While Conquest has a barely comprehensible plot, its engaging characters and an immersive fantasy world carry the viewing experience through.
Plot: A young man wanders a wilderness and encounters a grizzled outlaw and an evil masked witch.
Review: Lucio Fulci was nicknamed ‘The Godfather of Gore’ and was renown for his horror films, particularly City of the Living Dead, The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery – his “Gates of Hell” trilogy. I don’t know what made him want to make a fantasy movie. However, the results were certainly interesting. I guarantee Conquest is not like any other fantasy movie you’ve seen.
The storyline is barely comprehensible and extremely hard to follow. A young man is wandering the wilderness with a magic bow, and he meets another man, and they just wander from situation to situation, involving werewolves, zombies, and cobweb-covered creatures. Oh yeah, and a witch wearing a mask with a snake that goes up her privates. And a spirit who lives in a white wolf. This is all supposed to come together and form the basis of a story, and, well, basically, it doesn’t.
The movie moves well, though. This isn’t one of your typical flicks running over 2 hours – it clocks in at a lean 92 minutes, and it seems the heroes run from one adventure to another. One moment, the main character suffers from boils; the next, his companion is tied to a cross and almost drowned. There’s very little time to catch your breath watching this one.
I think most people will find the movie borderline unwatchable due to the style in which it was shot. There seems to be a hazy fog throughout the film, which can drive the viewer nuts. Personally, it didn’t bother me – I’m used to these surreal shooting styles that I’ve seen where the filmmaker wants the film to appear to be ethereal or dream-like, and yeah, I don’t flinch anymore. That doesn’t mean I loved the style – I wished Fulci hadn’t decided to make the film that way. However, I got the purpose, so I won’t rant about it. The cinematography is impressive and shows the world of the characters well. The make-up is low-budget but adequate, and the costumes suit the characters. The theme music is relentlessly heroic and heard throughout. It has all the trappings of a fantasy film that you would want.
Speaking of the characters, I quite liked the two main characters – and was quite surprised that the film was more about Mace, the older man’s, growth and not as much about the younger man. By the end, Mace is a bonafide hero, and it’s a nice swerve where you’d think the movie would go. The rest of the characters didn’t make a great impression on me, but they do their jobs, which is the basics of what you want. The film is Mace and Ilias,’ and thankfully, they are engaging and likeable.
Overall, I did enjoy this film, despite its flaws. It’s not the type of movie I’d pop in a lot, and I really think if the movie had a tighter story, this could have indeed been a great movie, but it’s a fun movie to watch on a Sunday afternoon, and I think you shouldn’t expect much more.