Polar Bear Return to Polar Blair's Den Menu Page

"Maciste" Films

Back to "Live-Action Superheroes" Main Page

About These Films
Gallery
Maciste in Africa
Maciste in Asia

(1914-1927 Silent Films)

Bartolomeo Pagano
Cabiria (1914)
Maciste (1915) (aka "Marvelous Maciste")
Maciste bersagliere (1916) (aka "Maciste the Ranger")
Maciste alpino (1916) (aka "Maciste the Warrior")
Maciste atleta (1917) (aka "Maciste the Athlete")
Maciste medium (1917) (aka "Maciste the Clairvoyant")
Maciste poliziotto (1917) (aka "Maciste the Detective")
Maciste turista (1917) (aka "Maciste the Tourist")
Maciste sonnambulo (1918) (aka "Maciste the Sleepwalker")
La Rivincita di Maciste (1919) (aka "Maciste's Revenge")
Il Testamento di Maciste (1919) (aka "Maciste's Will")
Il Viaggio di Maciste (1919) (aka "Maciste's Journey")
Maciste I (1919) (aka "Maciste the First")
Maciste contro la morte (1919) (aka "Maciste vs. Death")
Maciste innamorato (1919) (aka "Maciste in Love")
Maciste in vacanza (1920) (aka "Maciste on Vacation")
Maciste salvato dalle acque (1920) (aka "Maciste, Rescued From the Waters")
Maciste e la figlia del re della Plata (1922) (aka "Maciste and the Silver King's Daughter")
Maciste und die Japanerin (1922) (aka "Maciste and the Japanese")
Maciste contro Maciste (1923) (aka "Maciste vs. Maciste")
Maciste und die chinesische truhe (1923) (aka "Maciste and the Chinese Trunk")
Maciste e il nipote di America (1924) (aka "Machiste's American Nephew")
Maciste imperatore (1924) (aka "Maciste the Emperor")
Maciste contro lo sceicoo (1925) (aka "Maciste vs. the Sheik")
Maciste all'inferno (1926) (aka "Maciste in Hell")
Maciste nella gabbia dei leoni (1926) (aka "Maciste in the Lions' Den")
il Gigante delle Dolemite (1927) (aka "The Giant From the Dolomite")


The 1960s Revival Era (1960-1965)

Samson Burke
Toto vs. Maciste (1962 Film)

Mark Forest

Son of Samson (1960 Film)
First Maciste film from this era.
Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules (1961 Film)
Colossus of the Arena (1962 Film)
Goliath & the Sins of Babylon (1963 Film)
Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules (1964 Film)
Hercules Against the Mongols (1963 Film)

Hercules Against the Barbarians (1964 Film)

Ed Fury
Samson Against the Sheik (1962 Film)

Reg Lewis
Fire Monsters Against the Son of Hercules (1962 Film)

Reg Lewis & Kirk Morris
Maciste, Avenger of the Mayans (1965 Film)
Last Maciste film from this era.

Richard Lloyd
The Invincible Brothers Maciste (1965 Film)

Gordon Mitchell
Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops (1961 Film)

Kirk Morris
Triumph of the Son of Hercules (1961 Film)
Hercules in the Valley of Woe (1961 Film)
The Witch's Curse (1962 Film)
Colossus & the Headhunters (1963 Film)
Atlas Against the Czar (1964 Film)
Hercules of the Desert (1964 Film)

Reg Park
Maciste in King Solomon's Mines (1964 Film)

Renato Rossini
Samson & the Mighty Challenge (1965 Film)

Gordon Scott
Goliath & the Vampires (1961 Film)
Samson & the Seven Miracles of the World (1962 Film)

Alan Steel (Sergio Ciani)
Samson & the Slave Queen (1963 Film)
Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964 Film)

The Jesus Franco Maciste Films Era (1973)
Jesus Franco was a Spanish cult film director who made these two films totally unrelated to the 1960s Maciste films.

Val Davis
Maciste contre la Reine des Amazones (1973) (aka "Maciste vs. the Queen of the Amazons")
* Distributed in Italy as a Karzan movie, a cheap Tarzan imitation.

Les exploits erotiques de Maciste dans l'Atlantide (1973) (aka "The Erotic Exploits of Maciste in Atlantis")
* Released only in France with hardcore inserts as "Les Gloutonnes" (aka "The Gobblers").


About These FilmsPronounced Ma-Cheese-Tay.  Maciste is one of those "public domain" kind of heroic characters that has been done so many times in so many ways that it's unclear as to just what he is or what he's about.  He is an Italian and French creation.  In French, the word "machiste" means "macho man" or "male chauvenist".  When developed for Italian film, the "h" was simply taken out of his name.  Typically, Maciste is portrayed as a warrior from Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...often with super strength.  There was no Maciste in Greek or Roman mythology.  He is basically a ripoff of the Hercules legend.  Maciste has often been made to look like Hercules and perform similar feats of strength and heroism.  Primarily known for his appearances in the "sword and sandal" genre of Italian gladiator movies, Maciste is usually panned by critics and not known for winning a lot of film awards.  Like all things interesting, there is a world of stupid people who don't want to admit shows like these are fun to watch.

    The first time Maciste came into being was in a 1914 Italian film.  Fun fact:  this was also the same year that Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Tarzan" character appeared in published stories.  It's been estimated that Maciste's appeared in about 52 movies since that time.  The exact number is up for debate, but make no mistake he has been done a lot.  He is so often associated with Hercules that many English-speaking versions of those films simply rename the character Hercules.  After all, Hercules is a more popular name where Maciste is basically limited to Italian and French popular culture.  One such film where the character of Maciste was renamed Hercules is "Hercules Against the Moon Men".

