Saturday, November 19, 2011

#460. Barbarian Queen (1985)

Directed By: Héctor Olivera

Starring: Lana Clarkson, Katt Shea, Frank Zagarino

Tag line: "No man can touch her naked steel"

Trivia:  This movie was shot in Argentina

Barbarian Queen sure doesn't waste any time. A mere 45 seconds in, the movie features a sexual assault, that of a young maiden (Dawn Dunlap) whose clothes are torn off by a couple of goons while she's picking flowers in the forest. 

This first minute or so pretty much sets the stage for the entire film, in which gratuitous nudity is employed to draw attention away from a series of lackluster battle scenes and some truly laughable dialogue. 

The girl attacked in the woods is the sister of Amathea (Lana Clarkson), a respected warrior who is engaged to be married to Prince Argan (Frank Zagarino), the leader of their village. The wedding is set to take place in a few hours time, but the preparations are interrupted by the raiding army of King Zohar (Tony Middleton), which burns the village to the ground and carries off its citizens - including Prince Argan - to be used as slaves. 

With the help of her trusty sword, Amathea manages to avoid capture, and vows revenge on Zohar and all who follow him. 

There's no shortage of nudity in Barbarian Queen; even Amathea gets her top ripped off once or twice, and with a large cast of gorgeous beauties, such moments are certainly diverting enough. Too bad there isn't more to Barbarian Queen than this. 

The battle sequences, whether it be two armies slugging it out or a mono-et-mono showdown, are borderline pathetic. The initial raid on the village is shot almost entirely from a distance, generating more confusion than excitement; and though beautiful, Lana Clarkson and the army of bad-ass babes she assembles aren't the least bit convincing with a sword. 

In fact, the only good thing about the battle scenes is that nobody is talking during them. Even for a low-budget fantasy film, the dialogue in Barbarian Queen is both painful and hilarious. For a while, I was trying to make a game of it, writing down each and every line that made me chuckle. I think I finally stopped somewhere around the half-hour mark, not because the dialogue improved, but because I couldn't keep up with it any longer. 

My poor hand was throbbing! 

For example, after raping Amathea's sister, one of the assailants blurts out “Nothing like a virgin to brighten a man's morning”. Then, as they're marching Argan and the others out of the village, another goon shouts “Move faster or we'll cut your legs off!”. But it's Amathea who gets all the best lines. Through clenched teeth, she tells one of her maidens, “Today was my wedding day. Now the only thing I have left is what might have been. I'm going to get it back!” This is seriously funny stuff. 

Ultimately, I'm torn on Barbarian Queen. Make no mistake; it's a bad film, but there's an earnestness about it as well, an innocent charm that, at times, kinda got to me. At the very least, I was hoping to recommend it as another “so bad, it's good” sort of movie, but I don't know if I can even go that far.

Barbarian Queen has the “bad” down pat; it's the “good” I'm having a hard time justifying!


Kevin Bachelder said...

Maybe you need to also watch "Barbarian Queen II: The Empress Strikes Back" so you can bookend the story in order for everything to make sense?

I was almost able to type that with a straight face. ;)

Your review did get me to move the Corman Sword And Sorcery Collection higher on my Amazon wish list just so I can see this masterpiece for myself.

DVD Infatuation said...

Kevin: Thanks for the comment!

My God....I can't BELIEVE they found a way to make another one! :)

Still, definitely check it out...I'd be interested to hear what you think of it.

Thanks again!

sundersartwork said...

Sad what happened to her by that lice Phil Spector. I looked her up after seeing this review, she struggled a bit once she hit her forties to get regular work , but was trying to break in to comedy. I never thought she was a too terrible an actress, she could have survived on soaps and things, tv shows. I think she was type cast. She seemed to be bad at marketing herself.

DVD Infatuation said...

Thanks for stopping by! I actually didn't know much about what happened to her, but you sparked my interest. I never realized she was the one found dead in Spector's apartment. Very tragic!