Saturday, December 27, 2014

Barbarian Queen (1985)

Barbarian Queen gets fancy at the outset, with a girl posed above her own reflection in a limpid pool.  But don't throw your TV out the window in disgust—the movie quickly lives down to its trashy title, as our girl is captured and bondaged by the barbarian version of a Duck Dynasty guy.  I love the framing in this scene, very reminiscent of local commercials for furniture stores or carpet wholesalers.  

Santa and his henchmen attack the girl's village and ruin its day.  Some wacky editing choices give us the arrow version of the magic bullet theory and the film spoons out its first taste of uninspiring battle scenes.  These are generally filmed very close-up and scored with monotonous metal clanging.  

This attack happens on Princess Amethea's wedding day.  Poor, doomed Lana Clarkson gives the titular performance you'd expect from a film of this pedigree.  Some of the rare fun in the movie derives from its loony, dated choices, such as the omnipresent headbands on the barby girls.  

I'm insecure about the amount of time I worried over the female costuming.  Obviously, I appreciate skimpy fur/leather bikinis, but why top that with thick fur pimp coats?  What the fuck climate is this supposed to indicate?

The bad guy costuming is even more puzzling.  Fur-lined all black and hats worn indoors.  Plus these Romans(? It's not that clear who these guys are, but they do have gladiators, so let's go with Romans) don't appear to have any females in their tribe.  We only ever see rapey men, who maintain harems full of abducted ladies.  I hope no future anthropologists ever try to interpret the past using only Barbarian Queen as a primary source.

They will probably be pretty displeased, although they might dig Katt Shea's fun performance and sometimes skimpy outfits.  I'm happy that Shea had a pretty lengthy directorial career after she'd done her time in this kind of thing.  

This is a poorly-constructed story.  In what is nominally an excuse to blend boobs and death, we endure eons of bad dialogue, so when something crazy finally does happen (like a Jewish torture scientist tying a pretty-naked Lana Clarkson to a rack), it's hard to care.  It's like getting rewarded with a French kiss, but only after you listen to a five-hour timeshare presentation.  In the great carny tradition, Barbarian Queen most likely owes its famed name to a cool poster and the reluctance of disappointed attendees to admit they actually saw it.  There's definitely better barby girl fare to be found; don't waste your life on this, pls.