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Monday, May 28, 2007

Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964) Review

Hercules Against the Moon Men

I first came across HATMM when I was watching Mystery Science Theater 3000 a year or two ago. I had stumbled across a very funny little film full of action, bright (well their faded now) colors, and crazy rock men. I had figured I would never see it again outside of the MST3K episode, but much to my surprise it was on a 50 pack Sci-Fi DVD set from Mill Creek Entertainment, which was likely taken from a copy put out by Retromedia (which looks just like the print on MST3K).

So I put the film film in yesterday not sure what to expect, but much to my surprise, besides the infamous sandstorm thrid act which really slows the picture down, I found a really fun sword and sandal film. It succeeds generally in being a briskly paced (once again ignoring the sandstorm) Italian epic with nice costumes and sets and some really out there villains in regards to the rock people of the moon. Hercules must help liberate a kingdom ruled by a Queen of pure evil, who makes the villagers scrafice their children in order to please her cruel moon men overlords (nice, huh?).The action is generally pretty good too as Alan Steel (aka Sergio Cian) (as Hercules plays a really upstanding guy full of energy and also blessed with a decent dubber), finds creative ways to dispatch his enemies. This is instead of the simple, toss a guy across the room school of ass-kicking. While I like the voices on the dubbers the lip-syncs are really off (not as a tech error, just poor syncing in the script), but once you get into the swing of things you no longer mind it as I said the voices are generally good. The costumes like on most Italian epics are gorgeous and a pleasure to look at.

This title can be found easily on numerous PD sets or from Retromedia (it is the same print through). I highly recommend you give this great Italian sword and sandal film a try.

Here is a little fun fact from wikipedia:

In the original Italian language version, the hero was not Hercules but Maciste, and its original Italian title was Maciste e la regina di Samar (Maciste and the Queen of Samar). Its French title was Maciste contre les hommes de pierre (a rough translation would be Maciste vs. the Stone Men), but the English distributors dubbed him to be Hercules, because Maciste, originally a hero in silent Italian cinema, was not well-known to American audiences.

Join the discussion of the film at Classic Horror Film Board:
Hercules Against the Moon Men


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