Outlaw of Gor (1989)

Outlaw of Gor

Directed by John "Bud" Cardos

Based on the "Gor" novels by John Norman

Run Time: 89 minutes

Other Titles: "Outlaw", "The Outlaw"

Cabot: "How much further?
Hup: "I don’t know, a couple of hours, more or less…as the time flies.


The other day as I was sitting outside drinking a cold beer, I had a sudden Zen-like moment of clarity…a shocking personal revelation that shook my entire being and tore down all ego-centric concepts of my "self" that I had hitherto based my life upon.

Outlaw of GorTrembling, I rose from my plastic patio chair and staggered inside, oblivious to my giggling children who gleefully ambushed me with their squirt guns from the bushes. As I stumbled through the kitchen, my wife stared at me in mute shock. (A state of shock not because of my sudden personal crisis, but because I walked through the kitchen without pausing to take a beer from the fridge.)

Managing to shamble into the living room, I collapsed onto the sofa and braced myself as the true magnitude of this intimate moment of enlightenment pierced my fragile ego to my very core:

Yea verily, I enjoy shoddy Italian Sword-n-Sandal movies.

Mea culpa.

And, oh dear readers, Outlaw of Gor is one of the shoddiest.

But let’s start at the beginning. To those lucky few who are blissfully unaware of just what the "Gor" is all about, the "Gor" books are a series of 25 novels (published over a span of 22 years!) by author John Norman. Mr. Norman’s ‘oeuvre’ features a nerdy, unhappy university professor named Tarl Cabot, who is abducted by the inhabitants of Gor: a hidden "Counter Earth" which is situated directly opposite Earth on the other side of the sun. Needless to say Gor is a planet filled to the brim with sword-swinging Bad Guys®, Eeeeeeeevil sorcerers, and bust-acious bikini clad babes who are all a-quiver for their other-worldly visitor, Tarl. The strange fact that Gor’s inhabitants have the technology to inter-dimensionally transport people…yet they still fight with swords and live in stone buildings is never addressed.

In short, Cabot, the former professor-cum-studly interplanetary swordsman, battles Evil, kills gazillions of Bad Guys®, gets laid a lot, and generally has a good time.

Oh, and that was just the first book.

The other 24 books are reported to be, surprise!, much of the same. However, one difference between the earlier works and the latter one is an increasingly repulsive misogynistic undercurrent that ranges from general disdain of women to overt mistreatment and abuse. (I admit that I’ve read only the first book, but I have read several reviews of the entire "Gor" series, all of which mention the books’ continued and increasing maltreatment and objectification of women…so I’ll take their word for it.) As an example, here is a charming quote from the book "Priest Kings of Gor":

"According to the Gorean way of looking at things a taste of the slave ring is thought to be occasionally beneficial to all women, even the exalted free woman. Thus when she has been irritable or otherwise troublesome, even a Free Companion may find herself at the foot of the couch looking forward to a pleasant night on the stones, stripped, with neither mat nor blanket, chained to the slave ring precisely as though she were a lowly slave girl.

It is the Gorean way of reminding her, should she need to be reminded, that she, too, is a woman, and thus to be dominated, to be subject to men. Should she be tempted to forget this basic fact of Gorean life the slave ring set in the bottom of each Gorean couch is there to refresh her memory. Gor is a man’s world."

Wow, that would make a great Christmas card.

Anyway, I’m rambling as usual. Back to the film.

Outlaw of Gor is actually the second in a pair of Gor films that were filmed back-to-back, the first movie cleverly entitled Gor. I can only assume that the 2 films were shot simultaneously because

A) Given the paltry budget and whirlwind shooting schedule, it made economical and logistical sense to shoot as many scenes as possible, as quickly as possible, using the same sets over and over again.

and

B) The filmmakers knew that they wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to get the actors to return for a sequel after seeing how shitty the first movie turned out.

I am proud, and I use the word ‘proud’ in a ‘Monster Shack’ sort of way, to say that I have seen both films in all of their glory. I will admit that I spent the second half of the first film in a single-malt Scotch induced haze, but by that point it wouldn’t have mattered if I had O.D.’ed on thorazine…nothing can erase the memory of that horrible film from my mind.

So after that hangover-inducing first film, why on Earth would I want to see the sequel? Well, the cliffhanger ending of the first movie had drawn me so deeply into the story that I just had to find out what happened. (<end sarcasm>). Furthermore, I suspected, and I’m ashamed to say it, but I also hoped that Outlaw of Gor would somehow, against all odds, manage to be worse than the first movie so that I could add it to the hallowed pages of the Monster Shack. Happily, my hopes were realized as I watched the second Gor film…oh dear reader, is it bad. Outlaw of Gor sinks so deep into a mire of hapless incompetence that its inclusion on this site was a no-brainer.

The directorial responsibilities for "Outlaw of Gor" were turned over to John “Bud” Cardos, a veteran exploitation jack-of-all trades. "Bud’s" résumé includes acting (he played bit parts in Hell’s Bloody Devils (1970) and Blood of Dracula’s Castle (1969)), and directing numerous films, including Kingdom of the Spiders (1977). Furthermore, "Bud" has worked as a stunt man and stunt coordinator in nearly 20 films including the delightful Horror of the Blood Monsters (1970), The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant (1971), and Death Dimension (1978). In a wonderful bit of trivia, John Cardos worked (uncredited) as an assistant bird handler in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds.

Our semi-studly hero, Tarl Cabot, is played by Urbano Barberini. In addition to the first Gor film, Urbano has appeared in the interesting 1985 movie Demons; a story about demons (duh) trapping people in a movie theater and devouring them one by one. (If you can get over the 1980’s hair and clothes, that movie is worth checking out, as opposed to, oh…Gor for example.)

