Kull the Conqueror

You can keep your dinosaur romps and your cartoon fairy tales; this is the kind of kids’ movie I treasured in my own youth, sexy, pictorial, and unfathomable. Raffaella De Laurentiis produces her third sword and sorcery fantasy based on the works of Robert E. Howard (the two Conan movies of the 80s were the others). Scripted by Charles Edward Pogue and directed by John Nicolella, this one’s a campy hoot by most standards, and for me a highly pleasurable one–in part because everything from the anachronistic rock score to the simplicity of the story line to the lurid, boyish fantasies about evil and women manages to suggest the clunky innocence of Howard’s original tales. The title hero, played by Kevin Sorbo, a sort of Rock Hudson with longer and greasier hair, inadvertently becomes hunky king of Valusia by being in the right place at the right time, but then meets and is lured into marriage by the evil sorceress Akivasha (Tia Carrere) inside of about 30 seconds. Others in the cast include Thomas Ian Griffith, Karina Lombard, Litefoot, and (believe it or not) Harvey Fierstein, and SF writer L. Sprague de Camp is credited as technical adviser. Burnham Plaza, Ford City, Gardens, Golf Glen, Lincoln Village, North Riverside, Water Tower, Webster Place.

–Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still (Kevin Sorbo as Kull).