is a Spanish-Italian-Mexican Surreal Horror
and Dark Heroic Fantasy Exploitation Film
by Lucio Fulci
with music by ex-Goblin member Claudio Simonetti. If that sounds absolutely insane to you, it’s because it is.
As part of his Rite of Passage
the young Illias is sent from his relatively
idyllic and civilized homeland to a desolate barbarian marchland. On this quest he is armed only with his Ancestral Weapon
, a bow said to be able to shoot arrows of pure sunlight
.Illias is eventually joined by the misanthropic warrior Mace, who only has eyes for Illias’ bow.Meanwhile Ocron
, the cruel sorceress ruling the lands, have a vision of a faceless man
killing her with the very same bow. This sets the gears in motion that will lead to their unavoidable confrontation.
It holds the dubious honor of being possibly the most interesting and the most overlooked of the many Sword and Sorcery flicks that came out during the 80s following Conan the Barbarian (1982)
and The Beastmaster
.And the film can either be enjoyed genuinely for its intensely dreamlike atmosphere, its unique visuals and its subversion of The Hero's Journey
, or in a So Bad, It's Good
way for it’s less than stellar special effect and cheesy English dub.
Compare and contrast Mario Bava’s Hercules in the Haunted World and Alfonso Brescia
’s Iron Warrior.
This film provides examples of:
- Achilles in His Tent: Ilias eventually takes Mace’s advice and leaves, but overcomes his fear of dying and returns to save Mace.
- A God Am I: Ocron, to the extent that she creates a cult centered around herself.
- Ancestral Weapon: Ilias’ bow.
- Big Bad: Ocron.
- Bittersweet Ending: Ocron is defeated, but Ilias is dead.
- The Blank: The archer in Ocron’s vision.
- Crapsack World
- Completely Different Title: The Spanish release had the more descriptive title of The Conquest of the Lost Lands (La conquista de la tierra perdida) and in Finnland it is called by the absolutely different title Gods of the Arrows (Jumalten nuolet). Mexico meanwhile got the more generic The Barbarian (El Bárbaro), while Greece got the weird Elkan, the Atsalenian Warrior (Ελκαν, ο ατσαλενιος πολεμιστής).
- Decoy Protagonist: Ilias.
- Energy Bow
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: There are zombies in the bog. Whether they are a natural part of the environment or a product of Zora’s influence is never explained.
- The Faceless: Zora's face is allays hidden behind in the same armor-plates that covers the rest of his body.
- Faceless Goons: Ocron’s followers.
- Humanoid Abomination: Zora.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Mace. Around the middle of the movie he stops being the sidekick.
- The Man Behind The Monsters: Ocron in contrast to her Beast Man minions.
- Mind Screw: Similar to the visuals the plot unfolds in an almost dream-like manner. This leaves a lot of things vague, unexplained or just plain weird.
- Ms. Fanservice: Ocron, until she loses her mask at-least.
- Nature Hero: Mace somewhat deconstructs this. He apparently refuses to hunt animals himself, feeling more akin to them than to other humans, but he have no qualms with killing a human hunter to steal his prey nor with letting Ilias hunt for him.
- Nominal Hero: Mace. He only joins Ilias because he is interested in his bow, and only starts to care about him when he considers him his friend.
- Religion of Evil: Ocron has created a religion centered around her, while she herself seems to worship Zora.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Ilias’ love interest.
- Spell My Name with an S: Is it Ocron or Okhren? Ilias or Ilius?
- The Time of Myths
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Mace’s lover.