Stars: 3 of 5.
Running Time: 88 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Jorge Rivero (RIO LOBO, WEREWOLF), Andrea Occipinti (THE SEA INSIDE, BOLERO, NEW YORK RIPPER), Conrado San Martín (ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, DUCK YOU SUCKER), Sabrina Siani (THE BLACK COBRA, ATOR THE INVINCIBLE), music by Claudio Simonetti (of Goblin).
Tag-line: "In a place beyond time, comes a terrifying challenge beyond imagination!"
Best exchange: "What's your name?" –"My enemies call me Mace." "And your friends?" –"I don't have any friends."
I don't know if it was the twelver of Schlitz, the 3 AM viewing hour, or the fact that Fulci exclusively used soft focus, glamour filters, and echo effects, but CONQUEST left me with the impression of a half-remembered dream. We begin with some boneheaded legend about the sun coming down and raining arrows on the forces of evil through a magic bow. Later, when we see this bow in action- something which happens in nearly every scene- it most definitely shoots blue LASERS, not heavenly sunlight.
I'm okay with that, personally. Set to an eternally pounding synth score by Goblin's Claudio Simonetti (fresh off of Castellari's NEW BARBARIANS), CONQUEST is basically an Italian mashup of BEASTMASTER and CONAN THE BARBARIAN.
The film is so stock ("Where are you from?" -"From a distant land."), so meandering, and so 80's, that it almost feels like a Choose Your Own Adventure with nudity. Yeah- did I mention that the main villain is a naked woman, clothed only with a spiked g-string, a creepy bronze mask, and a black feather boa?
And that her minions are an army of Wookiees who rip nude women limb from limb? Fulci works in some hardcore gore, cobwebby swamp zombies:
Swamp zombies swoop down from the heavens in slow motion with a giant camouflage net.
dummies flung from cliffs, an old man who speaks like Yoda, nunchucks, and a shag-carpet bed. There's no Zombie vs. Shark scene (like in Fulci's ZOMBIE), but there IS a "Caveman saved by Dolphins" scene, which is about the same thing if you squint your eyes.
Our hero says, "A man meets man, you never know which one will die; an animal meets a man, the animal always dies. That's why I'm on the side of the animal." [In addition to not making sense, he's EATING an animal (!) when he makes that speech.] Bravo, Lucio. The whole thing ends with the declaration that "any reference to persons or events is purely coincidental." God damn- I sure hope so!
This scene is not, in fact, a faithful portrayal of real life (outside of Italy).
Anyway, in good conscience, I can only give this three stars. And, I have no idea why, but I was left with a curious craving for beef jerky...
This beef jerky, to be exact. And I bought it. And I ate it. And in retrospect, it was maybe one of my worst ideas.