My Experience of Seeing Conan the Barbarian As A Child

I remembered watching the cartoon called "Conan the Adventurer" which was a child's show. Like every child I had no idea that it was based on an adult franchise called "Conan the Barbarian" by the late Robert E. Howard. Howard was the writer of the Conan series which started with Conan as king but goes back and forth to give us details of how Conan was as a barbarian and how he was as a king. But I could talk about how the Conan movie shocked me as a child.

I remembered singing to the epic theme song and had no idea this cartoon was sanitized. Conan in the cartoon was pretty much the anti-thesis of the Conan of Howard's novels or Marvel Comics before Disney bought it. I thought the Conan movie was for children but boy I was in for a surprise. The Conan movie wasn't for children and the opening scene already showed it. So what went on? Things from the Conan movies are very different from the novels.

Who can remember the epic attack of the village by the Riders of Set? No, these weren't serpent men that just vanished when they were attacked with Star Metal. Instead, we see a lot of blood spilled and this is one villain that you can't mess with. The movie's version of "Wrath-Amon" namely the movie version of Thulsa Doom (but the real Thulsa Doom was someone who looked like Skeletor from He-Man and was Kull's enemy). This "Wrath-Amon" was no cartoon villain with incompetent henchmen. Instead, he has Rexor and Thorgrim to help him carry out his tasks and man do they get the job done. He doesn't fire his Black Ring and destroy the village piece by piece searching for the Star Metal to release Set. Instead, he raids the village for steel in his quest to expand the religion of Set. Conan doesn't see his parents turn into living stone. The scene were dogs rips Conan's father into shreds or where "Wrath-Amon" beheads Conan's mother is just not your average cartoon village.
Conan grows as a gladiator pushing the "Wheel of Torture" where his desire for revenge against "Wrath-Amon" himself. The movie had some love scenes and bloody scenes. Those were scenes you can't have in the Conan cartoon series. It just was too much for me to take. The movie takes place several years later where Conan rescues Subotai but not before he has a messy affair with a witch. We discover that there's this new cult going on. The worship of the powerful serpent god Set spreads like wildfire. The cult of Set has led both young and old alike to join the rebellion. The followers murder whoever its current leader "Wrath-Amon" wants to be murdered. They meet "Jezmine" or Valeria along the way where they infiltrate one of Set's many towers. Within the Tower of Set is the Eye of the Serpent which its purpose is unknown.

Set's worship attracts many followers and one of them is King Osric's daughter who is named Yasmina only in the novelization. The princess and only child of King Osric runs off to join the Snake Cult. It's hinted that she's been mesmerized to marry "Wrath-Amon" who in here is actually a Stygian sorcerer. The cult's current headquarters is at the Mountain of Power. Conan desires revenge and this becomes his downfall. Perhaps another scene that we couldn't have in the Conan cartoon is Conan crucified. The crucifixion of Conan was taken straight from "A Witch Shall Be Born". "Wrath-Amon" has Conan crucified but is rescued. Conan survives a near death experience but Valeria later pays it with her life.

What shocked me is what the Cult of Set actually does with its victims. The Mountain of Power cavern shows that the cult members are cannibals. Fortunately, 80s special effects made it less gruesome to look at but man it must smell in there. The cult members have been eating up their victims for some reason. There's an orgy scene of the followers of Set. Set's followers have been eating infidels up. "Wrath-Amon" is also able to transform into a serpent which proves he may be a demigod spawn of Set. The whole palace battle is bloody epic. No dimensional portals opening trapping the serpent men into another dimension. The upgraded cult members all get a bloody end. I'm just guessing that "Wrath-Amon" feeds his children with their enemies so they become his mindless minions.

The best scene? The Battle of the Mounds which happens after Conan cremates Valeria. "Wrath-Amon" leads an expedition to recover the king's daughter. But when all is lost he attempts to kill her seeing that all is lost. The princess breaks free from her spell realizing the deception behind the Snake Cult. Again, no dimensional portals taking the soldiers into the Abyss of Set but they all perish. "Jezmine" returns as a ghost to aid Conan against Rexor. Conan kills Rexor after an epic clash and "Wrath-Amon" escapes to the Mountain of Power.

The final scene has "Wrath-Amon" give his message. It's almost like an immolation ceremony. He's telling the fmale will lead them to Paradise. I assume that many who follow the cult are to fulfill their duties to burn themselves. It may be modus operandi to hide all the illicit activities to the Snake Cult. It's a cool scene again when Conan finally gets his revenge. The whole beheading of "Wrath-Amon" scene isn't action-filled but it drives the plot that needs to be delivered. After "Wrath-Amon" is no more and no he's not turned into a lizard it awakens the worshipers of Set. Conan now thinks what's his purpose in life after he destroys the Cult of Set. He takes the princess to her home. For me, it was pretty much a shock to see such a film at a young age. Years later, it just makes me think maybe the Conan cartoon is an old shame to me now. 


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