FRYEAN MYTHOS: *adventure*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTION: *sociological*
CONQUEROR is at least one of the more flamboyant offerings during the waning years of the first peplum-cycle.
Despite the hero (Kirk Morris) sporting the genuinely Greek name of “Herakles,” he doesn’t have any obvious mythological aspects (though he does swear to the Greek gods once), and his level of strength seems uncanny rather than marvelous. For some reason this Herakles finds himself shipwrecked in the deserts of Egypt, but he’s rescued from permanent sunstroke by a princess with the un-Eastern name of “Virna.” Virna explains that her tribe has been warring with that of the chieftain Karr, who’s been abducting her subjects. However, later Herakles stumbles across Karr, and he levels the same accusation at Virna.
After roughly twenty minutes of dull desert-forays, both Herakles and Karr are abducted by the real villains, the survivors of ancient Atlantis. Head scientist Ramir—who appears to be the only male in the hidden city—has been abducting nomads and using super=science to transform the tribesmen into obedient, golden-skinnned androids. The Atlanteans—most of whom are hot-looking warrior-women—also abduct Virna, but for a different purpose. Their old queen Ming, though still looking pretty comely, is about the reach the end of her life, and she wants a brainwashed Virna to succeed her. Herakles, though not gifted with super-strength, nevertheless has to vanquish such super-threats as ray-guns and killer androids, and the Atlanteans’ ultimate project to conquer the world.
Director Alfonso Breccia would later become well known to cult-film lovers for a handful of goofy SF-films, but he doesn’t really unleash his inner clownfish here. The most interesting aspect of this dimestore lost city is the unexplained nature of its inhabitants. Certainly one can imagine some raunchy rationale behind the city consisting of one old scientist and several hot babes. But although there is one moment where two of the hotties try to get busy with Herakles and Karr—only to be killed by Queen Ming—the script never bothers to toss in even a half-baked explanation.
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