Director: Lucio Fulci
Blue Underground

Following his 1982 giallo-gone-extreme NEW YORK RIPPER and the bland MANHATTAN BABY, Fulci took a break from the graphic horrors he had perfected (and broke with producer Fabrizio de Angelis) to contribute his take on the sword-and-sorcery subgenre which had become the exploitation flavor-of-the-month thanks to the success of CONAN THE BARBARIAN. Despite featuring familiar Eurocult faces Andrea Occhipinti (recycled from Fulci's RIPPER), Sabrina Siani (ATOR THE FIGHTING EAGLE, billed here as Sabrina Sellers), and Jorge Rivero, you can spell out CONQUEST in six letters: B-O-R-I-N-G! Think Joe D'Amato's THE BLADE MASTER, but with a slower pace, more fog, and an even more incomprehensible script.

OK, let me try to sum up this "plot"...follow me if you can...young warrior Andrea Occhipinti is given a magical bow-and-arrow set by his elderly father and sent out into the land to help fight topless cannibal queen Sabrina Siani (who wears a gold mask for most of the film and had earlier played another WHITE CANNIBAL QUEEN) and her goofy dog-wolf beast soldiers. He runs into CONAN-inspired Jorge Rivero, who saves him when Occhipinti is ambushed and joins in his quest to free the innocent tribes suffering from the bloodthirsty attacks of the villains. That's about it, but believe me, it took me about three viewings to finally figure out what the whole point of the film was! Fulci throws in everything but the kitchen sink, hoping something will stick: a cavegirl wishboned in half for a cannibal feast, several sequences of Siani splitting skulls to feast on brains, a crowd of rock zombie creatures, a caveman tribe influenced by the look of Deodato's JUNGLE and CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST films, a nude Siani writhing with snakes after snorting a medieval version of cocaine, the return of the fake birds from MANHATTAN BABY, and of course slow-mo fight scenes which are edited so badly that any sense of action or intensity is drained. But as much fun as CONQUEST sounds, it is anything but. It's never exciting, which is a major crime in an adventure film, and looks simply atrocious, and even though there are the aforementioned moments of enjoyable trashiness, there aren't enough to justify sitting through the whole movie.

Sure, CONQUEST is one of the most terminally boring Eurocult outings you're likely to sit through, but Blue Underground has decided to add it to their illustrious catalog. Don't ask me why, perhaps it's just because the maestro's name is attached, but the transfer reiterates the analogy that you can't polish a turd. The film's original photography was apparently shot through gauze, with incredibly soft detail and barrels of grain. And the letterboxed transfer reflects just that: a soft, grainy, impenetrably foggy fantasy. The 2.0 audio mix does a good job with the boring Claudio Simonetti soundtrack, but dialogue is often tough to decipher.

Another BU Fulci disc with no extras, save a pair of trailers (the U.S. trailer has lots of cool titles and graphics, and the International trailer doesn't skimp on the nudity and violence and actually makes some sort of sense, unlike the feature), a lengthy poster and stills gallery, and a Fulci bio which will provide no new info for the fans who would purchase this "for completists only" release. (Casey Scott)