Hercules In The Haunted World

Year Of Release: 1961
Running Time: 84 Minutes
DVD Released By: Fantoma
Directed By: Mario Bava, Franco Prosperi
Writing Credits: Mario Bava, Sandro Continenza, Franco Prosperi, Duccio Tessari
Filming Location: Italy

Starring: Reg Park, Christopher Lee, Leonora Ruffo, George Ardisson, Marisa Belli, Ida Galli, Franco Giacobini, Mino Doro, Rosalba Neri, Gaia Germani

Tagline: All new! An all new height in fright and might!

Alternate Titles:
Ercole al centro della terra (1961) (Italy)
Hercules at the Center of the Earth (1961) (International: literal title English title)
Hercules in the Haunted World (1964) (USA)
Hercules vs. the Vampires (1961)
Vampires vs. Hercules, The (1961)
With Hercules to the Center of the Earth (1961)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Reg Park's given name was actually Roy Park, but that only lasted for a very short time before Reg's father, Reginald Park Sr. changed his son's name from Roy to Reginald. Reg's father father ran a gym in Leeds and also owned the Reg Park Barbell Company. Reg Jr. played reserve team football for Leeds United before turning to body-building in 1946. He finished the Mr. Universe as runner-up to future film rival Steve Reeves in 1950. He then went on to win the title outright in 1951, 1958 and 1965.

Cast Of Characters
Hercules: In this film, Hercules is played by bodybuilder and former Mr. Universe Reg Park. Frankly, he's no Steve Reeves. Steve Reeves was a much better Hercules in my opinion. Reg is ok, but he seems confused more than anything else, and doesn't show a whole lot of emotion, and what little emotion he does display isn't overly believable. Anyway, Hercules is our hero in this picture. He fights bad guys and dead guys and hucks rocks all over the place and just generally kicks everyone's butt, and he does it all for the love of Dianara. Sure she's nice looking, but he should probably pray to his father Zeus to make her mute or something. She's the kind of woman who should be seen and not heard.

Dianara: Man is this woman irritating. What little she does talk in this movie, she's either babbling incoherently, whining about something, overacting, or just being flat out annoying. Dianara is Hercules' woman, and he's out to save her from the evil Lyco. He should have done everyone a favor and let Lyco kill her.

Lyco: Christopher Lee plays this character and although I know of Christopher Lee's work, I don't know if I've ever actually seen him in anything before now. I probably have but just don't remember. Anyway, he's got this deal with the gods to make himself king of Ecalia for all eternity by killing Dianara and drinking her blood on the night of the lunar eclipse. Unfortunately, Lyco is about as dumb as a post and spends more time farting around than he does actually getting things accomplished. The character is boring and doesn't seem like much of a threat, and in the long run, actually isn't.

Theseus: Man, this guy is a serious womanizer. I've never seen anyone in any movie slicker with women than this guy is. Theseus is Hercules' friend and companion throughout this movie. That is, he was his friend until he fell in love with Pluto's daughter Persephone, went nuts, and then tried to kill Hercules in cold blood for trying to break them up. Fortunately, Persephone is a lot nicer than her father and put Theseus into a deep sleep that brought him back to his senses. Theseus was played by George Ardisson, but I think they would have been better off finding someone more muscular to play the role. It would have made him more believable as a fighter.

Telmachus: I'm not sure really what the point was to having this character in the movie. Telmachus only seems to be there for comic relief, which he pulls off nicely by the way, but there's really very little else for him to do. I felt sorry for the poor little guy because Theseus stole his woman from him, and then at the end of the movie when he finally gets her back, Theseus steals her again. Seems like this Theseus guy is a bit of a jerk, doesn't it?

The Plot
Hercules must travel to the realm of Hades to retrieve the stone of life so that he can save his beloved Dianara from the spell which has clouded her mind. Dianara was the princess of Ecalia and was to be queen when her father died, but her evil uncle Lyco had other plans. Lyco has conspired with the gods of darkness to enslave her soul within himself so that he can be the ruler of Ecalia forever. Can Hercules, Theseus, and Telmachus make their way to Hades, retrieve the stone, and return in time to save Dianara in time? After you see how annoying Dianara is, you'll hope they can't.

