Gruesome Galleries: Lucio Fulci’s CONQUEST

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SHOCK blasts out a bunch of pictures from Lucio Fulci’s bizarre 1983 film CONQUEST.

Leaking out of Italian splat-master Lucio Fulci’s golden period of prurient gorefests, 1983’s CONQUEST is an anomaly, a blatant attempt to ride a post-CONAN THE BARBARIAN wave of violent fantasy epic but one completely step with the rest of its muscled, yet oddly sexless, ilk.

Out of step because this is indeed a Lucio Fulci film.

And as we all know, when Fulci rode a trend, he rode it into another bloody, baroque dimension entirely…

The film tells the loose tale of a naked, monstrous evil Queen (CANNIBAL TERROR‘s Sabrina Siani) who lords over the land with her army of shaggy, Chewbacca-like monsters, the likes of which rape and murder on her command. Meanwhile a grizzled gladiator (Jorge Rivero, who has a symbol in his forehead that recalls THE BEYOND’s “Eibon” glyph) and his young protege (Andrea Occhipinti from Fulci’s NEW YORK RIPPER) travel the treacherous terrain to fight the Queen’s creatures and eventually, hopefully, take her lovely but evil ass out.

Shot in Mexico, CONQUEST confused many kids who rented it during its early 80s video run; the film is so thick with mist and full of murk that many viewers thought something might be wrong with the transfer. But really, that’s exactly the way CONQUEST was meant to be seen. The film was shot by Alejandro Ulloa in deliberately “cheese cloth” style, an affectation that smooths the edges of every image, giving the film a soft, supple feel. Then, Fulci demanded fog be pumped into almost every frame. Indeed there’s more mist in CONQUEST than in THE MIST, giving the picture a stem to stern dreamlike feel.

Further adding texture to the picture is one of Claudio Simonetti’s most beautiful, non-GOBLIN synth scores.

But this is a Fulci film, after all so the biggest draw is the hope of wallowing in brutality and weirdness and CONQUEST offers plenty of both. The violence here skirts ultra-violence, the atmosphere goes on forever and there’s endless female nudity, if that’s your thing.

Unjustly overlooked in the Fulci cannon, CONQUEST is a transitional work, one in which Fulci was experimenting and trying to re-invent himself, something he would keep doing until his final films. But, to paraphrase, you can take the man out of Italy…but you cannot take Italy out of the man.