Hercules against the Moon Men (1964)

Genre: Italian Peplum / Sword and Sandal

A meteor crashes into a mountain in ancient Greece and from that moment on selected towns-folk are taken to the mountain, now aptly named the Mountain of Death, to be sacrificed to the creatures who now inhabit it.

A wise advisor goes to the young Queen Samara (Jany Clair) and tells her he has called for the help of a man who will be able to save them and he is on his way – this man is Hercules!

That night the Queen is visited by an apparition of an ancient alien (something which would please the “father of the ancient astronaut theory” Erich Von Daniken) and commands her to kill Hercules. Following his command, the Queen dispatches her soldiers to intercept Hercules and to kill him.
An ancient astronaut
 Hercules (Sergio Ciani as Alan Steel) is making his way through the countryside when he is suddenly attacked. He is able to beat-up the small army single-handedly and arrives in the town and informs the Queen’s advisor of the incident. The Queen’s advisor realizes it was the Queen’s soldiers who had attacked Hercules.
A beast in the catacombs

Hercules meets the adviser’s beautiful daughter Agar (Anna Maria Polani) before the advisor takes him into the Mountain of Death to attempt to save the town. Walking through the mountain’s narrow catacombs, the advisor is killed by some spikes which shoot out from the wall, and Hercules falls into a pit which soon starts to fill with water.
The Queen and her sister

Hercules is able to free himself just in the nick-of-time and then beats-up a hairy beast. Suddenly Agar arrives and she offers to lead Hercules to where the alien creatures are, but Hercules’ plans are thwarted and he returns to the town.

Romance soon begins to blossom between Hercules and Agar, but it isn’t long before Hercules is captured by the Queen. In the Queen’s bed chamber she believes Hercules to be under her spell and tries to seduce him, but they are interrupted when the Queen’s guards bring Agar and the Queen’s sister’s boyfriend to her. The Queen asks Hercules what they should do with the two prisoners, so Hercules, still pretending to be under the Queen’s powers, suggests they lock them up and let them starve to death.
Hercules on the giant spiked rack.
 When the Queen tells Hercules the secret of the mountain and the whereabouts of the aliens Hercules tells her he is going there to save the town. Quickly the Queen vanashies through a secret door in the wall.

Hercules enters the mountain again and soon discovers Agar and the sister’s boyfriend, but not before Hercules is captured and put on a giant spiked rack. In the meantime, the Queen takes her beautiful large chested sister into the mountain and has her held captive by the aliens. The aliens slowly drip her blood onto the corpse of an ancient witch who they are attempting to revive.
The Queen seduces Hercules

Hercules is able to smash his way out of the spiked rack and makes his way back to the town and calls on the town’s people to help him destroy the aliens. They make their way to the Mountain of Death and once inside Hercules battles some giant rock men. In the meantime, Agar is rolling around lost in an inhospitable terrain.
Hercules throws a rock man

Will Hercules defeat the evil Queen and the aliens? Will he rescue the beautiful Queen’s sister before she is drained of blood? And will he find Agar?

This is real kids Saturday matinee B-movie entertainment. As Italian peplums go, this isn’t too bad, although it does slow down a bit in parts. There are some nice touches such as statues which work as audio bugging devices so the Queen can listen in on conversations around her palace, and some of the monsters are pretty good.

Sergio Ciani (Alan Steel) who plays Hercules spends his whole time oiled-up and flexing his muscles. He was one of the few Italians to play these beef-cake parts during the 1950’s and 60’s with most being predominantly British or American.

For me, it’s the actresses who really carry this movie, with each one - the Queen, Agar, and the Queen’s sister - all being great eye-candy.

Like many of these peplum movies, it can be a bit talky in parts, and I would have liked to have seen more of the aliens because this was a good concept of mixing peplum and science fiction.

This was the last film directed by Giacomo Gentilomo because afterwards he left the business and devoted his time to painting.

The photography, I’m guessing, is probably quite good in parts – I’m saying “I’m guessing” because the copy I watched was a pan and scan version taken from a really tatty 16mm print. This movie is part of the Warriors 50 Movie Pack Collection which compiles 50 Italian peplum movies. The quality of many of these is similar to this one, but at $26.99, it’s a bargain.

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