    Maciste in Africa:  Maciste has been in Africa at least a few times.  In Maciste's first movie from the 1960s, "Son of Samson" (1960), Mark Forest played the hero in Egypt.  Kirk Morris was the man in "Triumph of the Son of Hercules" (1961).  Reg Park played the hero in "Maciste in King Solomon's Mines" (1964).  Both of these movies are very similar to each other and set in Egypt.

    Maciste in Asia:  Although not very common, there are a few times Maciste was put in an Asian setting.  Gordon Scott played Maciste in "Samson & the Seven Miracles of the World" (1962).  Mark Forest starred as our musclebound hero in "Hercules Against the Mongols" (1963) and "Hercules Against the Barbarians" (1964).  All of these films deal with Maciste fighting the Mongols.



Maciste all'inferno (1926):  "Maciste in Hell".  This just reaffirms why I don't like silent movies.  It's weird!  To the max!  This story is set in then-current times (1926).  Maciste is a plainclothes hero.  He has super-strength, but he's fat!  Pagano still has strong-looking arms, but he's noticably husky.  All the movie's talk about him being a "superb physique" and "fine figure of a man" gets a bit ridiculous after awhile.

    There's a lot of stuff in this movie that doesn't make sense.  The general idea is that Maciste is tricked into being warped into Hell by Barbariccia, a demon in human disguise.  Hell wants Maciste because he's their greatest enemy.  The ruler of Hell is "King Pluto", also referred to as "The Devil" or "Satan".

    The rule is that no man can stay in Hell for more than three days unless kissed by a female demon.  Maciste is transformed into a Hell demon by a she-devil.  For some reason, all the male demons in Hell look ugly as spoiled meatloaf, while all the female demons look glamourous.  That's just how it works, don't ask me why.

    Barbariccia the demon attempts a takeover of Hell.  Demon-ized Maciste defeats Barbariccia and his entire army.  Pluto grants Maciste his greatest wish in return for this deed.  Maciste is allowed to go back to Earth and is returned to his human form.  However, Proserpina catches Maciste before he can return to Earth, kisses him again to turn him into a demon, and ties him to the side of a cliff.  Two years later, a child's wish on Christmas Eve saved Maciste, and he turned human again and came home.  I thought the whole story was dumb.

    The best thing about this movie was the dialogue for Maciste.  He's a tough ol' b****** that doesn't take any s***!

Cast:

Bartolomeo Pagano as Maciste
Franz Zala as Barbariccia/Dotter Nox
Umberto Guarricino as Pluto
Lucia Zanussi as Luciferina, Pluto's daughter
Elena Sangro as Proserpina
Dominico Serra as Prince George/Giorgio
Pauline Polaire as Rosabela/Graziella
Director- Guido Brignone
Writers- Dante Alighieri, Riccardo Artuffo

Alternate Titles For This Film:
Fun Facts:


Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops (1961):  This movie marked the film debut of two notable stars:  Gordon Mitchell and Fabio.  Gordon Mitchell was a bodybuilder who went on to star in quite a few strongman movies.  Fabio was barely two years old.  As a matter of fact, he was credited as "Little Fabio", and who would have ever guessed that he'd become the sensation that he did in the late 1980s-early 1990s?  Baby Fabio played a central character to the plot, the baby Prince Agisander II, last descendant of the legendary hero Ulysses.

    This is a Maciste movie.  On American TV, this movie was retitled "Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops".  The character is called Maciste, throughout.  Why they renamed it to "Atlas", but left the character's name "Maciste" in the film is not only a mystery, but stupid.  American distributors often renamed heroes of Italian sword-and-sandal flicks so they'd be more recognizable to English-speaking audiences.  They would have been better off calling it "Maciste in the Land of the Cyclops".

    It's an entertaining enough movie, but moves kind of slow in places.  This 100-minute movie would have done better as a 70-minute film.  The movie REALLY drags from the beginning until the scene where Maciste first meets Capys in the cave and saves her life.  From then on, the film moves, but they do tend to "ham up" some scenes that could have been edited shorter.

    As the story goes, a legendary hero named Ulysses outwitted the enchantress Circes and blinded her Cyclops creation, Polyphemus.  This was centuries ago.  Since that time, the descendants of Circes and the Cyclops have taken out their vengeance on all descendants of Ulysses.  They've nearly succeeded.  Only one man, his wife, and son remain.  The man is killed, his royal son is whisked away by a friend, and the wife is taken prisoner with the other women of the village.

    The baby finds its way to Maciste, who gives it to a shepherd friend to protect.  Meanwhile, Maciste must fight the evil queen's forces, and save the good queen with all the other prisoners, while keeping the baby safe.  On his way to the evil city of Sadok, Maciste saves Queen Capys in a cave, not knowing she is the evil ruler he's sworn to take down.  Capys falls in love with Maciste, having never before met anyone as kind and unselfish.  Queen Capys masks her self-hatred from all.  She hates herself for being born a descendant of Circes, and for having to commit the evil acts she's done.  She begs Circes to free her of this curse, and is granted freedom only if the last descendant of Ulysses is fed to the Cyclops.  Capys sees Maciste as a way to reform herself, yet she is conflicted.

    Maciste ultimately turns Capys good, and she attempts to save the baby with him as her traitorous second-in-command tries to feed the child and its mother to the Cyclops.  Sadly, Capys is killed by the dagger of her jealous lover.  Maciste throws the man to the Cyclops and that finishes him.  Then, Maciste battles the Cyclops to free the mother and child and wins.  The throne of Sadok is now turned over to the good Queen Penope and son, King Agisander II.  Penope wants Maciste to stay, but he refuses for the reason that he must help others who need him.

