Hercules vs. the Moloch (1963)

HerculesVsTheMolochPosterOkay, it turns out that this Hercules vs. the Moloch movie (aka Conquest of Mycene) isn’t about a guy named Hercules. It also isn’t a movie about a guy named Goliath, Maciste, Samson, Atlas, or even Ursus. It’s all about this guy named Glauco, who perhaps realizing a movie called Glauco vs. the Moloch wouldn’t have quite the same impact, decided that he should spend a good portion of this film undercover as a guy named Hercules.

But why all the muscular subterfuge? If you hadn’t slept through your high school Mycene history class, you’d know that Mycene is in trouble because its citizens worshiped a god named Moloch. The earth goddess didn’t appreciate this and unleashed her wrath on Mycene. This involved stuff getting ruined and a dog-headed statue getting busted up.

As the Mycene king is dying, he tells his wife to go and find a new place for Mycene to rebuild and not to worship Moloch anymore, which really makes sense what with Moloch getting his dog ass whipped by this earth goddess and all.

She agrees and we next check in on Mycene twenty years later when the new city is built, this woman is installed as the queen, and her deformed son is a maniac living underground and is revered as the living reincarnation of Moloch who needs all kinds of sacrifices. Whew! Look what happens when you’re gone for twenty years!

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The surrounding city-states don’t understand the benefits of having a living dog god underneath the city aren’t thrilled when Mycene demands lots of tribute, hostages, and hotties to sacrifice to Moloch. Glauco (Gordon Scott from Golaith and the Vampires) is the prince of one of these dissident city-states.

Glauco decides that the best course of action is to soften the Mycenians up from within before he has the balance of his forces storm the city. This is how he ends up going undercover as a hostage named Hercules. I guess taking that name is a lot less conspicuous than showing up as the world famous Glauco.

Once in Mycene he gets into a fight with one of the guards and gains the Queen’s attentions and is appointed to some type of post. He is soon sucking up to the queen in a very un-Hercules like manner, but we all know that he doesn’t mean it, especially since in one scene he’s giving her some gratuitous compliment while he absent-mindedly throws grapes down his throat.

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His status as Queen’s favorite comes to an abrupt halt after Hercules interrupts some slug’s attempt to rape Medea, the Queen’s stepdaughter. Hercules is fired for his interference and signed up for the big gladiator games that begin the next day.

This allows the film the opportunity to have one of those “gladiator school” scenes that movies from Spartacus to Gladiator delight in giving audiences.

In this particular case, the scene lasts about a minute and a half and is just a couple of guys swinging a sword at a crabby guy with a shield.

Even though Hercules is being held prisoner until the games, he still finds time to plot the big invasion with his pals in the palace guard. Things go a bit haywire when his new girlfriend Medea gets herself in trouble and ends up imprisoned as a potential earth goddess sacrifice.

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The last part of the film has way too much babble about the military aspects of the plan and we see endless shots of groups of guys marching around and riding horses. There’s some poorly photographed skirmishes, people retreat, attack again, sneak around, let other soldiers into the city, and there’s more melees with guys in Trojan outfits falling down with spears and arrows sticking out of them.

Hercules and Moloch finally brawl and by this time Moloch has unmasked to reveal that he is wearing a hideously fake mask that is supposed to make him look really ugly and scary. They roll around and flip each other over a few times before Hercules kicks over a cauldron of fire on him ending the match.

The Moloch is probably the best part of this movie. He’s got some great lines about how much he hates beauty and does a lot of strutting around in his dog helmet that would do the Crimson Executioner from Bloody Pit of Horror proud. The Moloch though doesn’t get much screen time and isn’t really an effective villain since he just hides in his tunnels waiting for the ladies to be delivered to him.

An unfocused and not very enjoyable film with an emphasis on talk and armies running around over Hercules-type heroics though he does manage to break some swords and chains and even works in a few rock lifts.

© 2015 MonsterHunter

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