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 Who are they exactly ?

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Einar
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PostSubject: Who are they exactly ?   Tue 6 Nov - 11:28

I mean, the skeleton warriors on skeletal horses that Conan encounters when he first comes to the Mounds... Because I was re-reading the Marvel comic book adaptation, and it says (Conan's speaking):

I arrived at a place where a series of great mounds rose before me and ringed round them were stakes on which were impaled the putrefied bodies of men left there to die by Thulsa Doom

I always thought these warriors had nothing to do with Doom (doesnt the Wizard says " Nobody bothers me down here. Not even Thulsa Doom."), that they were just part of the funeral Mounds, sort of guarding them in a way...




But then waht's up with them being connected with Thulsa Doom ? Are they some sort of scarecrows left there by him ? like the ones Charlton Heston encounters in " Planet of the Apes," marking the limits of the Forbidden Zone, just before he gets to the cascading lake ?

If yes, then why ? I don't get it... shifty

For those who have it, is there any more explanations about this in the Milius' screenplay ? scratch scratch scratch
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Cromulus The Destroyer
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Tue 6 Nov - 15:36

Short answer is no, but he does leave some things which are confusing and hints towards DeCamp's version.

I think DeCamp added it in for effect or just tweaked Milius' story a bit, though its a good idea.. I also like the Eye of the Serpent being used. I think when Milius couldnt get somebody like Rick Baker or such, just dropped the Neanderthaloid men completely and changed Brak/Rexor to regular human.

Anyway, the Mound area is some obscure burial ground for old warrior/ kings, I guess sorta like a place like where whales go to die or something,lol.

Mako's character is like the old caretaker with mystic powers, never explained, and is there for no apparent reason.

However, the Mounds, were also surrounded by remains of a long dead Civilization, fallen temples and columns laid about.. Akiro mentions Thulsa Doom to have come down every spring with hand full of warriors, to guard the mounds. no explanations or more elaborations were given.

Milius described the mounds as 50 feet high, were a few of them.

The thing is, the Kings were to have been buried inside the Mounds(Altantean king crypt?) and the warriors with the horses outside staked up, were to be guarding the tombs..like many ancient cultures did this..burying their kings with horses and warriors or made them outve stone and whatever.

The impression I get with Thulsa Doom was that he was guarding a secret or paying respects of some kind.

PS

Re-Read the script..

CONAN's voice over for this scene was:

"Perhaps great men lived here once--giants---gods. Perhaps Crom, himself"

PPS

Akiro hints at the mounted corpes being men left there by Thulsa Doom, bodies of young men which Doom leaves to guard the Mounds every spring perhaps left their since as long as Doom's been around, motive unknown and essentially pointless. This doesn't make any sense though and wont resonate at all in the movie.
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Tue 6 Nov - 17:41

You have me thinking now, that maybe Mako's character killed them? A sorta Ark of the Covenant(from Indiana Jones) like powers he's able to summon to kill his enemies and why Thulsa leaves him alone..or yet Thulsa Doom comes every spring to drop off and stake up some bodies for no reason or to killed by the Wizard of the Mounds?scratch Wink

Here's some excerpts from the 3rd Draft, Einar:

Quote :
241 DUSK - THE MOUNDS OF KINGS - EXT.

Conan rides slowly, approaching the edge of the great inland. The Mountain of Power rises sharply in the distance. It is here he comes a strange sight: a mound, indeed, one of a series of mounds, rises before him. The mound is perhaps fifty feet high high, a hundred yards in width. Around its base are stakes, every five or six yards, almost forming fence. Upon these stakes are impaled the petrified bodies of horses and riders. The corpses are mostly bare and skeletal: only the shreds of clothing remain. Because the air is dry and land abounding in vultures, it is impossible to say how long the bodies have been here. Conan rides warily past the mound, the chill of fear of the supernatural creeps through his barbaric soul. Beyond the first mound are decaying stones, the ruins of a city, perhaps a civilization. Nothing much is left, only cracked walks and ditches, strange erect slabs and broken columns, and more mounds, worn and eroded by thousands of years.

CONAN (v.o.)
Perhaps great men lives here, once
-- giants -- gods. Perhaps Crom himself.


242 DIFFERENT ANGLE

As Conan clears the last mound, he sees a hut, with a fire burning between him and the sea. A figure, shrouded in the lengthening shadows, stands b the fire and waves its arms. He stops as Conan draws closer. He sees the huge frame of the rider, the glint of burnished steel, hears the CLANK of armor. Conan rides up, looking upon a wizened old MONGOL, a shaman of some sort, with his head shaved.

