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Conan The Barbarian (1982)

by on 2012/01/30

“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”

* * * *

I first discovered Conan at my friend Maria’s house. I was just starting junior high and Maria’s parents were cooler than most.

They had huge stacks of Conan comics in their kitchen. They also grew tomato plants in their garage. (It took me a long time to figure out they weren’t really tomato plants).

But I knew right away what Conan was all about. Something about this brutal, simple, Hulk Smash Village character really spoke to me. You see, I always liked smash. Smash good.

I’ve seen the John-Milius-directed Conan the Barbarian many, many times. A scary amount of times in fact. Conan is another in my list of life-changing, formative films.

Not everyone understands.

There are so things to love about this nasty, brutish, greasy-pectorals-and-flashing-steel Arnie vehicle, I fear I might not be able to stop raving. So I decided instead to pull together a Top 10 list of the ways in which I love Conan, the first in the series and in my heart.

10. Arnie punches a camel. Right in the face. (And it looks like he knocks it out cold).
9. James Earl Jones wears a Betty Page-style wig. He’s pretty.
8. Conan kills a vulture using only his mouth, biting it clean through the neck. You really don’t see something like that every day.
7. An 80s hair band – I think, Iron Maiden – is depicted killing, pillaging and burning an entire village. They have attack dogs in outfits.
6. A snake wears a hood. It is adorable.
5. Arnie passes out in a bowl of stew. Stew! (Then later, there’s a stew made of people).
4. This has a higher Arnie grunts-to-dialogue ratio than any Arnold Schwarzenegger film ever after.
3. Hair-pulling ghosts.
2. Learning what is best in life. Conan was right, seeing your enemies driven before you is pretty sweet. Who needs falcons at your wrist?
1. Deciding that I wanted to be Conan when I grew up. Unfortunately, I’ve had to settle for simply being Dragonborn in Skyrim on evenings and weekends. (Although you should see me in meetings sometimes.)

To conclude this ode to Conan, I would like to refer you immediately to the astounding work of Jon and Al Kaplan at jonandal.com. They ease pain.

Anyaaah, gnyaaaaahyaaaayaaaaa!

* * * *

2 hours and 11 sacred minutes

Rated R for barbarian nudity, free-range barbarian husbandry, ancient UFC matches and Crom-cursing blasphemy

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