Cabot’s "Gorean" girlfriend, Talena, is played by American born Rebecca Ferratti; a model, dancer, martial arts expert, and former Playboy playmate. I especially love her quote, "If you cannot talk positive with an intelligent tongue, then keep your dirty mouth shut!" There’s something sublime about that.

This year’s winner of the "What The HELL Was He Thinking?!" Award goes to Jack Palance (!!), who plays the Evil flamboyant high-priest Xenos; an Eeeeevil high-priest with an unusual taste in head gear. Palance sleep-walks through his performance, and who can blame him? I guess Jack’s monthly electric bill was higher than usual and he needed the extra dough so he took this part. At least that’s what I tell myself.

On a side note: In a contemptible act of sleazy advertisement, Jack Palance received top billing in the first Gor film but appears only in a short cameo in the last minute of the movie. Not that I’m a huge Palance fan, but still, he receives top-billing, so like, where the hell is he? Anyway, all you Palance fans can rest easy; you’ll get your gullet full of him in this movie.

Oh, and I’ll go ahead and give you a CSA: Crappy Screenshot Alert. I was working off a rather weathered copy of the film…(You’d be aghast to know how many times I’ve watched this movie.)

Outlaw of Gor Prof. Tarl Cabot (Urbano Barberini)

Good old Tarl Cabot. Boring professor on Earth, bland swordsman and leader of the freedom movement on Gor. Our brave barbarian, and master of the "Double Chest-Pound Death Attack", dispatches his adversaries in only one take…even if his stunts don’t always work out as planned.

Outlaw of Gor Watney Smith (Russel Savadier)

Cabot’s odious toad-like "side kick". I’m pretty sure this guy crawled up from the depths of Hell and forced the director to cast him in the film. Be sure to check out the baby-oiled Watney massage scene…but only on an empty stomach. With your eyes closed.

Outlaw of Gor Xenos (Jack Palance)

Academy award winner Jack Palance appears, for some reason, as Xenos, the cookie-cutter Evil High Priest of Ka-ro-ba. (Yes, that’s how it’s spelled. Don’t ask me, I didn’t write the damn books.) Jack Palance shows only 2 expressions on his face: resigned humiliation and utter boredom. Really, Jack, what were you thinking? And the hat? Dude…

Outlaw of Gor Talena (Rebecca Ferratti)

Talena, heir to the throne of Ka-Ro-Ba and Tarl’s main squeeze, spends a good deal of time either oiled up and fighting killer-lesbian gladiators (good), or else feigning passion as Tarl drags his tongue all over her body (bad), in some of the most repulsive "love scenes" ever filmed. I sincerely hope Ms. Ferratti was given danger pay for both of those ordeals.

Outlaw of Gor Queen Lara (Donna Denton)

What sleazy adventure film would be complete without an Evil Queen? (Dressed in leather, natch.) Enter Queen Lara who, along with the Evil High Priest Xenos, forcefully take over the throne of Ka-Ro-Ba. As if anybody cares. With lines stolen right out of "Evil Queens for Dummies", Lara trudges through the film shouting "Guards! Guards!" every 2 minutes until you get so fed up you just fast-forward all of her scenes.

Outlaw of Gor Hup (Nigel Chipps)

What? A cheap Italian film with a midget? Who woulda thunk it? In the first film Tarl rescued Hup from slavers, so he became his obligatory diminutive side-kick, and Hey! He’s back again! Happy Happy Joy Joy. You might be wondering of what use an unarmed midget would be in a world of muscle-bound barbarians. The answer is: none at all. So why is he here? I already told you: it’s an Italian sword-n-sandal movie.

After the dull, although certainly economical, opening credits (white lettering on black background), we cut to one of the lower rings of Hell. Oh wait. It’s an 80’s night club. After the camera slowly and oh-so-tastefully, pans up a woman’s legs, we see Watney, Cabot’s Odious Sidekick From Hell (imagine Rick Moranis, Fred Flintstone, and a pork-chop going through the Brundle-Fly teleporter…) making his way through the bar, delivering stilted pick-up lines to every female that was unfortunate enough to be in his path. Despite his string of strike-outs, Watney continues on his way to the bar where he spots his buddy Tarl Cabot.

Cabot, sitting quietly by himself because he’s probably depressed to be back on Earth as a history professor instead of getting laid back on Gor, sips at his drink while the effervescent Watney ribs him about being out past his bedtime. "Better to be in bed early than alone," Cabot retorts. (I still can’t figure out what the hell he means be that since he’s not in bed, he is alone, and it’s not early.) Anyway, Cabot sighs and sips his drink as Watney scampers off to annoy the rest of the bar’s female clientele.

Outlaw of GorAt that moment, Cabot’s "Home Stone Ring" begins to glow. If you don’t know what the Home Stone Ring is, it’s a large plastic dime-store ring with a blinking red LED. Oh, and it’s also used by the High Priest of Ka-Ro-Ba to fetch Cabot in times of crisis, such as when an Evil Queen tries to take over, or when they are filming a crappy sequel.

The flashing ring brings about a long string of "flash-backs" (read: jumbled scenes) from the first movie. You can make just enough sense of this idiocy to see that Cabot was transported…somewhere…where he put on leather clothes and swung a sword around. Seriously, that’s about how convoluted this "helpful" back-story plays out. So no, your VCR isn’t screwed up, that’s how the scene was meant to be.

Jump back to the bar where we see Watney get rejected by yet another woman. (And boy, you never get tired of seeing that over and over again, it’s just so funny.) Watney suggests that they head over to the "Red Onion" (yeah, that sounds like a fun bar) so that he and Cabot could hang out and "party" a bit. I must say that the impending Watney-Cabot party scene has certainly gotten me all a’twitter. Ahh shucks. Cabot doesn’t feel like hanging out with Watney anymore (go figure), but he does offer to drop him off at the Red Onion before heading home.

