Hercules Against the Moon Men (1964)
A large asteroid falls on earth and from that emerges a group of aliens who try to take over the ancient world by bringing an evil witch back to life. The story is, like some many of these films, incidental to the action but I really enjoyed the mix of fantasy and sci-fi. The alien is cool looking. The rock monsters are slightly underwhelming (it’s the way the walk) but they’re fun nonetheless, in a B-movie kinda way. Alan Steel (née Sergio Ciani) is agile even if he’s more beefy (and older looking) than Steve Reeves or Mark Forest. The film transfer I saw was bad but even so I had fun watching it. I could see that it was very colorful film in its original state and I’m certain that if this film had a decent transfer, people would be pleasantly surprised by how much fun HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN actually is.
There are several good moments in it, including the “nicer dicer” scene, when Hercules (or Maciste) is trapped within a giant contraption which looks like the jaws of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Cool scene. I thought the film moved at a good pace and was never dull. The actress who played the Queen was a pretty good villainess. She looked like she came straight out of an anime. The actress who played the sister had a massive rack which would make Dolly Parton jealous. The only weakness in the film would be the soundtrack. It’s not really impressive.
Peplums like this one are often derided and dismissed for showcasing too much muscle. First of all, so what? Secondly, films like this were made, first and foremost, for kids. Kids back then (and today) are impressed by big burly guys. Just look at the success of the über trashy WWE today, which shows more skin than any of these sometimes overlooked action flicks. Third of all, Sword and Sandal films are probably the most underrated genre ever. Without these films there wouldn’t have been a Ridley Scott’s Oscar winning GLADIATOR or the current box office smash, 300.
Just watch HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN for what it is: just a fun, colorful action movie, which happens to have some beefcake and cheesecake thrown in for good measure.