Well, with a title like that, how can
anyone resist? Unless he has taste or intelligence or something better to
do...none of which applies here. So let's go!
Governor Film presents Alan Steel in Hercules Against the Moon Men, with Jany Clair, and a lot of Italian names. What do you want to bet Alan Steel and Jany Clair are also pseudonyms? We're also told that this is in “Eastmancolor” and “Chromoscope” but these titles are stark white on a grey background (it looks like rocks). I smell a troublesome transfer already.
An Italian-French co-production, this lists no one as a writer of any kind, but the director is Giacomo Gentilomo. You gotta give them credit for not using the name George Gentleman or something similarly anglicized.
As the movie proper opens, the color scheme looks simultaneously garish and washed out, as we open full on, on some desolate landscape, where a huge fireball drops to ground and explodes in a green cloud. “A fabled night, a fiery mass dropped from the sky on to Earth,” a narrator tells us, while we can see that this does appear to be the situation, “causing the mountain of Samar to erupt and burn everything around it, leaving nothing but a wasteland. Within the bowels of the mountain, a new and monstrous life was formed. From that day on, the people of Samar, in order to survive, were forced to offer their children as a sacrifice to the hungry mountain of death.” That should probably be capitalized, shouldn't it? As the narrator went on, water and rocks tumbled all around the landscape, and finally huge black clouds came up and obscured everything as the music swelled in awful majesty. (The miniature work was pretty obvious but otherwise not too bad.)
Cut to some soldier-types on horseback, leading a group of folks all chained together, through a desolate landscape. Lots of whipping and so forth, and while these might be the children to be sacrificed, and this is a necessary evil, the guards don't have to take so much pleasure in it. Geez, they're their kids too, aren't they? I mean, they wouldn't just toss stock footage in here on us. That would be just wrong.
Lots of dubbed-in lamenting as the sacrifices are led toward the Mountain of Death (got it right this time). It seems to be quite an arduous trek, but I suppose it's better than having the Mountain of Death right downtown. That would be bad for shopping and trying to get businesses to open branch offices.
Cut to an artificial-looking bit of the rock wall, which opens and reveals a blinding green light, accompanied by a musical sting. The cries of the sacrifices (who, I should tell you, are definitely not children—maybe they used up all the children) intensify, as the guards prepare to drag them as close as they dare to the green light. There's plenty of resistance as you can imagine, but the guards manage to thrust everyone toward the light. The music gets really shrill.
Having gotten all the sacrifices through the green light door, the guards all scatter and the door closes.
And in one of the quickest cuts I've ever seen, we're in some throne room where an old guy is telling the Queen that “the people can no longer endure the endless human sacrifices.” He asks her to take a stand and put a stop to this.
The Queen points out that he (Claudius) is old, old enough to remember before she was born, during her father's reign, and what happened then when a similar scheme was attempted.
He remembers that “the fate that overtook those who dared to rebel” was worse than providing lots of sacrifices, “but this has changed!” he finishes.
“Changed?” asks the Queen.
“Yes!” says Claudius excitedly, and he tells the Queen that there exists, now, a man who can overcome any danger at all.
We get our first close-up of the Queen, and she looks startled or perhaps it is an overabundance of makeup. Nice gown, though. At the news of this potential hero for her people, she asks Claudius if he thinks this guy—come on, let's just call him Hercules—can be persuaded to help out her people?
Claudius says that if this guy leads the people, then—but she interrupts by calling him to be silent, saying he'll only destroy everyone with such talk.
Claudius tells the Queen that this guy is the only hope we have (“I command you to stop!” she shouts), and he asks her to send for him.
This is a dubbed movie—duh—and unlike most dubbed films, no attempt at all has been made to match lip movements to sound. Just thought you should be forewarned, in case that was one of your hot buttons or something.
Anyway, Claudius gives the Queen Hercu—er, the guy's address (a place called Sharon), and asks that she send for him before it's too late.
“You dare to make threats!” she says, rising to her statuesque height and glaring at him. “Get out, or for you it will be too late!”