*movie dialog here up until

Quote :
243 Continued

Conan nods.

WIZARD
No one bothers me here.
They know my work. not even--


He points in the direction of the mountain.

WIZARD
--Thulsa Doom -- He knows. Comes every spring
with young men to guard the mounds -- you saw them --


Conan remembers the mounted corpses.

CONAN
I saw them.

CLOSE - WIZARD

He laughs to himself, a slow knowing laugh. Conan eats, oblivious.



Marvel comics looks more accurate towards the script, because in the movie the skeletons weren't Doom's soldiers nor random looking persons who appeared murdered or tortured. They were both armed and armored with Mako having respect for these dead in the movie and positioned nicely. Also the movie's Mounds werent very elaborate and this scene in the script with the cut dialog differs changes the narrative. The Mounds were smaller and not hollow looking in the film, the place looked just like what it was, an outside burial of the warriors/ kings and is alluded to as such in the filmed movie. The movie has just megalithic Stonehenge like boulders, wasnt a civilized ruined city to any visual suspecting degree as pointed out in the script ..more like a holy place of worship or sacrifice with just the alter at the top of one mound, and megalith with chain attached to another.

Here are the bodies in the Marvel Comic:



The mounds description seems related to "The Thing in the Crypt" from the beginning of the movie, but no connections are made in the script, other than possibly Crom being buried at the Wizards Mounds. Its a recurring theme Milius used, burial mounds and giants and whatever. *I think this is why many think the Atlantean tomb is Crom and where the confusion stems from. Milius repeated these Mounds, with or without realizing it..and maybe its why Cobb changed the designs around for desert Mounds, as it looked like a repeat/rehash.

So either Mako's Wizard was really someone who can summon demons against his enemies or would be attackers, like he did with the Red Shadows and told Conan when he arrived... Or, Thulsa Doom for whatever reason sacrificed some of his followers over by the mounds for whatever reasoning every spring..One gets the impression in the Movie that Doom paid the old hermit no heed and let him be with his dead, but in the script things are blurry.

Mako's character is based on that Japanese movie "Kwaidan", so maybe some answers can be found with viewing that movie.

Personally I like the way we see it in the movie, this way Mako's isnt freaky and Doom doesnt go down there to visit for no reason every spring to plant bodies instead of seeds,lol.

The Wizard of the Mounds in the movie always reminded me sorta like that of a Ben Kenobi, was just crazy old hermit and a sorcerer with powers rivaling even the most evil wizard. They both even lived in huts out in the desert. However the movie version played by Mako, his behavior was erratic and doubled for comical relief. He was also weaker, as he feared getting killed by Subotai and Valeria if he failed in resurrecting Conan..so I used elements of Akiro from CTD when I was younger.
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Wed 7 Nov - 20:05

The comic book version looks like Vlad the Impaler came to the Mounds! Mr. Green

Ok, here is the novelization version:

Quote :
Conan dipped his shaggy head towards the Mountain of Power. "What about them?" "The serpent-besotted fools? They know me well. But, thinking me mad, they do not bother me. Each spring the man named Doom comes hither to make sacrifice to the ghosts of my sleeping kings. You've seen them..." He gestured towards the skeletal remains of men astride their horses. Conan, unsure whether the bones were those of ancient kings or of Doom's followers, ate in silence for a space.

So De Camp & Carter change the line from the Milius script ("[Doom] comes every spring with young men to guard the mounds") into "[Doom] comes hither to make sacrifice to the ghosts of my sleeping kings"...

Cromulus, it's funny that you should mention Raiders of the Lost Ark, because in Cinefantastique, it's said that the effects for the first test version of the demon ghosts sequence were discarded precisely because they were "too much like Raiders"! Mr. Green

Also, we have this production drawing of the Mounds by William Stout, where you can see someone (the Wizard?) performing some kind of magic ritual and it is very reminiscent of the opening of the Ark!

arrow http://www.conancompletist.com/img/photos/D07/conan_D07_067.jpg

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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Wed 7 Nov - 20:33

These Demons though when reading the Script, I am getting the impression with Akiro's demon spirits that they're supposed to be tearing or devouring your flesh off too .. I am guessing like in that japanese movie(milius mentions such in the DVD commentary with the tearing of the flesh by the demons in " Ho'Ichi The Earless" )..or as seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark(though they made it melt off--same difference though).