As they drive along a dark country road, (Country road? Weren’t they just downtown at a bar?) the car starts to shake and bright lights start flashing as Cabot’s Home Stone ring starts vibrating and making an annoying electronic whirring sound.

Time out.

You wanna know why I love cheap movies? Because of crap like this: There’s a shot from the front of the car as it "drives" down the road. (Well, it’s sitting still in a darkened sound stage, of course, but you know what I mean.) Whenever the ‘lightning’ strikes, you can see a stagehand behind the car pushing up and down on the trunk to make the car shake! It really doesn’t get any better than this. You know, this really makes me happy for some reason. It’s like, ok, I sit at a computer writing about lousy movies, in my free time mind you, but still, I could have been fated to shake a car on the set of "Outlaw of Gor".

OK, where was I? Ah yes. Due to budgetary constraints in the special effects budget, instead of showing Watney and Cabot teleporting through time and space to an alien planet, a simple jump-cut is employed. Boy, thanks guys.

As Watney and Cabot look about, stunned no doubt by the previous brutal scene transition, Cabot suddenly realizes where he is: "Ka-ro-ba!"

Watney, having never had the pleasure of being teleported to an alien planet, remains confused.

To anybody that has seen this movie, and God help you if you have, we now proceed into the wonderful "Cabot! Cabot! Cabot!" scene. Watney, as if not already annoying enough, shouts Cabot’s name over 30 times in the next 2 minutes of run time. You know what? Here’s a little taste for you to savor of this well thought out dialog:

"Cabot! Cabot! Cabot! Cabot, are you ok? Cabot, speak to me. Cabot. Cabot, are you all right? Cabot, what the hell’s going on? Cabot, where’s the car? Cabot?…"

And this goes on and on…and on. Seriously, did somebody sit down and, you know, write this?

Outlaw of Gor"This is where Talena lives…my girl! My love!" Cabot whoops with glee as Watney continues his hail of "Cabot!"-s.

Next comes a typical UBS. For those of you who don’t know what UBS means: Unmotivated Battle Scene: A battle scene where Bad Guys appear out of nowhere and attack the protagonist / slaves / girls for no reason other than the script calls for it.

Yes, over the top of a nearby sand dune appears a group of Bad Guys who, for no reason, ride down and attack Cabot and Watney. (Not that killing Watney would be a bad thing.) This sets up some painfully obvious one-take stunt scenes, sloppy fight-choreography, and stunts gone awry. I especially enjoy the "stunt" where Cabot punches a Bad Guy in the gut and tries to throw him off to one side. Unfortunately, Cabot loses his grip while trying to lift the guy, but the actor playing the Bad Guy continues the "stunt" and completes the "toss" by hopping to the side even though Cabot wasn’t even holding him. (I hope that made sense. Just imagine a mime, an untalented mime, acting like he’s being "thrown"….now you’re in the ballpark of the overall quality here.)

Anyhoo, Cabot, surrounded by vaguely-Arabian Bad Guys (still don’t really know who they are), manages to kill them off since their overall strategy is to stand in a circle and rush in one at a time. In addition to his mastery of the sword, Cabot also displays his hand-to-hand prowess by frequently flinging an attacker to the ground and elbow-smashing the sand in the vicinity of the Bad Guy’s head. The camera man occasionally films from the correct angle and makes it look like Cabot is actually striking the guy (sort of…kind of), but more often then not you can plainly see Cabot elbowing the sand instead of the Bad Guy’s noggin.

Outlaw of GorCut to King Marlenus’ castle, where Cabot’s mentor from the previous movie, the Elder, indulges in a little narrative and explains that he’s succeeded in transporting Cabot to Gor via the Home Stone.

Well…duh. Didn’t we just see that?

As he rubs his hands on a mound of red glop, oh ok, that’s the Home Stone, in struts High Priest Xenos (Jack Palance!!).

"What are you doing?" Xenos suspiciously inquires, suspecting that Marlenus is up to no good.

"I have been cleaning and adjusting the vibrations of the Home Stone," the Elder sheepishly replies. (Wow…Cleaning and adjusting the vibrations…what an overachiever.)

As Xenos shoots him an Evil Glance, the Elder leaves the room and the Home Stone stops glowing. I suspect that was supposed to be a Significant Moment, but I’m not sure why.

Outside in the town square the bustling inhabitants of Ka-ro-ba go about their business of trying to look ‘medieval’ for the camera. This includes a lot of pastel-colored cotton tops, turbans, sashes, and loin cloths. Oh, and lot’s of leather, natch. Needless to say, Cabot and Watney’s modern outfits immediately draw the townsfolk’s attention.

"Who are you?" asks a guard.

"My name is Cabot."

This statement brings about yet another round of people shouting "Cabot!" about a million times.

Outlaw of Gor CABOT!

Outlaw of Gor CABOT!

Outlaw of Gor CABOT!

Outlaw of Gor CABOT!

"CABOT!" " CABOT!"

"CABOT!" "CABOT!" "CABOT!" "CABOT!" "CABOT!"

"CABOT!" "CABOT!" "CABOT!" "CABOT!" "CABOT!" "CABOT!"

For Pete’s sake already!

A jubilant crowd escorts Cabot (Cabot! Cabot! Cabot!) and Watney through the town square and over to King Marlenus’ castle.

Inside said castle, Marlenus explains to his youthful wife, the power-hungry and plotting Lara, just who Cabot is, you know, basically recapping the first movie for the benefit of the viewer in case they were lucky enough not to see the first Gor film. With Lara at his side, Marlenus peers out a castle window and howls, "Caaaaaaabot! Caaaaabot!". (I truly wish I were making all this up, but I’m not.)

