Barbarian movies were big in the 1980s, following Arnold Schwarzenegger's two triumphs as Conan. Producer Roger Corman was responsible for many of the rip-offs, including the pair on this double-feature DVD, 1984's "The Warrior And The Sorceress" and 1985's "Barbarian Queen."
Corman regular David Carradine stars in "The Warrior and the Sorceress" as the former, Kain "? a nod to perhaps his most famous role, on TV's "Kung Fu." In a land with dual suns, he slings his sword around at all sorts of armored ruffians and the occasional fake-looking monster. He's also surrounded by a bevy of unclothed women, including one who's got to be pushing 300 pounds.
The treatment of women here is unquestionably exploitative, given not just the wall-to-wall nudity, but director John Broderick's decision of including multiple 'tween-the-leg shots of a naked beauty trying desperately not to drown after being thrown in a tank for the sheer sport of it.
No one ever accused "Warrior" of having good judgment. And we haven't even the room to discuss the talking lizard puppet or the belly dancer with four breasts.
"Barbarian Queen" is better, ostensibly, but that may be just because I'd much rather spend time with Lana Clarkson with Carradine. As Amathea, Clarkson also is taken advantage of by helmer Hector Olivera, repeatedly having her top ripped off and being groped and squeezed as she makes her way from slavery to semi-royalty.
Although she was gorgeous (damn you, Phil Spector) and apparently willing to submit herself to these proceedings, you feel more for Clarkson than for her character. You can enjoy "Queen" as a goof, but you may feel ashamed.
Both films are incompetent enough to border on self-parody. Speaking of, for a dose of intentional laughs, you've gotta see "Deathstalker II." A trailer for it is here, so one hopes it'll find its way to a future release in the "Roger Corman's Cult Classics" line. Rather than shelling out for this current twofer, there are much better discs in the series to buy. "Rod Lott