As I mentioned in my last movie review, the success of Conan the Barbarian paved the way (in blood!) for a slew of low-budget barbarian movies looking to cash in with muscular heroes, busty babes, scant clothing all around, and cheap sets. Perhaps the first of these to make it out the gate was the Roger Corman produced film Sorceress.
For those of you not familiar with Roger Corman, the guy’s produced like a million sci-fi, fantasy, and horror b-movies since the 50s. He’s known for cutting costs whenever he can (such as reusing film scores and special effects from one movie to the next, over and over again), not being shy with the T&A, and for helping to launch a lot of Hollywood careers. Dudes like James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola all got their start working on Corman productions.
So as soon as Corman noticed that Conan the Barbarian got a good reception, he tasked one of his writers with churning out a barbarian script in one week so they could rush it into production. The end result was Sorceress, and it’s fucking glorious.
Now, I don’t want to spoil everything this amazing movie has to offer, so I’m just going to walk you through the opening scenes.
In ancient times, an evil wizard promises to sacrifice his first born to his god. Unfortunately for him, the chick he knocked up isn't so keen on that, so she makes her escape to give birth in safety. In the movie’s opening scene, Evil Wizard has tracked her down only to discover that she gave birth to identical twins. So now he has a dilemma: he needs to sacrifice the first born, or else his god will, I dunno, be offended or something, but he has no idea which one spelunked down the vagina tube first.
He commands a bird-helmeted minion to give the mother the ol’ talon to the groin torture to try and get her to spill the beans on the birthing order, but she responds with the classic spit-in-the-villain's-face defiance.
Then Kung Fu Jesus appears and kicks ass, saving the day. Kind of. The mom is already fucked from the crotch torture (pun not originally intended), but at least she lives long enough to deliver the killing blow to Evil Wizard and dies knowing her babies are safe with Kung Fu Jesus.
Kung Fu Jesus then endows the “two who are one” with magical warrior powers. But then he looks closer and notices that the babies he just turned into super warriors are actually girls. Whoops. He has a good chuckle at that. Then, presumably because he doesn’t want to be burdened with raising girls, he wanders over to some hut and passes the twin sisters off to a farmer and his family.
Kung Fu Jesus warns them that Evil Sorcerer will someday return (because he has three lives, for reasons that are never explained) and will come looking for the “two who are one” (that phrase is used like a billion times during the movie). But he’ll come looking for girls, so Kung Fu Jesus suggests that the farmer raise the twins as boys.
With the opening setup out of the way, the movie then skips ahead twenty years. As predicted, Evil Wizard returns from the dead (unfortunately he looks the exact same—he’s not like a rotting undead corpse or anything), and he instantly sends out his avian-themed warriors to go find the two who are one.
We then meet our now grown up protagonists, the busty barbarian twins (played by identical twin Playmates Leigh and Lynette Harris) frolicking in some water. Then my favorite satyr ever to appear in a motion picture (stealing that coveted spot in my heart from Torgo) creeps up to watch them bathe.
The Busty Barbarian Twins notice the strange creature leering at them, bleating like a goat. Instead of freaking out, they rise out of the water enough to showcase their perky tits and invite him to come on in and join the fun. But then, looking at him closer, the twins have this exchange:
BBT1: (pointing at the horny goat-man's dick) What’s that? Which he carries there... hanging between his legs?
BBT2: I don't know. Some kind of horn?
BBT1: A weapon, then? But how would he use such a weapon?
BBT2: I don't know and I'm not going to wait to find out.
Yes, they’re totally talking about the goat-man’s boner (which the movie tastefully keeps off screen). The satyr bleats out his sexual frustration at them as the naked bimbo twins come out of the water and promptly deliver a double punch that sends him sprawling.
The confused goat-man bleats in dismay (he communicates solely through goat bleats) and runs away. The twins then stand there, dripping and naked, as they watch him scurry off, wondering if they did the right thing.
Have I sold you on this movie yet?
Then Evil Wizard’s minions, led by arch-minion Khrakannon (pronounced "crack-uh-non"—such a fun name to say), harass the poor jerk who adopted the twins. And when I say harass, I mean they rape his daughter, burn down his home and murder everyone. The Busty Barbarian Twins arrive home just in time to see the slaughter of their adoptive family. Then we’re treated to a shot of the twins running in slow motion while glowing blue with warrior power.
Despite their obvious heaving bosoms and exposed silky smooth legs, everyone who looks upon them are tricked into thinking that they’re boys. Not that this deception matters anyway, since the twins instantly engage the minions in battle.
Just as the Busty Barbarian Twins finish off the last of the bad dudes, we see that the satyr has returned, and he brought along his friend, a Gimli cosplayer.
