Story: The leader of an ominous spider cult (Dakar) is concerned about a prophecy, one that foretells the eventual ruin of the cult at the hands of a noble, powerful hero. The son of one of his enemies is the fated warrior, but since the the son, Ator, is just a child, the high priest plots to eliminate the threat now. The spider priest calls for Ator’s village to be sacked and the residents killed, but despite the priest’s best efforts, even a child, Ator is able to escape his clutches and survive the assault. Years later, Ator (Miles O’Keefe) has indeed grown into quite a fearsome warrior, but the spider cult remains obsessed with the ancient prophecy. This leads to the cult kidnapping Ator’s sister Sunya (Ritza Brown), who also happens to be his beloved wife. In an effort to reclaim his bride and end the spider cult forever, Ator launches on a quest and at his side is a fierce Amazon, Roon (Sabrina Siani). But can even two skilled warriors like these somehow topple an entire cult of spider worshippers?
Entertainment Value: As this is a Conan knockoff from director Joe D’Amato, I expected a wild ride and instead, the end result is rather forgettable. I love the concept, with some sword & sorcery, a spider cult, and a low rent, but fun general vibe, but the pieces never come together here. Perhaps part of my disappointment is that D’Amato has made a family friendly picture with Ator, the Flying Eagle, which seems to muzzle the cult filmmaker’s typical madness and that’s a shame. The movie stars off at a glacial pace and takes almost half an hour to find an uptick in speed, though after that point, Ator is a little more brisk. But if you’re expecting wall to wall action, wild visuals, and schlock, you’ll likely be let down here. There is some camp value and the last half is a decent watch, but the experience feels reigned in and frankly, kind of dull at times. I appreciated the hokey fight scenes and some of the characters, as well as the assorted surreal or off the wall moments, but those elements take a backseat in Ator, which seems to focus on less memorable ingredients. I think there was immense potential here, with D’Amato at the helm of a movie with a spider cult, oiled up hardbodies, and some offbeat scenes that could be dialed up, but for every small flash of fun, there are several minutes or more of less than memorable cinema. I really wanted to like Ator, as I love the genre and D’Amato, but this one didn’t bowl me over, so it gets a light recommendation.
The cast in Ator is interesting and has some colorful characters to bring to life, with Miles O’Keefe in the lead as our titular warrior of fate. O’Keefe is fine and plays the role well, looking like a sword & sorcery type barbarian, while handling the minimal demands the character has. I wouldn’t call his turn charismatic and he tends to let his costars steal scenes, but he is a passable lead. He takes the role seriously and doesn’t just phone in his effort, he is just held back at times by his skillset, though the movie doesn’t push him too much. Professional wrestler Dakar is our villain and he does camp it up here as the spider priest, complete with a terrible wig and mustache combo. His turn is over the top and often outlandish, which I had fun with and in truth, suits the family friend approach, since he adds some comedic value. Of course, it is impossible to take Dakar seriously at times, which makes the serious, but wooden efforts from his costars sometimes all the more humorous. I know cult films fans will be interested in Laura Gemser’s presence in Ator and she is here, just not in a sizable role. I think she adds some spice and a little, welcome cameo that genre fans will likely consider one of the film’s highlights. The cast also includes Sabrina Siani, Ritza Brown, and Edmund Pernum.