    There were so many versions of Maciste in the 1960s.  This Maciste is a kind and humble man who does good deeds, but is kind of a dimwit, and incredibly naive.  He's not as cunning or as fierce as many other Maciste portrayals.  Gordon Mitchell's Maciste is certainly a likable guy, but he's not the baddest Maciste on the block.  When he kicks a**, though, he makes it definite.

    Chelo Alonso is a real knockout and plays the sexy, evil-turned-good Queen Capys.  Out of all the characters in the film, Queen Capys is the only one that has depth, and the only one that will surprise you.  Sometimes you don't know if she's really toying with Maciste or not.  It is a pity she was killed.  I think it would have made a better story for the reformed Capys to be Maciste's bride at the end of the film, turning over her kingdom to Penope and son on peaceful terms.  I do think she could have been dealt with better in the script.

    Vira Silenti is the other notable knockout of this movie.  She plays the good Queen Penope and is a very beautiful strawberry blonde.  Silenti did a number of Italian sword-and-sandal movies, another popular role being Young Martha Gunt in the Maciste film "The Witch's Curse".  I like her a lot.  She's a pleasant personality and a nice presence in the film.

    Black bodybuilder Paul Wynter stars in his second of only three film roles.  Here he plays Queen Capys' evil warrior Mumba.  This is quite different from his not-to-bright, but heroic Bangor in the previous Maciste movie "Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules" (1961).  In this movie, he's straight-out evil.  The fight scene between Wynter and Mitchell in the prison cell is especially cool.  Mumba lasts through most of the film, finally being eaten by a shark when he is thrown off a boat by Maciste.  I think it's a shame Paul Wynter didn't do more in films.  He could have played a lot of interesting heroes in the sword-and-sandal genre.  It would have been nice to see him get a lead.

    Like most of the Italian peplum/sword-and-sandal flicks, this has great scenery, sets, and beautiful girls.  The action scenes are inventive and entertaining to watch.  I really enjoyed the climactic scene where Maciste fights the Cyclops.  I'm assuming the Cyclops was supposed to be about ten feet tall.  Maciste really beats the h*** out of him!  First he beats up the Cyclops by throwing heavy stones at him, then he stabs the Cyclops in the eye with a sword, and finally brings the cave down on him.  I'd say Cyclops was sufficiently killed.

    I recommend this movie, but there are even better Maciste films.  It has more premise than plot, but the premise is intriguing enough to gain your interest.  The little plot this movie has comes from the character of Queen Capys herself.  She is pretty much the reason anything happens in this film.  If it isn't her doing something, it's her jealous, love-starved second-in-command causing problems.  Mostly, this is an entertaining visual with incredible stunts.  If you want to see something that's cool, watch this movie!

Cast:

Gordon Mitchell as Maciste
Chelo Alonso as Queen Capys
Vira Silenti as Queen Penope
Paul Wynter as Mumba
Fabio as (Baby) Prince Agisander II


Alternate Titles For This Film:
Fun Facts:


Colossus and the Headhunters (1963):  First of all, it's Maciste, not Colossus.  There is NO Colossus in this movie.  It ticks me off when they do this, but Italian-made movies were often retitled in America so they'd appeal more to audiences.  I think their mode of thinking was stupid, because Maciste was the right name and appropriate thing to call this movie.  At any rate, this is a Maciste movie and the character is called Maciste throughout.

    This isn't a terrible Maciste movie, but it's certainly not one of the most thrilling.  Kind of "blah".  First of all, I don't really dig Kirk Morris as Maciste.  He may be physically fit, but he's no body-builder.  Maciste is supposed to have super-strength and be bigger than h***.  Another strike against Morris: he looks like he's pouting through all his lines.  I just don't like him as Maciste as much as a lot of the other actors I've seen.  He did play Maciste better in his first film, "Triumph of the Son of Hercules" (1961).

    There are women in this movie, but none of them are that sexy or interesting.  They're attractive enough, but no woman character really excites you.  They're all kind of dull.

    A volcano blows up an island at the beginning of this movie.  That's the most exciting thing that happens for a long time.  Maciste takes on a tribe of headhunters.  That's about it.

Cast:

Kirk Morris as Maciste
Laura Brown as Queen Amoa
Frank Leroy as Kermes, the main villain


Alternate Titles For This Film:
Fun Facts:


Fire Monsters Against the Son of Hercules (1962):  An Italian-made film, this is actually a Maciste movie.  For English language audiences the hero was renamed Maxus, and explained as one of the sons of Hercules.  This movie was called "Fire Monsters Against the Son of Hercules" for American TV audiences and later video and DVD releases.

    This isn't one of the best Maciste movies I've ever seen.  It's not terrible, but it's just not that exciting.  First of all: WHAT fire monsters?  There wasn't even one fire monster, let alone enough to be pluralized.  The monsters that did appear in the movie were just there.  They didn't suit any purpose but filler.  One dragon-like monster was fought underwater.  Another was fought in a cave.  Another was just a real lizard made to look large in the distance.  But none of them spit fire.  So I'm a bit confused as to where the "fire monsters" come in.

    Reg Lewis is cool as Maxus (Maciste).  Man, that dude is HUGE!  He was well-cast as a Hercules-type character and looks like he could knock guys around.  And what wild red hair!  It's an unusual hair color for characters of this sort in film, but it does help add to making the character interesting.

    Another highlight is Moah, played by Margaret Lee.  Moah is the princess of the Moon tribe who becomes Maxus' lover.  She's a beautiful, redheaded cave girl who I wish was dressed a bit more scant than the "dude" she was with.  She's still sexy and interesting, though.

