from a correctly formatted, correctly colour coded, and complete widescreen print. Like many Bava films, Gli Invasori (re-titled The Invaders here) features magnificent action sequences, intense colours, and over the top art design--all of it badly compromised by careless telecine work on this tape. Though the film hews fairly closely to the narrative arc of most sword and sandal features, it also includes some spooky Bava touches, including an ominous tarantula (in Britain, no less!) and a crucifixion scene. Star Cameron Mitchell acquits himself well, though his close-cropped strawberry blonde locks seem somewhat out of place, and the Kessler sisters make for pleasant eye candy. All in all, it's an obscure treat that will, with any luck, get some mass market exposure in the not too distant future.
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9/10
Bava's Epic Viking Masterpiece!
csdietrich6 March 2001
ERIK THE CONQUEROR is a superb Viking saga set in the year 786 off the rocky coast of the British Isles. Anglo-Saxon protectors have vanquished the Scandinavian hordes with utter treachery & ferocity led by the evil Duke Helfort (a villainous portrayal by Andrea Checchi). Two tiny blond boys, Aaron & Erik, are left floundering on the sandy beach. One of them (Erik) is taken away by the English Queen (he lovely Francoise Christophe). The other, Aaron, is left to be raised by fellow Norsemen. The two boys bear identical dragon tatooes. Twenty years later the Vikings decide to avenge themselves, led by the now-adult Aaron (Cameron Mitchell at his finest!) Erik (Giorgio Ardisson at his finest!) has been crowned monarch of England and must face the feared Vikings for supremacy. Though Helfort is somewhat older he still covets power and attempts to sway the outcome of the final battle in his favor. Mario Bava is at his best as director and cinematographer in this, his first film since the celebrated BLACK SUNDAY. Art direction on this film is outstanding with sets basking virtually in golds, neon crimsons, icy cobalt blues and forest greens (color by Technicolor!) In an interview with the distinguished film historian David Del Valle, Cameron Mitchell related many stories about the making of ERIK along with declaring Bava's genius at trick photographic effects. Required viewing for Bavaphiles and aficionados of epic cinema. Dazzling!
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9/10
Viking Epic by Mario Bava A Winner!
csdietrich6 March 2001
ERIK THE CONQUEROR (aka THE INVADERS) was Mario Bava's second directorial assignment after his meteoric success with BLACK SUNDAY (aka MASK OF THE DEMON/LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO (1960). ERIK THE CONQUEROR is a tale of intrigue and treachery between Viking forces and the Anglo-Saxon defenders of the British Isles in the year 786 A.D. The story begins as two children are separated from each other during a fierce battle. One of the two is taken and raised by Queen Alice (the stately & beautiful Francoise Christophe) and the other child remains with his Viking people. Both bear tatoos which identify them as brothers. They grow up to face each other in battle but have been tricked by Rutford (a deliciously evil portrayal by Andrea Checchi), a scheming English noble who intends to take the throne he covets for himself. Art direction alone is dazzling with phospherescent hues of crimson, gold, emerald & cobalt blue. There are many macabre touches courtesy of Bava, and in an interview with noted film historian David Del Valle, Cameron Mitchell marvelled at Bava's mastery of trick photography and flawless cinematographic style. Mitchell gives one of his finest performances here as Aaron, the Viking and Giorgio Ardisson is splendid as Erik, his brother and King/defender of Britain. The golden, flaxen beauty of Alice & Ellen Kessler is used o good effect here as the eventual lovers of Erik and Aaron. A must-see for Bava worshippers and required viewing for epic aficionados!
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9/10
Bava's Viking Saga
csdietrich5 March 2001
Mario Bava, fresh from the overnight success of BLACK SUNDAY the previous year, emerges as a master of epic cinema in this Viking tale. Brilliant use of color hues and outstanding art direction distinguish this saga of twins separated as young boys during a battle between Anglo-Saxon hordes and Scandinavia's feared Viking tribes. Giorgio Ardisson portrays Erik and imbues his character with great nobility as he rises to fight against the Norsemen led by his brother Aaron (splendidly cast Cameron Mitchell). Andrea Checchi (Dr. Kruvajan in BLACK SUNDAY) is also tremendous as the evil Rutford, the scheming villain in this piece who wishes to use both forces to his own gain and place himself upon a throne he does not deserve. In an unforgettable interview with film historian David Del Valle commented that this film was made on a tiny budget but one would never surmise this from the rich texture and tenor of this major Bava opus. Macabre touches and phospherent Bava lighting place this work in a class by itself. The Kessler twins are used to superior advantage here and Francoise Christophe appears as the dignified and lovely Queen of the British Isles. A must-see for all lovers of The Maestro and for aficionados of epic cinema.
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