Friday, October 29, 2021

Image of the week!

Hercules (Alan Steel) is surrounded by the Moon Men in HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN (1964)

This concludes Halloween week. Happy Halloween!

By the Gods!

The creepy hand in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) 

It's funny that one of the best horror scenes ever put on screen is not even from a horror movie. The creepy green hand in the sky is amazingly effective and very Halloween. The plague of the First Born is set into motion and God's hand (?) slowly takes shape in the sky. Only by painting lamb's blood over a doorway can stop the creepy hand from killing any first borns inside a house. DeMille at his best. 

Musings! (Oct 29)

Searching far and wide for all things PEPLUM! Luciano Marin and Steve Reeves in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959)


The PEPLUM genre is amazing in that it can adapt itself or be adapted in many different genres and stories. One of the things which surprised me about PEPLUM movies was the prevalence of horror themed stories or imagery. In HERCULES (1958), Iole's flashback of the murder works quite effectively as a short horror movie. 

PEPLUM movies have monsters, witches, creatures, morbid deaths, disasters, etc. And also evil villains. Lotsa evil villains. 

In today's By the Gods! posts, I mention how THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) has one of the best horror scenes ever made. Since I love horror movies and the two genres are oddly suited with each other, it works out perfectly for me.

Reg Park and Mireille Granelli in HERCULES - PRISONER OF EVIL (1964)


This German program says SAMSON when in fact it's FURY OF HERCULES (1962). Brad Harris made two movies (Twin Productions) with one being SAMSON (1961) and FURY OF HERCULES. But somehow the German version switched identities and the Samson movie became Hercules and the Hercules became Samson. Very confusing. There has to be a reason behind this bizarre switch.


Not many recent purchases. The only thing I bought was the German Blu-ray of SWORD OF THE CONQUEROR (1961) starring Jack Palance. Very good release. The BR includes the English track. I'm happy with this purchase. More below on this title.



So, I watched this movie again, for the hundredth time, and it's really growing on me. It has many flaws, many which could be fixed with some tighter editing, but overall the movie rocks, certainly with the recent new HD copy of it. The re-used scenes still looked like second generation, even in a HD transfer, but the new scenes look great. I'll have more on this HD version soon.

Raf Baldassarre and Jack Palance in SWORD OF THE CONQUEROR


The new Blu-ray is great. The movie is solid entertainment with solid direction by Carlo Campogalliani but as I've said before, the movie, as good as it is, doesn't have many stand-out scenes in it. It's focused more on the drama than action scenes, even though there is plenty of action in it.


PEPLUM star Virna Lisi is mostly known as a blonde but she looked amazing as a brunette as well. Which Virna do you prefer? I like brunette but Virna looks ethereal as a blonde.


The statue from THE PRODIGAL (1955) was re-used in TARZAN THE APE MAN (1959) starring Cesare Danova and Joanna Barnes.


Coming soon:

Joan Crawford as Cleopatra?

Thursday, October 28, 2021

By the Gods!

An unconscious Goliath (Gordon Scott) is laid down by faceless soldiers/zombies in GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES (1961)

Not only a fun PEPLUM movie by itself but a pretty cool horror movie as well, perfect for Halloween. The soldiers/zombies are controlled by Kobrak, who lives on human blood. This movie was set to be released on Blu-ray but due to legal reasons, the release was canceled.


US lobby cards of HERCULES AGAINST ROME (1964) starring Alan Steel and Wandisa Guida. Action packed set with a good number of cards with Steel, the main attraction of this fun movie. I like it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Clip of the week: WAR OF THE ZOMBIES

Creepy scene from WAR OF THE ZOMBIES (1964) starring John Drew Barrymore and Ettore Manni. Also known as ROME AGAINST ROME.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021


A scene from HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961) starring Reg Park as Hercules, and Christopher Lee as Lico, sitting on his throne.

These scenes used multiple special effects techniques to achieve the big set look. The production was apparently limited to a few columns and they had to be superimposed in a composite to give the impression that there were more than the few they had. The film was directed by Mario Bava, who excelled in visual effects and this entire striking scene is almost all special effects.


For Halloween week, it's HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961) starring Reg Park, Christopher Lee, Leonora Ruffo and a host of Italian actors. Pretty straight forward translation/variations. Nothing too wild. A good selection compared to most PEPLUM movies. Only the Spanish title is missing from the major languages. The CENTER OF THE WORLD title is not very Halloween-like. The French, German, and US version make it known the story will deal with spooky stuff.

