Plot: A blood soaked battle has left the king of the vikings dead, but the king of Britain isn’t as pleased as you might think. He wanted to use diplomacy to defuse the violence, but instead one of his military leaders slaughtered the vikings. When the king protests his actions, one of the leader’s flunkies kills the king and blames a viking, masking the treacherous deed. While the vikings have been defeated and their king is dead, his two sons survived, though they wind up separated. Eron is whisked off to be returned to the viking lands, while Erik is taken in by the widowed British queen, to have a much different life. Years later, fate would reunite them, though they would be on much opposite sides. Eron (Cameron Mitchell) is leading an assault on Britain, while Erik (George Ardisson) is sent out to head the defense, in which Erik’s ship is sunk though he survives and washes ashore. As tensions escalate and violence erupts, Eron kidnaps the queen and it seems as if the brothers will be locked into battle. Which side will emerge victorious in this epic struggle?
Entertainment Value: Also known as Fury of the Vikings and Gli Invasori, Erik the Conqueror is best known for the involvement of Mario Bava. A much different genre than Bava built his legacy on, sword and sandal action is the order in this one, though his fans still seek this one out. I do appreciate a fun sword and sandal romp and this movie is just that, a brisk tale of two brothers locked in combat, surrounded by all manner of genre set pieces. While not that polished or extravagant, the movie still offers up some fun sequences, like large scale battles and even high seas adventure. This might be about vikings, but we do get the obligatory “guy descending a sail with a knife” scene and come on, that is always awesome. The action isn’t epic in scope, but it is well designed and does what it needs to do. I also appreciated some of the mystical touches, as well as dancing girls and barbed wire crucifixion. So while this one sticks close to sword and sandal conventions, it has some odd touches as well. The sets and costumes are well done, as well as the overall visual presence. I wouldn’t use this movie as historical reference however, as it has ample inaccuracies. You also have to mention Cameron Mitchell, who shines here with his rugged presence. For fans of Bava, you can see his skills in this one and even if you’re a horror buff just exploring his catalog, it is worthwhile to watch as he fine tunes his style. If you’re a fan of sword and sandal adventures, this is a fun one that has all you could want from the genre.
No nakedness. Some slight blood, but barely enough to move the score one point. A little red stuff smeared around in the torture/crucifixion scene, then a nice gushy arrow wound later in the flick. A lot of action and battle scenes, but the violence isn’t graphic and is mostly bloodless. A wealth of arrow shots throughout, so if you love archery, you will be in heaven with this one. The dialogue is filled with tough guy talk, honor code, and some villainous moments. I mean, it works for what it is, but honestly most of it is pretty forgettable. An odd line about battling swordfish made me perk up, but otherwise, standard tough guy talk with no real home run lines. The movie does have a few odd little moments, such as the crucifixion, spider torture, and stylish dancing girls, plus a fun, but perfectly at home in the genre scene where a man ascends a wall using arrows as handholds. So mostly well within sword and sandal tropes, but enough wackiness to ratchet up a point.
Overall Insanity: 1/10