    What I don't like about this movie is that it's set a bit TOO far back for a Maciste movie.  This is set in caveman times.  The Stone Age, to be precise.  There is a Sun tribe and a Moon tribe.  The Sun tribe are completely good guys and gals.  The Moon tribe is not necessarily an evil tribe, but led by an evil man named Fuwan (played by Andrea Aureli).  Fuwan took over as chief of the Moon tribe by killing Moah's father and brother.  So she naturally despises him, and Fuwan wants her as his mate.

    Idar (played by Luciano Marin, a likable actor for this part) is made chief of the Sun tribe when the Moon tribe kills his father Dorak.  So he enlists the help of Maxus to take out Fuwan.  But Fuwan proves a bigger nuisance when he joins his tribe with the evil, cannibalistic Oma tribe.  Ultimately, there is a big battle.  Fuwan and a lot of his equally-evil followers are killed.  Idar is left to join the Sun and Moon tribes into one, and Maxus and Moah walk away to start a new life.

    Maciste movies were often set in various places and time periods, but going too far back, like the Stone Age, really limits what can be done.  You can't have great armies, sophisticated weapons, or any clothing more elaborate than a furry toga.  So it's really not as much fun to look at, and with a Maciste movie all you get is presentation.  You don't get real great acting or character development.  For what this movie was, it was fairly well-done, but they needed an entirely different premise to make this really interesting.

Cast:

Reg Lewis as Maxus (Maciste)
Margaret Lee as Moah
Luciano Marin as Idar, young chief of Sun tribe
? as Rya, Idar's redheaded mate
Andrea Aureli as Fuwan, evil chief of Moon tribe
Rocco Spataro as Dorak, murdered chief of Sun tribe
Ivan Pengow as Gamel the Fire Keeper of the Sun tribe


Alternate Titles For This Film:



Hercules Against the Barbarians (1964)
:  This was made right after "Hercules Against the Mongols" (1963).  The way both of these films were made and released is very odd.  Both films star Mark Forest as Maciste, Jose Greci as the female lead (but different characters), and Ken Clarke as one of the major villains (but different characters).  Both films have Maciste fighting the Mongols.  In the first film, Maciste fights the three evil sons of the late Genghis Khan.  In this film, Maciste fights Genghis Khan himself.  These movies are only related in location and three of the major actors.  Besides that, there is no story connection between these two films.  This film is neither a prequel or sequel to "Hercules Against the Mongols" of any kind.  I can imagine this confuses a lot of people.

    Although not an official Hercules movie, this was translated very well into a Hercules movie.  This film was actually made as a "Maciste" film in Italy, and dubbed as "Hercules" internationally.  Maciste is really just an Italian rip-off of the Hercules legend, so this works both ways.  Usually in Maciste films, the hero is inexplicably put into different places and time periods to fight villainy.  In this story, Maciste (called Hercules in this movie) is in Poland and the surrounding area during the time of Genghis Khan.

    One question that concerns everyone in this movie is if this is the "real" Hercules, or someone who has taken his name.  It cannot be denied that he has superhuman strength.  The moviemakers, and the movie's characters, do not ignore the fact that Hercules is thrust centuries ahead in time.  Is this Hercules the true Hercules from ancient myth?  Or is he a descendant?  If he is the real Hercules, can he be killed?  It is a secret this Hercules safely guards.

    Hercules' love interest in this movie is the beautiful redheaded Armina.  It is discovered that she is the long-deposed Queen of Poland.  Armina is kidnapped by Genghis Khan and his forces.  Khan plans to marry off Armina to his son so that he may dominate Poland once and for all.  Can Hercules save his love and restore Armina to her rightful throne?

    Roldano Lupi plays a good Genghis Khan, but he still looks too white.  They should have "Asianed" him up some more.  This film really does have an interesting cast of characters.  Ken Clarke plays Kubilai, Khan's top warrior who has an intense hatred for Hercules and a massive ego.  Gloria Milland plays the beautiful brunette Arias who has a mysterious agenda.  She seems to ally herself with the good guys and the bad guys.  Is she truly good, or is she luring Hercules and friends into a trap?  Perez the circus performer, who becomes Hercules' sidekick in a way, is another likable character.

Cast:

Mark Forest as Maciste [character called "Hercules" in American version]
Jose Greci as Armina, lover of Hercules
Roldano Lupi as Genghis Khan
Ken Clarke as Kubilai, Khan's top warrior
Gloria Milland as Arias, mysterious aide to Hercules and Armina

CONTACT ME if you can help with the cast information above.


Alternate Titles For This Film:
Fun Facts:



Hercules Against the Mongols (1963):  This movie was released right before "Hercules Against the Barbarians" and it's very odd that these two movies were made like they were so close together.  Both films feature Mark Forest as Maciste, and both pit Maciste against the Mongols.  Besides this, there is no continuity between the two films and they are, in fact, separate stories.  In this film, Maciste fights the three sons of the late Genghis Khan.  In "Hercules Against the Barbarians", Maciste fights against Genghis Khan himself.  Both films have the beautiful Jose Greci as the female lead, although she plays a different character in both.  Ken Clarke is also in both films as a Mongol warrior.  In this film, he is one of Khan's sons.  In "Barbarians", he is Khan's top warrior.

    Mark Forest is an awesome Maciste!  He looks the part, and he has a cool personality.  I really enjoy the action sequences.  Early in the film, Maciste beats up the Mongols with a tree!  That is quite a visual.  Jose Greci is a stunning redhead.  I also like the three guys who play Genghis Khan's evil sons.  In this story, Genghis Khan died wanting peace with the West.  However, Khan's three sons have different plans.  Not only do they trod upon their father's memory, but they're even at each other's throats.  It's an uneasy alliance to say the least, but they ALL hate Maciste.

