Film Review: Kull the Conqueror (1997)

Also known as: Conan the Conqueror (working title)
Release Date: August 29th, 1997
Directed by: John Nicolella
Written by: Charles Edward Pogue
Based on: Kull of Atlantis by Robert E. Howard
Music by: Joel Goldsmith
Cast: Kevin Sorbo, Thomas Ian Griffith, Tia Carrere, Litefoot, Harvey Fierstein, Karina Lombard, Roy Brocksmith, Pat Roach

Universal Pictures, 96 Minutes

Review:

“[with corpses around the throne] My heirs challenged me for the throne. So I’ve spared all my children any future disappointment!” – King Borna

This was originally written to be the third Conan film but the De Laurentiis family couldn’t get Arnold Schwarzenegger to commit to it. So after several years, they locked up Kevin Sorbo, star of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. However, Sorbo didn’t want to play a character that was already made famous by another actor, so the filmmakers retooled the Conan script and decided to use a different but similar Robert E. Howard barbarian character, Kull of Atlantis.

To be frank, I was really excited to see Kull get his own movie. While I love Conan, when I was a kid I read a few of the Kull stories and loved him as well. He was definitely a character worth exploring. Plus, his comics from Marvel were also in abundance in my collection.

For the most part, this is just an okay movie. It’s lighthearted, fun but it’s cheap and it shows. The story also isn’t very good but I guess it’s as good as the plot of Conan the Destroyer or other mid-tier sword and sorcery pictures.

What makes this film more enjoyable than it would otherwise be is the charisma of Kevin Sorbo and the vastly underappreciated Thomas Ian Griffith, who I have been a fan of since first seeing him in The Karate Kid, Part III. These two guys absolutely carry this movie on their backs. The opening scene between them is fantastic, as is every other scene that they share.

But in the end, I really wanted more from a Kull movie. Hopefully, someday, we can get a resurgence in sword and sorcery films and actually see Kull return to the big screen, preferably with a decent budget and stronger script.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: other movies based on Robert E. Howard creations: the Conan films, Red Sonja and Solomon Kane, as well as the Beastmaster film series.

Film Review: Zombie Nightmare (1987)

Release Date: October 13th, 1987
Directed by: Jack Bravman
Written by: John Fasano
Music by: Jon Miki Thor
Cast: Adam West, Tia Carrere, Jon Miki Thor

New World Pictures, 89 Minutes

Review:

Zombie Nightmare is one of the few things I have seen Adam West in outside of the 1960s Batman television show and its feature film. This is also interesting in that West plays a character with a harder edge to it. Unfortunately, this is far from a decent picture.

Most of the people who have seen this movie, have seen it featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Even though it hit video shelves in 1987, it mostly collected dust and remained undiscovered. Not that it deserves to be discovered, unless you are a die hard Adam West or Tia Carrere fan. And for Carrere, this is actually a better movie than Wayne’s World 2.

The story sees a voodoo priestess that wants revenge for a bunch of heinous shit turn teenagers into zombies. A teen boy who loves playing baseball and looks like a brunette Fabio tries to be a hero against a gang of bored rich suburban punks. He is murdered for his efforts. Then he is resurrected as a zombie and seeks revenge against the gang of rich punks. As the punk shits get picked off, they become zombies too.

While the movie is dumb, predictable and just not very good, it still has some charm and is entertaining. It isn’t something I’d really want to revisit but it was fairly enjoyable for a quick afternoon romp through 80s horror cheese. Plus, Adam West makes cheese taste even better. Even if he’s only in the film for the last third of the picture. Also, the film starts with Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades”, which gets it some brownie points.