What The Hell???
1. Well now, I'm not sure what that was about. The movie opens with a shot of some wall or something with a decorative pattern carved into it, and then suddenly cuts to a scene somewhere completely different of a waterfall and a river. What the hell was that wall scene about? Anyway, this is where we first meet our hero Hercules. He's rubbing himself down with a bent stick for some reason and then he suddenly starts yelling for Theseus who we soon find out is laying in a hay loft with some chick. Oh man, the chick is talking now and the words are totally not going with the lips. Fortunately, for those who are interested, there is an Italian language track on this DVD so you can listen to it in the original Italian with English subtitles. Anyway, on with the action sequence.
2. Seems there's this band of thugs who have been hired to kill Hercules and Theseus. Seems as though none of the thugs knows the real identity of who they're after though. I assume that's because no one in their right mind would go after someone like Hercules, and whoever hired them was probably afraid that if they found out, they'd bail out on the job. I know I would. Mama didn't raise no fool. Anyway, the gang of thugs spots Theseus and his woman in the loft and fly headlong into the attack. Hercules is still fartin' around over at the waterfall at this point, so it's only Theseus getting attacked. What a pal he is huh?
3. WOO HOO! Theseus just busted some guy upside the head with a big club and the guy flew off the ledge and into the water doing a three and a half triple gainer! This is about the same time that Hercules finally shows up. He picks up a wagon, and in a feat of special effects magic, manages to throw it into the hay loft bringing the whole thing tumbling down. Theseus calls to Hercules and thanks him for helping them and when he does, all the thugs hear who they've actually been sent to fight. I guess their mammas didn't raise no fools either because they hopped up and beat feet outta there. I'd also like to mention here that there's a lot of sped up action through this part that makes it quite comical to watch.
4. Now that that's all over with, we find out that Hercules has come to Ecalia to marry Dianara. He says that she's been waiting a long time and that not even the thunderbolts of Job would stop him from marrying her. I know there's a lot of women out there right now saying to themselves, "Why doesn't my boyfriend feel like that???" So basically, all you boyfriends out there who don't feel like that, you're all in trouble now. And in the immortal words of Ricky Ricardo, "You got some 'splainin' to do!"

5. Back at the castle, the leader of the thugs is kneeling in front of the evil king Lyco as he sits on his throne. Lyco is angry at his failure, but he just starts whining about how it was Hercules and no one, not even an army could stop Hercules. He should have left well enough alone, but nooooooooo. He had to go and demand payment for their services. Lyco tells him that he pays those who serve him for their services and takes him into a room along side the throne room. There's a giant chest full of treasure there, and the thug goes and starts digging through it. As he is, Lyco hits a switch and spears shoot out from every direction, killing the thug leader where he stands. All I can think about at this point is like the old cartoons where someone gets shot full of holes and then goes and drinks some water and they end up leaking like a fountain. I bet if this guy wasn't dead already, he'd head for the nearest well to get a drink. Getting yourself killed is thirsty work after all.

6. Once the thug is dead, Lyco walks through the catacombs below the castle and enters a room where there's several stone coffins staggered across the floor. on stands. He starts calling to Dianara and after the third call, one of the coffin lids opens, and a beautiful woman rises out of it with a really stoned to the begeezers look on her face. I think she's under some sort of spell. Now I've never figured out why the villains always have to steal the woman of the hero when they know the hero will probably just kill them for doing it. There's so many women in the world, what possesses these guys to always take the ones they can't have? I guess it's just that forbidden fruit thing. I'm only about eight and a half minutes into the movie and I can already tell that at the end, Hercules is going to kill Lyco in a rather creative and probably humorous way. But don't skip ahead, there's lots of movie to go through between now and then.
7. Hercules finally arrives at Ecalia and is greeted by a milling throng of adoring fans all waving and cheering for him. After making his way up to the palace steps, he meets Keros who tells him that Dianara's father lies peacefully in his grave, but that Dianara has not yet taken her rightful place as the new queen. Lyco locked up Dianara and no one, not even her most faithful servants are allowed to see her. Once he had done that, he assumed the throne of Ecalia and made himself the new king. Lyco was the old king's brother and Dianara's uncle. He's telling Hercules now that Dianara was cursed by the gods and that he did it for her own good. He's telling him that she's very sick. That her father's death and his long absence from her was too much for her to deal with. He tells Hercules that she is out in the garden and that he hopes that his return may help her regain her senses. Hercules goes out into the garden and finds Dianara wandering around like a zombie talking crazy talk. Keros comes out in the garden and tells Hercules that it's not just Dianara that's been afflicted. That the madness is spreading through the people as well. Now as I'm watching this scene, I feel compelled to tell you what's running through my mind at this very moment. Right now I'm thinking to myself, "Gee I wish I could think of something funny to write about this scene." Isn't that sad?

