As shallow as it may sound, I actually delayed my viewing of "The Barbarians" several times just because the VHS cover (as well as the picture image displayed here on the website) looks so incredibly gay! By now I wish...展开I had watched it earlier because the movie isn't so much gay…. just trashy, cheesy, campy and enormously fun! It's almost unbelievable that Ruggero Deodato, director of "Cannibal Holocaust" of all people, was the man responsible for this comical cash-in on the contemporary popular Sword & Sandal fantasy flicks, particularly Schwarzenegger's Conan movies. The film opens with a terrific 'once-upon-a-time' type of off-screen narrator, introducing us to the Ragneks. Their founder once traded an entire mountain of pure gold for just one magically powerful ruby that would allow them to travel in freedom and access every country as entertainers. In other words, the Ragneks are a bunch of traveling circus freaks! Their happiness abruptly comes to end when the greedy Kadar kidnaps the Ragneks' beautiful queen Canary and continuously attempts to discover the whereabouts of the ruby. Meanwhile, and as some sort of amusing waste of time, the two orphan twin-brothers Gore and Kutchek are trained to become muscled warriors and they're unwarily prepared to fight each other to the death. Instead of that, however, they escape and develop a plan to free their queen. Actually, the plot isn't half as bad as I initially feared, but still the most fun is provided by the beefcake brothers' on screen chemistry, the crazily inept dialogs and of course the utterly cheesy fantasy-monsters, like a dragon with adorably cute eyes, some kind of werewolf creature and zombies that randomly appear to pop out of the swamp. The soundtrack and make-up effects are great and our almighty director Deodato maintains a terrifically fast pace. The Barbarian Brother's acting capacities are much better than I anticipated, apart from the fact that one of them constantly produces gross belching sounds. The supportive cast is splendid as well. Eva La Rue never looked more beautiful as the witty savage girl Cara, Virginia Bryant is indeed bewitching like Richard Lynch states on several occasions and the lovely Sheeba Alahani makes her first and only appearance on film as a vicious sorceress with a donut-shaped hair style (I kid you not!). Last but not least, "The Barbarians" stars everybody's favorite Eyes in the Hills creep Michael Berryman as the appropriately named Dirtmaster. I know the displayed picture looks gayer than a promotional campaign for the musical version about the rise and fall of the Village People, but "The Barbarians" really is a must-see Italian exploitation highlight.