Friday, November 27, 2009


Probably the most important female action star of the late 70's and through the 80's
SYBIL was the Evil Queen in HERCULES with Lou Ferrigno as well as many other exploitation films involving girls in prison and female warriors and gladiators. Her figure ripples with both the sexy curves of a fetching seductress and the impressive physique you'd expect a Warrior queen to have.

Mythological movies

Ah, yes! Those were the days! Disregard the dubbed-in dialogue and hokey plot lines. The orginal 1957 "Hercules" is a treasure of fantasy and fun. To those Americans who possess a sense of the past (what used to be known fondly as "nostalgia" prior to the MTV generation and its contemptuous stance toward anything that occurred prior to the maturation of Jennifer Lopez's big, fat posterior), Johnny Weismuller was Tarzen. Bela Lugosi was Dracula. Clayton Moore was the Lone Ranger. And Steve Reeves was Hercules.

Long before Arnold there was Steve Reeves, the prototype body builder who in the 1940s and 50s surpassed what Charles Atlas initiated a generation earlier. A scrawny, unathletic kid who was teased unmercifully, Reeves decided to do something about his predicament. He made body building and fitness a way of life. Between 1945 and 1950, Reeves won every body building competition and award in the universe, and he did so without the use of steroids or any other drugs. It didn't take long for Hollywood to come calling. After being considered and then turned down for the role of Samson (for being "too muscular") in the 1949 MGM production of "Samson and Delilah" opposite Heddy Lamarr, Reeves spent a few years playing mostly forgetable parts in a number of films before achieving celluloid stardom in his adopted home, Italy. In 1957 Reeves portrayed the legendary Greek hero Hercules in the film of the same name, and repeated the role in its sequel, "Hercules Unchained," two years later. Reeves was extraordinarily handsome with black wavy hair and piercing blue eyes. With his beard and spectacular physique, Reeves looked exactly like the image of the Greek demigod as it had been depicted for thousands of years. So ingrained became his image in the minds of movie fans, that the names "Steve Reeves" and "Hercules" became synonomous.

For a time in the late 1950s and early 1960s he was the highest-paid movie star in the world. To kids growing up in an innocent age of malt shops, high school dances, science-fiction comics, and "Father Knows Best," Reeves was the epitome of wholesome manliness. He became the idol and inspiration for a whole new generation of weightlifters and body builders, including Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbo, Reg Park, and old Arnold himself. He enchanted young and old alike as Hercules and as a number of other legendary Greco-Roman characters. In the late 1960s while still fit as a fiddle, very popular, and only in his early 40s, Reeves was asked by Sergio Leonne to star in a series of Spaghetti Westerns. But Reeves decided to leave the acting business. His place was taken by Clint Eastwood, and the rest is history (there's that anachronistic word again). Reeves continued living in Italy where he could be spotted daily "power-walking" (rapidly walking while carrying light weights in his arms) around all the famous sites in Rome. By the 1990s he and his wife returned to America where they raised horses and lived quietly on a beautiful ranch in Southern California. Reeves still looked great into his seventies and remained a steadfast advocate of drug-free athletics. Which is why it was so shocking to hear of his sudden death from cancer in 2000.

Supposedly, Reeves visited his physician and was diagnosed with an accutely malignant form of cancer. In two weeks, he was dead. Upon hearing the news, I couldn't accept the fact of his passing. "Steve Reeves dead? Can't be." He always seemed so invincible. How time marches on. But the image of Reeves as the prototype celluloid demigod will endure. In the hearts and memories of many a young boy in the 1950s and 60s, there was no more popular person in the world than Steve Reeves. In many ways, Reeves may well have been the last great role model of an America that used to be. Malt shops are gone. Early sci-fi classic films with thoughtful plots like Howard Hawks' "The Thing From Another World" and Robert Wise's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" are now considered archaic by a generation whose attention span is measureable in nanoseconds. High school dances long ago devolved into loud, coarse, uncivil environments known as "clubs." There are no TV shows even remotely resembling the quaint idealism of "Father Knows Best." Yet certain images from yesteryear remain transfixed eternally in the minds of those still thoughtful enough to remember. Steve Reeves will always be the one and only "Hercules."

Reg Park

Fantoma's DVD release of Mario Bava's Hercules in the Center of the Earth ought to elevate his stature in the film world, if not as a "serious" movie director, then certainly as one of the cinema's most talented and artistic lighting cameramen/cinematographers. The story is fairly generic muscleman stuff and the acting is competent if unexceptional (although three-time Mr. Universe Reg Park definitely has a believable physical presence as Hercules); what really sets this movie apart from virtually any other peplum flick are Bava's neon-hued Technicolor visuals, which at times border on the hallucinatory. Throughout most of the movie he tosses off shot after stunning shot, many only a few seconds long, nearly every one impeccably lit, artfully composed, and accented with vibrant color.

Bava's interweaving of light, shadow, color, and sometimes literal "smoke and mirrors" to define space, mood, and even character is consistently impressive, even more so after reading the liner notes describing how little he had to work with. Cool sequences and striking set-pieces abound, including Deianira rising from her sarcophagus and floating across the room (like Lon Chaney in Son of Dracula); Hercules's eerie visits with the sibyl; the psychedelic ocean vistas on the voyage to the Hesperides; Lyco (Christopher Lee) reflected in a pool of his victim's blood; the flying ghouls rising from their slimy crypts (which must have given nightmares to the kiddie matinee crowd in 1964); and the climactic showdown between Hercules and Lyco, shot in an atmospheric Roman grotto. There's almost too much to appreciate in a single viewing. While I'm not normally a huge fan of sword-and-sandal flicks (though I did watch lots of them on Saturday afternoons as a kid), and I could've done without the 'comedy relief' character, I still have to strongly recommend this movie not only to fans of Bava's other movies (particularly Planet of the Vampires), but also anyone who simply appreciates breathtakingly beautiful color cinematography.

Fantoma's DVD is transferred in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and anamorphically enhanced, from a virtually pristine Technicolor print of the original Italian-language dub. There is only the lightest of speckling evident; otherwise it's crisp and clean, with lush, richly-saturated color, and excellent contrast and detail. Optional English subtitles are included, as well as the (continental) English-dubbed soundtrack. Unless you're extremely subtitle-phobic, I recommend the Italian-language soundtrack with the subtitles. The English dubbing gives the film a campier, less serious tone and often renders the dialogue much more prosaically than the subtitles (example: Hercules's final words to Deianira in the subtitled version, "Man's love is passionate, but often inconsistent. Ours will last forever"; in the English dub, "As long as Theseus steals other men's girls, I have nothing to worry about.") Unfortunately we don't get to hear Christopher Lee's actual voice in either version. The DVD also includes excellent Tim Lucas liner notes; a gallery of approximately 45 color and B&W stills, posters, and ad mats; and a comparatively rough-looking trailer, matted to about 1.66:1 and suffering from medium to heavy scratching and lining, poor color, and merely acceptable sharpness and detail. The film is broken into 16 chapter stops and the Dolby 2.0 mono sound is full and clear. The definitive edition of an unmercifully neglected film.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009



I don't have much to say. Look at these cool Toys and statues. I ahd the old Remco Herc doll. But that Steve Reeves action figure custom is awesome. But just look at those cool statues.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009



I did not know what direction to go with this post. Where should I start? Weellll...BOB LAYTON is probably most responsible for giving HERC a popularity he did not enjoy in the 80's. While looking for images to show a gallery of Bobs Herc mini covers I found a lot of other cool stuff. Cover reproductions and b/w unused art and commisions. I found this all on his web site. Google him. I liked HERC long before BOB came out with these while working at MARVEL but when they did come out...well it was AWESOME! So take a peekie boo at some of the coolest stuff you're ever gonna set your eyes on. Ya gotta love Bob. See his cover for the HERCULES Marvel graphic novel where HERC battles his son and the cover of HERCULES, THE END.
I don't know what to have to see it. So let me shut up so you can look at BOB LAYTON's cool HERCULES art!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

HERCULES , Moe , Larry and Joe?


In the late 50s when Joseph E. Levine brought over HERCULES (starring Steeve Reeves) from Italy, muscleman pictures were a hot commodity, and epic tales of these larger-than-life heroes were pounded out one after the other. At the same time, the decades-old Three Stooges comedy team was enjoying a successful comeback in a series of full-length features from Columbia (most of them dealing with fantastic subject matter) to usher in the kiddy matinee crowd. Situating the bumbling Stooges against a feisty Hercules was a grand idea, even if most sword and sandal pictures were shot in Scope and vivid color (the producers do have a laugh about here, where the opening credits read, “In Glorious Black and White”).

In THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES, the boys (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Joe De Rita) are working in a drug store, right next door to the residence of nerdy, cowardly inventor Schuyler (Quinn K. Redeker, also in Jack Hill’s SPIDER BABY). Schuyler has built a time machine, but his blueprints are muddled by the mean Mr. Dimsal (George N. Neise, also one of the “Frankenstein” aliens in THE THREE STOOGES IN ORBIT), the owner of the drug store who has sights on Schuyler’s girlfriend, the lovely Diane (Vicki Trickett). Being the nice guys that they are, the Stooges try and help spruce up the time machine, yet they along with Schuyler and Diane wind up being transported back to the days of ancient Greece. Landing their wacky aircraft in the center of a battle, they are at first treated as heroes, sent from the gods, by General Odius (Neise), who is aided by the mighty Hercules (Samson Burke). But when the Stooges and their companions realize they’re on the wrong side and release Ulysses from evil Odius’ dungeon, they are sent to the galleys where Schuyler builds his muscles up to Herculoid proportions. When they finally escape, Schuyler is promoted as "Hercules" in a live thrill show to raise enough traveling money to rescue Diane from Odius’ wrath.

Okay, if you can get past Joe Rita as the third Stooge, and if you can past the fact that these guys are not in their prime (Moe was around 65 at the time), then THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES is the perfect way to waste 90 minutes, and you may get a few chuckles out of it. The Stooges still work fine as a comedy team, and even though they’ve slowed down a bit and the usual formula (in all their 60s features) of young lovers as sidekick support is present, the movie is still loaded with enough sight gags and routines (some borrowed from their classic shorts) that make it worthwhile in the capable hands of veteran Stooge director Edward Bernds. As a Hercules who is converted from thug to good guy, Samson Burke is a decent figure, but he’s no actor. One of the most memorable bits in the film concerns a giant Siamese Cyclops monster (played by twins Marlin and Mike McKeever) who Curly Joe sedates with his everlasting supply of “calm down” pills. In smaller roles are the man most associated with the Stooges, Emil Sitka, as an old shepherd; Hal Smith (“The Andy Griffith Show”) as the jovial King Theseus Of Rhodes and; Gene Roth (who was in such Stooges shorts as DUNKED IN THE DEEP and HOT STUFF) as a soldier. Reportedly Larry Fine’s favorite of the Stooges’ features, the film’s success led to Columbia making a three-picture deal with them, and THE THREE STOOGES IN ORBIT, THE THREE STOOGES GO AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAZE and THE OUTLAWS IS COMING followed.

This is the fifth Stooges feature film that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released on DVD (only their first Columbia feature, HAVE ROCKET WILL TRAVEL, remains unreleased on the format), and the quality is superb. For the first time on home video, MEET HERCULES is shown in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and has been anamorphically enhanced. The black and white source material is in excellent shape, with sharp detail, deep blacks and fine contrast, with no evident dirt or other blemishes to be found. The mono audio track is sufficient and serves the films well. Optional English subtitles are also provided. The only extra is a promo trailer for Sony’s two colorized Stooges shorts DVD collections. (George R. Reis)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"HERACLEIDAE" the children of HERCULES

Hollywood legends Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay are the parents of beautiful and classy Mariska Hargitay -
Every HERCULES film fan knows that both Jayne and Mickey starred together in the film the " LOVES OF HERCULES " the film did have an alternate title when released in Italy. But that's irrelevant to this post....a complete list of HERCULES films can be found in 2 places on the web - Either place has a list of the films and their alternate titles.
Mariska is the co-star of the very popular television police drama LAW and ORDER SVU. She also had a part in the very forgettable teen comedy JOCKS.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

HERCULES art by Earl Norem

Norem is one of my favorite artists he has painted as many CONAN covers as Joe Jusko and continued his trade with a series of books about HE-MAN and the masters of the universe he painted the covers for. Thios painting depicts TV'S Kevin Sorbo as HERC teamed with XENA - Lucy Lawless fighting a Giant dude. I love Norem.

Friday, November 6, 2009

HERCULES movie posters

Many times I find my pics to copy and paste from sources on the net. One good place for pics or posters or lobby cards is Movie posters .com tay've got a vast array of prints and originals.
You can buy and have them send you a print or poster or you can have it custom framed. I myself have few ;obby cards from Sinbad and Tarzan films as well as signed aotographed 8 x 10's . I consider it a great source for any collector.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

HERCULES recall : (

Luckily for me I got a hold of one of these guys before poor sales forced toy stores to yank them off the shelves. Which is sad kinda really. Herc? RECALLED? ZOUNDS! Why if I had it my way I would bestow upon all of them the gift! Here's a couple of shots from a toy review website someplace on the web. I saw the best pics that were not too silly ( As if a grown man blogging about HERCULES and comics and action figures were not silly enough )

Sunday, November 1, 2009

HERCULES in the 50's

There were many different Superman stories that involved mythological strongmen. Hercules is probably the main guy used in most of those stories. Superman fought Goliath , Atlas , Samson and HERCULES. I have to say...DC comics used to know how to make comic books fun...these days every story is dragged out and overly long and all the fun is dragged right out of it.