"The Sword and the Sorcerer," bastard spawn of "Conan" and "The Thing," casts an odious spell without a stab of conscience. It gives us the gore of yore in a castle decorated by Fradkin Brothers. Fair maidens, done up like towel-holders at a massage parlor, loll in harems while erring knights cavort with street dudes in dank dungeons.
What "S & S" lacks in taste, it more than lacks in originality. What it lacks in talent, it makes up for in strap marks. And with all this, it has bad special effects. It looks like a ketchup commercial. That's not counting the rise of Xusia -- evil incarnate -- who oozes out of a tub of goo, later popping out of the face of bad guy Machelli (George Maharis),"The Thing"-style.
Producers Brandon and Marianne Chase not only took what "The Thing" took from the "Alien," but also usurped some of what was "Conan's" while on their way through an old warhorse of a plot: Pretender takes throne, heir gets it back. Conan's mom was decapitated; Prince Talon's mom is decapitated. Conan was crucified; Talon is crucified as the centerpiece at the pretender Cromwell's pre-nuptial dinner party.
Lee Horsley plays the disguised Talon of the Kingdom of Eh-Dan. When Horsley's not being rakish as Errol Flynn, he's being rakish as Harrison Ford. When he's not being a rake, he's cracking phallic jokes (which convulsed adolescents at a sneak preview).
Even with Talon as an ally, the pug-nosed Princess Alana (co-star Kathleen Beller) is captured by Cromwell, who has some of the massage parlor girls oil her up for the wedding/crucifixion before this film clanks to its sanguine close. Beller needs a new agent, for she's able to moue as well as the next starlet. She is also good at the old bewitch-and-knee-'em trick. Surely even a good porn movie would have provided her a better chance to show her thespian skills.
The only magic that can save this film is exorcism.
THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER opens this Friday at the Avalon, Capitol Hill 1, Lincoln 2, Senator and Town.