Film (1964; vt Hercules against the Moon Men US; Maciste contre les hommes de pierre France). Nike Cinematografica/Comptoir Français de Productions Cinématographiques. Directed by Giacomo Gentilomo. Written by Arpad DeRiso and Nino Scolaro; story by DeRiso, Scolaro, Gentilomo, and Angelo Sangermano. Cast includes Sergio Ciani (billed as "Alan Steel"), Jany Clair, Delia d'Alberti, Jean-Pierre Honoré and Anna Maria Polani. 90 minutes. Colour.
In the ancient kingdom of Samar, a colony of displaced selenites in a local mountain seek to revive their queen and exterminate humanity in a cosmic catastrophe abetted by the local vamp-queen Samara (Clair), until thwarted by iterant strongman hero Maciste (Ciani).
One of the stranger products of the Italian peplum cycle of 1958-1965, this oddity brought lunar Aliens into an otherwise by-numbers sword-and-sandal yarn of muscleman stunts, evil sorceresses, sacrificial virgins, and anti-tyrannical uprising, as ancient sorcery meets Pulp sf in a scheme literally to draw down the Moon, culminating in a creaky showdown between Maciste and a squadron of rock people. Maciste was a Hercules-like character created by Gabriele D'Annunzio in Patrone's Roman epic Cabiria (1914), and subsequently the star of two prolific film cycles of his own, first in the silent era and again in the pepla of the sixties; the character was routinely renamed Hercules for international release, and to add to the confusion Ciani played Hercules later the same year in a team-up with Maciste, Samson, and fellow strongman hero Ursus, the last an escapee himself from Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis (1896). Within a year, the genre was extinct. [NL]
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