The expression on Claudius' face as he realizes the futility of his plea is great. He seems to be thinking, Oh, I guess maybe the Queen won't be reasonable about this. Hope she doesn't stay mad at me. Oooh, I’m in trouble now.
He bows and departs. Slooooowly. And some guard comes into the Queen's chamber. And he looks at the Queen, and she looks at him, and they turn toward each other, and slooooowly walk toward each other. Clop, clop, clop, clop goes the soundtrack. Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch....
“Claudius lied to you,” says the guard. “The man from Sharon is about to arrive. They must be meeting secretly.”
“What's his name?” asks the Queen, and the guard says, “Hercules.”
And gosh, before the last syllable is out of his mouth, we cut to Hercules himself, riding a white steed to the tune of a heroic brass fanfare. Geez, what is it with this film? People can take forever to walk across a room, but the cuts to other scenes will give you whiplash.
Anyway, he's riding along a mountain road near the sea, and goes into some more colorful scenery as his fanfare crescendoes all around him, but no matter, he keeps riding, now he's in the what appear to be the same desolate rocks where the sacrifices met their fate and the music struggles to keep pace with him.
Suddenly though, some uncouth types start an avalanche on him! Fortunately, he goes faster and it misses him, but the uncouth types rush out of their hiding holes and run to do him harm. He grabs a tree, uproots it, tosses it at some of the ruffians and takes out three of them. Pity that's about ten percent. However, he has a sword and begins wielding it, making short work of these attackers because, whoever heard of a seven minute movie?
Herc loses his sword, but fists are just as good in his line of work. Off to the side, some guy in a robe and a beard says, “Seize him!” and more underlings go to their thrashings trying to obey. Pretty soon, everyone but Herc lies about, thoroughly beaten up, and Herc smiles and goes to his horse and quits this den of rather-less-than-dangerous ruffians.
Cut to the Queen's chamber, where there's a sudden wind noise and the light turns greenish. She clutches at her throat and turns to face a masked figure who materializes in her room. He's kind of semi-transparent, though, so I guess this is only a transmission of some kind.
“Samara [the Queen's name], you have failed. Hercules is alive. He escaped from the trap you set for him.”
“Alive?” she says. “But how could he avoid death at the hands of my best soldiers?” Your best soldiers? Those guys? Please tell me you're joking, Queen!
“You underestimated that man,” the projection says, and as he talks, the flap of his mask below his nose shifts and vibrates. Um, this is a mask, right? If it's his actual face, it's a kind of exaggerated skull. Kind of a Bauhaus skull, if that makes sense. In fact, he kind of looks like a Paul Klee character. “Remember,” he goes on, “as long as he stays alive, he remains a threat to that destiny writ from the stars. We will not be able to leave the mountain and dominate the world, and you will not become the most powerful woman on Earth.” (He kind of talks like a Cyberman, if that means anything to you kids today.)
“I promise you he will die,” says the Queen.
“As soon as possible, Samara. Before the next full moon, you must deliver the Princess Billis to the sacrifice in order that our Queen, Selena, may return to life.”
“I will obey you,” says the Queen, “as always.”
“I can't help you any more,” says the projection (did you help previously?). “I can only remain visible briefly, and my time is up. Now you will be alone. Be careful. And remember, Billis. Billis. Billis...” and he fades away, and the lighting is all normal.
And we cut to this Billis, we know because an offscreen voice names her. And this offscreen voice runs out to embrace her, as it's apparently her boyfriend. Both are in long shot, so all we can say is that Billis has long blond hair and Boyfriend has dark hair and a kind of uniform.
“When are we going to be able to meet openly, in front of everyone?” asks Boyfriend. “I'm going to speak to your sister!”
Sister it turns out is Samara, and Billis (who looks like a Teri Garr who has let herself go into snacks pretty heavily) says for Boyfriend not to do that, as she's always found her sister to be pretty hostile.
Boyfriend notes how nobody much likes Samara (I'm going to start calling her that, rather than Queen, since the Moon people now have a Queen and so on). Billis says this isn't fair, but Boyfriend's on a roll and he says they have to destroy the monsters in the mountain but Samara is dead against that. He's all passioned up, but for this cause and not for Billis.