    Long story short, Maciste wins and the bad guys get dead.  Maciste gets the woman, Bianca, and presumably he's going to be the new king.  It's all very standard fair, but I like the characters and the story idea.

Cast:

Mark Forest as Maciste [called "Hercules" in American version]
Jose Greci as Bianca de Tudela
Loris Loddi as Alessio de Tudela [called "Alexander" in American version]
Ken Clarke as Sayan
Howard Ross as Susdal [credited as Renato Rossini]
Nadir Morreti as Kin Khan [credited as Nadir Baltimore]
Maria Grazia Spina as Ljuba
Tullio Altamura as Osvaldo [called "Adolphus" in American version]

Alternate Titles:

Fun Facts:


Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964)
:  This is an unusual Hercules movie and yes, a bit lame, but nevertheless interesting and entertaining.  THANK GOODNESS IT WAS FILMED IN COLOR!  First of all, this is NOT an American film.  It is joint production between a French film company and an Italian film company.  The language was originally Italian.  All of the dialogue you'll hear in the English version is dubbed, and it's not an overly bad dubbing job.  There are some parts of the film where you can tell it's been dubbed more than others, but it's not so much of a distraction that you can't enjoy this concept.  Truth be known, the character was not originally called Hercules when this film was made in Italy.  The character's name was Maciste (pronounced Ma-Cheese-Tay) and renamed Hercules when America purchased it.  Maciste was a very popular character in Italian cinema...basically a play on the Hercules legend.

    In ancient Greece a race of evil aliens from the moon land on Earth.  For years they've terrorized the city of Samar, demanding children for sacrifice.  The equally evil human queen of Samar has made a pact with the moon men to conquer the world and become the most powerful woman alive.  What she and the moon men do not expect is that Hercules has been summoned by the people of Samar to take out the trash!

    In the English-speaking version, the actor who plays Hercules is named Alan Steel.  His real name is Sergio Ciani.  I like Alan Steel better.  It's appropriate for Hercules.  This man LOOKS like a Hercules.  There are very few actors who have ever played Hercules that really look like they should be the son of Zeus.  Alan Steel is one of these.  Steve Reeves is another excellent Hercules.  Steel is built like a tank and has the full black beard and black hair that we Hercules' buffs want to see.  I don't know about you, but I don't like the blonde, long-haired, clean-shaven, puny men they've been trying to make Hercules in more recent shows.  I also like the macho attitude.  Hercules is strong, cocky, and not overly bright.  That's how he was in the Greek mythology stories and that's how I like him.  Cheers to the filmmakers for making Hercules this way.

    Also outstanding are the women in this movie!  They are HOT, HOT, HOT!  The evil Queen Samara is played by delicious redhead Jany Clair.  She keeps calling Hercules' girlfriend Agar "so young" when she's not much older herself, if at all.  The luscious brunette Agar, played by Anna Maria Polani, is Hercules' woman.  And Samara's good sister Billis, momentarily changed into evil goddess Selena, as played by actress Delia D'Alberti is a delightful golden-haired beauty.  Samara wants to kill her to awaken the wicked spirit of Selena, but of course Hercules doesn't allow that to happen.  I like how Queen Samara tries to put it on our stud Hercules, and he plays her like a fiddle.  Funny!  And he's ALWAYS macho around Agar.  What a dude!

Hercules Against the Moon Men

Cast:

Alan Steel (Sergio Ciani) as Hercules
Go to "Gallery: Hercules"
Anna Maria Polani as Agar
Go to "Gallery: Agar"
Jany Clair as Queen Samara
Go to "Gallery: Samara"
Delia D'Alberti as Billis
Go to "Gallery: Billis"

Alternate Titles For This Film:
[The following four names are English titles]
[The following two names are French titles]
VHS Cover:

Hercules Against the Moon Men



Hercules in the Valley of Woe (1961)-  This was made to be a spoof.  It featured the two biggest names in sword-and-sandal cinema: Hercules and Maciste.

Cast:

Kirk Morris as Maciste

Alternate Titles:



Maciste, Avenger of the Mayans (1965)
This is an odd Maciste film indeed.  It consists almost entirely of re-edited stock footage from two older Maciste movies, "Maciste contro i mostri" and "Maciste contro i cacciatori di teste".  Maciste keeps changing from Reg Lewis to Kirk Morris.  It is rare, was never released in the USA, and is available only in Italian.

Cast:

Reg Lewis as Maciste
Kirk Morris as Maciste

Alternate Titles:

Fun Facts:



Maciste in King Solomon's Mines (1964)
:  A Maciste movie set in Africa!  This could have been so easily translated into a "Tarzan" movie.  I'm assuming the filmmakers wanted moviegoers to draw that correlation.

    I'm surprised with how much I like this movie.  Like all "sword-and-sandal" movies of the 50s and 60s it has its plusses and minuses.  The story is good and it moves fast.  This film has a strong start.  We don't even see Maciste for the first 24 minutes of the film, but they work him into the story well.  The dubbing is bad, but not the worst I've ever seen.  The voice for Loris Loddi's character is clearly an adult female.

    Wandisa Guida plays one of the most convincing female villainesses I've seen in filmdom.  She does a good job.  Guida actually received second-billing to Reg Park in the film and in most promotional materials.  She earned it.  Guida's Fazira is really just a bandit queen who becomes a real queen when she overthrows the kingdom.

    There are a lot of inventive ideas in this movie.  I like how Maciste uses the spiky torture device as a shield against the soldiers.  The scene with Maciste in a steel-spiked torture cage being pulled by horses was quite ingenius.  Fazira's knockout flower necklace she uses on Maciste is a cool idea.  The scene where Maciste knocks over the giant golden head statue is incredible.  I also like the liquid gold torture device that can turn people into gold statues.  Fazira and Belal plan to use the device on Samara and Abucar, but it backfires and our movie's baddies become the giant gold hood ornaments!  Awesome.

