Pirate of the Half Moon (1958)

Finally, an Italian swashbuckler that documents the financial hardship endured by lesser nobility in medieval Europe while still delivering to the masses the all-male fetish fights that we secretly watch these movies for.

And if things are generally too talky for most of the film, at least it’s a lot of humorous whiny talk from the stingy Baron about how he can’t really afford to host the duchess or provide enough gun powder to ward off the pirates. You also really don’t mind all that talking whenever our hero Nadir (worst name ever for a hero!) is rocking a costume that looks like his pirate ship docked at the Baron’s castle on the way to a drag queen ball. Continue reading “Pirate of the Half Moon (1958)”

The Sea Hawk (1940)

SeaHawkPosterApparently there’s a book called The Sea Hawk. This movie is based on that book and by that I mean that it’s based on that book’s title. The story in this Errol Flynn pirate vehicle is really based on Sir Francis Drake and his crazy adventures with the Sea Dogs. Clearly, a bunch of Sea Hawks is much more manly than the Sea Dogs, which sound more like a group of horny swimmers than charming rogues who delight in putting those Spaniards and their silly helmets in their place. Continue reading “The Sea Hawk (1940)”

Giant of the Evil Island (1965)

Giant of the Evil Island promises us so much. Like a giant. And an evil island. And director Piero Pierotti (Hercules Against Rome) delivers exactly all of it! Now you may need to be a bit flexible on your definition of what a giant is since the pirate Malek appears to be of normal size, though admittedly stocky enough that a little kid might think he was giant. But there’s no doubting the presence of an evil island since Piero has the good sense to actually name Malek’s island hideout as Evil Island! Continue reading “Giant of the Evil Island (1965)”

The Mooncussers (1962)

The problem with The Mooncussers is that it manages to steal copiously from Treasure Island which isn’t really an awful thing to do since that was a great Disney movie and I’ve always said that if you’re going to steal, you should steal from pirates because it isn’t their crap to begin with.

It’s just that if you’re going to re-use the entire “pirate pretending to be good guy actually deep down has a soft spot for the kid” gimmick, your pirate should be convincing in being a pal to this kid and the kid probably shouldn’t be wearing a red silk shirt for a good portion of the movie. Continue reading “The Mooncussers (1962)”

Treasure Island (1950)

This being a Walt Disney movie, I was let down a tad by this one. I mean, there wasn’t an asinine song and dance number to be had, not one crappy comic relief sidekick, and no bloodless, goofy violence to give the kids in the crowd the idea that pirates were lovable scamps who talked funny and needed a bath. That’s not to say that Long John Silver wasn’t someone to be admired for the way he played both ends against the middle and eventually won the respect of the kid whose throat he periodically threatened to slit. Continue reading “Treasure Island (1950)”

The Sea Pirate (1966)

The Sea Pirate PosterOther than Long John Silver, Johnny Depp, and Willie Stargell, Robert Surcouf is one of our greatest and favorite pirates who ever sailed the seven seas or played left field. As befitting a man of such stature that I hadn’t heard of him until this movie, The Sea Pirate is not exactly the high profile vehicle these other pirates enjoyed (Treasure Island, Pirates of the Caribbean, the 1979 World Series), but that doesn’t mean his story isn’t worthy of an obscure mid 1960s Italian swashbuckler! It means that he’s deserving of two such films! But it also means that the second film, Il grande colpo di Surcouf has no known English release. Continue reading “The Sea Pirate (1966)”

Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)

Mickey Hargitay was a body builder who starred in Hercules vs. the Hydra, Delirium, and a couple of other Italian schlock flicks, but the most impressive item on his resume is that he was once the husband of Jayne Mansfield.

He puts all that vital experience to use in Bloody Pit Of Horror as a guy that runs around shirtless in red tights, torturing and killing the folks who just wanted to use his castle to do some cheesecake photo shoots for a horror anthology they were working on.

There is a distinctly awesome vibe going on in this film and it has something to do with the fact that the well-oiled Hargitay runs around in his way too snug tights, his little red hood, and his large black belt, all the while complaining about how everyone is “corrupting the harmony of my perfect body.” This is the sort of thing you rarely get in horror films, even Italian ones! Continue reading “Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)”