Barbarian Movie Review: Kilma, Queen of the Amazons (1975)

Kilma, Queen of the Amazons (Kilma, La Reina de las Amazonas). A Spanish production filmed around Barcelona, directed by Miguel Iglesias Bonns.

Rating: 2/5 Golden Axes

A Golden AxeA Golden Axe

Summary: A thrilling island adventure that questions our understanding of civilization, barbarism, and prehistoric notions of femininity, and dares to synthesize them into a coherent statement about modernity.  Aw, who am I kidding?


Kilma, Queen of the Amazons, and Dan Robinson share a tender moment with a musket. Why is this the first picture in this review? Because, unlike the director, I didn't want to waste a lot of time with the movie's plot before showing the movie's title character.


Movie Title for Kilma, Queen of the Amazons (1975)

This is the name of the movie, not the name of the boat.

Kilma begins with a slapstick mutiny on board the H.M.S. Something-or-other, led by Jack One-Eye (Luis Induni). The navigator, Dan Robinson (Frank Braña), escapes in the night via dinghy, leaving the pirates literally lost at sea. His boat eventually washes near an island and he staggers onto the beach to stirring dramatic music and passes out. On waking he looks up and sees a giant carved stone head. Wandering around, he finds a cave with some supplies and a ship’s logbook in the hands of a skeleton (I’ll probably be reading when I die too). “Dear god,” read the skeleton’s last written words, “what horrible beings populate this island!” Apparently the locals don’t take kindly to colonists.

Kilma, Queen of the Amazons Easter Island head

Danger Dan Robinson! A race of giant stone head people!

To demonstrate this further, a tribe of, um, Polynesian Zulus rows onto the beach to stand there waving their spears at nothing in particular. Screaming bikini-wearing Amazons– do Amazon extras know any words besides “hyaaaa!”?– arrive on horseback to engage them and hurl spears. The Zulus turn out to have about as much luck as the Cuban exiles fighting Castro in the Bay of Pigs. The Amazons kill most of the invaders and let the others run away as a warning.

Generic Stone Age warrior tribesmen standing around waving their spears.


These two menacing warriors die of acid indigestion.

The Amazons throw their victims' bodies over a cliff... onto the beach.

We soon learn that the Amazons are defenders of a sacred light placed on the island by the gods. “The temple of the Eternal Light is sacred and we shall defend it unto death.” Not only must they defend it, but they also have to remain pure, chaste, and female. These Amazons have fought off all men for thousands of years, which makes it rather hard to decipher how they’re all nubile twenty-somethings, but apparently their population consists of girls delivered to them by neighboring islands. It’s like a college sorority, minus the lingerie pillow-fights.

Kilma: "I, state your name..." Amazons: "I, state your name..."

A disco dance-off from Kilma, Queen of the Barbarians (1975).

Robinson leaps around in the cliffs for a while and eats some raw seagull eggs, then finally encounters the titular Kilma (Eva Miller, a.k.a. Blanca Estrada) on horseback. She lassoes him, but he escapes. They wrestle and Robinson tries, but fails, to escape on Kilma’s horse Furia. Then a python leaps out of a tree and tries to strangle her. Robinson saves her from the snake but winds up half-choked and dazed himself. Kilma takes the opportunity to try to kill Robinson, but Furia (the horse) shakes his head, apparently aware that Robinson is the good guy in this picture. Kilma, listening to the advice of her horse, spares Robinson.

Kilma leaps off Furia and onto Dan Robinson, demonstrating her catlike moves.

The first thing Robinson sees upon waking, in a tellingly framed shot.

Oh, by the way, Kilma speaks excellent English. They kiss, but Kilma is confused. “It’s a custom in my country,” Robinson explains: “A way of showing thanks.” The horse pushes Kilma back into Dan, and she kisses him, says a curt “thanks,” and rides off.  A little while later Furia whinnies outside Robinson’s cave and leads him to Kilma.

They swim underwater and fall in love, pissing off the other Amazons and leading to a beachside rumble between Kilma and her lieutenant Ti-Yu (Claudia Gravy). But then Jack One-Eye’s pirates land on the island in search of provisions. Robinson’s now sure he wants to protect the Amazons, and he makes some attempts at subterfuge, but the pirates conclude that the Amazons are sitting on a vast pile of gold. So, they tie up Robinson and whip him for a while, leaving scabs all over his hairy back. The Amazons come to his rescue, only to be repulsed by the pirates’ superior weaponry. The Amazons retreat, then come back immediately, and the pirates don’t fire for some reason, leading to an Amazons vs pirates bloodless bloodbath. The battle ends with no clear accounting of the casualties– there really are an awful lot of pirate extras in this flick– so Robinson leads the Amazons to the hidden cave he’s been living in, which happens to be full of cannons and dry gunpowder. The Amazons take the cannons to their temple and prepare to defend against the relentless pirates.

Did you know? As this shot from the original version of Jaws indicates, Spielberg planned to have Jaws be a pirate, but it didn't test well, so the whole movie was re-shot with a shark.

