Barbarian Movie Review: Hundra (1983)

Hundra (1983) Starring Laurene Landon, directed by Matt Cimber.


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“No man will ever penetrate my body with sword or himself,” says the title heroine in this acknowledged ancestor of Kill Bill.

Hundra on horseback. Admittedly, this does not require a caption.

After her tribe of man-hating barbarians is wiped out by male barbarians who worship a bull (hmmmm), Hundra goes to get herself pregnant and replenish the tribe using the seed of the same bad guys. Hundra gets going with high quality production and gorgeous photography that never– okay, rarely— betrays its low budget. It doesn’t become completely cheesy until halfway through, when she gets to the city and befriends a peasant who sounds and looks like Mel Brooks. Meanwhile the evil villain, Napkin, who is every bit as good looking as the New York Dolls’ David Johansen, and his dainty assistant scheme to capture Hundra. “Women may be inherently ignorant, but not totally stupid in most instances,” the assistant charitably declares.

Hundra's enemies prepare for the attack, in one of the many scenes of this underrated movie that are beautifully filmed.

A couple early highlights: Hundra’s dog Beast, who she derides for being male, riding her horse. There’s excellent stage combat in the opening and closing battles. The excessive screaming and yelling in combat scenes becomes hypnotic.

Hundra is a good barbarianess! Laurene Landon, fresh from being a stewardess in Airplane II: The Sequel along with Conan's Sandahl Bergman. Her next movie was Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold (1984), also directed by Matt Cimber. Between 1990 and 2006 she was not in any films. I blame this for Hollywood's decline.

If you look closely at the first barbarian leader (with the horned helmet) right before Hundra kills him, you’ll notice Stars of David on his uniform, which I hope is unintentional. There’s also a theme of selective breeding here, given that Hundra doesn’t want just any man’s seed, only someone fit to the task– but then, who doesn’t. She’s also a blue-eyed blonde. So Hundra is arguably a Nazi in addition to being a militant feminist, but she is nevertheless a total badass.

There are Stars of David on this uniform! Barbarian Anti-Semitism with feminist intentions? Well, Orthodox Judaism is not exactly progressive in its views toward women. So this is maybe fair comeuppance.

At one point she is chewing on a rib and gets attacked and she fights off her assailant while still eating. She also spars with a rake-wielding midget who wears blue-and-red facepaint like a NY Giants fan, before stripping naked and riding her horse around in the sea. In a later scene, temple priestess Tracima teaches Hundra some beauty secrets, and Hundra makes up as if she’s never done it before, smearing lipstick all over her face, even her nose, which is somewhat confusing considering how much lipstick and especially mascara she’s been wearing all along. So, after her makeover, she looks exactly the same as she did before. Shortly after, Hundra volunteers to teach Tracima combat, and they giggle. Immediate jump cut to Hundra punching Tracima in the face: genius.

Hundra and her dreamboat, who is Ricardo Montalban's lost twin.

Hundra is literally slack-jawed when she meets her love interest, a local doctor. Hundra pins him to the door with daggers and throws herself at him.

Good combat, sporadic nudity, decent music, wrestling, a goat roasted on spit, not a lot of groan-inducing dialogue, a belching barbarian with slaves for wives, a city of people who sound like Ricardo Montalban, upskirt action for everyone (plenty of female and male panties on display), a somewhat circusy score by Ennio Morricone, no magic (thankfully), barbarian chicks cavorting in a river, Hundra learning how to eat with a spoon, blood, guts, gore, lines like “Stop that woman!” and “Bow to the bull!”, a rousing final slow-motion fight against all the local chieftains set to epic battle music and sweet foley artistry, a villain torn apart and smothered by sexy temple priestesses and killed by sitting on his face, this movie’s got awesome like Marvin Gaye’s got soul. And Hundra has no mercy.

Hundra is not concerned with the bad guy and his henchmen, who seem to be wearing chamber pots on their heads.

If you only get to watch one barbarian movie besides Conan or Beastmaster, make it Hundra. And show it to your daughters, too, and if you don’t have daughters, make some. As the closing voiceover tells us, “The seed of Hundra is in all women.” This movie is the antidote to Sex and the City, and anyone who thinks Red Sonja is better has been brainwashed and should not be trusted.

Have I mentioned that Hundra is a badass? Also shown: my mouse pointer. Oops.

Random notes: Hundra’s director Matt Cimber made important contributions to barbarian culture, being that he partnered with David McLane to create and direct “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” (GLOW) in the 1980s, which gave jobs to hundreds of barbarian women and jolted me into puberty a little early. He was also married to Jayne Mansfield in the 1950s (briefly)– a man of taste and refinement.

You can order Hundra from Amazon on DVD:

For barbarian movie reviews of the entire barbarian movie canon, barbarian humor, and a whole lot more, order Barbarians: A Handbook for Aspiring Savages!

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