Conquest (1983 film)
U.S. theatrical poster
|Directed by||Lucio Fulci|
|Produced by||Giovanni Di Clemente|
|Screenplay by||Gino Capone
José Antonio de la Loma
|Story by||Giovanni Di Clemente|
Conrado san Martín
|Music by||Claudio Simonetti|
|Editing by||Emilio Rodriguez Oses|
|Distributed by||Clemi Cinematografica
|Running time||88 min.|
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (July 2010)|
Several people in white robes gather around a young man named Ilius, adorning him in a vest of leather armor, while an old man hands him a bow and a set of arrows. The old man tells Ilius the tale of an ancient warrior god named Kronos, who once wielded the bow, and how it could make arrows out of pure sunlight.
Ohkren, a woman whose entire head is adorned in a golden mask, recites a magical chant to make the sun rise before a large gathering of cave-dwelling people. Ohkren commands a savage army of wolfmen who quickly invade the caves of these people, slaying their leader, and grabbing a young woman who attempts to flee.
In a strange, dreamlike sequence, Ohkren and her wolfmen partake in hallucinogenic drugs when suddenly, a young man devoid of any facial features charges into their chamber, and dispatches Ohkren and the wolfmen with the same magic bow that was given to Ilius. It is then revealed that this was all part of a vision, as Ohkren fears a lone wanderer shall come to slay her.
In a fog-filled murky swamp, a lone girl is suddenly attacked by a group of masked men. But they are killed when Ilius arrives with his bow and arrows at the ready. Unfortunately, he soon runs out of arrows and tries to flee, a group of Ohkren's wolfmen attack him, but just when it seems that Ilius will die, he is saved by a lone muscular man who easily fends off the attackers with a rock attached to a sling. The lone man reveals his name to be Mace, he offers to accompany Ilius in exchange for saving his life and if Ilius teaches him how to use the bow.
Ohkren is quickly informed of her warriors' failure to kill Ilius, and she resolves to have him dead, no matter what it takes.
Its revelaed that Mace has a sort of Beastmaster type of power as he rescues a hawk and nurtures it back to health.
Mace has developed a bit of talent with Ilius' bow and shows off by killing a lone caveman, for no apparent reason. They take shelter in a cave for the night, but as they sleep, Ohkren's wolfmen trap the two heroes inside. Ilius and Mace make an escape through a hole in the ground, but once again find themselves trapped. The two quickly break through the thin stone wall and make their escape.
This failure is again noticed by Ohkren when she has another vision of the faceless warrior. As punishment, she tortures the leader of her wolfmen to death, and quickly summons a being dressed in plated armor skirt and a plated mask named Zora, who swears that he shall kill the wanderer for her.
As Ilius and Mace continue their travels, they come across a small tribe of the cave people, who are apparently familiar with Mace, and invite them in for the night. During the feast they hold, Ilius recognizes one of the girls in the tribe as the girl he saved in the swamps, who has taken a strong liking to him. In the dead of night as the others sleep, the girl takes Ilius to the outside of the cave in an attempt to have sex with him, but Ohkren's warriors have tracked down Ilius and Mace and viciously slaughter the girl and all her people. Ilius is dragged away by the attackers as Mace is knocked out in the attack.
When he awakens, Mace resolves to rescue Ilius, as he has come to accept Ilius as his one friend. He manages to find the band of Ohkren's warriors with Ilius in tow as they have all made camp for the night. Mace swiftly dispatches several of the warriors as he frees Ilius, who manages to grab his magic bow and help Mace slay the rest of their enemies.
At this point, Ilius finally explains to Mace that he is on a quest to slay the evil sorceress Ohkren, and put an end to her reign of terror over the people of the land. Although Mace tries to convince Ilius to go back to his land, as Ohkren is too powerful, Ilius refuses to go home until his task is complete. Mace eventually decides that he shall aid Ilius in any way he can, but he still feels that this is a fools errand, as no man has ever managed to slay Ohkren yet.
After inexplicably building a raft and then abandoning it. Mace and Ilius travel through an open field, Mace notices that he and Ilius have wandered into an area with some sort of sentient plant. The plant soon reveals its predatory nature by firing a massive rain of quills in order to kill them. Realizing they don't stand a chance, Mace and Ilius try to run to safer ground. They soon reach the small beach where they abandoned their raft, but Ilius is suddenly shot in the leg with a quill, which was coated with an extremely deadly poison which manifests itself in boils that ooze blood and pus.
They depart the beach via the raft, but with Ilius growing more and more ill, Mace brings the raft to a small island, where he explains that there are some special plants that could heal the ailment. Mace rushes off to the heart of the island where he soon enters a dark and foreboding swamp. He quickly locates the plant, but as he makes his way back to Ilius, he is attacked by a large band of zombies. Upon discovering that they can be killed by impalment, he dispatches a few and manages to escape the rest. Mace returns to Ilius, who begs him to hurry and end his pain, but to his surprise, Mace grabs a large rock, preparing to kill him with it, but he is suddenly attacked by another Mace. The two warriors clash until one Mace manages to pin the other to the sand with a large branch. The pinned Mace laughs and reveals himself to be Zora, the plated skirt spirit that Ohkren had summoned, just before he disappears into thin air. Although shaken by the encounter, Mace quickly makes the healing plant into a paste through the night and administers it to Ilius' wounds, effectively terminating the poison from the arrow.