Billis points out that the mountain monsters destroy everyone, so Samara won't allow an attack, but Boyfriend is convinced one would work. He's not going to go off and get killed though, as he wants to marry Billis. As they bill and coo a bit, we pan over to a statue of a cat (the most selfish of all animals) with oddly hollow eyes...
...sure enough, there's Samara on the other end with a weird devil statue, listening to every word. She hears about how Billis is going to ask for consent to marry. And you can tell she's just machinating away. She closes the opening over the devil's chest, and we cut to Hercules riding through the wilderness some more. Because I guess you really just can't get enough of that. Imagine a world without Hercules riding through the wilderness on a white horse! You're right, it's too bleak and dreadful to imagine such a world. It would be as desolate as the Moon. So you can stop now.
Anyway, a maiden in a toga and a strange half-robe pops up and asks if he's Hercules, and he of course answers in the affirmative, and she says she's to take him to the man who sent for him.
He hauls her up on the horse, and lowers her hood. “As a boy you weren't very convincing,” he says. Eh?
“I'm Araga, daughter of Claudius,” she says.
“Why did your father send a girl to meet me, and a child at that?” Herc asks.
“I've no brothers and my father trusts only me,” she says, smiling, “What difference does it make? For the cause of liberty and justice I'm ready to do anything!” Well, you left out “the American way,” but I guess that's understandable.
“Even to fight?”
“That too, if it's necessary.” She turns and looks stage left. “Let's go. I'll take you in to Samara by a route that only I know.” And they ride off, and I'm thinking there are too many Samaras. May have to rethink my nomenclature here.
Cut to the city, and two guards with spears walk by the camera. Following close on are Araga and Herc. She tells him to hurry along. But she hears a noise. “It's the Queen, you must hide!”
Herc ducks behind a bit of sculpture, and Agara bows and lowers her eyes. The Queen emerges from her chamber and scowls at Agara.
“I saw you leaving the city at daybreak, Agara.”
“I'm greatly honored that my Queen should take the trouble to watch over me,” says Agara.
“If I do so, it's for your own good, my dear.” She glares a bit. “The moon's almost full. And you are young. So young. You should be more prudent.”
And the Queen strides off. Shall we try to piece that bit out? Agara is young, so she's potential sacrifice material; the moon, when full, is when the sacrifices are gathered; if Agara is caught outside at this time, she's fair game. What's my score?
Who cares? Agara tells Herc that the Queen is gone, so he can come out now. And they both make their way to Claudius' chamber, where he's busy with some ancient scrolls.
Claudius greets Herc warmly, thanking him for coming, and Herc says, “It was my father's friendship for you that brought me here.” Which kind of sounds like I didn't want to come, Dad made me, but he's smiling and acting happy so maybe I'm just putting a bad spin on it. Herc's dad, you mythology fans will remember, was Zeus or Jupiter himself.
Note, also, that when Herc speaks he gets an echo chamber effect.
Claudius asks if anyone saw him, and Herc says no, but he does mention the attack earlier, thinking that the “ruffians” he defeated “must have mistaken me for a rich merchant, with sacks of gold.” This despite the fact that he carried NO sacks at all, gold or otherwise. I guess he might think he was set upon by nearsighted bandits...
Claudius mentions that all the roads are carefully guarded, so he doesn't see how bandits could have been around, and he asks if Herc saw the leader.
Herc says he did, and he had a big scar running down his face. Claudius now knows who it was—sounds like “Aftali.”
Herc asks who he is, and Claudius tells him that he's the “right arm” of the Queen. Herc wonders if the Queen is thus against him, and Claudius affirms this. He says that when her father was dying, the last thing he said to Claudius was, “Watch over Samara. Guide her. Council her.” He gets a look of frustration. “At the time, I thought my task would be an easy one. However, only arrogance and limitless pride animate that woman, together with unrestrained ambition. I tried to induce her to rebel against the fate that, for years, has hung over us. Every third new moon, our youth is decimated by a sacrifice that's barbaric and inhuman. The next sacrifice takes place tomorrow. Hercules, that's why I sent for you. You've always been a great fighter in the cause of justice, and you've always been the victor. Will you lead the people of Samar to liberation?”