8. Keros tells Hercules to come to his house that evening, but to come through the back gate because no one must hear what he has to tell him. Hercules does as he is told, but finds Keros dead instead. Lyco comes in and tells Hercules that Keros died, just as all will die who reign over the kingdom of Ecalia. He goes into this story about how the father of the former king Eurites, defeated the forces of evil and banished them to the kingdom of the dead. Now the land and its people are cursed and shall remain so until the last descendent of he who banished them shall be destroyed. Hercules believes that there must be some way to combat them, but they are nothing more than shadows and ghosts. He says he'll ask the gods for a weapon to fight this evil. Now Hercules is taking this all pretty calmly. I think he must be taking Paxil or something, because he just found Keros dead and found out that the only way to remove the curse is for Dianara to die and he's not even getting excited or anything. Reg Park playing Hercules is ok, but I like Steve Reeves in the role a whole lot better. At least he brought some humor and excitement to it. I haven't seen much of either in this movie so far.

9. Hercules heads off to some shrine now or something where he's asking this oracle chick in a really cheap looking mask to tell him of a weapon that he can use to fight the evil spirits. She tells him that she cannot help him because the forces of evil have bound her to an oath of silence and she may not speak. She tells him that the gods have not abandoned him and that the forces of evil that have darkened the Earth, can be vanquished just as quickly. Hercules calls to his father Zeus for aid and offers his immortality in exchange for Zeus making the oracle chick tell him what he needs to know. Now I don't know a lot about bargaining, but I do know one thing. You start low and work your way up. How stupid was it to offer up his immortality? What a dork! Um, excuse me Hercules, but don't you think you're going to need that on this little adventure of yours? Jeez, what a moron.
10. The oracle asks him if he has the courage to venture beyond the gates of Hades, the domain of the god Pluto. She tells him that he must venture there and find a living stone. Only there, in the terrible kingdom of death can be found life for the one he loves. Ever notice how nothing is ever easy in these movies?
11. The next morning, Hercules makes his way to the river, where he comes across this little pip squeak of a guy sitting on the dock plucking petals off a flower and muttering to himself, "She loves me. She loves me not," over and over again. This guy is way funny. He tells Hercules that he can't pass. Hercules asks him who's going to stop him and the little guy says that Theseus will. Hercules tells him that he's Theseus' fiend and that that's who he came to see. The little guy didn't believe him, so Hercules picked him up by the scruff of the neck and dumped him in the water. Poor little schmoe didn't even know what hit him. Hercules trots on over to where Theseus is laying on the ground kissing his woman and asks him, "Don't you two ever get tired?" To which Theseus responds, "May I finish this kiss if it doesn't bother you." This whole scene is actually quite amusing. Turns out the little guy was the woman's fiance`. At least he was until Theseus talked him out of it, after which they became the very best of friends. Now that's just stupid. If someone stole my fiance`, I'd kick the ever livin' snot out of 'em.
12. So Hercules tells them about how they must go to Hades to save Dianara and that they have to go and find the golden apple that will allow them to go to the kingdom of the dead and then return to the land of the living once again. Neither one of them seems to thrilled at the prospect of this little venture, but they agree to go anyway. Now is that a pal or what? I think that the normal reaction from most people would be to just tell him to get stuffed. Fortunately for us and for the plot line of this movie, our heroes are made of heartier stock than most people.
13. They need the ship of Sounis to get to the land where the golden apple is. The little guy says that he knows Sounis well and that he can get Sounis to loan them his ship. Well our intrepid little goofball of a hero ends up finding himself tied between four horses pulling in opposite directions. Seems that he had a little thing with Sounis' wife and Sounis didn't take too kindly to seeing him again. Hercules runs in and grabs the ropes of the horses and pulls while Theseus fights off Sounis. Once Theseus has knocked Sounis out, he cuts the ropes and releases the horses. Sounis wakes up and finds that his horses are running off down the beach without him, leaving our adventurers and his ship behind. The next scene shows us the three adventurers sailing through the winds on a really sweet looking sea with a really sweet looking skyline. The little guy who so far as I can figure is still unnamed, is puking his guts out over the edge of the ship. I believe that some people actually call that feeding the fish. In any case it's quite disgusting, but also quite funny at the same time.
14. Well that's interesting. They just fell asleep on the ship as a big ditch opened up in the water and they rode it all the way to the Garden of the Hisperides where the women who live there have been cursed by the gods to live in eternal darkness. The Queen welcomes them and tells Hercules that he must go alone to find the golden apple. He must succeed alone in this task if he is to take their most valued treasure from them. By this time he's gotta be thinking to himself, "Oh of course." They took Hercules up to the tree that held the apple while Theseus and the little guy were taken to some cavern down below where they could rest. Unbeknownst to them however, they were also taken down there to meet their deaths. This constant cycle of threat, escape, threat, escape gets kinda old after a while. The sad part is, all I gotta do is watch it...they gotta live it.

15. Hercules tried to climb the tree to get the apple but was driven back down by a storm and flames that rained down upon him. So what does he do? He picks up this big rock, ties a rope to it, and swings it around and flings it up into the tree, breaking the branch that held the apple so that it fell to the ground where he could retrieve the apple safely. Suddenly daylight appeared and the women of the garden were freed from their bonds of darkness and as the queen started to fade away, she told Hercules that Theseus and the little guy were about to be killed by the stone creature Procrustes. He ran down into the caverns where he found Theseus and the pip squeak being stretched out on two racks by this giant stone beast. Hercules picked up the monster and threw him through a stone wall, which not only killed the creature, but also just by happenstance, opened the cave entrance to the realm of Hades as well. God I'm bored with this movie. I'm only thirty-six minutes into it and I just want it to be over already. I hate movies where there's not a lot of fun stuff to goof on because it makes the reviews more of a chore to write than a pleasure.

16. Oh my god! The little guy actually has a name! His name is Telmachus, and he's been sent back to the boat where he's supposed to be guarding the golden apple. When they cut the scene back to the boat, we see him looking like Barney Fife, all nervous and twitchy. At least he's awake and alert. I just hope the boat is docked good so that he doesn't end up feeding the fish again.

17. Meanwhile, back in Hades, Hercules and Theseus come upon this naked (though none of the naughty bits are shown) girl chained to a stone pillar in the cavern. She calls to Theseus and says that Pluto has imprisoned her there and that if he frees her, that she will return to Earth with him and be his slave forever. Theseus starts thinking with the wrong head, but Hercules manages to stop him before he gets too far and tells him that it's a trap. After Hercules pulls Theseus away from the girl, she starts laughing and disappears in a pillar of fire. I'm finding it difficult to believe that Theseus has lived as long as he has. What a gullible twit.

