No.6 Gor (1987)
If you were a child of the ’80s, or if you frequented astore during the height of the VHS era, odds are you remember seeing this one. While Gor was modestly popular over in the U.S., it was insanely popular in the European markets. Based on a series of 29 novels by author John Norman, the plot of Gor can only be described as complex. Or nutty, fruit-loops, just this side of those wacky Scientology teachings if you’re feeling verbose. Basically, it’s a treatise on philosophy, the role of women in society and an excuse for the main character to live out all those slave-girl Leia fantasies we all experienced at some point in our lives.
In essence, socially inept professor Tarl Cabot is transported to the alien, alternate world of Gor where the local X chromosomes are kept subservient to the damn, dirty males! While most guys would start throwing their dirty underwear on the floor and kick their feet up, Cabot is a modern, touchy-feely pansy in close contact with his feminine side so a revolution to overthrow the oppressive caste system soon erupts and Gor’s male-centric paradise is soon replaced by Sex In The City marathons and a mandatory 15 minute talk about your feelings post-coitus.
OH! YOU! EEE-DEE-IOT!
Gor also starts Oliver Reed and an impossibly young Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy, G.I. Joe). Jack Palance shows up near the end in a gratuitous extended cameo, mostly to get people interested in the sequel, 1989’s Outlaw Of Gor.
No.5 The and the Sorceress (1984)
Take a good look at this movie’s artwork. Take it all in. I’ll wait. Notice anything…peculiar about the standard half-naked babe adorning this poster? If you’re a guy, odds are your eyes were drawn to this particular feature right away. If you’re a chick, I’ll give you a hint, she has one more of these than pictured here:
Martian whore goes “Whaaaaaa?”
Yep. This lovingly drawn lass, fetchingly wearing a two-piece metal bikini in order to draw in the Horny Male demographic, has four. Not the standard two (or so I’m told) or even the three seen above but four totally functioning boobs. Don’t ask me how I know they’re functional. Whatever happens on the planet Ura, stays on the planet Ura. And in case you were wondering whether or not this fair creature makes an appearance in the flesh, well…
My hands are so confused. Do I fondle the top rack or the bottom rack? Or one of each?
Four-breasted abominations aside, The Warrior And The Sorceress ditches the distant, forgotten past for the otherworldly. Taking place on the planet Ura, the story concerns wandering sword-for-hire Kain, played by the late and always awesome David Carradine, who, just for the hell of it, decides to take down a pair of ruthless tyrants. There’s no prophecy, no intangible or monetary reward for succeeding, Kain just woke up one day with a craving for some despot murdering. Oh wait, there’s a topless sorceress tagging along for the ride. I guess that’s incentive. Man, there are a lot of topless spell casters in these things. I guess Hogwarts only teaches you how to make clothes disappear and not the other way around.
Warrior And The Sorceress is a mildly stupid yet endlessly entertaining piece of cheese. Carradine is always fun to watch and clearly relishes any role that allows him to wield a sword. Anthony De Longis shows up again as one of the tyrant’s men and Maria Socas, playing the titular Sorceress, lets her boobs do all her acting for her. To sum up: this is an awesome movie!
TheMatt was an extra in this film. Can you find him?
No.4 Ator the Invincible (1982)
Now here is an odd mixture of European sensibilities, American actors, an Italian Twilight movie, but at least Ator isn’t anywhere near as insulting to your intelligence.and an engaging lack of any kind of sense at all. Basically, it’s the perfect movie to watch drunk. In fact, watching it sober may actually cause you develop a drinking habit. And quite possibly make your eyes bleed. The same can be said of any
Ator, as well as two of its three sequels, is directed by Joe D’Amato. The prolific D’Amato should be a familiar name to any fan of bargain- basement hardcore horror movies like Porno Holocaust and Erotic Nights Of The Living Dead. Considering the man’s pedigree, it should come as no surprise that Ator’s opening scenes involve the titular character seeking permission to marry his own sister. Let’s face it, incest is a minor crime in D’Amato’s larger oeuvre.movies, having directed such “classics” as Anthropophagus, countless porn flicks and several
To be fair, who wouldn’t want to be married to this head of hair?
