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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules (1961)



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In this sword-and-sandal flick, Maciste (called the son of Hercules in the English-language dub) is captured by mole men that live underground, lest the rays of the sun destroy them. They emerge at night to capture slaves to turn their giant wheel around, which somehow powers their whole hideout and makes diamonds on the side. There are lots of bulging muscles, beautiful women, and scraggly villains, plus an ape with noticeably human eyes behind the mask.

I can't quite figure these movies out. They're terrible by any objective standard, and many of them unendurable. But once in a while there are moments that work, despite the artificiality that surrounds them. Sometimes they pull off the spectacle, as this one does when Maciste is straining against the wheel, and manage to draw out some tension. In this episode, those moments are a bit too far apart to make for a satisfying film, but they are there, and enthusiasts of the genre will be pleased to find this a cut above the average.

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