“That's what I'm hear for, Claudius,” answers Herc.
“Thank you,” says Claudius, face full of cheer. “But you won't be alone. You will have every courageous man in the city, beginning with the young prince Terrace [Boyfriend] with you—the cousin of the Queen.”
Well, that raises several icky issues about incest, regarding Boyfriend's intended bride. At least, I think it does. No matter, a young lady bursts into Claudius' chamber. Turns out it's Agara in a new robe. “Your daughter is as courageous as she is beautiful,” says Herc.
Agara runs up and hugs Claudius. “I would have chosen a more tranquil life for her, without fear,” he says.
“Have no regrets, father,” she says. “Think of all the innocent lives we'll save if we win our fight.”
Well, we interrupt this praise-fest with Claudius mentioning that Herc shouldn't be spotted in the known corridors, so he's going to take him through the double secret tunnels. And they go through a secret panel in the wall, while Agara wanders a tad and probably thinks lusty thoughts of, well, it seems pretty obvious she and Herc are destined to be an item. She's much cuter now, now that she's shed her hood and put on a spot of makeup. Normally I don't like makeup, but here it seems called for. You go with what works, right?
Agara looks moonily after the departing Herc, and slowly, slowly moves around the table which has a prominent scroll on it. But she keeps moving slowly, keeping us up all night wondering, is she gonna grab that damn scroll, or is a guard gonna come in, or WHAT?
Instead, she looks right at us, and gasps twice—there are eyes peeking through part of the wall decoration! Turns out it's Queen, who tells her guard, “This is the moment,” and they go in, while Agara is having a hold-your-breath contest with herself.
Well, she runs to the opposite wall and pushes a hidden switch and the wall opens up, and she disappears inside. Boy, all these secret passageways—it's a wonder the Moon men can find anyone, much less demand that they be sacrificed.
Elsewhere, Claudius is leading Herc through a rocky cavern and down some steps and through more caverns, and there, behind, comes Agara, so we get to see it all again. This is so thrilling! It's like The Incredible Petrified World all over again!
This goes on for quite a while, about two minutes of screentime, before Claudius goes through a narrow passage and spears shoot out of the walls and impale him! Boy, good thing I guess that the Queen knew he always took this route, and set the trap just so! Imagine if he'd gone a different route—why, the movie would be over.
He lets on how this is painful, and Herc rushes to his aid, but a trapdoor opens up underneath him and he plunges into this little square hole. As he stands there wondering what exactly is going on, holes above him open up and pour water on him. Wow, that would be terrible if he, you know, couldn't swim and if the water wouldn't buoy him up to the top of the hole, where he could escape. But, I bet it is very uncomfortable and when he gets out, he might catch cold.
Speaking of up top, the guard releases a lever and the spears pop out of the groaning Claudius, who collapses. “Father!” shrieks Agara, and she rushes to him. Either they closed the trapdoor on Herc and I missed it or we're seeing some sloppy continuity as she runs right over where Herc should be in his bath, and doesn’t fall in with him.
Well, Claudius and Agara have a tearful farewell as he orders her to save Hercules, and take Herc to the rendezvous point. She gets about thirty seconds of screentime to realize that he's dead and isn't just fooling.
In the shower, Herc looks up at this water like, man, this is too much water! And it keeps pouring on him.
Agara runs down some steps, slowly looks around, says “Hercules!” and the camera slooooowly pans across the cave wall, slooooowly and sloooooowly, and then finally, a bottle of pimento olives is seen.
Actually it isn't of course, we never really do see what she sees, but we cut back to more footage of Herc in the shower, a treat for you ladies. The water never seems to rise above foot level, so while I'm sure he's as mad as bees at this treatment, and would like to get out, he doesn't seem to be in any peril at all.
Meanwhile, back with Agara, the camera sloooowly pans back to her, then follows her as she goes from here to there in the cave. Can you feel the sense of urgency? I didn't think so.