    Unlike a lot of Maciste/Hercules type movies, Maciste has no woman in this film.  Samara is Abucar's babe.  There really wasn't time for Maciste to have romance in this film.  It was pretty much action all the way through.  I thought Abucar was a great character.  He was Maciste's buddy and, when he wasn't captured, kicked a fair amount of rear end!  Abucar wasn't one of those expendable supporting characters; he was as much of a hero as Maciste.  But Maciste is the superhero, and Reg Park fit the part.  He had the body for it, and I think he acted it pretty well.  American dubbing always makes these characters sound ridiculous, but if you go by the physical expression Park makes the grade.

Cast:

Reg Park as Maciste
Bruno Piergentili as Abucar [credited as Dan Harrison]
Eleanora Bianchi as Samara
Wandisa Guida as Fazira
Nino Persello as Belal
Loris Loddi as Vazma, heir to the throne
Director & Writer- Piero Regnoli

Alternate Titles For This Film:
Fun Facts:



Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules (1961)
:  This is one of the few Maciste films where they actually kept his name Maciste in the English-language version.  The title of this film is not accurate, but a lot of the sword-and-sandal films from the period were packaged on American television as the "Sons of Hercules" series in the 1960s.  Any film with "Son of Hercules" in the title starts off with a narrative about the hero in this story being one of the sons of Hercules.  Maciste is NOT the son of Hercules in the true version.  Hercules doesn't have any relevance to the stories in any "Son of Hercules" film except for the title and the opening narrative.

    Mark Forest is a great actor for the sword-and-sandal movies.  He always gives very tough portrayals of the characters he plays.  His Hercules in "Goliath & the Dragon" is great because it's the angriest I've ever seen Hercules on film.  His Maciste in this film is unquestionably the strongest and baddest of any Maciste actor in the 1960s.

    Mark Forest, Paul Wynter, and Moira Orfei are great actors who make this movie fun to watch.  They play cool characters.  Paul Wynter was a black bodybuilder who appeared in only three films from 1961-1962.  That's a shame, because he had good facial expression and timing in this film.  He played Bangor, a man Maciste saves early in the film who becomes the super-powered hero's sidekick.  Maciste is not known for having sidekicks in his movies, but he should have.  Bangor added something that a lot of Maciste movies lacked.  He is kind of like Tonto to Lone Ranger, or Robin to Batman.  He even has a sense of humor, where Maciste is typically inhuman in emotion.  Moira Orfei plays the gorgeous, but evil queen Alismoyab.  She's about as cold and heartless as you can get, and it's interesting when she falls for Maciste and becomes good.  I think her character could have been dealt with better in the story, but it's a solid performance.  Besides the three major stars, this film boast incredible, continuous action sequences and beautiful sets.  These are the movie's strengths.

    What this movie lacks is story.  If there is a story, I'm hard-pressed to find it.  There's no clever plot twists.  The story in this movie goes about as deep as the script for a music video.  An underground society of people called the Mole Men come to the surface at night and kill regular people.  Why?  I dunno...guess they must not have arcades.  They're called the Mole Men, but they don't worship moles or look like moles.  They have powder-white faces and fuzzy white afros (except the queen).  Their weakness is sunlight, which can kill them.

    Maciste and Bangor allow themselves to be captured by the Mole Men so they can free the prisoners and kill the bad guys.  All the Mole Men look the same except for the queen and NO ONE finds this suspicious.  We later learn the queen is not one of the Mole Men race, but was adopted.  Oh, you think?!  For some reason she was raised to be an evil queen.  Hey, what else can you do with an adopted Earth girl?  Alismoyab is ignorant of her true race and that she can, in fact, withstand the sunlight.  Only the shifty high priest knows the truth, and tells his Mole Man son so he can marry her and have sunlight-walking, half-Mole Man babies.  But the high priest's son has a rival, the super-stud Maciste.  You just can't compare with the strongest man in the world.  She loves his muscles, but he constantly rejects her until she decides to be a good girl and give up all this evil business.  Maciste accepts her proposal, but it's a marriage that's not meant to be.  Towards the end of the movie, Alismoyab learns the truth of her identity and is so overjoyed to be in the sun that she accidentally falls to her death.  Maciste, who has fallen in love with the once-evil queen, just kind of acts like, "Well...them's the breaks!".  I don't like it that she gets killed.  It would have been great to see Maciste and Alismoyab get married, and her denounce her throne.  At least all the Mole Men get killed.

    There are a lot of interesting visuals.  One recurring visual is the entrance to the Mole Men lair: a section of ground that opens and closes like a trap door.  This movie is a lot of fun, even if it is filled with story gaps and miscellaneous silly things.  The major characters are intriguing, and the strongman scenes are cool.  Everybody likes to see a big guy wreck sh**!  I recommend this film to fans of the genre.  It's certainly one of the better Maciste films.

Cast:

Mark Forest as Maciste
Paul Wynter as Bangor
Moira Orfei as Queen Alismoyab


Alternate Titles For This Film:


Samson & the Mighty Challenge (1965):  This was made to be a spoof.  It featured the four big names of sword-and-sandal cinema: Hercules, Maciste, Samson, and Ursus.

Cast:

Renato Rossini as Maciste

Alternate Titles:



Samson & the Seven Miracles of the World (1962):  Set in 13th Century China.  Maciste (not Samson) fights the evil invading Mongols who threaten to wipe out a kingdom.

