THE MOON MEN
STARRING: Sergio Ciani, Jany
Clair, Anna Maria Polani, Nando Tamberlani, Delia D'Alberti, Jean-Pierre Honoré,
1964, 90 Minutes, Directed by: Giacomo Gentilomo
Description: An alien race from the moon lands in ancient Greece,
terrorizing the nearby city of Samar, and taking the population’s children as
human sacrifices. If that weren’t enough, the queen of Samar has made an
alliance with the aliens in order to rule the world. Now it’s up to Hercules to
save the day and free the oppressed townspeople.
The titular moon men
what looks like the
straggler from a Mexican Day of the Dead festival leading a handful of oversized
rock monsters (costumes no doubt later picked up for cheap by the producers of The NeverEnding Story)
want to take over the
world. Their plan is to revive an evil sorceress when the planets are in
alignment “under the evil influence of Uranus” (actual quote).
She must be quite a kick-ass
sorceress, because they don’t exactly make out a huge army of alien conquest, even though the movie is set during ancient times and there were
of course a lot less people
around to conquer back then. Of course we know they will fail because otherwise we would
be under alien overlordship today which obviously isn’t the case (unless you
count a second Bush Administration here) — so talk about plot redundancy!
We also know they will fail
because they are up against . . . Hercules, here played by Alan Steel! Or make
that Sergio Ciani, a Spaghetti sandal flick regular. Yup, as the less
pretentious among us will know, there is more to Italian cinema than Fellini and
Italy has been quite productive when it comes to exploitation B-cinema fare
throughout the years, of which the so-called Spaghetti westerns are probably the
best known. But the Italians have always been keen to exploit whatever genre
were popular at the time in Hollywood, from Mad Max rip-offs and zombie flicks
to “Biblical” epics like, uhm, this one.
"If anything was made 'under the evil influence of Uranus' it was this
movie . . ."
No doubt filmed on the
left-over sets of some such Roman epic, Hercules Against the Moon Men
plays more like your typical sword & sorcery epic than it does like a
sci-fi/fantasy movie. The invaders may be men from, uhm, the moon but we don’t
really see a lot of them. Too much Hercules and not enough moon men is the
problem here, especially since the moon men have some lines like the Uranus one
All Hercules does is rescue people, rescues some more people, get captured,
escapes, rescues some other people, and so on.
the moon men intend reviving their kick-ass sorceress by using the blood of
supplied courtesy of the sexy queen of Samar, the nearby city, and her Palace
Guard. I kinda liked the evil queen, but then again I’ve always fallen for the
wrong type of woman. Unfortunately we don’t nearly see enough of her or the
other baddies. Instead, the movie is sluggish and some sequences (like a
pointless sandstorm towards the end) just drag on forever.
The point is that Hercules
against the Moon Men is a bad movie (well, just what did you expect with a
title like that?), but is also a bad bad movie: the moments of unintentional
humor and camp are just too far in-between and the goofiest thing about the
movie is its title. (It was obviously a Mystery Science
Theater 3000 episode.)
Ultimately if anything was made “under the evil influence of Uranus”, it was this
movie . . . if you want a fun campy Spaghetti sandal flick rather check out
and the Amazon Queen.
Note: The Mystery
Science Theater 3000 episode of Hercules Against the Moonmen can be
found on the Mystery Science Theater 3000
Collection, Volume 7 DVD box set. If you see this movie for whatsoever
reason, then it is probably preferable that you see this version!