Very interesting observation Mighty..now that you reminded me, I recall now also from that magazine, for whatever reasoning, most of the visual effects and monster make-up was kept to absolute minimum, for some odd reason they didnt want a "Sinbad" or "Indiana Jones" look or feel..I think this mindset hampered the scripts and movie well into Post Production with the deletion of the Beast with 3 Eyes and most of the trolls in the tunnels possibly.




From your passage, DeCamp seems just as confused as I was when reading Milius' script(s):

Quote :
" He gestured towards the skeletal remains of men astride their horses. Conan, unsure whether the bones were those of ancient kings or of Doom's followers, ate in silence for a space.

Milius may of been deliberate with his ambiguity of the Wizard and those scenes or caught up like Stone, just writing what came to mind, lots of visions and ideas ect rather than precise cohesion ..I dont know. I often did wonder if Milius worked on "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in some capacity.

It would've been strange also if Akiro out necromanced Thulsa Doom had they filmed those scenes, the movie version as I was saying is very weak in terms of character and more comical. It also would've made Akiro more Powerful than Doom , whom hardly shows much supernatural powers aside from shape shifting and that wouldve been stupid I think.

Milius wanted a more Natural magic rather than Supernatural magic for Conan..least thats the motto used.

I have to admit though, I would've loved to see more Special effects and beasts in Conan, that Stout art is wonderful.

PS

Both RAIDERS and CONAN had a 20 million dollar budget..so no reason why Conan couldn't of used more ILM special effects..except supposedly Milius didnt like Special Effects...but I find that hard to swallow when reading even Milius' scripts and knowing of the deleted scenes.."Father's sword and Lightning in Cimmeria" and the "Crom's Earthquake" or even his re-working of "Half the Sky", when he was inserting flying Dinosaurs, Sabretooth Tigers and Mammoths among other things..
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Wed 7 Nov - 21:21

MightyMcT wrote:
The comic book version looks like Vlad the Impaler came to the Mounds!

The Jun Hord did this in Beastmaster, during the raid on Dar's village . Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Wed 7 Nov - 22:17

Cromulus, do you remember this old discussion we had about the talismans the Wizard is wearing all over himself, and that they most probably were to keep away the Evil spirits? You even had this theory about him probably having left Thuran because of great evil he may have caused or was part of something or did something he strongly regrets, because he was reluctant to use his magic as a sorcerer... Mr. Green

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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Wed 7 Nov - 22:25

Shit..I think so..man its been a few years now. Do you still have the convo anywhere? Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Wed 7 Nov - 22:28

I may have kept some old messages... Mr. Green

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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Thu 8 Nov - 8:11

I think it's interesting to think about the Wizard and the whole Mounds place in a realistic way, without thinking about magic of any kind. At least of that "Harry Potter" magic kind, but more in the way ancient shamans were depicted, a "natural magic".

Real shamans used to hide in places like that, old cemetarys, caves, sacred -or haunted places-, and the use of skeletons or skulls as a decoration also served to scare possible visitors. Those bones and skulls where a psychological advice and didn't mean more than "here is the house of the dead, go away if you don't want to join them".

The shaman, beyond believing in spirits, used the superstitious fears of normal people as a way of protecting himself and his house.

Shamans of course believed in spirits and also talked with them. Somehow, what Mako could have been done was openning a door for these spirits to come to the material world, so they could be fighted by Subotai and Valeria. A shaman is a opener od doors, more than a sorcerer with powers like throwing rays though the eyes or levitate...

See Thulsa Dooms powers... The most unnatural thing we see him do is transforming into an animal. A ver common power associed to shamans. Beyond that, he has a terrific charism that can let people without will, and also has a great longevity. Those both are also shared by shamans of a lot of cultures. Carlos Castaneda's "Don Juan" for example is described as a man without age, sometimes looking old and other looking like he has lost 20 years all of a sudden. He also has incredible hypnotic powers. And the hability of communicate with spirits and control them to do what he wants. Demons, by change, can't be controlled and one must be very careful with them.

It's a very interesting description of a sorcerer, and it's better than those "Lord of the Rings" kind of magicians who are practically X-Men.
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Thu 8 Nov - 15:17

MightyMcT wrote:
I may have kept some old messages... Mr. Green

Am thinking partve of that old convo also had to do with why the Wizard had outside his hut the human skulls.

