Video: The "Dagoth" theme from "Conan the Destroyer"
#1
So if you're not into old Arnold Schwarzenegger movies where he played Conan the Barbarian, "Conan the Destroyer" was the 1984 sequel to "Conan the Barbarian". Although the 2nd movie grossed more worldwide than the 1st one did, "Conan the Destroyer" basically bombed at the U.S. box office. It was not a good movie but featured some very talented people. Arnold's acting had improved by this time and he struggled to save the film, which the studio insisted be dumbed down for the audience.

The movie's plot is a little complicated. Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas) summons Conan (Arnold) to her remote hilltop city. She introduces him and his companion, Malak (Tracey Walter), to her teenage niece Princess Jehnna (a 14-year-old Olivia d'Abo). Jehnna has been raised to fulfill a prophecy of a special girl who goes on a quest to retrieve an ancient artifact, the horn of Dagoth.

Dagoth is a statue in Taramis' court and he is called "the Dreaming God". Taramis persuades Conan to accompany Jehnna and Bombaata (Wilt Chamberlain) - Captain of the Royal Guard - on the quest. Conan recruits his friend Akiro (a wizard) to help them overcome the wizards who will try to stop the quest from succeeding. What Conan doesn't realize is that the wizards also know the girl is coming and they want to capture her.

Through several adventures they find the horn and bring it back to Taramis, but not before Bombaata tries to kill Conan. Conan and his friends (including the new recruit Zula, a warrior woman played by Grace Jones) follow Bombaata and Jehnna back to the city. They break into the palace and see that Taramis is about to sacrifice her niece to Dagoth. What Conan didn't know was that the sacrifice is the only way Taramis and her wizards (or priests - it's not clear) can control the demonic Dagoth once he is reunited with his horn.

This song is playing when Conan and his friends rescue Jehnna. It's a very intense scene in the movie, exceptionally well done compared to most other parts of the movie. The soundtrack, scored by Basil Poledouris, was uploaded by a fan to YouTube earlier this year. I can't guarantee you'll always be able to hear these versions of the Dagoth theme but this is music that deserved a far better movie.

Watch Basil Poledouris - Dagoth Ceremony, film version, from "Conan the Destroyer" from YouTube
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Basil Poledouris - Dagoth Ceremony, film version, from "Conan the Destroyer"

There is another version that was recorded but not used. It includes a choir.

Watch Basil Poledouris - Dagoth Ceremony, original version with choir, from "Conan the Destroyer" from YouTube
SF-Fandom not responsible for video content



SF-Fandom reserves the right to remove inappropriate video content from its discussions. YouTube may remove the video from its service without notification.

Basil Poledouris - Dagoth Ceremony, original version with choir, from "Conan the Destroyer"

And here is the scene from the movie. Note how the music dims when the point of view is in another chamber. I'm guessing the director thought that would imply to the audience that there was actually some sort of orchestra performing this music in the ceremony. I guess they also thought there would be a visual of a choir.

Watch Conan the Destroyer (1984) - Stopping a Sacrifice Scene (9/10) | Movieclips from YouTube
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Conan the Destroyer (1984) - Stopping a Sacrifice Scene (9/10) | Movieclips
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#2
Some interesting trivia I gleaned from IMDB include:

This movie was so bad and so departed from Dino de Laurentis' ideas in the first movie that Arnold bowed out of the franchise. He did appear as a Conan-like character in "Red Sonja" but that movie was even worse than this one, in my opinion.

There was supposed to be a 3rd Conan movie starring Arnold but it was cancelled. Now rumor has it that Arnold is reprising the character.

Something you won't find on IMDB:

Hard-core Robert E. Howard fans hate these movies. They are really nothing like the Conan of the original stories. For one thing, Howard's Conan was never a slave and wouldn't have accepted slavery.

Be that as it may, the Conan franchise has survived one way or another. It's spawned several comic book series (I think all were published by Marvel Comics) and at least one TV show as well as these movies. And there was the 2011 "Conan the Barbarian" starring Jason Momoa (which I have not seen). I did not like the TV show, which started airing in 1997 and starred Ralf Moeller. I have nothing against Moeller as I think he played the character as he was told to. This was just a merry romp in the wilderness with a big muscle-bound guy and his crew.

That said, I'm hardly a Robert E. Howard purist I liked the 1982 "Conan the Barbarian" despite its flaws. That won me some dark marks among Howard purists.


In any event, if you could ever watch that above scene in a dark theater with full sound system I think you would appreciate just how mesmerizing it was. The soundtrack album brings back that sensation for me. Watching videos of the movie online dims the experience.
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#3
Many pleasant memories. Thank you. Michael. I look forward to your delving for more arcane tidbits.
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Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.
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