As part of Roger Corman’s nine-picture deal with Argentina, the Barbarian Queen seems to be an answer to the question, “Was Deathstalker rapey enough?” This entry was also helmed by local Argentinian director Héctor Olivera, whose most notable contributions to world cinema is this “gem” and the equally terrible Wizards of the Lost Kingdom. Bad acting, terrible dubbing, gratuitous sexual assaults, recycled sets and a plot that wanders around like a beaten lost puppy, all go towards making this one of the worst entries in the genre.
Do you remember the beginning of Conan the Barbarian where a young Conan was told about the “Riddle of Steel” by his father and then his village is attacked by Thulsa Doom and his marauders, that was a pretty badass opening, wasn’t it? Well, this film starts off with a girl being horribly raped by soldiers before her village is then attacked by the film’s main villain, and his fun-loving marauders, which pretty much set the tone for the rest of this movie.
Descriptions of the movie claim that it takes place during the days of the Roman Empire but as not one character dresses like a Roman, and all the sets are reused ones from Deathstalker, I never got that vibe, basically, this was just another standard plot about an evil king ruling from an evil city that is full of harem girls and gladiators, with nothing to set it apart from other Sword & Sorcery movies except for the lack of sorcery that is.
The village is attacked during the wedding preparations of marriage between Prince Argan (Frank Zagarino) and Amethea (Lana Clarkson) and in between the raping, most of the villagers are killed and the few survivors are taken as slaves, including Argan and the poor raped girl who turns out to be Taramis (Dawn Dunlap) Amethea’s sister. Amethea only survives by setting fire to her hut and then taking cover in her bathtub.
Two other women survived the attack, Estrild (Katt Shea) and Tiniara (Susana Traverso), and Amethea convinces them to join her on her mission to avenge her ruined wedding day, “I’ll be no man’s slave and no man’s whore, and if I can’t kill them all, by the gods they’ll know I’ve tried.” They then canoe down the river for a while until coming across a military outpost where they see some old dude raping a woman that is tied to a fence, they kill the rapist but the girl then dies in the arms of Estrid.
The trio makes quick work of the rest of the soldiers at this outpost and but they also discover that Amethea’s sister has gone a bit funny in the head since her capture and the multiple sexual assaults she suffered at the hands of the soldiers here. Now, I don’t want to harp on this but for a movie called Barbarian Queen, there just seems to be a lot of violence towards women and we’re not even at the fifteen-minute mark.
The four women take the horses of the now-dead soldiers and proceed on their “Revenge Quest” only to be attacked by a rebel band of villagers, that is until the villagers learn that Amethea and company are also enemies of Arrakur (Armando Capo), the man who lead the attack against Amethea’s people and who rules the land with an iron fist. The rebels lend the women a young girl named Dariac (Andrea Scriven) to lead them to the city as only she knows the secret way in.
They are led through underground passages into the catacombs below the city where they then meet up with Dariac’s father the apparent leader of the underground rebel movement. He tells them that he can’t let them fight as they’ll start a battle that the rebels are not ready or capable of finishing.
This is when things start to really go bad because for reasons unknown the group decides to split up which allows traumatized Taramis to run off and join the evil Arrakur as she is, apparently, suffering from some form of Stockholm Syndrome, and when Estrild tries to find Taramis she is captured and raped by city soldiers to which see then later dies in the castle dungeon.
When Amethea and Tiniara see Estrild being taken away they rush to her rescue but instead of winning in a badass display of swordsmanship, they themselves are quickly captured by more of the city soldiers.
Tiniara is sent off to be a harem girl and sex toy for the gladiators while Amethea is interrogated by Arrakur himself, who orders her to take her clothes off but when he tries to kiss her she bites his face.
Arrakur doesn’t kill her for this insolence, instead, he sends her to his chief torturer and we are “treated” to the film’s most bizarre scene as Amethea is tied spread eagle on a rack while some kind of mechanized steel gauntlet is aimed at her chest.
If this scene comes across as a tad fucked up you will find how she escapes being even more so as the twisted bastard decides to move onto the sexual assault portion of his torture regime but when he starts screwing her Amethea clamps down on his dick with her super vagina muscles and she tells him that she won’t stop squeezing his manhood until he releases her hands. Of course, when he does she kicks him into a nearby vat of acid.
Meanwhile, Tiniara as a harem girl has made contact with Argan, who is now a gladiator, and tells him that she and Amethea have made contact with the rebels and that with their help and the help of the gladiators they could overthrow Arrakur. That plan has a few hiccups, being that Tiniara and the gladiators have no way of confirming with the rebels the details of the plan, and they have no idea where Amethea is, not to mention that the rebels aren’t armed or remotely ready to start their rebellion, other than that it’s a crackerjack plan.
The big finale has the gladiators being betrayed by one of their own but just as all seems lost the rebels show up and a brainwashed Taramis plants a dagger in the back of Arrakur saving Amethea from getting her head lopped off.
I’ve seen my fair share of cheesy exploitation films but this one takes the cake, it would have been better off if they had just gone ahead and made this thing into an outright porno. The action scenes were terrible with the only thing worse than the lame sword fighting would be the acting which was more wooden than the swords. As heroes go Amethea is about the worst imaginable as she fails almost constantly at everything she attempts and even at the end she has to be saved during her fight with the chief villain. The only saving grace here is we get to see poor mentally shattered Taramis get her revenge.
Easily one of the worst of the Roger Corman-produced films made down in Argentina and with its constant and gratuitous sexual assaults on the women it makes the film not just hard to watch but also reprehensible and inexcusable.