Lana Clarkson the Barbarian Queen (part 1)

Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Sword And Sorcery Collection (Deathstalker, Deathstalker II, The Warrior And The Sorceress & Barbarian Queen)

Remembering Lana Clarkson

Lana Clarkson is the Barbarian Queen

A couple nights ago, a friend asked me if I had ever did a review for Deathstalker. Well I haven’t neither here, on Lord Dixie’s Dark Domain, or in any other form. I have seen Deathstalker, and remember the title, but not much more other than it featured Lana Clarkson. Lana went on to star in Barbarian Queen and it’s sequel. I had actually seen Barbarian Queen before Deathstalker, and enjoyed it more. Why? Because Lana had a bigger role. I once owned Barbarian Queen on VHS and I wish I knew where that tape was now.

Young Lana Clarkson

You see Lana Clarkson is really the only reason to recommend either Deathstalker or either of the Barbarian Queen movies. Lana was a beautiful, blonde, busty goddess, who deserved much more fame than she ever got. While Barbarian Queen and Deathstalker made her famous, they may have hurt her career in the long run, at least as far as becoming an “A” list celebrity. The films emphasis on female nudity, and violent sexuality did little to promote her as a serious and capable actress. They did create a cult following for Lana that still lasts. Sadly Lana was taken from her fans way to soon in 2003.

DeathStealker, the debut of Lana Clarkson

Lana Clarkson in Deathstalker

I don’t remember much about Deathstalker other than the lovely Lana Clarkson. I just recently watched it again for the first time in ages, and still the most memorable thing about it was Lana. Part of this is due to her tragic death, it just made me want to focus more on the beautiful starlet. But most is due to Lana’s commanding screen presence. Her personality was ten times higher than her six foot frame. Deathstalker also featured the drop dead gorgeous Playboy model and cover girl Barbi Benton in a supporting role. The fact that Lana, could make such an impression in a film with Barbi, just shows you how much screen presence she had. It didn’t hurt that Lana spent the film topless, wearing only a g-string and cape.

The plot, was that the warrior Deathstalker, played by Richard Hill, was given a task to recover two artifacts from the evil sorcerer Munkar. He travels to a tournament held by Munkar to determine his successor. Along the way he runs into the bare breasted female warrior Kaira, played by Lana Clarkson, and the warrior Oghris, played by Richard Brooker. Brooker, who sadly passed of a heart attack in April, 2013, was best known to horror fans from his role as Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th part 3. Clarkson character of Kaira, is killed in a sword fight, but Deathstalker manages to win the tournament and recover the artifacts, while uncovering Barbi Benton.

As much as I was, and still am, a fan of sword and sorcery, it was the two lovely ladies, and especially Lana Clarkson, that made me enjoy Deathstalker. Riding off the success of Conan the Barbarian, and the busty ladies, Deathstalker was enough of a success to spawn Barbarian Queen.

Lana Clarkson is the Barbarian Queen.

Lana Clarkson as the Barbarian Queen

Spawned by the popularity of Deathstalker, and more so the popularity of Lana Clarkson,Barbarian Queen was born. Deathstalker had seen a moderate profit and producer Roger Corman saw a strong female capable of carrying her own movie. Barbarian Queen might will never be talked about as one of the greatest movies of all time, it was about on par with other sic fi fantasy films produced by Corman. Filled with cheesy effects, badly dubbed supporting characters, and amateurish sword fights, it would be just a foot note in film history except for Clarkson’s demanding presence.

Set in Roman times, Barbarian Queen stars Clarkson as Amathea, queen of a small village. On the queen’s wedding day a Roman raiding party attacks the village, killing or capturing almost every villager. Amathea, and her two surviving warrior women track the raiding party and infiltrate the city. Inside the city they are captured, one of the women is killed trying to escape, and Clarkson is tied topless to a rack in the most infamous scene of the movie.

There she is tortured by a weird metal glove with a sharp tip that pokes her breast forcing her to squirm, and each movement tightens the rack. The sight of the beautiful, toned blonde bombshell’s nearly nude body being stretched taut was mouthwatering to young male viewers, and I remember it fondly. Well, I did watch it again just before writing this, so it’s fresh in my mind. Yeah it is a torture scene, but it’s completely bloodless. The only thing to really let you know it’s a torture is Clarkson’s moans and writhing, along with her sweaty body, which really didn’t help to turn down the heat.

Honestly, I’m not really sure why they were torturing her other than for shits and giggles, but the Queen remains defiant. Eventually the torturer decides to just rape her. As common as rape is in Barbarian Queen, it’s only shocking that he waited this long. During the rape scene, Amathea quickly takes control. She is able to grab and squeeze his penis with her vagina (honest injun), until he is in such pain he has to release her. We should all be forced to submit in a similar way. She then saves the poor guy from an embarrassing explanation of how the queen escapes by killing him.

Amathea is meets up with the city’s rebel underground and decides to join them in overthrowing the city. Together they attack the city, liberating the slaves and exacting vengeance. Without anymore penis squeezing, except possibly from the audience.

The rape, torture scenes are sure to offend some people, but the scene is handled in such a way that’s it’s more sexual than violent. I’m not saying that’s better, and yes, in ways that worse than watching an extremely violent rape scene, just stating the facts, M’am. When I first watched Barbarian Queen back in the 80s, I was more turned on than appalled at the torture scene. The torture sequence is a bit harder to watch now, knowing what happened to Lana.

Still, it’s a must see for fans of cult and bad cinema. Lana might not be held in the same regard as other cult icons, like Sid Haig, or Linea Quigley, but she deserves a spot there. She was probably the first strong, leading lady in a fantasy epic, and don’t let the nudity fool, you Amathea was a strong character. Roger Corman has referred to her as the original Xena, and there is a lot of truth in that statement.

To be continued in the Tragic Death of Lana Clarkson

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