    AIP (American International Pictures) gave this movie its "Samson" title upon distribution in the United States.  This is a Maciste movie, but it could be a Tarzan movie.  Gordon Scott looks like he did during his popular six-movie stint as the famous jungle man.  This was only the second film Scott did after his Tarzan run, the first being another Maciste picture, "Goliath & the Vampires" (1961).  We can only assume it was the filmmakers' intent to make this version of Maciste so closely resemble Scott's Tarzan in look and script.  The greatest difference between Scott's Tarzan and Maciste is the fact that his Maciste has super strength.

    I enjoy Scott as an action hero.  He has charisma.  He's always active.  When Maciste makes his first appearance in this movie, he hits like a lightning bolt.  He pulls a tree up by the roots, beats up three guards, jumps into a pit, strangles a tiger, and saves the prince all within the space of a few minutes.  Gordon Scott is certainly one of the most interesting muscleman actors from this period.

    The sets and the action are great.  You mostly watch these old sword-and-sandal flicks for the visual.  It doesn't look like this movie was made "on the cheap".  In reality, this movie was made over from a lot of left over ingredients from the earlier "Marco Polo" (1962).

    This film has a great cast of characters.  I hate to leave anyone out, but I have to mention a few standouts.  Helene Chanel was in a lot of these peplum movies.  I do believe this is the first peplum/sword-and-sandal movie she was in.  She also starred in "The Witch's Curse" (1962), "Hercules of the Desert" (1964), "Samson & the Mighty Challenge" (1964), "Conqueror of Atlantis" (1965) and others.  Chanel is beautiful, and she played a lot of these sexy, bad women types.  When the peplum genre dried up in movies, she moved into the spy genre.  When the spy craze dried up at the end of the 1960s, she floated around with other parts until her last film appearance in 1977.

    I also liked the Buddhist Priest character played by Luong-Ham Chan.  This was an interesting ally for Maciste, and he's like a Chinese version of Q in the James Bond movies!  Not so much with gadgets, but with basic good guy help.  Chan only acted for three years, but I think he could have made a niche for himself in films as a friendly old sidekick.

    Tao was also a great, but ill-fated character played by Valery Inkijinoff.  Despite the Russian name, this man played many Asian roles.  Tao was a High Priest for the Mongols who ends up paying for his allegiance to the rebels.

Cast:

Gordon Scott as Maciste
Yoko Tani as Princess Lei-Ling
Chu Lai Chit as Prince Tai Sung
Gabriele Antonini as Cho, the rebel leader
Helene Chanel as Kiutai (the main bad woman)
Leonardo Severini as Garak (the main bad guy, Mongol emperor)
Dante DiPaolo as Bayan
Valery Inkijinoff as Tao, the High Priest (traitor to the Mongols)
Luong-Ham Chan as Buddhist Priest
Director- Riccardo Freda
Writers- Oreste Biancoli, Duccio Tessari

Alternate Titles:
Fun Facts:



Son of Samson (1960)
-  This is the first movie of the second wave of Maciste movies (1960-1965) and the first Maciste film to star Mark Forest.  Forest made a pretty successful acting career for himself playing Hercules, Maciste, and any number of strongman roles.  He later dropped out of acting to become a successful singer and teacher of opera.  As it stands, Mark Forest is one of the very best actors to play Maciste.

    This is also the first Maciste film to show our hero in Africa, specifically Egypt.  Maciste would have adventures all over the world, but Egypt was one of his popular stops.  As the story goes in this film, the beautiful, but evil Queen Smedes of Egypt has assassinated her benevolent King and taken over control.  Smedes is actually Persian, and she has orchestrated a Persian takeover of Egypt.  The wicked Queen has her sights set on stepson Prince Kenamun and hypnotizes him into becoming her puppet King.  She later sets her sights on Maciste and plots to kill Kenamun.

     Meanwhile, Maciste has been called in to save the Egyptians.  In the early part of the film, Kenamun and Maciste save each other's lives from lions and become buddies for life.  Our hero is a bit confused that someone so decent could allow such treachery to happen.  A bunch of stuff happens.  Maciste snaps Kenamun out of his trance and good triumphs over evil.  Queen Smedes, facing execution by fire, throws herself into the crocodile pit.

    It's a fun movie, but pretty standard fare for Maciste films.  Worth watching.

Cast:

Mark Forest as Maciste
Chelo Alonso as Queen Smedes
Angelo Zanolli as Prince Kenamun/Pharoah Kenamun
Federica Ranchi as Nofret [Kenamun's woman]
Vira Silenti as Tekaet [Maciste's woman]

Alternate Titles:

Fun Facts:



Toto vs. Maciste (1962)
This was made to be a spoof and is part of the Toto film sreies.  Not released in the USA; available only in Italian.

Cast:

Samson Burke as Maciste

Alternate Titles:


Triumph of the Son of Hercules (1961)
:  Actually a Maciste movie.  It was aired on TV in the 1960s as a "Sons of Hercules" movie.  In the original film, there is no connection to Hercules.  In the Americanized edit, the opening narration says Maciste is one of Hercules' sons.  The location of this film is in Memphis, Egypt.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again:  I don't think Kirk Morris was a great choice for Maciste.  He is physically fit, but he doesn't have a bodybuilder's physique.  You just can't put him against Reg Park or Alan Steel.  I will admit that Morris played Maciste better in this film than he did in "Colossus & the Headhunters" (1963).  He's definitely a better actor in this movie, and a likable hero.  But I can't think of him as Maciste.  He's not the traditional, bigger-than-he** kind of Maciste, that's for sure.

