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  Barbarian Queen The Power Of A Woman
Year: 1985
Director: Héctor Olivera
Stars: Lana Clarkson, Katt Shea, Frank Zagarino, Dawn Dunlap, Susana Traverso, Victor Bo, Armando Capo, Andrea Barbieri, Tony Middleton, Andrea Scriven, Roberto Catarineu, Matilde Mur, Eddie Pequenino, Patrick Duggan, Lucy Tiller, Ivan Grey, Theodore McNabney
Genre: Trash, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: It should have been the happiest day of her life, but at her village as she prepared for her wedding what Amethea (Lana Clarkson) did not know was there were a marauding gang headed in her direction who meant to kidnap the villagers - and those who could not be kidnapped would be murdered. So when she emerges from her hut to meet her husband to be, the powerful Argan (Frank Zagarino), before the ceremony can get underway they are suddenly beset by the band of evildoers who set about grabbing the locals, including Amethea's sister Taramis (Dawn Dunlap)...

But our heroine is not going to take this lying down, as evinced by her short speech thereafter where she rousingly says she will be no man's whore and will fight to the death if need be to get even. It was your basic sword and sorcery nonsense once again, except that there wasn't any sorcery this time around presumably thanks to producer Roger Corman not wishing to shell out for any special effects, so this filmed in Argentina effort looked pretty cheap overall, with most of it taking place outside where sets would not need to be built, or otherwise in a dark dungeon or somesuch. Mind you, extras were obviously very easy to come by.

So the climax where all hell breaks loose was surprisingly well populated with folks pretending to have a massive fight, as these types of entertainment tended to lead up towards. Before that you had to weigh up the plusses and minuses of the depiction of the female characters, because for a film which placed battling warrior women centre stage, it didn't half have a collection of mixed messages in the manner it unfolded. If Amethea was our Barbarian Queen of the title - which technically she wasn't because she had not married due to the union being interrupted - then you would have every right to expect to watch her kicking ass, or the sword-wielding equivalent, for the duration.

She does to an extent, but as with the other women in the film, she also spends a lot of her time being captured, tied up and/or raped, which would have you wondering just how empowering this was supposed to be when many of these scenes were intended to get the actresses parted from their clothes. Amethea and her sidekick Estrild (future director Katt Shea) start rabble rousing against the wicked ruler Arrakur (Armando Capo) who orders all this mayhem, but keep getting interrupted by cackling men who wish to assault them, so this was less Red Sonja as it was an unofficial Gor novel adaptation in effect, that in spite of her trying to rescue Argan who is being put to use as a gladiator.

But Barbarian Queen, whether it was trying to take strong women down a peg or two or not - there's not a doubt about whose side we're on throughout - became notorious for a reason far from its sexploitation sequences, and that was because of what happened to Lana Clarkson. Though we will never know the whole truth, one night in 2003 it seems she was at legendary record producer Phil Spector's house when he shot her dead, resulting in a sensational trial that convicted him of murder. Clarkson was often referred to as a B-movie actress, and this particular B-movie was referred to more often than her other work in film and television, possibly because it was a starring role when most of her work had been in support, often decorative thanks to her statuesque looks. When she died, it was clear nobody had a bad word to say about her except for the man who killed her, though whether this was really a fitting memorial was debatable; she did shine in a few memorable scenes, such as the torture chamber one, but it was low rent business really. Music by Christopher Young.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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