"First of all, let's not kid ourselves--"Hercules Against the Moon Men " ( HAMM ) and the "Witch's Curse" ( WC )are pretty bad movies. However, for people like me who remember those dubbed, Italian "spear and sandal" epics from the early 60s, these films still provide good fun. If you are expecting big-budget production values, plots that make sense and great special effects--stay away !
HAMM gives us "Alan Steel" as Hercules--he certainly has the physique but, for me, Steve Reeves was, and always will be, the best Hercules. Reeves was always knocked for his acting--well, Steel makes Reeves look like Olivier ! Basically Herc has to overcome one obstacle after another to battle forces from the Moon ( don't expect too much here ) and the evil queen who is under their control. Probably the highlight is when our hero is captured, and placed between two slabs of wood with huge knives pointing toward him--as those nasty points get closer, Steel gets to flex his muscles all over the place. This is a classic moment for Hercules' fans. Actually, I found the finale of the film very quick and disappointing. Overall, if you like a healthy serving of cheese and muscle, HAMM delivers.
As another reviewer has pointed out, an error occurred in the transfer of HAMM--figures seem abnormally stretched--if a corrected version is released will my friends at Amazon send a replacement ( hint--hint )? Added note, dated 15 July 2006--I guess the answer to my last question is a resounding "NO" !
WC is even more outlandish--it is 17th century Scotland--everyone is heavily clothed ( Scotland can be chilly ! )--and here comes muscle-bound Kirk Morris running around in briefs. This is one of many smiles you will get from this "so bad it's good" movie. Again, in his search through the underworld for an evil witch, our hero--Maciste--must use all of his strength to defeat various phony-looking monsters, and avoid one scrape after another. This is a very bizarre movie, but I found that I had to keep watching it.
The transfer of WC is not great--but it is not poor enough to spoil your fun.
Overall, a fascinating double bill--what's that expression--" they don't make them like that anymore " !"
So bad it can be great
D. C. Cannon | Rockville, MD USA | 11/09/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you love bad films - I mean really bad films - this double feature is incredible. The gladiator cycle of the 1950's and 1960's that started with Steve Reeve's very decent Hercules was running out of ideas and was becoming increasingly far fetched in plots. In Hercules versus the Moon Men, we enter science fiction territory as Herc battles silly masked aliens, cardboard rock monsters, and an ape creature with a serious lower jaw problem (how does he eat?). There's also a dust storm that lasts forever. In Witch's Curse we are in Mario Bava's Black Sabbath territory as our hero Maciste is in 17th century Scotland (without much clothes, where people have no Scottish accents) and literally goes to hell to save an innocent woman accused of witchcraft (the first thing he meets is a lion - how does he eat?). Logic and consistency are never allowed to stand in the way of advancing the plot. If you demand things in movies like believability or halfway decent acting, these are not for you. Otherwise, enjoy. The DVD is loaded with tons of tongue in cheek extras but no commentary - you get to supply that on your own. This has "MST3K fodder" written all over it."
Somewhat lacking --
Greg Goodsell | Bakersfield, CA United States | 11/12/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The main feature, "Hercules Against the Moon Men" to my eyes looks very compressed. The figures are stretched out as if they spent time on a Medieval torture rack. The images call to mind old Cinemascope movies mooshed together to be shown on fullscreen TV. Sort of hard to watch. Nice, bright, colorful pictures, though. The back-up feature "The Witch's Curse" is so-so. Many of these things are bought on the basis of the extras. HOWEVER: Many of the "coming attractions" trailers for the peplum movies are in black and white."
Mark | AL | 11/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I, like many, have seen this film more times than I would openly admit and, I must say that this is the BEST EVER version of Hercules against the Moon Men I've seen. I am referring to the picture quality. It is very sharp. I did not notice the "compressed aspect" as has been mentioned in other reviews here. The Witch's Curse does not look as clean unfortunately but, it also is the best version I've seen -with respect to picture quality. There are some nice extras and I am very happy with the overall item."
Hercules, Hero of Song and Story!
Carl Perez | Ridgecrest, CA | 11/15/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Well, the only thing wrong with my review title is the fact that this isn't really a Hercules movie. In actuality, the hero of this widescreen testosterone fest is a fella by the name of Maciste, a musclebound do-gooder who's cinematic exploits date back to the silent era. When this film was brought over to The States, it was decided that Hercules would be a far more commercial name to exploit, so through the magic of dubbing, Maciste was turned into the son of Zeus. And thus, Hercules Against the Moon Men was born.
To make matters even more confusing, the star of the film, Alan Steel, isn't really Alan Steel, he's Sergio Ciani, a former stand-in for Steve Reeves who eventually started getting lead roles in Italian sword and sandal flicks throughout the 1960's. He looks to be having a grand old time throughout the movie, and his enthusiasm becomes quite infectious. A good thing, too, as the remainder of the film is a bit of a bore.
Hercules/ Maciste is called into action to free the village of Samar from a seven foot tall moon man who now lives in "The Mountain of Death." With the aid of the wicked, yet nefarious Queen Samara, the moon man is sacrificing villagers by the ox drawn cartload. Along the way, Herc/Mac must battle a snaggle toothed ape monster, face the tortures of Queen Samara, and battle an army of giant moon rock monsters.
Unfortunately, it all sounds more fun than it actually is. The moon man and monster elements are kept to a minimum and it's pretty much the same old toga heroics, otherwise. There's also a sandstorm sequence near the end that just goes on and on and on.
Something Weird's presentation is gorgeous, however. Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen, the picture is nice and sharp and colorful. The sound quality is also very nice, with some surprising stereo separations that even my old TV monitor was able to pick up on. This one puts all other DVD releases of the same title to shame.
If that weren't enough, Something Weird has filled the disc to maximum density with almost 2 1/2 hours of extras. There's a second Maciste movie, The Witch's Curse, which is full screen and kinda blurry (it also has the same film score from Herc and the Moon Men), a ton of trailers, and two more condensed features, The Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules (which features the same ape monster from our main feature) and Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules. AND there's a couple of Easter Eggs, too.
It's a shame that Something Weird found it necessary to include an annoying "SW" logo during most of the extras. Fortunately, the two main features are logo free."