Well, another late night threatened to loom for me when I spotted that on Film Four one of my all time favourite films from my dubious childhood viewing habits was on TV. 1982’s wonderfully daft muscle-bound fantasy romp set in time immemorial ‘Conan The Barbarian’. I have a fair few guilty pleasures in life but one of my worst is probably my affection for these sorts of Sword & Sorcery nonsense movies full of saucy scenes and bloody revenge (which I can’t help thinking as guilty pleasures go is much better than smoking or drinking I suppose). I don’t think Arnold Schwarzenegger has ever been as good as he is slaughtering his way through the pre-Biblical flood set world of Conan’s Hyborian Age.
Its just so much better than the truly terrible 2011 ‘reboot’ in almost every single way from special effects, plot, cast and to the seemingly huge scale of the set pieces, for some unknown reason the newer Conan looked far more like it had been made with costumes and on sets more suited to TV shows like Xena or Hercules. Also I struggle to recall a single thing about the 2001 effort whilst my mind is chockfull of useless snippets & scenes from the 1982 version, both also seem to have vastly different lengths with the 1980s Conan seemingly going on forever in true epic style and the later Conan whizzing past my eyes in a headache inducing CGI laden race to plough through the plot. In reality both movies aren’t too far apart in run time with 1982’s Conan running at 129 minutes and 2011’s at 113 minutes.
The 1982 original has even aged better despite the cast having some very 1980s hair dos and the two burly henchmen in the service of James Earl Jones’ baddie looking more than a little like the two guys from ABBA on steroids… also Conan’s warrior love interest does look to my eyes a little bit (just a tad mind you) like Jane from Rod, Jane & Freddy fame.
The other trouble is I watch this film and the next thing I know I’m restarting my way through Skyrim!
Thankfully though I realised it was far far too late to stay up to watch even this classic and instead retired to bed with my slippers on, a book in one hand and a hot chocolate in the other casting a very un-barbarian like figure as I did so.