Outlaw of GorMarlenus’ hot daughter (well, 80’s hot, if you know what I mean), Talena, overhears her father shouting "Cabot! Caaaaaabot!" so goes over to her window and shouts a couple "Cabot’s" as well. (What the hell were the writers thinking?)

Meanwhile Xenos is busy in his dungeon laboratory (every castle has one, dontcha know). As he mixes beakers of colored fluids in an attempt to look like he’s actually, er, doing something, in storms Lara to report Cabot’s return to Ka-ro-ba, i.e., a potential monkey-wrench in their devious plans to take over the kingdom. Xenos controls his fury and curtly dismiss Lara while he fumes over his beakers and ponders his next move.

Back outside, Cabot is granted an audience with his old friend Marlenus. Oh, and look who’s tagging along: Talena, upon whom Cabot immediately plants a grotesque open-mouth kiss. Lovely. I really needed to see that.

Outlaw of Gor

Yea verily, it is written: "The King of Ka-ro-ba shall wear a starfish upon his brow…and thine Queen shall stand embarrassed."

In honor of Cabot’s arrival, a huge feast has been prepared. (Man, now that’s efficient planning: Cabot arrived 5 minutes ago and there’s already a celebration in full swing. In fact, they would have had to start the celebration before they even knew that Cabot had arrived. Huzzah!) Marlenus leads Cabot and the others inside to join the festival in progress.

Ahhh, yes, the pre-party oil massage scene. (Stand fast, stomach contents, stand fast!) Cabot and Watney lounge on a couple of beds while scantily clad slave women give them a good ol’ fashion Ka-ro-ba Rub-Down consisting of lots of baby oil and even a shave for the Toad. (AKA Watney.) You have to admire the filmmakers for completely objectifying women before the 20 minute mark. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good gratuitous boobage shot from time to time, but an entire gratuitous massage scene leaves an oily taste in my mouth.

Outlaw of GorMeanwhile, the festival is in full swing, complete with, yes, scantily clad dancers who somehow manage to stay out of sync with each other for the entire dance number; a feat that is probably more difficult than it sounds.

In strolls Cabot and the Toad, decked out in garish Renaissance Festival-esque garb and accompanied by their standard-issue maidens who tag along behind them. All pretty standard lame "medieval" festival stuff here: people drinking out of plastic goblets, airy synthesizer music that sounds like it was rejected from a Super Mario game, outlandishly impractical head gear, shirtless men, women in leather bikinis…I think we’ve all been down this road a thousand times before.

Just so we "get" it, Lara and Xenos share a Significant Look…oh dear, they are always up to something…boy, those two trouble makers, I tell ya. Lara puts the scheme into action as she turns and shoots Watney a pretty blatant What’s A Toad Like You Doing In A Place Like This look. (You know the kind.) So let me get this straight: The High Priest and the Queen of Ka-ro-ba are scheming to take over the kingdom and their plans hinge on….Watney?! The Toad?! Whatever dude.

"There’s something about Lara that I don’t like," Talena whispers to Cabot, "and Xenos…" (OK, OK already: I get it! They’re up to something eeeevil….Thank you. Seriously. Enough.)

"Those Priest Kings are very dangerous," Cabot adds, "They have…unknown powers." Ahhh, yes…those ever dangerous "unknown" powers. Boy, it’s not just the objectification of women that makes this move such as treat, it’s also the intelligent, colorful dialog that accentuates and enriches the overall tapestry that is Outlaw of Gor.

Anyway, Lara plops herself down next to Watney and immediately begins pumping the Toad for information about Cabot. Of course, Watney is such an idiot that he doesn’t realize he’s being used, but then again, it has been a pretty long day for the little bugger, so maybe we should pardon his momentary lack of mental acuity.

Nahh. I hate him. He’s an idiot.

Alas, the interminable dance number ends and King Marlenus presents a couple of barrels of his latest wine. Mirth ensues as…wait a minute! That’s not wine in the barrel: It’s Cabot’s albino midget friend from the first movie, Hup! Huzzah!

I can just imagine what the filmmakers were thinking:

Antonio: "Hey, everybody thinks that midgets are funny, right?"

Mario: "Si…"

Antonio: "Then an albino midget would be twice as funny!"

Mario: "Mama mia! Now thats’a funny!"

As I mentioned somewhere way above, Hup’s utility in the film is limited. He pretty much runs around with a dagger and points out the obvious. For example, "Look! Enemy riders!" as a group of enemy riders approaches, or, "Don’t drink that! It’s poison!" while pointing to a pool of brackish water filled with skeletons.

Anyhoo, much to the chagrin of Xenos and Lara, the King announces that one day Cabot will rule over Ka-ro-ba. The party revelers give a rather half-hearted shout of "Hooray!" as everybody lifts their cups in a salute.

"To Ka-ro-ba!" Cabot shouts in a gesture of mutual respect.

"Hooray! Hooray!"

"To the new King!"

"Yea! Hooray!"

I think you get the picture.

After the party we see Cabot wandering aimlessly through the castle halls when the Elder comes out of nowhere and yanks him into an alcove. The Elder explains that despite the veneer of contentment in Ka-ro-ba, the castle is full of intrigue and enemies. (Wow. A castle full of intrigue. How refreshing.)

Great, after the Elder warns Cabot about the plot against him, we cut to Cabot and Talena laying in a gigantic bed. Soft romantic music cannot begin to mitigate the nausea engendered by Cabot and Talena’s open-mouthed kissing as the camera pans across the bed to reveal a scrawny, hairy leg protruding from under the covers. ( I sincerely hope that’s Cabot’s leg.)