Well, there's only so much Agara running around and sometimes saying “Hercules!” that even the strongest man can take, so we're back to Herc in the shower, and at long last the chamber seems to be filling a bit. Just then, he finds the exit (which is downwards!), and he walks into a lower chamber. The water is still flowing behind him (into a still lower chamber) but he's not bothered by that, he only hates it when water gets on him.
In the cave is a fake vampire gorilla-type caveman, and it gestures at him and says something like “Herco! Chhhh!”
Oh, and I didn't make that up. Not a bit of it. You should see this vampire thing, it's lower fangs look like a pair of skis that Barbie would wear. “Dopey in appearance!” would be the blurb if it was a paperback or a Broadway show.
Well, Herc has had enough of the waterworks and he's clean now besides, so he goes off, and the vampire-ape jumps him, and they wrassle for a bit. Actually, rather more than a bit. Rather a lot more than a bit, to be honest. Finally, he thrashes it to unconsciousness, and as the soap opera music starts, he runs to a big steel cage door and using his manliness, he bends the bars and escapes. The music turns more dissonant as he carefully (yes, and slowly) walks around, being cautious of every shadow. Finally, who should run right past him than Agara! Yeah, small world, isn't it! They share a big hug and are generally glad to see one another. Then she starts crying and is upset about her father (who was killed you may recall a few hours back), and Herc says he'll never forgive himself for not saving him, and Agara says “There was nothing you could do,” and so on and like that. She spills the news about the Queen spying on everyone, which basically led to this scene right here, so let's have something new!
Anyway, she says she's supposed to get him to the rendezvous so the others will know he's alive and will never abandon them. Herc says, “You know better than that, Agara, I could never abandon you.” What a standup guy!
She thanks him, and says “On your shoulders rest the future of the people of Samar,” and he kind of grunts when he gets this news.
He confesses his great admiration for her, but I guess that sort of thing just isn't done, as she immediately turns away from him and says she'll show him a way out of the palace (this rock place?) into open country. Uh, and then I guess to the rendezvous place?
No, apparently she's just going to take him outside the city, then when night falls, she'll bring him back in. Agara, he's probably housebroken, and he's recently been cleaned. He can be an indoor person! Please let us have some plot!
Elsewhere, the Queen is looking on disdainfully as the Guard guy, who now has a torch, climbs a sideways ladder. It's like the old Batman show, where all the villains were filmed at angles (to show how twisted they were).
Guard reports that Herc tore through the cave “as if it were clay,” and he mentions how “the monster” (see?) has been killed, and bars of the cage bent. All in all, Herc's really been showing off.
Queen avers how this is impossible, no one's ever done it, blah blah, and Guard points out that Herc is “superhuman” and they'll never be able to overpower him.
Queen opines that they can—with cunning. They have to get him alone, then use cunning at him til he collapses. She notes, that as well as being alone, Herc should “have none of his friends with him.” Wow! Way to cover all the varieties, there.
Guard notes with puzzlement this idea of “friends,” and Queen says she'll send away Boyfriend, and asks Guard if he has men “you can trust, who will follow orders implicitly?”
“Well, I have some I can trust who won't follow orders, and others who I don't trust at all, but they follow orders better than anyone,” is how I would have answered this stunner, but Guard just acknowledges that in fact, he does have such men. She says that when her plan is in fruition, he should take these men and capture Herc, and she notes that she wants him alive.
Elsewhere, two I guess servant girls are chatting about asking favors of the Queen. The Queen shows up, one of the gals says she must talk to her, and the Queen says, “Get out,” which I guess means no. Oh, wait, it's the other gal who leaves.
And Queen and Blonde have a talk, and it turns out they're sisters, and generally good friends (though you know Queen isn't being sincere). Oh, this gal is Billis! You remember Billis from shortly after this movie started, about six months ago. You might also remember that the Mooninites wanted her for a sacrifice, and she was going to be married to Boyfriend (probably not both at the same time, you might notice how those two plans conflict).
Anyway, Queen says (echoing Nixon), “I want it to be perfectly clear, that my attitude is dictated solely by my affection for you.”
