THE SWORD OF THE BARBARIANS
(Sangraal, La Spada di Fuoco)
The Sword of the Barbarians borrows great chunks of plot from Conan there is a near-identical beginning where the heros family and village are slaughtered by an evil warlord, causing him to swear vengeance, as well as a later plot element where the heros wife is killed and he swears that he will find a way to return her to life. Musician Franco Campanino even goes so far as to model his score on the pseudo-Wagnerian Carmina Burana that was used to great effect in Excalibur (1981). On the other hand, the adventure elements that the film does invent for itself are dull and unexciting a seeming endless array of wilderness encounters with people who push boulders down on the party, attacks by blind creatures in a series caverns, capture by ape men in the woods that feel as though they have been slung together at random.
The film is crippled by the same problems that affect almost all of the Italian sword and sorcery films of the era cheapness. The acting is dull and flat, the dubbing typically terrible and the photography extremely cheap looking. The action is uninspired, although you cannot deny that it is maintained at an effectively bloody and occasionally brutal pace. To cut costs, the entire film appears to have been shot outdoors with the actors running around on horseback and foot with the swordfights all taking place in open countryside. In fact, there do not appear to have been any sets built for the film at most a village, which seems to consist of no more than three huts. One of the more laughable scenes is where the party go over a waterfall whereupon we see the three actors pretending to be tossed around in water six inches deep and then thrown over a set of rapids that are only about four feet in height. Peter McCoy is a stolid bodybuilder certainly, he is not as wooden as some of the actors who were around at the height of Italys peplum cycle of the 1960s, but not a great deal better.