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more sickening, we cut to see a topless Watney receiving an oily massage from a couple of Gorean babes. (Truly, my hair stands on end as the lights glisten off of Watney’s well-lubricated back fat…<choke>) Thankfully, Queen Lara walks in and dismisses the babes before they can apply more baby oil to the reclining Toad. In a nutshell, Queen Lara offers to share her powers with Watney if he will betray Cabot. Watney hesitates at first, but Lara quickly offers herself as a reward. Watney quickly dives in and agrees to the plan.

I’m really not too clear as to what use Watney is to Lara. True, Watney is Cabot’s "friend" (at least until some broad throws herself at him), but apart from that, Watney has no pull over Cabot. So what the hell is going on here?

Outlaw of GorBah humbug. Anyway, later that night, Xenos concocts a poisonous drink for Lara to serve to her husband King Marlenus. (Yes, Xenos drops in a couple bits of dry ice so it makes all that really cool fog and smoke.) To make a long scene short, Marlenus drinks the foul beverage and collapses to the floor. For good measure, and because she’s Eeeeevil, Lara plunges an ornate dagger into his back in order to finish the job.

As luck would have it, Cabot and Hup come strolling down the hallway. You see, Cabot has been working up the guts to ask Marlenus for Talena’s hand in marriage. (And yes, I hate these names as much as you do.) Now, it’s not clear if Watney has been in cahoots with Lara, thus manipulating Cabot so that he would arrive at the correct moment so he can be pinned with the murder, and honestly, I don’t think anybody should really care at this point. Hey. It happened. The plot trudges along. Be happy.

I hope you’re not too surprised when Lara calls for the guards and frames Cabot for the murder. Like an idiot, Cabot pulls the dagger from Marlenus’ back and runs from the room with the murder weapon in his hand. (Moron.) Cabot argues that it was Lara who did the dirty deed, but Watney stares him in the eyes and provides an alibi for her, "She was with me…the whole evening," he smirks. (Gee, thanks buddy.) For some reason, Watney’s alibi is all it takes to convince the guards to arrest Cabot. Talena is taken prisoner as well. Why? Dunno. (Although she does look good covered in baby oil when she’s forced to take part in an upcoming barbarian lesbian Battle Royale scene…but I’m getting ahead of myself.)

In a most improbably series of events, Cabot manages to fight off a bunch of guards so that he and Hup can run madly around in the castle halls. (The observant viewer will note that the same hall is used over and over in order to make the castle seem "big". Hell, you don’t really even have to be ‘observant’ to notice that!)

After running down a gazillion halls, well, the same hall, you know what I mean, Cabot and Hup are finally cornered by a bunch of guards. (Actually, the same guards…you know what I mean.) Lara orders the guards to skewer them with their spears, but Just At That Moment the Elder jumps in between Cabot and the guards and forms a human shield. (Where the hell did he come from?)

"I won’t leave you," Cabot says when the Elder tells him to get away.

"The guards will never harm me, now go!"

Cabot and Hup scurry away and Lara orders the guards to chase them. For some reason, the guards refuse to budge because…well, the Elder is standing in the way. How the hell do I know? Anyway, Lara takes a sword, kills the Elder, and the guards continue the pursuit.

Yup, that was a powerful scene all right.

As expected, Cabot and Hup escape through Ye Olde Unlocked Side Door and disappear into the desert. "I’ll get the Hunter," Lara hisses when she sees that her prey have eluded her security staff.

Watney, however, is relishing his chance at being King. "If idiots like Napoleon and Hitler could do it, why not…Watney Smith?!"

Yes, that is an actual line of dialog from this film.

Unfortunately for Watney, Lara has no more use for him and has him executed on the spot. No, not really. That would make too much sense. Instead, Lara has Watney cast into the dungeons so he can escape later in the film and help Cabot to overthrow her. (Oops! Sorry if I gave anything away there.)

Out in the cold desert night, Cabot and Hup collapse beside a pile of rocks in order to rest. Realizing that they’ll need help if they are going to avenge Marlenus’ murder, Hup points out where the nearest town lies, and the daring duo head off to find some allies.

Outlaw of Gor"How much further to go?" Cabot asks after they’ve apparently been walking all night.

"I don’t know," Hup gasps, "…a couple of hours, more or less…as the time flies." (!)

Back at the castle, Queen Lara has hired the renowned man-hunter, cleverly named the Hunter. Into the royal throne room strolls the massive Hunter, adorned with crossbow, daggers, mace, and sword. (At least he’s prepared, if not a bit over-dressed.) Oh, and yes, I have seen the MST3K version of this movie, and I agree 100% when they said this guys helmet looks exactly like a giant oil-can opener. Anyway, Lara tasks the Hunter with finding Cabot and bringing him back alive in return for a reward of 50,000 Tarsk (?).

Next item on the Royal Agenda: what to do with the imprisoned Talena. I know! Send in a pair of swordsmen and kill her. It’s that easy, right? But noooooooooooo….Xenos has a better idea: "Why not have her fight…the Leather Woman." (I’m not making this up. Truly, wish I were.)

Outlaw of GorCut to the Ye Olde Battle Arena (which is of course the same set used in the dance scene), where we see the first two participants, dressed in patent leather boots, skirts and headbands, along with matching maroon bodices, enter the arena. (I think they look more like a fascist vaudeville act rather than gladiators, but maybe that’s just me.)

Ahh, now I see why this scene was filmed in the same room as the previous party scene…the extras are still in their party outfits, so they obviously filmed theses scenes back to back. Yippee.

OK, let’s see, Talena is forced to square off with the two leather-chicks which inevitably leads to a montage of butt-cheek shots and cleavage-galore. To be sure, the fighting itself is about as lame as you would expect. No, scratch that. It’s lamer.

