Zorro contro Maciste (1963)

Zorro Contro Maciste Spanish PosterThe gimmick in Zorro contro Maciste (aka Samson and the Slave Queen) of course makes zero sense. Zorro is a crime fighting super hero who hassles corrupt fat government officials usually named something along the lines of Don Diego way back in the pre-United States California of the 16th Century. He’s a sly devil who delights in carving the letter “Z” all over the countryside, including the occasional ass of some unsuspecting evil doer. He is also a snazzy dresser, favoring an all black ensemble including hat, mask, and cape.

Maciste hails from an earlier era. An era when men weren’t measured by their prissy fencing skills, but by ancient standards known as gluts, delts, quads, and lats! If you couldn’t dead lift seven thousand tons, chuck temple pillars two miles, and snap the neck of a cyclops, you may just as well get back in the kitchen with the rest of the women.

And because of the need to be perpetually greased up and glistening so as to maintain that “just built up a sweat by beating up a hoard of barbarians with chunks of mountain” look, no more clothing than a ratty jock strap was required!

Clearly, these two men are from different worlds with different sensibilities. How could they ever co-mingle?

Well, if you’ve got both Zorro and Maciste in a movie, don’t you want to just get right into the sword vs. sandal aspect of things? Who’s got time for some lame brained backstory?

So it is that Maciste’s presence in Zorro’s world is briefly explained by a character commenting on how Maciste is from far away. Good enough! Besides, I’m pretty sure that Maciste would say explaining is for sissies when there’s a bunch of iron bars that could be getting bent instead of standing around jawing.

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It’s easy to understand why us Maciste fans might be worried about how well our hero fares when he hangs out with Zorro. Zorro is certainly flashier, has a great name, and the story takes place on his home turf. Maciste could end up looking like a big dumb lug, standing around awkwardly while Spanish guys with swords dart here and there shouting confusing words like “adios” and “pinata”.

In a world of normal-sized people with micro-sized missions (Maciste stealing the king’s will? Why don’t you just send Delta Force in to bust up a loud party for crying out loud!) is Maciste even still relevant?

By the god-like guns of Alan Steel, you can damn sure bet your best bottle of bronzer that Maciste is not only still relevant, but also has never been in finer form! For those who don’t know Maciste and for those who have somehow shamefully forgotten him , Zorro Contro Maciste is the film that will send you into an uncontrolled roid rage of pleasure!

Rarely have I cheered a film at its very beginning, but there I was hooting and hollering like I was back at the Colosseum watching monotheists being fed to lions!

Try not to get freaking inspired when Maciste earns money by performing feats of strength so that a little girl could get cured of her illness! Sick little girl? Game over, Zorro. Game over.

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But no good deed goes unpunished, right? There are dark political clouds gathering with the death of the king causing a vacancy for his throne. A vacancy that will either be filled by the evil, dark haired princess Malva or her blonde porn-star-sexy cousin Isabella! It all depends on what the king put in his will!

A will that even now is on its way back from the faraway land where he died to the home of the princesses! The conventional wisdom is that since Isabella is smoking hot and has a nice personality, that it will be her that is named queen! But Malva wants the throne for herself and arranges to have the will stolen so that it can be replaced with one that says she will be queen! All she needs now is a guy whose heart is as big as his muscles, but whose brain is smaller than his surely shriveled up testes!

Maciste is enlisted to “recover” the will for Malva with the vague explanation that it would be for the good of the country. At the same time, Isabella’s boyfriend tells her to go find Zorro to see if he will help to make sure that the real will is in fact that one that arrives at her home. Zorro has to help because he is really Isabella’s boy toy in disguise!

Thus, the ultimate showdown between the speed and dexterity of Zorro and the awesome posing of Maciste is set! In what has to be categorized as a minor upset though, it ends with Zorro falling into a hole.

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Not to be outdone in the “humiliating defeat” department, Maciste loses the will to Zorro after Zorro drugs his drink! Maciste though shows how they do things in the ancient world when he steals the will back while disguised as a guy in a donkey mask! Ha! En garde, El Zero!

Director Umberto Lenzi works in plenty more Maciste mayhem, having him fight armies of guys, busting out of dungeons, dropping a big rock on a mechanical alligator, and finally teaming up with Zorro to fight the bad guys in a no holds barred finale that has Zorro cutting down a chandelier and Maciste throwing a pole through two guys at once!

Zorro isn’t really that much of a presence, but who cares when Alan Steel is so jacked up that even his rock hard orange hair seems like it was putting in extra workouts on the set!

So bust out the leather briefs, oil yourself up, and let Zorro contro Maciste positively EXPLODE all over you! It’s a peplum protein shake low on the fat, but packed full of the bulging brawls, beat downs, stabbings, and whipping you need for your hard charging muscle movie lifestyle!

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