As a child, I was fascinated by the sport of bodybuilding. I have a very slight bone structure, so no matter how much I worked out I was never going to have an Arnold Schwarzenegger physique – even if I was to resort to the massive amounts of steroids that permeated the sport. But, that didn’t stop me from being a fan of those who did have the skeletal frame and body mass to excel.
Enter “The Barbarian Brothers” – David Paul and Peter Paul. The brothers were identical twin body builders who parlayed their physiques into low budget films. Among those films was the 1987 treasure The Barbarians.
The Barbarians was a not-so-thinly-disguised rip off of the 1982 Schwarzenegger film Conan The Barbarian and its 1984 sequel Conan the Destroyer. Of the two Conan films, the latter was my favorite. Director Richard Fleischer had more fun with the Conan characters than the helmsman of the original film: John Milius. Plus, Conan the Destroyer featured some great stunt casting bringing in Grace Jones and Wilt Chamberlain as Conan’s warrior comrades.
The Barbarians featured David and Peter Paul as identical twin barbarian warriors battling an evil overlord (Richard Lynch) to save their gypsy-like tribe. The acting was horrible. The script was a disaster. Yet I loved the film for all its muscle flexing and absurdity. I was thrilled when my local library was recently able to track down a copy of the film for me.
You gotta love the library. What they don’t have, they will seek to borrow from other libraries on your behalf – all you have to do is ask. Occasionally I come up with a title that they can’t secure, but usually they come through no matter how absurd my requests.
David and Peter Paul disappeared from the public eye after a few more forgettable films: Double Trouble in 1992 and Twin Sitters in 1994. I watched all of about 10 minutes of Double Trouble a decade ago before giving up on it. I have not seen Twin Sitters at all, although Amazon.com offers the title for the low low price of $68.86 on DVD.
But The Barbarians? That’s a film I love and will continue to love for its inane story and horrific acting that somehow translate into superb entertainment.
Since exiting the bodybuilding world, David Paul has redefined himself as a photographer, painter, and musician, Peter Paul has been more of a recluse only showing up in a Youtube video reciting a combination beat poetry and evangelical religious doctrine outside the campus the University of Rhode Island.
I doubt there will ever be another pair like the Barbarian Brothers. Like the 1980s they represented in their heyday, David and Peter Paul were all glitz and nothing but a good time. I’ll treasure the memories.
Peace. Love. Trust.