    The plot of this movie and all the major events are a lot like the later "Maciste in King Solomon's Mines" (1964) starring Reg Park.  The latter film is the better of the two.  This film pales in comparison.  It's a good Maciste movie, but the 1964 film is more interesting.  I'd still recommend watching this movie, but I think anyone would enjoy "Mines" more.

    An evil queen is killing off people and sacrificing young women to a false god of fire.  The people recruit Maciste as their savior.  Maciste is captured and put through a public test of torture.  The queen, impressed by his studliness, tries to get jiggy with him.  She drugs Maciste and makes him her slave.  Maciste eventually snaps out of it and raises he** in the evil kingdom.  Our hero saves the day while the kingdom literally falls apart.

    I love Anthea!  She's really racked!  I also thought she was a great character.  It's a shame this was Cathia Caro's last film.  She made a total of 13 films from 1957-1961.  Why did she quit acting?  I'd like to know.  What often happened in the 50s and 60s is that a young actress would marry and quit acting.  I can understand how she found a suitor after this appearance.  Wow!

Cast:

Kirk Morris as Maciste
Cathia Caro as Anthea
Liuba Bodina as Queen Tenefi
Giullio Donnini as Omnes, the traitorous silk merchant
Piero Leri as Prince Iram, rightful ruler of Memphis
Director- Tanio Boccia
Writers- Arpad DeRiso, Nino Scolaro

Alternate Titles For This Film:
Fun Facts:



The Witch's Curse (1962):  Stupid.  They had a great premise, but it was done so bad.  This is a Maciste movie.  A good thing is that the character is actually called Maciste in the English-language version.  This is one of the few times that happened.  Most of the time, Maciste's name was changed to something more familiar to American audiences like Colossus, Goliath, Hercules, Samson, etc.  However, this time, the American distributor used the English-language track that was recorded in Italy.  That's a plus, because I've always felt the character should've been called Maciste in all the American releases.

    I understand that Italian producers liked to take Maciste and put him in different time periods to fight evil.  But they were so dumb when they did it.  Okay, first of all, how can he go from Ancient Greece in one movie, to A.D. China in another movie, and then 17th century Scotland in this movie?   It's okay for him to do this, but they should have explained it.  Did he have some sort of time-travelling device?  How did he do this?  And why?  Wasn't there enough evil in his own time to combat without jumping around through time?

    Another thing, an almost-naked dude in a loincloth just appears in 17th century, fully-clothed Scotland...and nobody notices?  Doesn't anybody think that's weird?  Why do they act like he's just another guy on the street?  That's stupid.

    Kirk Morris is good enough as Maciste, but he's not the best.  He's got a good enough build and he acted well enough for this kind of movie.  But why did the writers make Maciste such a wimp?  This Maciste certainly isn't as super as other Maciste versions.  He's super...but just barely.  This Maciste gets beat up, burnt up, clawed up...and it's incredibly hard for him to do anything like bending bars, pushing doors, lifting rocks, or even fighting off wild animals and thugs.  I think Maciste should have been tougher if he was going to Hell to get a witch.

    Helene Chanel is delightful as the evil Martha Dobbs aka Tania.  She's the witch whom Maciste seeks and falls in love with, not knowing she is the one he is looking for.  Chanel is beautiful and gives a good performance in this movie.  She really was the best written and best acted character.

    The movie starts in 1590s Scotland.  A witch named Martha Dobbs is burnt at the stake, but not before placing a curse on the village.  One hundred years later, a descendant of this witch, also named Martha Dobbs, comes to live in her ancestors' castle, and all the women of the village start acting strange, even attempting suicide.  The new Martha Dobbs is not a witch, and does not understand why the villagers want to execute her.  Just as she is about to be hanged, Maciste shows up and saves the day.  She is somehow given a two-day stay of execution.  Maciste uses this time to go to Hell to find the evil witch so she can remove the curse and save the innocent woman's life.  Maciste more or less wanders Hell until he can find her, but time is running out.  Fania, the witch who seduces Maciste, is actually the evil Martha Dobbs.  But as Maciste meets all her challenges, she falls in love with him.  Ultimately, she confesses and surrenders to Maciste.  With a kiss from the muscle-dude, the witch turns into dust and the curse is over.  The innocent Martha Dobbs and husband, about to be burnt at the stake, are saved by a rain shower that douses the flames.  Maciste makes a final appearance and mysteriously vanishes from the town on his horse.

    This story had a lot of good elements, but they were so weakly put together.  The plot holes are big enough to drive a truck through.  Earlier in the movie, Maciste makes out with Fania the witch.  But at the end, a kiss is all it took to turn her to dust?  Why didn't that work earlier on?  Also, why would she turn to dust in Hell?  Where does she go from Hell?  Hell Part 2?  Why couldn't the kiss have just ended the curse?  Why would the witch even have had to be destroyed?  Her spirit was already in Hell.  Then, we see the witch as being ugly.  She turns herself into looking beautiful as she did when she was young.  If she could do this so easily, why didn't she keep herself beautiful all the time?

    I did, however, like the fact Maciste could enter Hell by simply pushing over an evil tree and jumping down.  That was a cool idea.  The main story idea for the film was great and I think this could be remade into a much better film.  But to make such a movie plausible, they really need to flesh out the character of Maciste.  He needs to be worked into the time period better, and given a reason for what he is doing.

Cast:

Kirk Morris as Maciste
Helene Chanel as Evil Martha Dobbs/Tania
Vira Silenti as Good Martha Dobbs
Angelo Zanolli as Charley Law, husband of Good Martha Dobbs
Andrea Bosic as Judge Parrish, evil judge and Evil Martha's cohort in Hell
Charles Fawcett as Doctor, the man who helps Good Martha Dobbs and husband


Alternate Titles For This Film: