Category Archives: Sword & Sandal

Hercules Unchained (1959)

Truly then, the gods have smiled upon us this day when they sent forth this second adventure of Hercules. Fresh from whatever it was that Herc accomplished in his first epic film, this movie opens with him saying his goodbyes to his buddies from the Argos and preparing to journey to his hometown of Thebes with his new wife Iole and his buddy Ulysses. Continue reading

Samson and the 7 Miracles of the World (1961)

Samson7MiraclesPosterEnglishThis is another one of those muscleman epics that seems alternately obsessed with displaying the rippling back muscles of star Gordon Scott (Hercules Vs. The Moloch) and with the palace intrigue in old time China.

The fact that the version I saw only ran 77 minutes was both a blessing and a curse. Cursed because everything happened in a rather hasty manner with entire sequences that could have explained exactly how characters went from doing one thing to the next mysteriously missing. Blessed though since it was still 77 minutes of Gordon perpetually greased up and standing around posing like an adult baby in a red diaper whose next appearance would be on Sean Connery in Zardoz. Continue reading

Revenge of the Gladiators (1964)

RevengeOfTheGladiatorsPosterSurprisingly grim, Revenge of the Gladiators starts off like any number of rather lunkheaded sword and sandal flicks with its gladiator heroes, deranged emperor, silly-looking barbarians, convoluted schemes to betray whomever happened to have his back turned at a given moment, and Mickey Hargitay, but then gets progressively darker until our heroes are reduced to joining a group of religious refugees fleeing the disintegrating Roman Empire.

Truly a sobering experience, though Hargitay couldn’t resist tapping into that natural goofiness that was so much in evidence in Bloody Pit of Horror by telling the barbarians while they were torturing him that their women smelled like sheep! Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Messalina (1960)

MessalinaCoverOne of history’s greatest sluts is given a very tasteful treatment in Vittorio Cottafavi’s early sword and sandal epic, Messalina. Sure, Messalina is shown coming onto everything with a bulge in his mini-skirt tunic and she’s not above being pawed by a sweaty goon solely to achieve the assassination of her emperor husband.

There’s also that time a guy sneaked into her palace bedroom to kill her, but she ended up screwing him instead. Really though, anyone would agree that was purely self defense.

And just because the only guy in Rome able to put all the pieces together to finally end her reign of horny terror is obviously a homosexual doesn’t mean that some straight guy might not finally tire of succumbing to her royal hotness and eventually halt her power grab. Like maybe when she was sixty and was forced to wear an unattractive support toga. Continue reading

Goliath and the Barbarians (1959)

Goliath and the Barbarians PosterMade very early in the sword and sandal cycle of the late 1950s and early to mid 1960s, Goliath and the Barbarians attempts to get by solely on the fact that the biggest name in the genre, Steve Reeves, is the featured player. The movie fails to rise above “forgettable strongman epic” but the fault in no way lies with big Steve.

Steve and his Goliath-sized guns grunt and groan mightily in an effort to heave this movie into something approaching interesting, but even his mammoth chest, no matter how much it’s glistening with hunk-sweat, can’t overcome the dull story of barbarians harassing Steve’s lower class village. Continue reading

Colossus and the Headhunters (1963)

ColossusCoverKirk Morris would play Maciste no less than six times in a brawny film career that included The Witch’s Curse and Atlas Against the Czar. If his clean-shaven pouty look makes you think you’re going to get a brooding muscle god more intent on lamenting his own awesome strength instead of using it, Colossus and the Headhunters leaves no doubt that this Maciste is all about pushing, pulling, heaving, straining, and most importantly of all, killing Headhunters! Continue reading

The Giants of Thessaly (1960)

GiantsOfThessalyCoverThis Italian version of Jason And The Argonauts and Jason’s hunt for the golden fleece listed as badly as Jason’s boat did the during the first half hour of the film as he and I had to endure the whining of his traitorous crew. Just because there’s no food, the water is running out, and it’s becoming painfully obvious that Jason has led you on a wild goose chase, is no reason to behave like you’re from Crete. Continue reading

Goliath and the Vampires (1961)

Goliath and the Vampires PosterObligatory full disclosure: there isn’t anyone in this movie named Goliath. There is Gordon Scott (Hercules Vs. The Moloch, Samson And The 7 Miracles Of The World) cinching up the leather girdle as some dude named Maciste. Not to worry though because Maciste is pretty much the same in the muscle movie biz as Hercules, having nearly as many crazy adventures under nearly as many aliases as the daring demi-god himself! Continue reading