Original Italian title, which translates as HERCULES IN THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. No mention of vampires or spooks.

The US version. Distributors in the US sold its horror aspects up front.

The English title for the UK. A literal translation of the Italian one.

The German titles emphasizes the vampires. It translates as VAMPIRES AGAINST HERCULES.

The French version also refers to vampires. Unlike the German title, the French is HERCULES AGAINST THE VAMPIRES.

Reg Park and Leonora Ruffo

Monday, October 25, 2021

By the Gods!

Medea (Alessandra Panaro) is confronted by Moloch (Pietro Marascalchi) in HERCULES AGAINST MOLOCH (1963)

This being Halloween week, I'll profile the many PEPLUM Horror movies, with this one having the living embodiment of Moloch, perfectly played by Pietro Marascalchi. Moloch is portrayed as pure evil, lusting for the blood of beautiful victims. The horror elements are pretty good and atmospheric. This screenshot was taken from a recent HD copy of the movie. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of HERCULES THE AVENGER (1965) 

Fantastic poster. Captures the movie's spirit.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Image of the week!

It takes hundreds of slaves to move this big infernal contraption. Maciste (Mark Forest) is able to move it all by himself in MACISTE - THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD (1961; aka Maciste vs the Mole Men)

At the movies...

 THE CONQUEROR (1956)  playing at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco

Thursday, October 21, 2021

By the Gods!

Balkis, Queen of Sheba (Leonora Ruffo) eyes Prince Rehoboam of Jerusalem (Gino Leurini) in THE QUEEN OF SHEBA (1952)

Directed by Pietro Francisci, director of HERCULES (1958), this movie is as fun and colourful as the more famous one. It's like the template to the Steve Reeves movie, including identical locations. I'm a big fan of this movie. And there's a clip of it in HD from a TV broadcast in Italy. The movie was always available in decent copies so the HD version looks great but it's not as big a revelation as other titles. The original Italian version is much longer than the US one, with many scenes cut. I'll have to make an article on this.


A behind the scenes photo of Paul Telfer, as Hercules, on the set of HERCULES TV mini series (2005). A medieval Hercules...

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


Pietro Torrisi vs Roger Browne in SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

HD Alert!

Gia Sandri and Giovanni Cianfriglia, as Anteus pretending to be Hercules, in HERCULES THE AVENGER (1965)

As I reported last week, in Musings! and at BY THE GODS!, there's a new batch of PEPLUM titles available in HD. For now, most of the videos I've seen are short clips, not the full movies. Anyway, one title in particular, HERCULES THE AVENGER, stood out from the pack. The movie now looks amazing. No more second or third generation print. Clear image with beautiful colours. Suddenly, this movie is catapulted to the top of the genre. I watched it many times but I was always dismayed by the look of it. No more. It's a revelation. I can't wait to see the entire movie, including the classic fight between Reg Park and Giovanni Cianfriglia.

Hercules (Reg Park) finds his son (Luigi Barbini) in HERCULES THE AVENGER.

Vintage article

Old articles with two PEPLUM titles, GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959) and THE VIKINGS (1958). The caption for THE VIKINGS is pretty straight-forward but the one for GOLIATH is odd: no mention of the title or stars. And it spoils the whole movie by revealing the ending. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

By the Gods!

Kevin Sorbo, Sean Maguire and Carmen Electra in MEET THE SPARTANS (2008)

Do you think this movie has done irreparable damage to the 300 (2006) look and style? This comedy, like so many other comedies spoofing the PEPLUM genre, is hit or miss, with a lot of emphasis on miss. Anyway, Carmen Electra has a perfect name for a PEPLUM star. And Kevin Sorbo, who starred in the HERCULES TV series of the 1990s, finally wears a costume he should have worn as Hercules but was stuck with anachronistic pants, which always baffled me
. The movie is ranked #25 at the bottom at IMDb

PEPLUM Movie Posters

Original Italian poster of SAMSON AND THE SLAVE QUEEN (1963)

Great poster. Excellent likeness of Alan Steel, Moira Orfei and Massimo Serato.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Image of the week!