I’m hope you’re sitting down because I’m going to drop a real shocker on you: Talena wins the battle. You weren’t expecting that now were you. Seeing that the Leather Women are vanquished, Queen Lara leaps from her throne and orders Talena to be returned to the dungeons. Xenos follows Lara out of the battle/dance room and into the same castle corridor that seems to be used in every freakin’ interior scene. Lara grumbles something about the fact that Talena should be killed…but, you know, she can’t because…I don’t know. (Well, your highness, then kill her! Moron. Why, oh, why do I watch these movies.)

Back out in the desert, the same day, next day, who knows, Cabot and Hup are on the hunt for water. As the thirsty hero and his albino companion make their way through the abandoned quarry, sorry I meant the scorched desert, they stumble upon a pool of water. Cabot runs off like a madman in order to drink from the cool pond.

Outlaw of GorHup screams for him to stop but, driven by thirst, Cabot ignores his pleas and drops to his knees at the water’s edge to have a drink. Just as Cabot is about to gulp some water, Hup yanks him away and tells him the water is poison. "How do you know?" Cabot asks. Hup responds by grimly pointing to a skeleton laying in the brackish water about 3 feet away from them. (So, Cabot didn’t see that…a yard away from his face? And wouldn’t a person think twice before drinking bronze colored water? Yep: he’s our hero.)

Moving right along. Cabot and Hup stumble around some more before realizing that Cabot has led them in circles for the last few days. (It also feels like I’ve been watching this movie for a day or two as well.) Instead of strangling Cabot for being such an idiot, Hup points out a commotion he sees at the bottom of a quarry. Sorry, a desert pit.

Yes, it’s a gang of Evil Slavers who are rounding up a bunch of people in order to be led away for sale at a local slave market. I’m really not sure just who all these people are since this is supposed to be in the middle of a God-forsaken desert, but there you have it. Anyway, the slavers run around and corral the hapless nomads into a group and then put what looks like, I swear, toilet seats around their necks to secure them.

One of the funniest bits of this scene is that the nomads outnumber the slavers by about 10 to 1, so they could, uhhh, just run away and scatter into the desert. Instead, the hapless nomads pretty much corral themselves into a nice little group and obligingly march off into captivity. It really has to be seen to be believed. It’s that bad.

At this point the camera offers us a close up shot of a particularly attractive slave. (Yes, Cabot will rescue her soon.) Hup and Cabot come out of hiding and follow the slaver’s caravan in hope of finding a town with some water. Oh, and to rescue the slaves of course, because an idiot and an unarmed midget have a great chance of overthrowing an established economic system on an alien planet.

Outlaw of GorAfter tagging along for about 500 yards, Cabot and Hup reach a small trader’s camp where goods and slaves are traded for whatever the hell passes for money on Gor. (Maybe the next group of nomads might want to stay a little further away from a slave camp in their wanderings…I mean, they must have walked all of 2 minutes from their capture to the camp.) It’s really hard to tell what differentiates a slave from a free person in this movie. The camp is full of people meandering around buying junk, and they look exactly the same as the people that were just taken prisoner. (Hmmm, maybe they are in fact the same extras…that certainly would explain it.)

As Cabot strolls around munching an apple (Cabot mentioned earlier that he’s vegetarian, so, that’s really important I guess), he happens to meet the gaze of Hot Slave Girl. A Significant Glance is exchanged and Cabot moves on.

Meanwhile, we see that the Hunter/Human Oil Can Opener is also present in the camp. Gee, what a coincidence. If all the bad luck, eh?

Cabot and Hup, still strolling among the crowds of extras, take a pause to think up their next move. "You know," Cabot says, "they’re going to eventually spot us in these clothes." An odd thing to say since they look like they’re wearing exactly the same ridiculous leather codpiece, shoulder pads, and knee-high boots as everybody else is. Hup remedies the situation by ‘sneaking’ over to a booth and stealing a few garments that, of course, happen to fit Cabot and Hup perfectly. (They were selling midget-sized clothes right off the rack?)

Outlaw of GorDecked out in their new garb, consisting of blankets wrapped around their heads and shoulders(yes, nobody would notice that), Cabot and Hup stroll over to an auction platform where Hot Slave Girl is up on the block for sale. (Now that I think of it, just what the hell was Cabot’s plan here anyway?)

Cabot watches helplessly as HSG is sold to the highest bidder for 200 Whatcha-ma-callits…and…damnit! He’s had enough of this icky slavery nonsense. "I’m going to put a stop to all this!" he says to himself before shoving some innocent guy off his horse and stealing his mount with a loud "Yaaa-haaa!"

And yes, I guess Cabot is going to stop the entire Gorean slave-based economy by stealing one slave…the Hot Slave Girl, of course. I know that "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step", but still, he steals one slave?

Cabot, apparently tired of the whole "Let’s Not Draw Attention To Ourselves" ploy that he had maintained for an entire 2 minutes, immediately begins a massive sword melee. The Hunter notices all this commotion (hey, he is the Hunter, right?), strides over, and chops a few guards himself. (Just whose side is this guy on anyway?).

Let’s speed this up here:

Cabot grabs Hot Slave Girl and tosses her onto the back of his horse.

Hup knocks a guy off a horse and steals the steed. (Yeah, now that was believable.)

On the way out of the camp, Cabot torches an innocent trader’s tent, and pretty soon half the encampment is burning to the ground. (Cabot. My hero.) The slavers decide not to give chase because "nothing of value" was stolen. (You have to wonder how these guys stay in the black with a business strategy like that, but whatever.)

OK, later that night, Cabot, Hup, and HSG sit around a campfire chomping on some sort of unidentified meat-on-a-bone. (I see that Cabot is happily chewing on a rib bone or something, so maybe he forgot he’s a vegetarian.) Sappy music indicates that a disgusting romantic scene is approaching.

