Conan the Destroyer, directed by action/fantasy veteran Richard Fleischer as a sequel to Conan the Barbarian, was released worldwide in 1984. It starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan and Grace Jones as Zula. The critical and commercial response was weaker than that for the first film as it was felt by some viewers to have jettisoned the bloody, brooding ambiance of the original John Milius film, instead opting for a more children-friendly adventure.
Spoiler warning! Plot and/or ending details follow.
At the beginning, a group of troops led by Queen Taramis surrounds Conan and his comedian partner, Malak. Her force attacks and tries to capture them, but Conan fights back with incredible strength and agility, dispatching several of her troops. When she realizes the impossibility of capturing him, she orders her giant bodyguard Bombaata to signal a truce.
Queen Taramis then asks Conan to perform a task for her, which he declines. To force him, she then uses her magic to show Conan his destiny “praying for his lost love Valeria”. and promises to keep his love alive if Conan will accomplish the task for her. Conan is left with no choice but to join her and the group returns to Shadazar.
After some brief conversation in her palace she sets Conan two tasks: capture a key gem which can only be touched by her niece Jehnna, and get the magic horn from a wizard to awaken the dreaming god Dagoth. In addition, she secretly orders Bombaata and a group of elite guards to kill Conan after he retrieves the key. Conan, Malak, Jehnna and Bombaata set out on their quest.
They soon find two more partners to help them in their journey. First they meet the magician Akiro, who is about to be chargrilled by cannibals. Conan saves him with some judicious head chopping, and he joins the group. Later, when the group reaches a village, they find the peasants torturing an accused thief, a female warrior named Zula. Jehnna orders Conan to help her, so Conan cuts Zula loose, who begins fighting back. After the villagers are pumelled for a bit, they allow her to escape on horseback, screaming like a banshee. She catches up to Conan's party but Bombaata tries to send her away. She takes umbrage at this and the two scuffle for a bit before Conan pulls them apart. Conan then magnanimously allows her to ride with them over the mountains to the castle of Thoth-amon.
From within the castle, the magician Thoth-Amon has been watching their journey to his castle using the magic gem. As the group comes near, the castle is mysteriously surrounded by a lake. Although Jehnna wants to continue, Conan decides to rest for the night. Toth-Amon knows Jehnna alone can touch the gem, so, under cover of night, he turns himself into a mighty phoenix and snatches Jehnna, taking her to the castle.
The next morning, Akiro is the first to awaken and notice her absence. The group searches for her, but are only able to locate her with help from Akiro's magic. He then uses his magic to find a way into the castle. As they enter through some mysterious stairs, Toth-Amon goes into a secret room and arranges a welcome for his visitors.
When Conan enters a hall of mirrors, the door immediately closes, separating him from the rest of the group. While they're forced to watch, Conan fights a monster of the mirrors. Conan is badly outmatched by the monster, but is able to hurt the monster by destroying the mirrors. When Conan finally succeeds in doing so, the “the shadow of the mirrors” is defeated.
Toth-Amon, now desperate, tries to pick up the Gem but is destroyed when he touches it. The magic broken, the rest of the group enters the hall and rejoins Conan. Together, they find Jhenna and capture the magic gem with her help. As soon as she picks it up, the castle starts to disintegrate and collapses completely shortly after they escape in a boat.
On the way back to find the horn, the Queen's elite guards attack and try to take Jehnna, but the group, excluding Bombaata, fights back and stops them from escaping. Conan defeats the guard leader in an impressive swordfight. Bombaata then attacks Conan in order to follow the queen’s order but Jehnna stops him. When Conan recognizes the attackers as Queen Taramis elite guards, he questions Bombaata about the attack, but gets no good answer.
After some rest and some of the funnier scenes in the movie, they reach the place of the horn: a mysterious fortress that looks like a temple of doom. Jehnna leads them through the main entrance down to the crypt.
When they reach the horn, Akiro reads instructions carved on the wall. He finds out who will be able to touch the horn, how to awaken Dagoth and what's going to happen to the world in the future. He tries to inform Conan, but Conan refuses to listen. Jehnna places the gem in the appropriate slot, opening the big cave o' fire. Jehnna grabs the horn of magical power.
They try to leave, but are waylaid by the keepers of the horn, who want it back. After a conversation between Akiro and the leader, a brutal fight ensues and the group retreats to the crypt. There, Akiro defeats the leader in a magic fight, while Bombaata and Jehnaa find a tunnel and escape. Bombaata, seeing the others following, decides to enact the Queen's order and betrays them, starting a landslide that buries Conan, Malak, Zula and Akiro. They survive, and are quite angry.
Bombaata escorts Jehnna back to the Palace. Queen Taramis immediately takes the horn and orders a ceremony for Jehnna’s birthday and Dagoth’s awakening-day. As the ceremony starts, Jehnna plugs the horn into Dagoth's forehead. The Grand Vizier instructs Taramis to sacrifice Jehnna when Dagoth shows the first sign of life. Conan and the remaining members of the group find a secret entrance to the Palace. Conan and Bombaata meet, and finally face each other one on one
The fight is tough, but Bombaata is defeated in the end. During the fight, Conan orders Zula to rescue Jehnna from the sacrifice. Zula does so, killing the Grand Vizier in the process. Seeing this, Queen Taramis screams “she must be sacrificed” and tries to sacrifice Jehnna herself. Time has run out, however, and Dagoth awakens without any sacrifice. As a result, he turns into a monster and looks like a creature of Hell. Conan rescues Jehnna from Taramis and pushes the evil queen towards the evil creature. Dagoth slaughters her fiercely with his horn, showing no sign of respect. Everyone tries to stop this monster. A lightening storm begins and the palace pillars start to collaps, causing more chaos. The situation becomes ever worse for the survivors.
