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Italian sword and sorcery epic from splatter director Lucio Fulci loosely inspired from the Hercules mythos about two warriors on a quest and a vengeful demon who throws all kinds of nasty creatures along the way to fill scenes of gory violence. Written by
In an unnamed pre-historic land, a gold-masked sorceress named Ocron (Sabrina Siani) rules all evil. A young archer (Andrea Occhipinti), equipped with a magic bow-and-arrow, sets out to kill her, teaming up with a hardened, animal-loving muscleman (George Rivero) along the way...
This was the first movie Fulci made after breaking his assocation with Fabrizio De Angelis, and is recognised as the one that would stop his career in its tracks. Fulci's quarrels with producer Giovanni De Clemente really show through on screen, with some particularly cheap special-effects and mangy-looking monsters.
To his credit, Fulci tries hard to work up an atmosphere (orange skies, fog, green mossy plains), but gives up towards the end. Some scenes are just plain stupid, such as the wolfmen attacks (they look like Dulux hounds!) and Rivero rescued from drowning by dolphins. As with his earlier CHALLENGE TO WHITE FANG, the sheer nastiness of what goes on weighs against the fantastical, magical backdrop Fulci was trying to create. But FANG had lovely locations, good acting, a pacey storyline and excellent photography to fall back on.
Gore fans do get their money's worth, however. An old man's brain is exposed after receiving a cranial axe-blow, Ocron whacking open a severed head to feast on its brains, various gore-spewing arrow hits, zombies being staked, several graphic burnings, and Ocron's heart blown out after receiving a laser-bolt to her chest. Not forgetting the notorious 'wishbone' sequence, where a naked girl is spread-eagled until she splits right up the middle.
Of course, many video-releases are cut, including the UK and Dutch tapes. Go for the Belgian or Greek release, they're both uncut and LBXed. That is, of course, if you care!
It's not surprising that the Italian spate of CONAN rip-offs only lasted about a year. This unimaginative effort, which is adequate at best, is actually one of the BETTER rip-offs. You don't even want to know what Lenzi's IRON MASTER and Tonino Ricci's THOR THE CONQUEROR are like!
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