With Ilius fully recovered, he decides to continue on his journey to kill Ohkren, but this time, Mace refuses to go with him, as he is not willing to die for a task that cannot be done. Although disappointed, Ilius decides to respect his friends wish and offers his bow to Mace as a gift. Mace refuses, stating that the bow has brought too much pain and death to too many people since their adventure started. Ilius then rows off to sea with the raft as Mace departs back the way they came.
As Mace travels along the rocky coast, he is soon ambushed by a band of white furry creatures. They demand to know where Ilius is and when he refuses to reveal that information they tie him to a wooden "X" one the edge of a cliff. Meanwhile, Ilius realizes that he can't abandon his friend nor can he continue alone.
Ilius returns to the coast that the creatures dwell near and spots Mace and quickly realizes the predicament. Ilius attacks the creatures with his magic bow, harnessing the sun arrows power at last as he is no longer afraid of the dangers that await him, unlocking his true potential. However, he is unable to prevent one last survivor of the creatures from pushing Mace off the cliff into the sea below.
Mace sinks to the bottom of the sea and is unable to free himself as he is tied to the cross, and nearly drowns, but he uses his animal power and calls two dolphins who half heartedly save him. Ilius, despondent over Mace's death or his own culpability in Mace's demise, is relieved to find him on the beach and resuscitates him. In gratitude for saving his life, Mace agrees to stay with Ilius for the remainder of their journey.
Making camp in another cave, Ilius is soon dragged under the ground by some sort of creature. As he loses his bow, he isn't able to put up a fight and is last seen being dragged into the dark. Mace is awakened by Ilius's cries and jumps into the hole after him. Mace, unable to see clearly, manages to fight off a few of the creatures, until he is overpowered and thrown into a small pit. Mace soon awakens a horde of bats inside the cave, and in the madness of their whole swarm flying around him, Mace notices a blue bat who seems to guide him through a small tunnel that he can use to escape. He reaches the exit, but his elation is deflated as he soon notices blood dripping on him. Upon glancing up, he notices Ilius hanging upside down from the ceiling of the cave, decapitated.
Zora is then shown in Ohkren's chamber, carrying Ilius' severed head in his hand, as Ohkren rejoices at having destroyed the one who would kill her. Her victory is cut short when she sees the head open its eyes and realizes that though Ilius's body may be dead, his soul lives and that for as long as it does she remains in danger.
Back in the caves, Mace has built a funeral pyre for Ilius. As he stands at his side, Mace hears Ilius' voice, telling him that with his death, he passes the powers he inherited from Kronos unto Mace. When the fire dies down, Mace rubs the ashes of Ilius onto his skin, personally resolving to finish Ilius' quest, and to slay Ohkren for him.
On the cliff where Ohkren was first shown raising the sun, she is once again reciting the sun chant, surrounded by her remaining soldiers and Zora. She is suddenly interrupted Mace, who announces that he has come to avenge Ilius and that this day, the sun shall rise without Ohkren. Stretching out his hand, Mace is now able to summon forth the bow just as the old man did in the beginning. With newfound resolve and courage, Mace easily slaughters the rest of Ohkren's soldiers. Zora takes off leaving Ohkren to die. She quickly flees by teleporting into her chamber, however, Mace undaunted fires an arrow that goes through the mountain and knocks her mask off.
When Mace arrives in Ohkren's chamber, the sorceress rises, revealing her face to be that of a rotted zombie, but apparently blinded as she is unable to find Mace. Knowing Ilius' task is close to an end, Mace fires one final arrow into Ohkren's heart, seemingly slaying the sorceress. However, she is later seen in her wolf form running off with Zora, who has also returned to his wolf form. The cave people, and the people across the land take notice of the change brought on by Ohkren's death, and the film ends as Mace departs from the cave, walking off into the distant sunrise with Ilius' bow strapped to his back, finally at peace that he has avenged his friend, and finished what he started.
Conquest was part of an early 1980s cycle of sword and sandal films inspired by the success of Conan the Barbarian. This features many of the trademarks of that genre; muscled warriors, masked villains and a nameless, primeval setting. It is, however, a lot rougher than most of the other films of the genre, due to Lucio Fulci's trademark gore and nudity.
After collaborating with horror film scripter Dardano Sacchetti for six years, Fulci went off on his own in 1983 to direct Conquest in Mexico, failing to involve Sacchetti in the deal. The film was supposed to be a very big budget "A" picture, and Sacchetti allegedly resented the fact that Fulci had not thought to involve him in the project. The film actually wound up doing quite poorly upon its release, and afterwards, Fulci had trouble jump-starting his working relationship with Sacchetti, who by this time had gone his own way. Most Fulci fans agree that the films Fulci made without Sacchetti after 1983 were not nearly as good as their previous collaborative efforts.
A notable feature of Conquest is the cinematography by Alejandro Ulloa, which uses filters, soft focus and fog in an attempt to give the film a dreamlike atmosphere. The look of the film has received mixed responses from critics. A young twenty-year-old Sabrina Siani appeared nude in this film, shocking the 1983 viewers.
Conquest was a box-office flop on release.