Conan tries to fight the monster but is unable to. He looks like a child stopping a giant. Akiro, however, finally finds the answer. He tells Conan to pull the horn off Dagoth's forehead, which is the only way to kill him. Tearing the horn off the living monster seems an impossible task, but Conan manages to jump behind the creature and grab hold of the horn. After some hard work, he pulls it away. Dagoth weakens and dies.
Jehnna becomes the new Queen of Shadazar and makes Zula, Akiro, and Malak ministers. She also offers to marry Conan, but Conan leaves her palace after a last kiss to search for his own kingdom.
- Conan the Destroyer (novel) by Robert Jordan, Tor 1984
- Writers Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, who wrote the original story treatment for this movie, were deeply displeased by the final screenplay by Stanley Mann and the finished film, so they made their story into the graphic novel Conan: The Horn of Azoth, published in 1990, with art by Mike Docherty. The names of the characters were changed to untie the graphic novel from the movie: Dagoth became Azoth, Jehnna became Natari, Zula became Shumballa, Bombaata became Strabo, Toth-Amon became Rammon, and the characters of Queen Taramis and The Leader were combined into sorcerer Karanthes, father of Natari.
Characters and castEdit
- Conan: Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Zula: Grace Jones
- Bombatta: Wilt Chamberlain
- Princess Jehnna: Olivia d'Abo
- The Wizard Akiro/Narrator: Makoto Iwamatsu, perhaps better know as Mako
- Malak: Tracey Walter
- Toth-Amon: Pat Roach
- Queen Taramis: Sarah Douglas
- Grand Vizier: Jeff Corey
- Togra: Sven-Ole Thorsen
- Dagoth: André the Giant (Uncredited)
- We don't have a complete list of locations for Conan the Destroyer (movie). You can help Conan Wiki by adding to this list.
- In the film, a camel is knocked to the ground and, after struggling to get back up, its hind legs are drawn forward with wires so that it is forced to sit down before falling to the ground.
- Conan The Destroyer was filmed in a number of locations in Mexico--including Pachuca, the extinct volcano Nevado de Toluca, and the Samalayucca desert (near El Paso)--as well as in the Churubusco Studios (also in Mexico).
- When John Milius, director of Conan The Barbarian, proved to be unavailable to direct the sequel, Dino De Laurentiis suggested Richard Fleischer to his daughter Raffaella De Laurentiis, who was producing Conan The Destroyer. Fleischer had already made Barabas (1962) and Mandingo (1975) for Dino De Laurentiis.
- The first Conan movie, Conan The Barbarian, made approximately $40 million at the U.S. box office when it was released in 1982 with an R rating, and another $50 million in foreign markets. Because Universal Pictures and producer Dino De Laurentiis thought it would have been even more successful if had been less violent, they wanted to tone down the violence in the sequel to obtain a PG rating. Fleischer delivered a movie that was less violent and more humoruous than the first.
- Conan The Destroyer, grossing $26 million in domestic markets, didn't do quite as well as Conan The Barbarian in the U.S., but it performed better worldwide, grossing another $68 million. The film was successful enough that Schwarzenegger, Fleischer, and De Laurentiis teamed up again to make the semi-sequel Red Sonja a year later.
- Conan The Destroyer was the fourth film on which the great British director of photography Jack Cardiff worked with Fleischer. Cardiff had already photographed The Vikings (1958), Crossed Swords (1978) and Amityville 3-D (1983) for the director. They would work together twice more on Millon Dollar Mystery (1987) and Fleischer’s last film, the short Call From Space (1989), which was shot in the 65mm Showscan process. Cardiff’s other notable films include John Huston’s The African Queen (1951), King Vidor’s War And Peace (1956), and Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (1985). However, he is best known for his extraordinary Technicolor photography on three films directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in the forties—A Matter Of Life And Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1947, for which Cardiff won an Oscar), and The Red Shoes (1948).
- Carlo Rambaldi created the Dagoth monster.
- Originally rated R for excessive violence, the film was recut in order to secure a PG rating.
- Compared to the first Conan movie, Conan The Destroyer has less violence but more humor. The film's stunt casting includes over 7-foot-tall basketball player Wilt Chamberlain and pneumatic singer Grace Jones. Other actors featured are the 14-year-old Olivia d'Abo (in her first screen appearance) playing the petulant teenage princess with sexy innocence, Tracey Walter as the cowardly jewel-swallowing thief, Malak the Quick, and, of course, Schwarzenegger, who put on 10 extra pounds at Fleischer’s request, as the pectorally-perfect Conan.
- David L. Lander was originally cast to play Malak, but, due to both his deteriorating health from the onset of Multiple Sclerosis and difficulties with the director, Lander was forced to let go, and the part was recast with Tracey Walter.
- The Encyclopedia of Fantasy • edited by John Clute and John Grant • Orbit 1997 ISBN 1857233689
- International Superheroes: Conan • "Loki"
- The Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
- Conan the Destroyer
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