Cosplay Gimli compliments the “young lads” on their fighting prowess, apparently believing them to be dude's with tits, shaved legs, and feminine voices.
Kung Fu Jesus then makes his sudden return, but since it’s twenty years later, he’s now morphed into Hobble-Action Moses.
He’s totally bummed out that he arrived too late to save the family he endangered by passing the twins off to. To atone for this, he gives the twins a deus ex machina password and then walks into a fire to immolate himself.
Now that the twins are unburdened by their adoptive family, they join Satyr and Cosplay Gimli’s party and set off for adventure, just like Luke Skywalker before them. They wander into a grand city. Well, it was supposed to be grand, anyway.
The director thought this establishing shot would later be modified with a matte painting to give the illusion of a sprawling ancient metropolis. But Roger Corman, being, well, Roger Corman, thought the shot looked just fine as-is. No need to spend extra money on a matte painting.
Within the city, our party of adventurers meet their newest recruit: a barbarian prince with a fro who decided to leave his cozy royal life to go out into the world and fuck people over by cheating at dice. Although everyone in the city refers to him as a barbarian, he doesn’t seem to dress or behave any differently than they do, so I have no idea what qualifies him as a barbarian. Maybe only barbarians have fros?
Anyway, Fro Barbarian gets caught cheating, which starts a big silly fight scene that would totally fit it on an episode of Hercules or Xena. In the aftermath, our party of adventurers hide out in a building, where the Busty Barbarian Twins decide to unveil their tits. Why? Because this movie rules, that’s why.
Cosplay Gimli and Fro Barbarian are shocked to see that they are actually girls. When they express this, the topless twins look at them, puzzled. We’re then treated to this exchange:
Bimbo Twin 1: Girls? What do you mean?
Fro Barbarian: (Exchanges look with Cosplay Gimli) I mean... you're not boys.
Bimbo Twin 2: We're not?
Bimbo Twin 1: Not boys? Are you sure?
(Fro Barbarian and Cosplay Gimli exchange a look)
Bimbo Twin 1: See, [Bimbo Twin 2], didn't I say there was something wrong?
Bimbo Twin 2: Well, that's what Papa told us. What's the difference, really?
Cosplay Gimli: You ... you don’t know?
Bimbo Twin 2: Know? Know what?
Cosplay Gimli: About the, uh ... the difference.
Fro Barbarian: You don't notice something different? Like that. (He mimes having big jugs)
(The girls look at each other's tits.)
Bimbo Twin 2: Like this? (prominently displays her tits) Well, yes. I guess we never thought much about it.
And there you go. I could go on, as the movie is consistently entertaining and ridiculous, featuring things like ape-men that hurl laughing gas coconuts, psychic orgasms, an “army” of horny undead, and the best/worst duel between deities to ever be committed to film, but really, this is a movie that everyone should see. Well, everyone who enjoys campy ‘80s movies, anyway. It’s one of the best bad movies I’ve ever watched, and it ranks as my second favorite barbarian movie, trailing just behind the original Conan the Barbarian.
The movie moves at a solid pace, clocking in at a little over an hour. Apparently the director’s original cut was nearly twice as long because he had numerous spiritual dance sequences. But Roger Corman deemed them too boring and chopped them out of the movie. There’s also no sorceress in the entire movie, despite that being the title. Corman apparently choose that title solely because it was the most well-received title on a list that was presented to some youths.
The version Jessica and I first watched was a terrible VHS rip that was nearly impossible to even make out during the dark scenes. The movie somehow never got a DVD release, but just last August it was put out on Blu-ray. I bought it as a belated birthday present for Jessica (and for myself—the advantage of us having such similar taste and interests), and we were pleasantly surprised by just how awesome of a job they did remastering it. It was given far better treatment than I would've expected for being a low-budget barbarian movie that never got much attention.
So if it sounds like something you'd enjoy, I highly reccomend you pick up Sorceress on Blu-ray. I'd love to see more forgotten gems given this kind of Blu-ray treatment.
Satan Factor: Horny goat-man. Sacrificial altars. Undead rapists. Burning Moses. Yeah, pretty satanic.
Ninja Factor: Sad to say there are no ninjas. But there's a guy named Khrakanon, so it has that going for it.
'80s Factor: This movie is pure '80s barbarian cheese.
Boob Factor: Of course the bimbo twins display their tits at every opportunity, but the movie also manages to give some boob-time to a handful of extras as well.
Two Who Are One Factor: Maximum factor.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 pentastars. It's a dumb movie that revels in its own campiness. It actually manages to illicit some intentional laughs, which is really rare for this kind of movie.