Monday, February 4, 2019

By the Gods: CONAN THE DESTROYER (1984)

Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas) has plans for Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in this sequel to CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982), directed by Richard Fleischer. It was cheesier and pulpier...therefore more entertaining than the first one? It felt like an old PEPLUM of the Golden Era than the heavy handed one directed by John Milius. Sarah made a great villainess even though she was underused. She wore some decidedly skimpy costumes, while Ahnuld showed more muscle than the first movie, which was a definite plus (anything to distract from his acting). 

Above: Conan is trapped in a hall of mirrors where he has to figure out where the bad guy is. This scene is a near direct copy of the ending from ANTHAR THE INVINCIBLE (below; 1964) starring Kirk Morris.

Conan battles Toth-Anon (Pat Roach) in one of the movie's better moments. The ever powerful Conan is shown to be vulnerable.

Even though Arnold only made 3 genre films (the two already mentioned plus RED SONJA (1985)), he'll always be associated with the CONAN character.

The film has some nice set pieces (above, with Olivia d'Abo, and below) and the overall fun aspect is greater than the first movie but the screenplay was fairly weak. It had tons of characters (including one played by Grace Jones) with little to do. The quest (or quests) feels like it was padded to extend the length of the film.

Overall, I give a 6 out of 10.

Arnold posing with a happy crew member.


Anonymous said...

He got a lot better at swinging a sword around in that flick too.

PEPLUM TV said...


Richard Svensson said...

As I've remarked before, the swords in the first Conan were very heavy real steel swords (much heavier than your usual medieval sword), while the swords in the sequel were mostly fiberglass (except for in close-ups). The sequel was written by two of the Marvel Comics staff that provided scripts for the Conan comic book, to which it's quite similar, with both a typical comic book quest potboiler tale, as well as the addition of much more humor.
Here are some more random facts (because I want to show off my movie obsessions):
*According to Sarah Douglas the bird dress looked great, until she actually had to turn her torso, which freed her breasts from any covering the bird had afforded.
*A sex scene between Conan and Tamaris was cut.
*Arnold was told to bulk up more for this movie.
*The film's production design was by comic book artist Bill Stout, who also designed Masters of the Universe and Pan's Labyrinth.
*All makeups and the god Dagoth was created by Peplum regular FX artist Carlo Rambaldi.
*Pat Roach played three parts; The wizard Toth-Amon, the ape man and Dagoth, when regular Dagoth Andre the Giant had to take a rest due to his bad back.
*Actors wore a small mouth piece producing steam when filming in Toth-Amon's ice castle.
*Sven-Ola Thorsen, who was Thorgrim in the first Conan and Tigris the gladiator in "Gladiator", plays the guard captain Conan sword fights with on horseback.