Barbarian Queen

Date: December 2nd, 2013

Ahh, Lana Clarkson. Surely one of the best barbarian women in film. Before her 2003 murder at the hands of music producer Phil Spector, she made several B movies, including Deathstalker, Barbarian Queen, and Barbarian Queen II. Being 5'11" tall (1.8m) and very well put together, she made a striking figure in all her films.

In 1985's Barbarian Queen, she portrays a woman named Amethea who is about to get married in a small village. The nuptials are interrupted by marauding soldiers who sack Amethea's village and take away many of the villagers, including the groom, as slaves. She and two female friends survive, and together they set out for vengeance and to rescue their kinsmen.

One thing that stands out about this film is the amount of rape that takes place. The first one occurs during the opening credits, and is followed by about three or four more actual or attempted sexual assaults during the course of the film. I'm sure that sort of thing happened back in the day (it still happens during war today), so I guess I shouldn't fault the movie for portraying it, but I figured I should warn the more sensitive viewers.

The production values were reasonably good. There were a lot of outdoor scenes, and the scenes inside dungeons and fortresses had spacious, well-appointed backgrounds with plenty of extras in period costume. I wasn't too thrilled with some of the performances. Katt Shea plays Amethea's friend Estrild. In the way she speaks and carries herself, she comes across as a modern woman of the 1980s, while the other actors are at least trying to evince barbarian personas. As an aside, let me note that Shea went on to become a pretty good writer/director. She directed Poison Ivy, a somewhat-better-than B grade movie starring Drew Barrymore, Tom Skerrit, and Cheryl Ladd.

Other performers include the smoking hot Susana Traverso, an Argentinean actress who appeared in mostly Spanish language films. (Barbarian Queen, like several B-grade sword & sorcery flicks of the 80's, was shot in Argentina). Dawn Dunlap plays Amethea's sister Taramis, who gets raped in the opening sequence and spends the rest of the film in a daze, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

As with most movies of this genre, there are several fight scenes and plenty of nudity, both from the female leads and from a host of extras. One of the most memorable scenes is when Lana Clarkson is held captive by the warlord who sacked her village and is sent to a dungeon for interrogation. She is tortured by a super creepy mad scientist dude, who, I hate to admit, reminds me of me. I don't look like him (thank God), and I am not super creepy, but I will cop to being a mad scientist and I dig his laboratory/torture chamber. He has Clarkson tied topless to a rack, and before he messes her up with his exotic torture equipment, he figures he'll take advantage of the situation and rape her. Why not? Everyone else in this movie is raping or getting raped. Despite being immobilized with her arms and legs tightly bound, Clarkson uses the one set of muscles she can still put into play to "put the squeeze" on the torturer and force him to abort the sexual assault and release her. He then meets a well-deserved end.

Overall, the biggest negative of the movie was the bad acting, but I thought the general plot was solid, even though it was just a standard revenge and rescue storyline. There was plenty of nudity to take your mind off the dialog, and that's what we watch these kinds of flicks for anyway, right?

IMDB link. Rated R.

(Note: last time I checked, the entire movie was on YouTube, here. EDIT March 2014: the YouTube video has been removed.)

Lana Clarkson in Barbarian Queen
Amethea resisting Arrakur's demand that she remove her clothing.

Susana Traverso and Victor Bo in Barbarian Queen
The lovely Susana Traverso, being threatened by her captor Victor Bo.

Eunuch leading slave girls to orgy
The eunuch leads the slave girls (including Katt Shea) out to the gladiator's barracks for an orgy. (Note: this gif is over four megabytes and may take a while to load).

Lana Clarkson torture scene
Amethea (Lana Clarkson) getting groped by Shibdiz the interrogator in the infamous torture scene from Barbarian Queen.

Lana Clarkson's cleavage
Lana Clarkson, showing cleavage and looking defiant. (Two things she's very good at.)

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