Conquest was one of a host of Italian sword-and-sorcery films made in the period circa 1982-4 when Conan the Barbarian (1982) had just come out and inspired a fledgling new fantasy genre. Italy produced a number of cheap copies of Conan the Barbarian with the likes of Ator the Fighting Eagle (1982), which produced several sequels, The Sword of the Barbarians (1982), Hearts and Armour (1984) among others, as well as several Italian-shot US-backed production such as Hercules (1983), The Barbarians (1987), Gor (1987) and Sinbad of the Seven Seas (1989).
Lucio Fulcis horror films are almost incoherent, even by the usual loose standards of Italian exploitation cinema. They seem based solely around surreal novelty set-pieces and way out gore effects. As Conquest opens, things dont seem too different, even though Lucio Fulci is operating in the fantasy genre this time. A few minutes in, we have a bizarrely surreal sequence where a tribe are abducted by the beast people, a man is taken and ritually has the top of his head lopped off in gory detail, a naked girl is torn limb from limb, her head severed and then her brains eaten before hero Andrea Occhipinti appears wearing a blank face mask and shoots laser arrows that penetrate the body of the priestess (Sabrina Siani) as she writhes naked with a snake crawling all over her. There is also an imaginative scene where George Rivero gets crucified a typical fate for sword-and-sorcery heroes of this era see also Conan the Barbarian and The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) falls to the bottom of a lake as he tries to free himself before he is aided by dolphins that come to his rescue and chew through the ropes. You cannot deny that Lucio Fulci gives the usual cheap fare of Italian sword-and-sorcery a directorial flair of sorts that perks the genre up from its usual tawdriness.
Conquest is a strange film. It has minimal dialogue and often seems to take place more in the grunts of a prehistoric drama like One Million Years B.C. (1966). With Lucio Fulcis typical disregard for plot, it is also frequently difficult to work of what is going on. The film seems like a random series of encounters with zombies, beast-masked people and other creatures as the two heroes wander through the wilderness. This lack of plot gives Conquest no dramatic momentum the heroes never seem to be questing for anything, there is no urgency in what they do, they only seem to wander from encounter to encounter.
The cheapness does undeniably show through, although not too badly as in say the Ator films. The entire film appears to have been shot out of doors with no sets having been constructed. The films shoddiest point is surely when George Rivero and Andrea Occhipinti have to duck from a volley of arrows that have all been animated.
Lucio Fulcis other genre films are: Perversion Story (1969), Lizard in a Womans Skin (1971), Dont Torture the Duckling (1972), Dracula in the Provinces (1975), The Psychic (1977), Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979), City of the Living Dead/Gates of Hell (1980), The Beyond/The Seven Doors to Death (1981), The Black Cat (1981), The House By the Cemetery (1981), The New York Ripper (1981), Manhattan Baby/Eye of the Evil Dead/The Possessed (1982), Cyclone (1983), Rome 2072 A.D. (1983), Murderock (1984), The Devils Honey/Dangerous Obsession (1986), Aenigma (1987), Touch of Death/When Alice Broke the Mirror (1988), Zombi 3 (1988), Demonia (1990), Nightmare Concert (1990), Voices from Beyond (1991) and Door to Silence (1992).
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