The burning of Rome in QUO VADIS (1951), with Lygia (Deborah Kerr) and Ursus (Buddy Baer) right in the middle of it.

Musings! (10-15)

Searching far and wide for all things PEPLUM! Luciano Marin and Steve Reeves in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959)


As I mentioned in yesterday's post, along with GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS, there is a new batch of titles in HD. I've seen the clips and some of them are spectacular.

I already posted about HERCULES THE AVENGER at BY THE GODS!

Aside from those two titles, there's:


Some of the titles, like ATTACK OF THE MOORS, look like up-conversions but they still look good.

There are more titles but this list has the major titles. All in Italian. I already have CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER and THE SON OF SPARTACUS. They are the same copies I have in my collection. 

Speaking of THE SON OF SPARTACUS, another source, my friend in Europe, found a Fan Dub made with the HD copy of that movie. The Fan Dub is in English. I'll try to get a hold of that one.

And lastly, there's a 720p version of HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN out there, in English. I tried to download it but I could only get 80% of the movie. It looks nothing like the recent the Film Detective Blu-ray disaster.

I'll highlight more of these titles next week.


This German VHS cover, front and back, takes the cake in regards to confusion. It's for SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS (1965) but the credits doesn't list the major stars, just the supporting stars, and on the back cover there are photos of other PEPLUM movie, including one with Dan Vadis, presumably from COLOSSUS OF THE ARENA (with stuntman in place of Mark Forest). And the artwork...again, it has nothing to do with the movie even though there are gladiators in it.


Small batch of new stuff I got recently.


French DVD of THEMAGNIFICENT GLADIATOR and German DVD pack with two movies, including SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS and THE REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964) the Mickey Hargitay movie. I already reviewed this pack at BY THE GODS!


This hefty book written by 4 writers is not exactly what it looks like...


GIGANTI BUONI by Michele Giordano. This Italian softcover book looks like a fun read. The complete opposite of 90% of books on PEPLUM movies. This should be translated into English.


For years, I mentioned how I would like to create a Youtube channel with short clips of PEPLUM movies, Just short clips. Under 30 seconds. In a way to avoid copyright issues since short clips are permissible. Well, Youtube just created Youtube Shorts, in direct competition to the hugely successful TikTok app. I uploaded a short clip via the YT app on my phone. You can check it out. It's a start. I doubt I'll spend too much time doing this since Youtube is pretty much dead these days.


No one identified the movie from MUSINGS! (10-01). It was from HEAD OF A TYRANT (1959).


Coming soon:

Joan Crawford as Cleopatra?

Thursday, October 14, 2021

By the Gods!

Chelo Alonso and Steve Reeves in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959) 

Great news! This is a screenshot of the movie in HD. Finally! Anyway, this is such good news. The bad news: it's only a clip. The place where I found it also has dozens of other PEPLUM titles in HD. Most of them are also short clips but some are complete movies. It's an Italian source. Now I have to figure out where this fellow got all of these titles in HD. I'll write more on this next week and in upcoming weeks. 


Original lobby cards set of HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961) starring Reg Park and Fay Spain. Excellent set in that it showcases many of the best scenes in the movie. The only problem: the cheap printing and colours.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Clip of the week: SIGN OF THE CROSS

Fredric March and Elissa Landi in THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932)

Tuesday, October 12, 2021


Scenes from ALEXANDER THE GREAT (1956)

This movie has several matte painting scenes so this post is part 1. Today, I cover the matte paintings during a 'travelogue' scene in which the narrator describes Alexander's conquests with maps superimposed over the matte work of different locations. These scenes are frustrating mainly due to the fact that we don't have a clear view off the beautiful matte paintings. Bob Cuff is credited as the matte artist for this movie (according to IMDb). Again, these matte paintings had to be done with CinemaScope format in mind.

Then & Now: Rosalba Neri

Rosalba in KINDAR THE INVULNERABLE (1965) ; a recent photo of the actress

Monday, October 11, 2021

By the Gods!

King Herod (G. Raymond Nye) and Salome (Theda Bara) in SALOME (1918) 

New footage of this lost film has been found in Spain. It's not the whole movie but it's better than nothing. Quite amazing. This production looks sumptuous, with great costumes and sets. Hopefully the entire movie will resurface one day.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

US poster (?) of SALOME (1918)

Like so many posters of the the silent era, the artwork is fascinating.