18. Moving on now, they come to a cliff where there are flames rising hundreds of feet high, all the way up to where they are standing. Hercules thinks for a moment and then jumps off the cliff. He lands in water and then as the illusory flames disappear, he calls to Theseus to join him. They swim for a while until they reach the shore where they start walking through a bunch of tangled vines. They're having difficulty in getting through the dead looking vines, so Theseus pulls out his sword and hacks at them. Now I find myself wondering where he got a sword, because back when him and Telmachus were trying to fight off Procrustes, his broke in two. So where did he get a new one all of a sudden? Anyway, the vines bled and screams of agony could be heard. Turns out the souls of the damned were trapped in those vines. Now that's creative. Finally, an interesting concept in this movie.
19. So after all this travel, they finally reach the stone of life. Unfortunately, it's surrounded by lava. Now when I say lava, it's only lava as far as the story is concerned. What it actually looks like is pancake dough cooking on a griddle. Theseus throws a branch down into it to find out if it's an illusion. It sticks in the dough and then someone lights what was probably rubbing alcohol on it so that it lights on fire. Sure it's cheesy lookin' but it's still kinda cool.
20. Hercules has a plan now. He cuts one of the vines free, which causes a scream of agony and more blood again. Then he ties the vine to a rock and throws it over the lava where it attaches itself to a rock on the other side. Then they make their way across on the vine. Unfortunately for them however, while they're crossing over, a terrible wind comes up out of nowhere. What I'm trying to figure out is, why did Hercules have Theseus try to cross anyway? All he had to do was go and get the rock and bring it back across. Hercules goes back to try and help Theseus who can't hold on because of the wind, but it's too late. Theseus drops into the "lava" which now looks more like hot quicksand, and meets his death. Yeah, good plan Hercules.
21. But wait! We now see Theseus laying unconscious in some lower cavern. He's all clean now, and being attended to by some beautiful dead girl. She says that he is not dead, and that he made it through the lava before Pluto could claim him. Man this Theseus is a player. He's already deeply in love with this girl and vowing to rescue her from the kingdom of Hades. Outside the cavern, he meets up with Hercules and Telmachus again. Apparently he's already stashed the girl aboard the ship. Man, Hercules should ask his father Zeus to change Theseus into a woman. Then Theseus wouldn't keep falling in love with every woman he sees and getting them in trouble. Unfortunately, with Hercules' luck, Theseus would probably end up being a lesbian, and he'd be right back in the same boat again.
22. The girl and Theseus are talking down below deck when a violent storm comes up out of nowhere. Telmachus comes down below and tells Theseus that he must come above and help. He doesn't seem to see the girl though. The girl tells Theseus that Pluto is angry because they have stolen the golden apple, and that the only way to save themselves is for him to go up and throw it overboard. Theseus goes up above and leaves the girl down below as she starts crying and buries her face in her hands. Man, seriously now. Theseus really needs a good bitch-slappin' to rattle the cobwebs out of his brain and shake them rusty gears loose so he can start thinking clearly again. What an idiot.
23. Theseus throws the apple overboard, but instead of dooming them, it actually got them out of the storm. Maybe Theseus doesn't need a bitch-slappin' after all. Still, when his girlfriend back on land finds out he's got a new girl, I'm sure he'll get that bitch-slappin' after all.
24. As they go back to Ecalia, they find the lands smoking and the people miserable. Hercules asks a peasant what's going on, and the peasant says that the gods have abandoned them and that someone has offended the gods. Right after he says this, my wife Sharon pops in with, "Oh yeah, that was me. Sorry about that. My bad." Guess you had to be here. It was quite funny when she said it.
25. Back at the palace, Theseus is laying some more sweet talk on the girl he rescued from Hades. Now he comes to find out that it's really Persephone, the favored daughter of Pluto. No wonder Pluto is so ticked off. This girl needs to take a happy pill or somethin' though because she walks around all the time with this look on her face like someone just ran over her little brother with a bulldozer. Anyway, she's telling him that they should never have met, and that even Hercules will hate them before long. Theseus tells her that no one will ever separate them and that if he has to defend his love, he'll even kill Hercules. Gee, what a pal huh?
26. Back with Dianara, Hercules has laid the stone of life next to her, and she is now coming out of her "just smoked a half-a-pound of opium" state. Lyco is standing off in the shadows and starts imploring the gods of darkness not to abandon him. The dark gods answer him and tell him that he must lure Dianara away from Hercules, kill her, and drink her blood. Only by having Dianara's blood flowing through his veins, can he become king of Ecalia for all eternity. I'm still wondering why he didn't just kill her before when he had the chance. He could have just told Hercules that she died of some illness and that would have been the end of it. What a moron.
27. Lyco comes in and thanks Hercules for saving Dianara's life. He says that the people would like to celebrate, but that they believe that he has angered the gods somehow and that is why they have this plague upon their land. Lyco suggests that Hercules go back to the oracle and find out how to set things right again. Hercules agrees and heads off to the oracle for advice. Somehow I think he'd have better luck if he just called Miss Cleo's psychic line. This oracle chick is weird. At least Miss Cleo is funny.