*In the Second Draft(1980) the Wizard was still an aged Mongol...so was always curious how John Houston fit in? shifty
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Thu 8 Nov - 15:19

But those evil spirits that comes to the Mounds, probably summoned by the Wizard, what do they do exactly to Conan ? They apparently help or contribute to heal him, and at the same time Valeria and Subotai are shown trying to make them go (fly) away ? scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Thu 8 Nov - 15:32

Einar wrote:
But those evil spirits that comes to the Mounds, probably summoned by the Wizard, what do they do exactly to Conan ? They apparently help or contribute to heal him, and at the same time Valeria and Subotai are shown trying to make them go (fly) away ? scratch

I always assumed it was the Wizard's mystical writing of incantations rather than the ghosts themselves, Einar. The Red Shadow's were the "heavy toll" and then later Valeria paid the "Price"..so obviously the place was haunted. We dont see much occurring, so I guess its the wind breathing new life into CONAN, while the Shadows are trying to drag his body and soul back to the underworld.




Maybe these below, was Crom's spirit(or some Good Angel/Spirit) entering CONAN's body to bring him back or just to appear?

The one on the far left here appears to be a Wolf..

arrow http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/4258/redshadow2ri1.jpg

Crom was described as a Wolf..even Conan called Crom an "old Wolf" in the KING CONAN: Crown Of Iron" script.







Crom as seen from Marvel Comics:




http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/crom.htm

It does indeed bear resemblances to Crom's depictions in Marvel..perhaps that caped Wolf transformed into the caped horned helmed warrior(Crom?) rather like in "Raiders of the lost Ark"...and maybe Milius cut it out for some reason, like because of the Indiana Jones similarity??? Also the fact that Crom(or Crom's spirit)being at the mounds, and one of Crom's alias was "Lord of the Mound", possibly further lends some more credence to this theory of mine.


Certainly Conan wasnt possessed by evil spirits like Hoichi the Earless, so it wasnt to drive the spirits outve the body or away..rather in Conan, the Wizards spell was to invoke the Spirits to come and rejuvenate life into Conan's dead or dying body. So your right though, as we dont see anything other than evil spirits with Valeria and Subotai fighting and even Conan being tied down. *This scene from CONAN THE BARBARIAN or something like similar to it, supposedly was to be repeated in one of Milius' "KING CONAN: Crown Of Iron" script treatments...which is in my view, completely redundant and asinine .
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Thu 8 Nov - 18:58

Also interestingly enough, Conan mentions that Valeria sits by the side Crom now and she did manage to come back from the dead. So who knows, maybe Crom indeed helped in spirit form in the movie and maybe with his sword he slayed some Red Shadows?! Milius' CONAN 3 storyline didnt seem to have over ridden Valeria's return again, so CTD may not of strayed to far after all in some ways.
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Thu 8 Nov - 22:50

My personal theory is that Conan is almost dead. He is in the line, inbetween. There are no scientific ways to take him back and get him away from death -there was no doctor House in that age- so the shaman must do the same but in the methaphysical way.

So, the only way to separate Conan from Death's hands would be confronting that same Death. Literally.

Conan would have probably died that same night, "Death would have come to take his soul" but nobody would have see it. It would have been a natural death.

The shaman made the "process of dying" visible. So, Valeria and Subotai could fight against Death who came to take his friend. (Maybe these spirits are servants of Death, collectors, like walkyries for example).

Also, the wizard protected Conan with symbols to make Death's work harder.

To make these spirits visible -materialize spirits- the shaman had to make a deal with Gods, so the door could be opened. It's probably, The Mounds, a place where that door could be opened easily than in any other place of the world, because somehow it's a sacred place and the communication with Gods is more easy.

But, opening that door -materializing Death- has a high price. Of course. A shaman is only a human, and playing to be a God has a price.

That's why shamans allways made sacrifices to Gods, to not get them angry or be afraid that human could become too powerful. It's a way of saying the Gods -ok, give power but you rule, I will allways be your servant-. Human sacrifices of course were the most powerful gift to Gods, and as more dead people you gave to the God the shaman served, more far away from death the shaman would be.
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PostSubject: Re: Who are they exactly ?   Sun 19 Oct - 20:36

The Mongol Wizard of the Mounds may of been partially inspired from the ambiguous Khitain Wizard that instructed Salome from "A Witch Shall be Born" via Howard. Along with Stone's version of Zang from the same story though significantly altered . Howard's Wizard was to have come back from Stygia and saw in Salome someone whom he could teach and be his ally in Conquest of the world, so rescued and saved the baby witch Salome from the desert and the elements-- the Wizard did save Conan from the elements of the same desert but in a different manner, but nearly identical elements and from the same story, "A Witch Shall be Born".

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0600921h.html

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix3/salomethewitch.htm
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