b movies, Bad Dub, Bad Liturgical Dance, Bob Newhart, Colossus and the Headhunters, Fake Death, Fire Maidens from Outer Space, Foreign, Headhunters, Hercules, Italian Film, Italian movies, Jason and the Argonauts, Jesus Franco, Lost People, Maciste, Ray Harryhausen, Satellite of Love (Mystery Science Theater 3000), sword and sandal, Teddy Roosevelt, The Castle of Fu Manchu, The Mole People, Useless Hero
“Then what happened?”
Some things I learned prepping for viewing an unriffed Colossus and the Headhunters:
(All facts subject to your faith in Wikipedia.)
Maciste was created as a heroic character for Italian movies in the 1910s. He’s not some hero from ancient times, unless your definition of ancient refers to a time when Teddy Roosevelt was still alive.
Maciste was originally a solder, angel, Olympic athlete, or anything the plot required. He is a hero in the most generic sense of the word.
During the Sword and Sandal era of Italian filmmaking, Maciste was reimagined as a hero in the classic manner. Because of a lack of familiarity with American audiences, his movies were retitled. Colossus and the Headhunters however neglected to change his name for the voice actors’ scripts.
Hercules against the Moon Men was originally released in Italy and France as a Maciste movie. A missed Cheesesteak opportunity for Joel and the boys.
Jesus Franco, director of The Castle of Fu Manchu, apparently made some Maciste-themed porn films in the 1970s. So there’s that for you if you like.
So, I got one of those movie packs. Ok, so I have several, but that’s not the point. And I’m going through the disc, watching the movies, and I hit a Sword and Sandal block. Four Hercules movies. Suddenly, I’m not in the mood for B movies.
That is kind of my relationship with Sword and Sandal. Not something I really go out of my way to watch. I will stop rather than go on. But that is the thing about MST3K, it covers a wide variety, there is something for everyone. Still, I’d rather have a Eurospy if we’re having Italian.
I think Jason and the Argonauts ruined other S&S for me. None of these muscle men movies could muster the effects of Harryhausen.
As sleepy and misdirected as the Hercules movies could get, it is hard to think of a movie with a more random beginning than this one. Maciste just happened to be walking on a doomed island, just as it is getting doomed?
Should I be bothered by what appears to be ever shrinking numbers on the raft? Maciste isn’t losing any muscle mass on the open seas.
This is one of the few instances where I think the SOL had a better print than I did. The color is very washed out in many places on this print. Almost like the film was overexposed.
It is not just that Maciste lays there breathing, but he starts to sit up before the soldiers are fully out of frame.
I know they just lost their island, but these poor people have a lot invested in a guy who literally just showed up.
I often wonder with the dubbed films of this era how much better voice acting would help them out. Too many of these voices are just reading lines, not really doing anything to make characters. Of course, there are plenty of English language movies better music (or any at all) would improve. That isn’t to say the music cues in this film couldn’t use help by the bushel full.
So, Maciste thinks it would dangerous to stay at the village and help fight the headhunters, but thinks it is ok to go onto the headhunters turf to find ‘safety’? He needs someone to do the thinking around here. Shouldn’t Ariel speak for his people, not Johnny come lately?
Bob Newhart had a more believable fight scene than the headhunter attack. It would seem the attack would kill all the people Kermes is trying to rule. I don’t know if that is a metaphor or just poorly thought out.
And just as Queen Amoha’s people are subjugated, Ariel’s people show up. It is a never ending cycle. On the plus side, now there is lots of available real estate for Ariel’s people.
This whole movie feels like it is missing scenes. Like there are key set up points we weren’t allowed to know.
41:51 into the movie, Maciste pushes in a wall. The second thing he’s done in the movie. A wandering hero, I. Hercules would have been in at least 3 good natured brawls alone by this point.
During the jailbreak, Maciste and Ariel manage to engage everyone but the two people they needed to stop. I’ve got my doubts about Maciste’s ability to go about and a-hero.
So, what do the headhunters get out of this deal? Kermes becomes king, and they get to leave? I somehow don’t buy it. Headhunters are into it just for the heads. It is what they do.
I just love that the hero feels the need to be updated on the plot. Good to know I’m not the only one whose attention was fleeting.
Worse Liturgical Dance: The wedding dance from Colossus or the sacrifice dance from The Mole People? The Fire Maidens dance gets at least an honorable mention. I honestly think this poor girl had to improvise the dance on her own. Nothing could be choreographed that spasmodically. Around 3 minutes of that ‘dancing’.
So, do the Uris troops massacre the headhunter village? I know we just see soldiers dying, but things like this get out of control quickly. And they did torch the village.
I do like the arrow to the face.
Just not well done fight scenes. As if there wasn’t any fight training and everyone was scared to hurt one another.
And of course, Maciste shows up just as things are breaking up. Just in time heroes really need to rethink how they live life.
And pushing over that tower accomplished what? This is a whole new level of meaningless daring do. None of the good guys have put any level of thought into what they want. They are consumed by several immediate small goals, but there does not seem to be any plan. Heck, Maciste doesn’t so much save the day as he shows up just as everything sorts itself out. Ok, he killed the villain. That is something.
Wow, Pee-Wee level death scene. If dying is easy, I guess that is one unfunny actor.
See era of strife is over. They did massacre the headhunters.
If there is one thing royalty likes it is rafting out on the Mediterranean on an open raft like a Huck and Jim of the classical period.
Watchability: 1 of 5. Not a genre I like, but this wasn’t even a well done example. Bad voice acting, poorly thought plot and a bad print to boot. Not a lot to like here.
Missing the Riffs: 3 of 5. I know this is a ‘raw nerve’ episode for many MSTies, with the Nummy Muffin Coocol Butter bits, so I knock it down a bit for that. I suppose a big Kirk Morris fan would have to watch this without the SOL, but I don’t think anyone else should.