28. After a little sweet talk, Hercules goes off to the oracle and tells Dianara not to leave the room under any circumstances. On his way out, Lyco tells Hercules that he will guard Dianara with his life. I still want to know why the hell he just didn't kill her early on instead of spending all this time farting around. It would have saved me from having to watch this stupid movie. I would just like to state right here and now that I am incredibly ticked off. I had this stupid review almost done when I accidentally hit a keyboard shortcut that closed the damn window. Now I have to start all over again from here. Words can't describe how bad I want this stupid thing to be over with.
29. Hercules goes to the oracle and asks her how to get rid of the blight that has struck the land. She tells him that the god Pluto is angry because Theseus has taken his favorite daughter Persephone from him. She says that to appease the god Pluto, that he must convince Theseus to give up Persephone so that she may return to her father. He doesn't want to but finally he rides off to find Theseus. Seems like Hercules spends a lot of time going back and forth to places in this movie. While he's gone, Dianara and the handmaiden hear the guards walking away from the door. The handmaiden goes out to investigate and ends up getting her throat sliced by Lyco. Lyco then goes after Dianara.
30. Hercules finally arrives at Theseus' place and tells him that he must give up Persephone for the good of the lan and of all mankind. Theseus freaks and tells Hercules that he'll never give her up and that he'll kill him first. He tries to attack Hercules, but Hercules blocks it. The second swing connects with Hercules' arm and it starts bleeding. Now if this was a Bruce Lee movie, Hercules would taste his own blood, and then kick the ever livin' snot out of Theseus. Unfortunately, since this isn't a Bruce Lee movie, all he ends up doing is holding him down with a sword to his throat asking him why he wants to die. Persephone steps in at this point and puts Theseus to sleep. She tells Hercules that it's all her fault because she wanted to be able to love like a mortal woman, but that the love has run its course and now she must go back. She says that she has given Theseus the sleep of forgetfulness and that when he awakes, he will have forgotten her and the love they shared. She also tells Hercules that he must go to Dianara and save her, because Lyco is planning to kill her so that he can reign as king forever. She tells him to hurry, because when she goes, she must take the life stone back with her, and the life stone is the only thing keeping Lyco away from her. Hercules goes running off and with one last kiss to Theseus, Persephone and the life stone both disappear.
31. Hercules goes running back to the castle where he finds a bunch of servants standing around the slain body of the handmaiden. He asks them where Dianara and Lyco are and one of them says that they don't know but that Lyco may be down in his secret chamber where no one is allowed to go. Hercules goes to the chamber doors and busts them down. He runs down to the chamber, but Lyco hears him coming and escapes out a side tunnel with Dianara in his arms. Hercules arrives in the same chamber where Dianara was in the coffin early on in the movie, and suddenly, a strong wind blows up out of nowhere. The chamber gets dark and the dead start rising out of the ground and out of the coffins. Hercules just stands there watching all this happen like a big dumb dork and doesn't even move or run or do anything until they finally all leap out and attack him. He has a massive struggle with the dead creatures. some of them actually fly around the room and perform kamikaze attacks on him. The funny part about that is, you can see the wires they're flying around on. Anyway, he manages to fight his way out of the chamber and out into the graveyard where Lyco has Dianara on a slab and is about to kill her. I can't even tell you how bad I was hoping he finally just would. God she's annoying.
32. Hercules attacks Lyco just in time and tosses him around like a rag doll. After a very short and uneventful fight, Hercules finally just picks up a big stone pillar and dumps it on Lyco, killing him instantly. This was very anticlimactic by the way. The dead creatures start emerging from the chamber and out into the graveyard now. Hercules picks up some more stone pillars and tosses them around like they were toothpicks. I assume they were made out of paper mache or something similar so that was probably quite an easy thing for him to do. Anyway, after he takes out group after group of dead guys in this manner, the lunar eclipse finally goes away and Lyco lights on fire in the moonlight, burns up and disappears forever.
33. The next day on the beach, Hercules and Dianara come riding up to Theseus and after a short conversation with him where he tells them he's sad because he just had a dream about a goddess that told him she loves him, Telmachus comes riding up on a mule with Tocasta. Tocasta is the girl that Theseus stole from him earlier in the movie. Telmachus calls out to them and tells them that Tocasta has finally agreed to marry him. Theseus goes running up to her and tells her that she was the goddess in his dream. She liked that so she went running off with Theseus leaving poor Telmachus behind. Telmachus decides to go drown himself and runs headlong into the cold blue sea, in a comical way though. He's not really going to kill himself, don't worry. Hercules says that as long as Theseus only steals other men's women, that he has nothing to worry about. And with that brilliant statement, this absolute bore of a movie is over. Thank god! This review has been cursed from start to finish.

