The original Conan the Barbarian from 1982 is filled with brutal fight scenes. Many of these scenes involve horses not only falling, but in some cases flipping over completely. Usually, the horse would just roll right back up again and seemed just fine. In one amazing shot, a horse actually rolled down a hill through a thicket of wooden stakes, and after a few revolutions fluidly glided right back up to standing like he was some giant cat.
I could not find this scene on YouTube, but you can get a glimpse of it (and another horse fall) in the trailers:
The beauty and agility of the horses in the film amazed me. I left with a much bigger appreciation for the majesty and resilience of the common horse.
I could not help but wonder how today you would never see a real horse actually fall down in a movie. Granted, I think having guidelines to stop animal cruelty is important. But in a day and age where hedonism is the dominant philosophy, any pain or suffering whatsoever is seen as the ultimate evil (unless the pain is being used for pleasure, as with a sado-masochist).
Still, I was shocked to find out that the UK version of Conan the Barbarian has completely edited out any scene where a horse falls, due to their animal cruelty laws.
They have, in essence, rewritten the past. Beyond just the Conan the Barbarian film, history was filled with wars, most of which were engaged either on foot on top of a horse. It is likely that a good number of horses have not only fallen down, but have been outright killed in various battles. Do we really need to whitewash things so much that an old film that shows horses falling and actually standing up afterwards must be censored?
The scene is expertly choreographed and the CGI is excellent, but there's something missing.
Now, I'm not saying we need to go back to the 1980s and fill our movies with realistic scenes of animals being hurt and killed. I haven't seen it recently, but in the sequel to Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer, Arnold Schwarzenegger actually punches a horse:
(Did he actually punch it? Or did the rider pull up on the rein and the trained horse fell on purpose?)
But do we need to go rewrite history and pretend this scene never happened?
After watching Conan the Barbarian, I shifted gears and watched All About Eve the next evening. I had picked it up at the library, confusing it for The Three Faces of Eve, so I kept expecting for Eve to break out into her split personality.
And yet, All About Eve and The Three Faces of Eve actually do share something similar - a main female character who puts on a different face to the world when necessary. In All About Eve, wannabe actress Eve is a full-on narcissistic sociopath who is an expert at putting on a sweet face in order to manipulate people into doing her bidding. She fools everyone around her at first - except for another narcissistic sociopath, a film critic, who digs into her past and finds out her true story.
Eve was able to get her way with people because of the false backstory she had created to make herself sympathetic and non-threatening. It is a tactic used today by many politicians and people in power.
Trying to "out" such a person can be fraught with peril - if they have found one weakness of yours, they will use it to blackmail you into submission.
Sociopaths such as Eve also prey upon people's good hearts - no-one wants to assume such negative motives of a person who seems so sweet on the surface. Youth, good looks, and charm also go a long way towards creating a false persona that expertly masks the true ugliness within.
So today, we have a government that is more than willing to rewrite history and destroy the truth in the name of a shinier, happier future. The sociopaths in charge - and make no mistake, a good number of our "leaders" are sociopaths - are experts at framing narratives in order to fool as many people as possible.
Add to the mix an increasingly hedonistic, emotionally stunted populace that refuses to look at hard truths. They would rather have the whitewashed version.
They don't want to be reminded, for example, that Hitler was not only elected but was extremely popular for all of his social programs, and that tyranny usually shows up wearing a smile. They don't want to be told that fiat currency has a tendency to go into hyperinflation when you print too much of it.
And yet, ironically, they are taught to demonize America, and see the worst in her real history, because that's a classic tool a sociopath uses to dominate: Get your target mired in self-doubt while elevating yourself.
There's a reason why Obama's handlers were so successful in getting him to be literally fawned over during his first campaign. They created a fairy tale narrative for his past, set up a vision for a utopian future that would arrive were he elected, and simultaneously demonized the real American past and used the resulting guilt to lower the self-esteem of the nation. He was elevated while the rest of us were diminished. Brilliant, sociopathic marketing.
So what can be done to unmask the sociopaths in charge? In All About Eve, Eve gets her way, but she loses her friends in the process and sets herself up to be used just like she had done. She's not really going to learn her lesson - in fact, she is mostly rewarded for her petty evil.
Her friends chose the high road. They did not challenge her or expose her.
For those of us who are interested in truth and not fairy tales, and who want to see good, honorable people in charge, we are set forth with a very difficult challenge. If we take the low road, we will certainly be lambasted by those who have bought into the fairy tale. But we must not take the high road to the point of driving ourselves off a cliff.
We must, for example, share the "secret" audios that expose the sociopaths for who they are - the Victoria Nulands of the world who don't seem to care who gets hurt or killed in the process of political engineering, or the woman I call the "Swiss Miss Sociopath" (for her blond, braided hair), Ukrainian revolutionary Yulia Tymoshenko, who apparently wouldn't blink an eye at murdering millions of Russians to get her way.
Notice, by the way, that, like our film sociopath Eve, some of our political sociopaths are women. As a woman, I'd like to disabuse you of the notion that women are somehow inherently more good or God-fearing than men are. Clearly, we are not. And I think it's high time more average women stood up and spoke out for truth and freedom, instead of burying our heads in Dancing With the Stars pretending everything is OK.
Women, even more than men, seem to want to smooth over conflict, pretend all is well when it is not, and run away from reality. Don't get me wrong, men can do this too. But women are more vulnerable to emotional manipulation, in part, I believe, because bearing children makes you more sensitive to potential danger in life. The reason why All Above Eve was such a chilling movie was because it showed the evil inside some women, and how hard it is for other women to see it. If we are truly going to have a real revolution, we need women to wake up.
In the quest to create a super safe micro-world for their children through over-zealous helicopter parenting, good women have forgotten their power to shape the greater world around them. Instead, we've let the ambitious, evil Eves of the world to take over.
At any rate, my next movie on the docket is Conan the Destroyer in all of its gratuitous brutality. But even with the fantasy - sorcery and steroids - sometimes there's something refreshing to an old film that isn't trying to rewrite anything but offer a glimpse into another possible raw reality. Then, for contrast, I will watch the 2011 Conan the Barbarian, which I expect to be full of gratuitous computer-generated imagery (CGI). It won't be the same. But at least, for now, you can watch the old Conan the Barbarian in the United States uncensored.