Monday, June 2, 2014

Episode 24: Conan the Barbarian [1982] (Or, Thorgrim is Beside Himself With Grief)

Welcome back, Children of Doom! The purging is at last at hand! Day of Doom is here! It's time at last to talk about the film that launched Arnold Schwarzenegger's film career, Conan the Barbarian! You can pick it up on Amazon, if you don't already have it!

It even has an iconic poster!
In addition to Schwarzenegger, this film stars James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom, Sandahl Bergman as Valeria, Gerry Lopez as Subotai, Mako as the nameless wizard, and features a brief appearance by Max Von Sydow as King Osric.

This film has a legendary score by Basil Poledouris! You know that Anvil of Crom is in your head right now! It's absolutely incredible, and we can't imagine this film without it. Here's a link to a playlist on YouTube, Conan the Symphony, featuring the Andalucian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mr. Poledouris himself! It's awesome background music, play it and see your productivity increase three-fold!

Check out our friend El Goro's podcast Talk Without Rhythm! He has an extensive archive of interesting film discussions with his co-host The Cancer Man. You might want to start with Episode 187, a look at Solomon Kane (2009) and Conan the Barbarian (2011). Tell him The Cromcast sent you!

This is it, folks. We stand before Crom and must answer The Riddle of Steel. But all is not lost! Next time, it's a Cromcast Retrospective - Our Year with Conan! After that, we will be gearing up for Season 2 of The Cromcast, which will spotlight The Heroic Women of Robert E. Howard. Helen Tavrel, Dark Agnes de Chastillon, and Red Sonya of Rogatino will take center stage as we explore the representation of women in sword and sorcery. It'll be interesting! We hope you continue adventuring with us on into 2014. It'll surely be an age undreamed of...

We'll see you next time, By Crom!

Questions? Comments? Curses? Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)You know you want to follow us on Twitter!
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Call us! (859) 429-CROM!

Beginning theme: "Sudden Defeat" by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


  1. There are a lot of elements from Kull stories as well in this movie. Kull was a gladiator, a slave and an orphan. Thulsa Doom is a wizard from one story. There is a serpent religion with its temples and they have an important jewel that has some role in one other story. And there is the Atlantean connection with the sword.

    Really this movie is an amalgamation of stuff from Howard mixed with some stuff the film makers wanted to incorporate (some eastern and viking stuff).

    Conan's “origin story” and the religion stuff (after life in Valhalla and praying to Crom) and few other minor things rub me the wrong way. Great movie though but not a Conan movie as I see it. Best sword & sorcery movie by far but not necessarily my favorite. I love this genre of movies, even the cheap and shitty ones, too bad the golden days of the 80s and early 90s are over.

    The soundtrack is amazing and I regularly have it playing on background.

    I hadn't heard that campy thing before. Glad they fixed that for the sequel. :p
    Sadly the Conan movies get worse and worse. I'm cautious but optimistic about the upcoming low budget “Iron Shadows” Conan movie.

  2. Speaking of Conan in Marvel's "What If?" --

  3. And to add to ripa's comments, there's also an element of Bran Mak Morn in the movie, in the form of the witch Conan sleeps with to gain info -- that scene feels like a slight riff on REH's "Worms of the Earth".

  4. Hey, guys!

    I was thinking of The Cromcast yesterday when I went on a daytrip to the seaside town of Scarborough, North Yorkshire and found myself in an awesome secondhand bookstore that has a neat little pulp sci-fi & fantasy section.

    There were only two Conan books I could find amongst the dark, dusty and possibly haunted aisles...

    I tried hard to find some Robert E. Howard written stuff and thought I had at first but, alas, even though his name's in big bold lettering on the Conan The Avenger book (right) it's unfortunately not a collection of his short stories but instead just expanded universe stuff written by L. Sprague de Camp... all that's actually of Howard's work according to the contents page is "Part Two of The Hyborian Age" essay at the back.

    Oh well.

    But what I thought was cool is that I found the original 1982 novelisation of the John Milius film (left) which proudly announces on the cover that it's "NOW A MAJOR TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX RELEASE".

    I know novelisations are considered the spawn of the devil in literary circles but I've read an embarrassing amount of them in my lifetime (mostly when I was a kid and was too young to see certain films at the cinema) and generally consider them harmless pieces of movie merchandise.

    Well, Sheffield ComicCon is this weekend so I'll keep an eye open for some Conan or other Robert E. Howard creations in one form or another while I'm there.

    Hail Crom!

  5. In my VHS version of the movie it ends with the temple burning and then a quick cut to Conan on the throne. There is no scene with Conan and the princess waking off. The last time we see the princess in my versions is when she is chained to the rock. I have the two VHS tape box set with Conan the Destroyer. I don't think I have ever seen this scene. Was this in the original theatrical release or added later to the DVD?