ERIK THE CONQUEROR

PrintE-mail Written by James Evans

Mario Bava is well known as a horror master of Italian cinema, but much like his fellow countryman Lucio Fulci, Bava moved across numerous genres including science fiction, thrillers, comedies and in examples like his Erik the Conquerer, historical action. Erik is at its core a loose remake of Richard Fleischer’s 1958 classic The Vikings, made just three years later in 1961.

 

It’s a similar tale of Viking brothers separated in youth, here during a battle between English and Viking forces, with one (Erik) being raised by the Queen of England and the other (Eron) becoming a Viking leader. Some two-plus decades later the men are destined to meet again when Erik becomes leader of his Queen’s navy and Eron becomes leader of a new raiding party. That events do not entirely go well for either is unlikely to come as a surprise.

 

Things start unpromisingly in a programmer-style action sequence, but that quickly changes when we go back to the Viking homeland. Unable to shoot on location Bava displays he was a master of invention and makes it a visual spectacle that harks back to his previous film Hercules in the Haunted World, full of grisly motifs and vivid colours. From then on the film competes with itself, the script and performances mostly never more than fine (except for Cameron Mitchell who is a force of charisma even when not trying), but the shot-framing, use of colour, design and scale very much Bava. It’s not a particularly outstanding film, but the touches Mario brings to it make it something more and whilst perhaps more appealing to Bava completists, still generally entertaining.

 

This new Arrow release has enough added in to make it worthwhile for those who follow the director’s work. First up is a new restoration scan of the print, which in releases like this is vital to showcase how Bava used his cinematographer’s eye to enrich his films. It’s in remarkable shape for a film that was almost meant to just be shown in theatres and then forgotten about, and does credit to Bava. There’s a very fine updated audio commentary by Tim Lucas, who knows a staggering amount about Bava and shares it here. For those interested, there’s a ‘visual essay’ on how Erik stacks up against its inspiration, and an audio-only interview with Cameron Mitchell from the late ‘80s which is a nice addition. For early purchasers there’s also a booklet with writing by Kat Ellinger on the film.

 

It’s an average but fun action epic enlivened by a great director. The Arrow release provides a fine print which compliments those important visuals along with some interesting extras to earn a recommendation.

 

ERIK THE CONQUEROR / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: MARIO BAVA / SCREENPLAY: ORESTE BIANCOLI, PIERO PIEROTTI, MARIO BAVA / STARRING: GIORGIO ARDISSON, CAMERON MITCHELL, ANDREA CHECCHI / RELEASE DATE: 28TH AUGUST


Suggested Articles:
Justin Barber uses the world famous Phoenix UFO incident, when literally thousands of people saw a t
1931’s The Public Enemy is still at this stage one of the best gangster films ever made. James Cag
Although this collection is entitled Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Season 1 Complete Collection it actually contai
Blade Runner has re-spawned quite a bit since it originally limped out to mixed reviews in 1982. Suc
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

THE HOWLING 25 September 2017

PHOENIX FORGOTTEN 21 September 2017

THE PUBLIC ENEMY 20 September 2017

YU-GI-OH! ZEXAL SEASON 1 COMPLETE COLLECTION 20 September 2017

BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT (4K ULTRA HD) 20 September 2017

KILL BABY KILL 20 September 2017

POWER RANGERS DINO CHARGE: RISE - VOLUME 4 20 September 2017

FOOD WARS! SEASON 1 18 September 2017

GUARDIANS 17 September 2017

THE DOCTORS: THE TOM BAKER YEARS 17 September 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner