The Barbarians (1987)

Ruggero Deodato brings together Richard Lynch, twin muscleheads called the Barbarian Brothers, George Eastman and Michael Berryman and the results are everything you dreamed that they would be. Within the first ten minutes of this film, I had already screamed from my couch in pure glee, so happy to be alive and watching an Italian barbarian movie — times two! — that was unashamed to be this stupid.

The Ragnicks are a tribe of peaceful traveling entertainers. Think sideshow — as they journey on horseback, one of them is even throwing knives to practice. They’ve recently adopted twins — Kutchek and Gore — and are protecting the magic ruby of their tribe. But soon, Kadar (Lynch) takes Queen Canary hostage. The young twins attack, biting off his fingers. However, he promises that if he takes Canary as one of his concubines, that he and his men will never kill the twins.

Kadar is a dude with a plan. A fifteen-year plan, really. He raises each of them separately, telling them their brother is dead, and has them routinely beaten by a masked man — either silver or gold depending on the brother. Then, when they have gone through all the whippings and strength trials ala Conan, they will fight and kill one another. That way, he can keep his promise and keep getting some of that sweet freakshow loving from the queen of the sideshow.

The brothers knock off their helmets — forgot that part of the plan — and escape into the woods where they find their old people who now live in misery. They also find Ismena, a thief who is imprisoned by their old tribe. The Ragnicks believe that this is magic and try to hang the twins, but their necks are just too big to lynch and they win over their old friends.

Hijinks ensue — like arm wrestling George Eastman and battling a dragon in the Forbidden Land. It gets a little long at the end, but the ride there is pretty decent, with the Forbidden Land itself looking like where most of the budget went.

If you’re a fan of the Barbarian Brothers — David and Peter Paul — they also show up in D.C. Cab. It’s kind of amazing to me that they were born in Harford, Connecticut and never ended up in the WWE.

Shout! Factory released this movie alongside the Lee Majors vehicle The Norseman. You can get it right here.

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