It may look like Hercules - but this ain't Hercules
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 12/03/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"What do Greek mythology and 17th-century Scotland have in common? Absolutely nothing - yet the two are paired together in The Witch's Curse. It all starts with Martha Gunt, a true crag of a witch burned to death at ye olde stake at the start of the film. She claims the high and mighty judge is just getting back at her for her refusal to accept any of the woo the guy was pitching to her back when she was young and pretty (and, by the look of her, that must have been about 300 years ago). Anyway, she puts a curse on the whole town. A century later, the young women of the village keep going mad and trying to hang themselves off the dead, haunted hanging tree (which bursts forth with blooms whenever a young wench bites the dust). Then who should come to town but Martha Gunt - on her honeymoon, no less. This Martha is just an ancestor of the old witch, but that doesn't stop the villagers, ever ready to grab pitchforks and torches, for trying to put her to death for witchcraft.
Then, from out of nowhere, comes Maciste (Kirk Morris). Remember, this is 17th century Scotland, but Maciste comes strolling up with nothing but a loincloth between his well-oiled muscular body and God. After getting the innocent girl what amounts to a temporary stay, he pushes over the haunted tree, finds a gateway to hell underneath, and goes down to convince the old witch to release her curse. Here's what you need to know about Maciste - sure, he's a big strong man, but this guy couldn't pick up a spoon without heaving and straining so badly you'll find yourself reaching for the phone to call the paramedics. And that's all he does - pick up rocks and trees, rip chains apart, and - on one occasion - power-jump.
It's hard not to call this guy Hercules. After all, he helps out such Greek mythological characters as Prometheus and that boulder guy while he's in hell, glistens and bulges and dresses like Steve Reeves, and - in some releases of the film - is referred to as Hercules. Doing a little quick research, I was amazed to discover that this Maciste guy is actually a legendary Italian movie character (did I mention the film was made in Italy?) featured in dozens of films (going all the way back to 1914). I have to assume some of those other films were better than this one. Apparently, the guy just shows up anywhere and everywhere, free of any restraint an actual back story would entail, and helps battle evil. Speaking of 1914, the color of this film is so degraded that it oftentimes looks like one of those early sepia-tone movies that preceded the talkies."
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 09/17/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"THE WITCH'S CURSE is one of the worst sword and sandal epics to grace our screens. The DVD transfer is horrible; the colors are washed out and the sound atrocious. But even if it had the crystal clarity of a better transfer, the material is so bad, it wouldnt help. Kirk Morris, one of those hunky 60s bodybuilders, plays Maciste, a muscleman who appears out of nowhere and goes to hell literally to put and end to a witch's curse. The movie takes place in 16th century Scotland, so what is this Roman gladiator even doing there? Morris has little dialogue, and he spends most of his time showing off his muscles by lifting trees, moving rocks and ditto ditto. It isn't even campy enough to be funny. What a waste of time and effort."