An Amazon blows on a conch for the benefit of the boom mic.

The pirates come ashore from this model sailboat.

If you’re seriously worried about spoilers, you may want to skip the next two paragraphs.

An Amazon leaps over the slack-jawed pirate Richard to satisfy any kung fu enthusiasts in the theatre.

Anyway, two of the pirates, the wacky “Professor” and the nice-guy pirate Richard, wind up more interested in the Amazons than their buccaneering at sea, so they join Robinson and help defend against the pirates. Properly armed, the Amazons still can’t keep the pirates down. Jack One-Eye gets into the temple and breaks the eternal light, which apparently upsets the gods. There’s some dime-store pyrotechnics and the structure crumbles, crushing Jack under some plaster pillars, and the surviving pirates take to the sea.

These savage pirates are lost without their navigator!

Bikini girls with 17th century artillery.

Stupid pirate! You're not supposed to smash the Eternal Light!

The gods have expressed their rage by busting up the drywall.

In one of the happiest endings you’ll ever get without paying for a massage, the three European heroes settle on the beach among the Amazons, who are now frond-waving, non-religious hedonists who live to catch and cook fish.

“Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so-called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?” “Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race.”


In the final scene, Richard, the nice-guy pirate, spots a ship on the horizon and suggests they send it some smoke signals. Robinson shrugs.
Richard: “It could be years before another ship appears.”
Robinson: “Are you in a hurry, Richard?”

Overall, Kilma is a completely unnecessary movie, with lame combat peppered with bad kung fu, and a silly plot– though it deserves some credit for having a plot at all. The whole thing’s a throwback to campy movies made two decades earlier, like Roger Corman’s The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (1957) (which is also reviewed in Barbarians: A Handbook for Aspiring Savages). In both movies, women strut around in barbarian gear and show as much skin as they can. Really, the 20-year gap only added color to the film and a whisker more self-awareness to the acting. If you’re wondering why anyone would make such a movie in the era of porn like Deep Throat (1972) and soft-core erotica like Emmanuelle (1974), remember that this is a Spanish movie. Generallisimo Francisco Franco and his allies in the church were big fans of censorship. While Spain was loosening up throughout the 1960s and creating many styles of film– e.g. the works of Jess Franco (not to be confused with the general), who filmed the first Spanish horror movie The Awful Dr. Orlof (1961)– things were pretty tame compared to the rest of Europe in 1975. Thankfully General Franco had the good sense to die that November, possibly after catching Kilma at the local cine. Censorship didn’t come to a screeching halt, but over the next few years, the efforts of directors like Pedro Almodóvar pushed Spain into the vanguard of European filmmaking. Spain’s outright censorship of sex films ended in 1984, and it’s a safe bet they won’t be making any films like Kilma, Queen of the Amazons again, unless they’re aimed at kids.

This excruciating wedgie is the closest that Kilma, Queen of the Amazons comes to offending anyone, even puritanical Fascists.

In terms of desperate philosophical justifications for this movie’s existence, Kilma scores some points for Epicurus and Hegel, as the western progress (science and warfare) run headlong into barbaric superstition and merge into a peaceful synthesis of the two, namely hedonism. Modern Spain is actually like that (I’d happily trade down my job for siestas with great fresh fish, get socialized health care, and 36 days off per year). In a feminist and/or post-colonial reading one might object that Kilma‘s Amazon women can’t defend themselves from the lusty pirates without assistance from Robinson and his two buddies, and the “happy ending” is actually bondage to new captors in the form of white male colonists. However, feminist and post-colonial readings are usually pretty humorless so it’s best to avoid them, and Hundra is a much better movie for that line of thought anyway.

Speaking of Hundra and other barbarian/amazon flicks, Frank Braña, this film’s Dan Robinson, was one of the evil chieftains in Hundra and had some nameless part in Battle of the Amazons (1974) (which is also reviewed in Barbarians: A Handbook for Aspiring Savages). He also has a large role in the notorious Pod People (spoofed on MST3K) and hundreds of other movies. Claudia Gravy (Ti-Yu), the Amazon who fights Kilma for supremacy, is also in Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold (1984), as is an uncredited Braña, with Hundra‘s Laurene Landon. That’s useful trivia if you still play “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Oh, and lastly, the music, though a throwback to orchestral 1950s/60s fanfare, isn’t too bad.  It was composed by Cam España, who worked on a few other B-movies and Almodóvar’s Dark Habits (Entre Tinieblas) (1985).

Someone has taken clips from Kilma, Queen of the Amazons, and set them to Iron Maiden here at Youtube.

You can get Kilma complete with Dutch subtitles from the sadly defeated Cosmobells sharity blog, if you have some patience for downloading it in 8 parts from file upload sites.

Here are a couple stolen movie posters:

And you can read more barbarian movie reviews and a whole lot of barbaric comedy in our book, Barbarians: A Handbook for Aspiring Savages!  It’s required reading, so order it now!

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