"Master," HSG says as she begins caressing Cabot’s back and, <choke>, buttocks, "…let me give you pleasure."

"Look, I’m not your master….and you’re very, very beautiful, but I’m in love with another woman," Cabot replies to her offer of completely unobligated sex.

This scene is so horrible I can’t really continue writing about it. I will tell you that Cabot tries to explain "love" to HSG before rolling away and falling asleep with her cuddling on his chest. (That was the extent of the "pleasure" Cabot allowed himself. How sweet. It’s too bad I can’t inflict the same displeasure on him that this movie is causing me.)

Outlaw of GorCabot and the others, realizing that they are fugitives and are certainly being hunted by countless bounty hunters and angry slavers, all fall asleep around the fire without posting a guard. Why look, the Hunter has arrived and deals a viscous blow to Cabot which knocks him senseless. Well, ok, maybe not a "viscous" blow, but a thump on the chest. (Which knocks him out?) Whatever.

The next (same?) day, Lara is being hoisted around Ka-ro-ba’s combination Town Square – N- Slave Area in a hand-carried coach. (The guards carrying probably don’t have too much to worry about since the coach is obviously made of cardboard and plywood.)

After a quick tour of the main grounds, Lara stops outside a mine for, get this, a "guided tour". (!?). And look who else is down in the dark musty caverns: Xenos. (What the hell is the High Priest doing down there? Oh lord…)

As Lara and Xenos stand on a raised platform and watch the slaves bust their humps down below, a cave in occurs, because that’s the type of thing that always happens in these movies. As the guards rush the slaves out of the mines, Lara commands that the slaves are to continue working. (!) Because, uh, it makes such economic sense to kill your workers? Oh, that’s right. She’s Eeeevil. "Order the live ones to carry out the dead," she orders. Yeah, that makes a lot economic sense.

As Queen Lara enjoys herself watching the slaves, er, slave away, word arrives that the Hunter has returned with Cabot and the others as prisoners. Xenos and Lara run outside to gloat over Cabot’s failed attempt to overthrow Ka-ro-ba. Don’t worry, he’ll get another chance because Lara refuses to kill him. "Take him to the cells!" she says with a wicked smile.

"He must be killed," Xenos insists, "He’ll destroy our power!"

"He’s more dangerous dead than alive," Lara retorts, because, you know, if Cabot were dead then he couldn’t overthrow them. Hey, wait…

(Yeah yeah, Lara delivers the old "We can’t make him a martyr" bit. Well, excuse me, your Highness, but what’s the difference if he rots away in a cell or if you just kill him? The difference is that he can’t escape and dethrone you if he’s dead! Which is, of course, exactly what he’s going to do in about 15 minutes.)

Later that night, Xenos sneaks down into the prison cells and has a chat with Cabot. You see, Xenos is prepared to make a deal: Xenos will release him if Cabot promises to return to Earth. (Uh, I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but…KILL HIM!…Make a deal with him?!! WTF?)

"I don’t deal with…butchers!" Cabot growls. Naturally, Cabot’s refusal results in a guard shoving him to the ground and whipping him for a while.

Time out. Cabot would rather die in an underground prison then…go home? What is he thinking?

Outcome 1) Xenos releases him and he does return to Earth.

Outcome 2) Xenos releases him and he decides not to go home. Then he’s free to have another go at overthrowing Lara.

Outcome 3) He refuses Xenos’ offer and rots away in an underground cell.

Moron.

Back upstairs, Queen Lara wants to talk to Cabot as well. Unaware of Xenos surreptitious dealings with Cabot, she’s quite shocked to see that Cabot looks like he’s gotten the snot beaten out of him. Lara demands to know just what in the hoot-n-hollar Xenos has done to him. Xenos immediately spills the beans and admits that he offered Cabot a chance at freedom if he’d only return to Earth. (Good one Xenos, don’t try and play dumb or anything.)

As usual, instead of immediately having Xenos executed for treason, Queen Lara simply dismisses him while hissing, "Get out of my sight…you worm!", which ensures that Xenos too will also have a future chance to steal the throne.

Outlaw of GorLara returns to Cabot and remarks, "You’re a lucky slave…I could have had you killed." Cabot shoots back a sharp oh-so-witty remark which immediately gets him whipped again. (When will he learn…) So, blah blah blah. Since the people of Ka-ro-ba still look up to Cabot, Lara offers him a place at her side if only he’ll help her control the populace. He refuses. Lara offers him sex. He refuses. Lara offers him blah-diddy-blah. Cabot refuses. This is some fun, eh?

"Return me to my cell!" Cabot finally shouts.

"Guards!" Lara shrieks for the millionth time.

For some reason Lara decides to expose Cabot to the people for who he really is: "An alien and a murderer." (A murderer?) She then orders guard #37b to whip Cabot until he "confesses" to the murder of Marlenus. (Remember all that…about an hour ago? You don’t? Don’t worry about it.)

More whipping ensues as Cabot lies on the ground and refuses to confess to the murder. Now really though, what is the point of him confessing? The only person that would hear the confession is Lara, and she’s the one that committing the murder! Sooooo…what’s the point? She wants to hear Cabot confess to the murder that she committed? Huh?

Cabot refuses, Lara shouts, "Guards!", and he is returned to his cell for the umpteenth time.

Outlaw of GorCut to the main Ka-ro-ba courtyard where the locals are gathering around to watch a gladiator-style battle-to-the-death. The first combatants tossed out into the square are, duh, Cabot, Hup, and Watney. (Talena is charmingly manacled to a nearby pillar so she can witness the whole affair.) And by the way, didn’t Queen Lara want to avoid turning Cabot into a martyr?…and now she’s going to have him slaughtered by her warriors in front of the entire populace? <sigh>

Before the festivities begin, Xenos shouts out a toast to the "Gods of Carnage and to the death of Tarl Cabot!" (See notes on how not to avoid making somebody a martyr.) As Xenos raises his plastic goblet to the heavens, Lara stabs him in the gut with a dagger she didn’t have just a second ago. (I can only imagine the relief that Jack Palance was feeling when he realized he could pack his suitcases and get the hell out of there.)