Ator’s sister/future bride to be is soon kidnapped by a giant spider. Cue epic quest. Because if you can’t embark on a monster-killing, world-saving, epic quest in pursuit of sweet, sweet incestuous relations…
Yeah. No idea where I was going with that. Moving on.
They don’t make trailers like the good ol’ days.
No.3 Kull the Conqueror (1997)
If you’re going to make a movie starring a barbarian, you might as well look to the original source for inspiration. Robert E. Howard, chiefly known as the creator of Conan, is regarded as the father of barbaric fiction and Kull The Conqueror is one of his earliest characters, a forerunner of the Cimmerian in both look and tone of his stories.
Kull is an Atlantean, living in the fabled city during its pre-cataclysmic days. Forced into exile, and following a period of slavery and some time spent as a gladiator, he ascends to the throne of Valusia. Most Kull tales involve him having to defend his throne against various plots.
As is often the case, Hollywood decide to discard most of these elements for the movie. Kull The Conqueror ditches the philosophy and pensive tone of Howard’s stories for a bitching and completely inappropriate& roll soundtrack, wildly out of place humor, a much too nice Kevin Sorbo as Kull and an overall feel borrowed straight from Sorbo’s own TV show, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, which was still popular at the time. Kull The Conqueror would have been a superior product had the producers made something more along the lines of John Milius’ Conan The Barbarian. The jokes are inane, the special effects are cookie-cutter and Tia Carrere, wearing a god-awful red wig, chews the scenery with aplomb. Sorbo certainly looks the part and had the acting chops for the role but he’s let down by everything around him. Too bad, this could have been good.
Grab some toilet paper guys, and start taking notes.
No.2 The Barbarians (1987)
In 1982, Arnold Schwarzenegger proved by starring in the classic Conan The Barbarian that bodybuilders could move on to acting. In 1987, cabbage-head bodybuilding siblings Peter and David Paul did their Herculean best to disprove the theory by starring in this stupendous turkey. Lacking Arnold’s charisma and likeability and possessing only 1/10th of his, admittedly, limited range, the twit twins play Kutchek and Gore, orphans adopted by a roving tribe of clowns. No, seriously. That’s their big, moving origin story.
Oh! That’s why they look so fucking goofy!
However, tragedy strikes! Their tribe’s female leader gets her belly jewel stolen because… you know… it’s magic and shit. Which probably makes this the only movie plot in history to kick off because some broad got her navel mugged. Anyway, dumb and dumber embark on a quest to recover the stolen bling. Fun is had by all. Except the viewer. Luckily, I have a quick fix! It’s… THE BARBARIANS DRINKING GAME! The rules are simple: whenever the twins start fighting with each other, you take a swig of your alcoholic beverage of choice. You’ll be blissfully passed out in no time. You’re welcome!
No.1 Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Really, was there even another choice? While none of the previous movies on this list have aged well, Conan The Barbarian is like fine wine, only getting better with age while its imitators have all grown old with the same grace as Joan Rivers on a surgery binge. Whether it’s the legendary score by Basil Poledouris, since sampled in countless movie trailers, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career-making performance, stellar supporting performances by kick-ass babe Sandahl Bergman, for which she won a Golden Globe, and James Earl Jones or the unapologetic amount of nudity and gore, Conan The Barbarian remains, even after 29 years, a stellar example of imagination and spirit over budget.
Unlike his contemporaries, Conan’s journey starts at the beginning as we follow the young Cimmerian from childhood to manhood in the movie’s grueling first 20 minutes, which sees the barbarian’s parents slaughtered in front of his eyes and himself sold into captivity. Rarely has a movie engendered quite as much sympathy for its hero as Conan The Barbarian does in its first few scenes.
We get to see Conan go from mute, broken young man to fierce gladiator to thinking man all in the space of the first half hour. Throw in a faithful companion, a lusty female thief, a quirky wizard and enough pathos to choke a camel and you end up with a movie that doesn’t appear to have aged a day since its initial release. Yes, some minor visual effects look dated, but the giant snake is still amazingly realistic, the combat frantic and the music a thrill for the ears. Despite the accolades accumulated throughout the years, Conan The Barbarian remains a sadly underrated movie but don’t let that stop you from checking it out.
Arnold conquers again!
And don’t forget to check out Jason Momoa’s Conan The Barbarian 3D, opening August 19th! CROM DEMANDS IT!
Your faithful reviewer,