Friday, May 26, 2017

Forgotten Fantasy: Throne of Fire

Day 4 of Forgotten Fantasy is upon us and brilliantly I found a film that would look very much like an Italian Sci-Fi Fantasy. NooOOOOOOOOO!!!! Well who knows. Maybe this time around I will be blessed with a forgotten gem of cinema rather than a wretched turd. This is The Throne of Fire.

Stagehand poked me in the butt with a stick.

Helming this magnificent piece of moving pictures is writer/director Franco Prosperi (The Evil Eye, Slave of Rome, Hercules in the Haunted World, Unbelievable Adventures of Italians in Russia, Ripped-Off, The Funny Face of the Godfather and Meet Him and Die). The film opens with Belial snatching up a widow for his demon offspring. No we don't see any forceful rape scene so thank God for that. And then fade to opening credits. Seems a bit rushed but hey if it makes the movie quicker, you can hit the fast forward button for me too, Film. I promise I can make up a more entertaining feature. While the demon's bride is forced to give birth in the woods in a spooky cave probably containing Cave Dwellers and Trumpy from Pod People, Seigfried (Yeah I didn't just make that up) got a castle but worry not, next to no draft thanks to glass windows of plenty...well minus the stonework and all the fireplaces. It is Morak's destiny to sit of the coveted Throne of Fire. Crafted by Odin himself for a succession of kings. At least that is what they are telling us.

Cut some warriors fresh from the Renn Faire as no one has a uniform or armor matching one another. They are a motley crew with no Tommy Lee in sight they slaughter a nearby village and burn it to the ground. Some of the farmers sought to attack these bandits by gathering in the woods for a surprise attack. Yeah you can guess how well that went. They had plenty of time to defend themselves with the bandits coming in with a slo mo dramatic fashion. Maybe 8 archers and the whole lot would have been dropped. So intense is this pillaging they use archers with flaming arrows stock footage twice.

The taking of Clarinda Iowa!

A little over fourteen minutes in to the flick and not so much as a title card announcing 18 or 20 years later as Morak (Harrison Muller of 2020 Texas Gladiators, She, The Violent Breed, The Final Executioner, Miami Cops and Getting Even) is a grown man. Looking exactly like his father...played by the same actor only with a beard this time! The village next to be razzed was concealing the lovely and deadly Warrior Princess Valkari (Sabrina Siani of White Cannibal Queen, Cannibal Terror, College Girl on Vacation, 2020 Texas Gladiators, Ator, the Fighting Eagle, Conquest and Cobra nero) whom Morak vows to marry and make his dark bride. FYI, Morak's captain of the guards is voiced by Edward Mannix. IMDB missed it as he was uncredited.

Um it is a bit breezy in my loincloth.

Our protagonist Siegfried (Pietro Torrisi of Gunan, King of the Barbarians, Popeye, The Sword of the Barbarians,S.P.Q.R.: 2,000 and a Half Years Ago and Gemanikus) knows nothing of tigers or a fellow named Roy but in fact seems to be a hairy chested oiled up warrior invulnerable to harm, has a steadfast sword arm and proclaims that he and he alone will challenge the son of Satan's messenger, Belial to combat. Did I mention he is vulnerable to fire?

Can Siegfried manage Morak? Will Valkari be forced to marry the half demon??

Okay well slow motion dramatic entrances aside, this camera work was painful. Blocking your actor into frame is tough if you don't know how, transition shots of the fade and return and more jump cuts for bounding around or being turned invisible was a literal headache for yours truly. 35 mm Techniscope isn't a bad system but for God's sake put a damn stabilizer on that if you can't a tripod. The pans and zooms were worse as they would not stay in focus. Creature and ghost effects were solar mirror or projection which have a decent enough look to them.  So no oodles of nudity, forced bisexuality but a lot of greased up men in loin cloths.

 Cranked out to 89 minutes you have a pretty standard plot of good vs evil, the practical wound effects are fair, the story idea itself was clever and overall not a bad film. Yes I was very surprised I would enjoy this. It's the Seven Magnificent Warriors all over again. Still confused to why the heroes all wear animal skins and not armor but whatever. 

So shaven or beard?  What do you think?