1982, Movies

Ator the Fighting Eagle [Ator l’invincibile] (1982, Joe D’Amato)

This is a classic terrible ’80s fantasy film, made in Italy but starring America’s Tarzan because, why not?

There’s the usual attempt silly mythology to open the film, this time featuring spiders for some reason. It’s amazing how boilerplate this stuff always is even back in the early ’80s. As usual, there’s a prophesy and a chosen one yada yada yada.

The film dives into the unintentional comedy pretty quickly when the chosen one wants to marry his sister. (Minutes into the movie!) And then a village is destroyed, his not-actual-sister is kidnapped and there’s a training montage. You know, the usual.

Everything is pretty mediocre, the acting is typical of these European films made for English audiences, there is nothing original about it, and the whole thing is pretty boring.

But the thing that stands out most is how hilariously badly it’s shot. Some scenes are shot so close up you can’t really tell what’s happening, like they zoomed in too much or they moved the camera literally on to the set. Others include tons of shots where something is in the way of the camera, whether it’s wall or an actor or both. It’s clear that D’Amato, a legendary maker of shlock and softcore porn, fancied himself an auteur. But the film itself is so crappy that the attempts at being artsy look extremely amateurish. A generic, low-budget fantasy rip off is not the place to try (relatively) unconventional angles and blocking. (Or maybe it is and I’m just mean.)

It’s far from the worst shitty fantasy movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s definitely in a pretty bad tier. There was some money spent on sets and locations and the soundtrack sounds somewhat professional. But it’s still just a bunch of cliches, bad wigs and props and, like so many of these movies, quite boring. At least there are some laughs.


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