If there’s a 12 step group for people who watch too many Joe D’Amato movies, well I should be the counselor, helping talk people off the ledge after they think they need to watch Erotic Nights of the Living Dead or Eleven Days, Eleven Nights or…hell, I can’t do it. For all people heap scorn on the movies of the man born Aristide Massaccesi, I find myself falling in love more and more with each movie.
There are four Ator movies and honestly, none of them need to be seen in order. The first, Ator the Fighting Eagle starts with our hero asking his father if he can marry his sister, at which point most people get grossed out and fans of Italian sleaze say, “Oh yes, this is a D’Amato movie.” Throw in a spider cult, Sabrina Siani as a thief and Black Emanuelle herself, Laura Gemser, as well as a script by Michele Soavi, and you have paradise on VHS tape.
The second Ator epic — well, stretching the use of the word there, even I get that — is Ator 2 – L’invincibile Orion, which was released in the U.S. as The Blade Master and Cave Dwellers. It features modern technology — a hang glider and a nuke — within its sword and sorcery plot. Rushed to theaters to take advantage of Conan the Destroyer, it feels like more Yor Hunter from the Future than a trip to Cimmeria.
The third — and I’d argue best — Ator film is Iron Warrior. Directed by Alfonso Brescia, this is an MTV music video arthouse version of a peblum movie and it makes me mental every single time I watch it, screaming at the TV in absolute maniacal joy. It’s like after all the Star Wars ripoffs Brescia made, he had to bless us with something from another universe. He’d follow this up with the equally astounding — and scummy as it gets — The Beast In Space.
D’Amato hated what Brescia’s did, so he starts this one off by killing Ator and introducing us to his son. Obviously, Miles O’Keefe isn’t back.
This one has nearly as many titles as Aristide had names: Ator III: The Hobgoblin, Hobgoblin, Quest for the Mighty Sword and Troll 3.
That’s because the costumes from Troll 2 — created by Laura Gemser, who is in this as an evil princess — got recycled and reused in this movie. D’Amato proves that he’s a genius by having whoever is inside those costumes speak.
Let me see if I can summarize this thing. Ator gets killed by the gods because he doesn’t want to give up his magic sword, which he uses to challenge criminals to battles to the death. The only goddess who speaks for him, Dehamira (Margaret Lenzey), is imprisoned inside a ring of fire until a man can save her.
That takes eighteen years, because Ator the son’s mother gave the sorcerer Grindl (the dude wearing the troll costume) her son to raise and the sword to hide. She then asked him for a suicide drink, but he gave her some Spanish Fly and got to gnome her Biblically in the back of his cave before releasing her to be a prostitute and get abused until her son eventually comes and saves her because this is a Joe D’Amato movie and women are there to be rescued, destroy men and be destroyed by men.
This movie is filled with crowd-pleasing moments and seeing as how I watched it by myself, I loved it. Ator (Eric Allan Kramer, Thor in the TV movie The Incredible Hulk Returns and Little John in Robin Hood: Men In Tights) looks like Giant Jeff Daniels and his fighting skills are, at best, clumsy. But he battles a siamese twin robot that shoots sparks, a goopy fire breathing lizard man who he slices to pieces and oh yeah, totally murks that troll/ghome who turned out his mom.
This is the kind of movie where Donald O’Brien and Laura Gemser play brother and sister and nobody says, “How?” You’ll be too busy saying, “Is that Marisa Mell?” and “I can’t believe D’Amato stole the cantina scene!” and “What the hell is going on with this synth soundtrack?”
Here’s even more confusion: D’Amato’s The Crawlers was also released as Troll 3. Then again, it was also called Creepers (it has nothing to Phenomena) and Contamination .7, yet has no connection with Contamination.
Only Joe D’Amato could make two sequels to a movie that has nothing to do with the movie that inspired it and raise the stakes by having nothing to do with the original film or the sequel times two.
Watch this on YouTube.