HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN
MACISTE VS THE STONE MEN
(Maciste e la Regina di Samar)
Though nominally drawn from the Greek mythic hero, fantastic elements rarely featured in these Hercules films. (Maciste was never given an origin in any of the films but some of them spuriously claimed that Maciste was another name for Hercules). According to myth, Hercules is the human son of Zeus and had incredible physical prowess but by the time of the peplum films, he is simply a brawny mortal muscle-builder and roving do-gooder. Certainly, Hercules Against the Moon Men is one of the few occasions upon which the Hercules films included some fantastic elements.
Hercules Against the Moon Men seems an odd blend of peplum and the alien invader film. The Moon Men sequences do give the film its few moments of imaginative flourish with the alien invaders led by a robotic creature with a metal face and its minions that are three-metre tall rock creatures. There is the odd imaginative sequence like a scene where Hercules is tortured in a giant set of jaws being squeezed together by slaves. The film does briefly attain the titanic nature of the mythic Hercules at the climax with Alan Steel picking up the rock creatures and throwing them around and then borrowing a page from Samson and bringing the whole cave crashing down.
On the other hand, Hercules Against the Moon Men is dull. It is poorly directed and photographed and many scenes simply fail to work on any level. There is a sequence where Hercules is trapped in a pit slowly being filled with water but instead of feeling suspense for his situation, one wonders why he doesnt simply wait until the water rises to the point that he can just float up to the top and walk away. The climactic sequences with Hercules struggling across blasted windblown plains are dull and boring. The fight sequences, which seem to consist of no more than Alan Steel throwing people around, are tawdry. As with most of the actors in these films, hero Alan Steel (in actuality American-Italian Sergio Ciani) is brawny and inexpressive.
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