I am going to be blunt and up front with y’all on this one. This film is bad. It is truly, truly awful. Conquest stinks to high heaven, folks – but dammit if it isn’t one of the most ridiculously entertaining pieces of stink these weary eyes hath ever witnessed! Honestly, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor a few times after it dropped in utter bewilderment of what was transpiring on-screen. I did not think a film so confusingly terrible and yet so downright enjoyable could have ever been made. Lucio Fulci, thine mastery of the art of the cinematic knoweth no bounds.
I must mention one other thing before I proceed – I am a proud, card carrying, certified Fulci devotee. So, this may be a most ambiguous and confusing review – in that the movie concurrently frustrated me immensely and yet I loved every minute of it. Fulci’s foray (his only one, mercifully) into the fantasy realm brings his regular copycat style to a low-budget, sword-and-sorcery tale akin to Beastmaster or Conan the Barbarian. There are all the maestro’s usual fingerprints here – gore, skin, and…er…gore! Oh, and of course; an utterly indecipherable plot, nearly unwatchable murky cinematography and acting on par with a kindergarten Christmas play – but who gives a hoot? There’s boobies and gore galore!
Ilias (Occhipinti) is a young warrior commissioned to rid the kingdom of the evil queen Ocron (Siani) and her many poorly-costumed minions. She’s an evil, topless queen, I might add. Ilias wields the most formidable weapon anyone in this mystical land has laid their eyes on – a…wait for it…bow and arrow! Gasp! Of course, it turns out to be a magical bow which has more shots per minute than Ron Jeremy, but more on that later. Anyway, Ocron wants this bow really, really badly.
On his way, Ilias runs into Mace (Rivero), a rogue warrior who is so astonished with Ilias’ fine magical bow that he pledges allegiance to him on the condition that Ilias teach him the mysterious art of archery. The two warriors embark on their quest to destroy the queen and quell the evil which she has wrought on the land. Along the way they meet many terrifying enemies and many calculated excuses to showcase some ruthless, Fulci-style blood & guts!
OK, so the second you decide to take this film seriously, you are missing out on all its undeniably campy charm. Make no mistake about it, it is bargain-basement in its entirety. Especially pleasing in this respect are the foes which the warriors encounter along the way. While the breadth of these enemies is impressive – wolfmen, zombies, and web-covered mole people amongst many others – the costumes with which they are adorned are not. The queen’s henchmen, which include numerous low-grade Chewbaccas (or rather, actors in cheap rental gorilla costumes), had me literally rolling in the aisles. Also, check out Ilias’ bow when he runs out of arrows toward the end. Fear not, the magic kicks in and it starts shooting laser beams…frikkin’ laser beams! I kid you not.
As mentioned, the blood & guts are aplenty. This may be one of Fulci’s most gruesome efforts and definitely adds ten-fold to the entertainment value. I believe this is where the entire budget went, frankly, and even then it’s still peanuts. But, we do have some nice limb-severing, beheadings, brain-eating and all-around general mayhem, so any of you fellow Fulci fans out there will definitely not be disappointed. Also, I cannot tell you how happy I was to see some trademark Fulci zombies in this puppy. It warms my cold heart.
Well, that’s it. If Conquest won’t have you giggling your collective asses off, then I don’t know what will. This is a truly masterful work of camp and cheese rarely matched in any film I have ever witnessed (it even gives Bruno Mattei a run for his money). I read somewhere that it actually got a limited US theatrical release – which is simply hilarious in and of itself.
In order to rate this film I had to meet my expectations halfway: It gets a zero for anything even resembling a competent movie, and a 10 on pure, unadulterated entertainment value. Hence the 5 skulls.
Should you be entirely confused how to proceed after reading my review, I shall conclude with a list of recommended practices for your engagement in Conquest. I trust they will guide you well on your mystical journey, young warrior.Blockquote>
1. Ye shall not talk about Conquest club.
2. Ye shall not pay more than a bag of wheat for a rental of this film; one large goat for a purchase.
3. Ye shall have like-minded friends in attendance with thee upon viewing.
4. Ye must consume generous amounts of mead.
5. Rule #4 must not be broken; unless ye intend to replace mead with medicinal herbs (Mace can get you these in The Valley).
6. Ye shall ignore the massive clouds of thick hazy mist, for clearly Sir Lucio’s smoke machine is busted.
7. Should ye encounter any number of Ocron’s henchmen, be they wolfmen, zombie or webby molemen, always remember thus: they unzip in the back.