Ok, let’s see. Xenos lays dead on the ground as Queen Lara commands the first batch of extras, sorry, gladiators, to come forth and do battle with Tarl and his buddies. For some reason, a stunt double was required for Urbano Barberini while filming the majority of these fight scenes. (I assume that was because of his horrid stunt-fighting from the opening scene in the desert.) Anyway, the director makes no effort to obscure the stunt man’s face which is no way resembles Urbano! Seriously, I thought the guy doing all the fighting was just some other unlucky smuck who was tossed into the ring until I realized this was supposed to be Cabot! Amazing! Not only that, but the guy looks about 40 pounds heavier and has a different hair cut!

Unfortunately, Hup and Watney aren’t doing so hot. Hup does, however, manage to head butt a huge dude in the nuts (Humor!), before being trapped in a net and hung from a hook where he snarls in frustration. (Once again…why don’t the guards kill anybody?)

You see, watching Hup dangle in a net is funny because he’s a midget. Wait. It’s not funny. Never mind.

Outlaw of GorAnyway, after some awful sword fighting, net throwing, chest-pounding, and "stabbing" under the armpit, Cabot disposes 5 or 6 guys. Finally having had enough of the bloodshed, Cabot shouts "Enough killing!!!". He then takes his sword and bends it over his knee into a "U" shape (!!!) before hoisting it over his head and tossing it to the ground in disgust.

There is so much wrong with all this that I don’t dare begin.

As her anger mounts, Lara sends in the Hunter to finish off Cabot. At this point in time, Watney decides to finally stick up for his friend and shouts to the crowd that it was in fact Lara who murdered Marlenus. For some reason, Watney’s accusations are enough to turn the Hunter against Lara (so much for being a neutral mercenary), for he promptly tosses his spear into the Queen’s gut and kills her (!). (As the spear "flies through the air" toward Lara, you can tell that on off-camera stage hand was simply holding it by the butt and just "stuck" it into her. Lovely.)

As Lara expires on the throne, Cabot cries "Freeeeeeedom!" as the crowd pumps their fists and pats him on the back. Observant viewers will catch a glimpse of Watney walking with his arm around Hot Slave Girl! Where did she come from?! And…wow, Watney moves fast! He was just released from his cell about 2 minutes ago. You go, boy!

Whoo boy, cut to Cabot and Talena smooching in bed. It turns out that Cabot was made king after all and he promises Talena that he’ll never leave her and blah blah blah. At that moment, Cabot’s weird Home Ring starts to "ping" and glow. Will our hero be forced to return to Earth after all…

Why…no!

Outlaw of GorLook! Humor! It’s Watney. He was teleported back to modern day Rome, sorry, <cough>, New York. (Why are all the license plates Italian? Strange.) To add to the humor, Watney is still dressed in his outlandish Gorean leather outfit…Man! THIS IS REALLY HILARIOUS.

A couple of (No Way In The Hell Are They) New York cops stroll by and take Watney away for questioning, because…I guess it’s illegal to wear leather in the summer. (You can see that the badge on one of the "cops" is about to fall off! Bravo!)

Cut to closing credits…as if anybody would want to take credit for this junk.

I’m outta here.

Dennis Grisbeck (September 2006)

Afterthoughts

Yeah, OK, I wasn’t expecting to see the world’s greatest film when I first popped it in. Hell, given the basement-quality of the first one…what could be expected of a sequel…a sequel filmed at the same time as the "first" film.

But still…

Paper-mache "castles".

The same castle corridor over and over and over.

Plastic helmets.

Bendable swords (!).

Queen Lara shouting "Guards!" a bazillion times.

Oh, and 3 more words: Jack Palance’s hat!

Hmmm, looking back, I guess the movie is is pretty harmless: It’s total crud, but it won’t hurt too badly if you’re laying on the sofa trying to get over a hangover. (Trust me.)

Party Tip #1: Have some guys over, watch both the first and second film, and shotgun a beer every time Lara screams "Guards!".

Party Tip #2: Have some guys over, watch the second film, and take a shot every time somebody yells "Cabot!" in the first 10 minutes. (Warning: "Cabot!" is shouted over 50 times in the opening of the film…)

Final Rating:

Don’t waste single-malt Scotch on this one.

A potential companion for getting through a hang-over.

Great fodder for having a couple of fellow bad-movie fans over for drinks and an evening of mirth.

Read more about Outlaw of Gor at

IMDB

4 comments to Outlaw of Gor (1989)

  • guts3d

    Great review! I saw this under the watchful eye of MST3K and thought it hilarious. There should be a web site devoted to “What the hell were they thinking?” for actors and actresses to list the worst movies they appeared in. I.E.: Donald Pleasence in Puma Man, Jack Palance in this, etc.

  • fess

    a spot-on review of an absolutely dire movie! It was so bad that i had to watch it to see how much more worse it could get. and it did. unfortunately i didn’t have the drinks to help smoothen the journey

  • guts3d

    “CABOT!” ” CABOT!”

    “CABOT!” “CABOT!” “CABOT!” “CABOT!” “CABOT!”

    “CABOT!” “CABOT!” “CABOT!” “CABOT!” “CABOT!” “CABOT!”

    Doesn’t anyone use his first name? Ever?

  • guts3d

    … “Order the live ones to carry out the dead,” she orders.

    Because the reverse would just not work.

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