Best Quote

"You should be longer. You must be longer. So I will stretch you out until you fit the bed. You will be as thin as the ropes that bind you, and then I will tie you into a knot."


- Procrustes talking in his voice synthesizer sounding voice as he stretched out Theseus on the stone bed he had been sleeping on. - (Reviewer's Note: Sounds like the kind of thing that would happen to you in one of those Turkish bath houses when you get a good stretch out and massage from someone with a big scraggly beard that seems to have mistaken you for a pretzel.)

Video Clip
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Hercules in the Haunted World
Hercules has come to see his friend Theseus, but he hits a little road block by the name of Telmachus on the way there.

The Conclusion

This review has been a nightmare. It's been one big catastrophe after another, climaxing in the fact that I actually had that accidental closing of the review before I saved it and had to re-do about seven of the what the hells before I could finally move on to finish everything. I guess I'll start with what's good about this movie because it's a far shorter list than what's not good about it.

This film was made by Mario Bava, who's an Italian filmmaker that has quite a following in the cult film community due to his great use of effects and lighting, making the most out of what little he has to work with. This film is no exception to that. The colors and the lighting were brilliant, as were most of the special effects. There were some really cool looking and well done scenes, but that wasn't enough to save this movie. I'm not a big fan of Mario Bava's films for this simple reason. You can make a film look good, but if the story isn't there and the acting sucks, then there's really not much reason to spend your time watching it. All of Mario Bava's films that I have seen so far have been like that. Having a movie that is well shot and that's nice to look at just isn't enough though. There has to be substance to it as well, and that little spark of brilliance that really makes the film enjoyable, otherwise, when it comes down to it, you feel like you just wasted ninety minutes of your life.

So that brings us to what's bad about this film. The story in this film was slow and plodding and seemed to be nothing more than one danger or problem after another which was quickly solved right before they moved on to the next one. The acting was horrible on all accounts as well. Now I love cheesy acting, but the acting in this movie was not cheesy, it was just bad. No one showed any real emotion, the reactions to situations were totally unbelievable, and in general it looked like everyone was as bored in making this movie as I was in watching it. Reg Park just doesn't cut it as Hercules. Steve Reeves did a far better job in his movies. Steve Reeves' Hercules character was likeable and fun and was a pleasure to watch. The way Reg Park played it, Hercules was just big, boring, and stupid. Speaking of bad acting, Christopher Lee did a horrible job with his part, making it not only bland and boring, but somewhat irritating as well. There was no sense of evil and cunning in his character. He was just kind of there, and that's it. Even when he was begging the gods of darkness to help him, there was no real emotion or passion in his plea. Dianara's character made me want to just reach right through the screen, give her a good bitch-slap and tell her to shut the hell up. Dianara's character was played by Leonora Ruffo, and words cannot describe how agonizingly bad she played out this horribly written role. A great actor can save even a poorly written role, but she just made it worse.

Frankly, I'm glad this experience is over with. I love sword and sandal movies, but this one was just bad. The only reason it's even getting two bees is because there was some funny bits and it was visually nice to look at.  I hope my next couple of reviews are better and more fun than this one. I'm sorry about the lack of humor in this review, but this movie just made me want to yawn and fall asleep.

B-Movie Central's Rating: 2 Bees

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