Billis acknowledges this, and asks if she can marry Boyfriend. This isn't what she actually says, but gosh darn it I'm cutting to the chase. Oh, and Billis has a bikini top which she barely fits into, and it is very, very distracting, this situation. I expect Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Ontkean to show up any moment, if you get my meaning here.
Anyway, Queen gets this really sour look at the request, and she walks off frame to deliver the rest of her speech, which amounts to Okay you can get married, but not yet, I'm sending Boyfriend to do some secret negotiations in the province of Plotcontrivius. Billis takes this without a lot of grace, I must say. Queen (still cut off by the framing) says that the mission won't take long, and when he's back you can get married, and this perks up—uh, cheers up Boobies, um, BILLIS, quite a tit. BIT!
Anyway, while Queen gives an unmistakably evil look, she asks if Boo—BILLIS is happy, and she says she is, and when she goes, the Queen's evil look becomes even more nipples. MORE EVIL.
And we cut to a cleavage—CORRIDOR in the castle, where someone out of frame is explaining how Claudius is dead, just like Dick Durant. And the camera swoops down as this guy goes on saying that Hercules is missing, and no one has any hope or anything now. And some lady says, “You can talk that way because you don't have children, but if you had a daughter like my child, you'd understand the anguish that a mother feels when the moon is full and you know they're coming to take her away to the sacrifice, I know this fear.”
I'm going to suppose she means that men don't “have” children in the sense of giving birth to them, but there's at least ten guys in there and they can't all be bachelors, and some dads love their kids, and wouldn't like it at all if they were sacrificed.
“My wife is right,” says some guy, “we can't bear living this way!” And he may mean “bear” in the birthing sense too, it's all just so rich a context!
The original speaker asks some other guy to tell what he saw, when he was up on the mountain (he's the only one who's been and returned to tell) and I bet this is one of those “Joe, tell that story about the time you met the lady astronaut” stories that guys tell at the drop of a toga.
Well, Joe says he saw the mountain open up, and there was a green light, and there were these deformed rock-like creatures, and there was a deafening noise from within the earth, and he passed out and doesn't remember anything after that. “I was so terrified, I was robbed of my senses” is how he puts it. He then says when he came to, he was alone, except for a copy of the San Antonio phone book.
“Your experience only confirms the fact that it will not be easy for us to win,” says some guy who prefers to make his statements while matted out of the frame.
The Original Speaker says only Hercules can win against these creatures, and Joe says all he can “say is this. I'm a cousin of the Queen. Whose attitude seems to indicate she's in love with our enemy.” He pauses, and looks around, and says, “I swear to you I'm not influenced by any personal ambition. The only thing I want is to liberate Samar from the nightmare that's oppressing us. So, a vote for Joe is a vote for freedom.”
Okay, yes, he didn't say that last sentence, but I bet it wouldn't have been too surprising if he had, huh.
Many others all say that they're in this fight too, and they're against the monsters, etc. But a noise is heard outside! A guy goes to investigate, and it's Ed McMahon with a Publishers Clearing House check! They can finance the revolution now!
Actually, of course, it's Agara and Hercules! And everyone is more excited to see Hercules than a big check.
And you'll never guess this, because I didn't and I'm much cleverer than you, but Joe is actually Boyfriend! I guess that I’m cousin of the Queen should have been the clincher. Of course, it’s so simple! Agara introduces him “as such” by which I mean he mentions his connection to Billis.
Hercules gives a stirring speech about how he knows how everyone here is being oppressed and living conditions are drab and awful and just plain lousy, but his new housing plan—no, his new defense plan—yes, that's it—is, What would happen if they gave a sacrifice and nobody came? Original Speaker says the monsters would come round and kill everyone, but Boyfriend says, Well, we're all prepared to die so bring it on, monsters! And the woman who was complaining that men didn't understand anything goes off to listen to a wall, and she hears that there are bunches and bunches of soldiers in the streets, never before have their been so many, “surely they're looking for you, Hercules.”
“I imagine so,” says Hercules, “but don't call me Shirley.” Actually, he tells the assembled folks to return to their homes, to tell their families that the attack will be soon, and that Hercules will lead this attack, and that Boyfriend is on their side.
And the meeting breaks up with thanks and handshakes all around. Apparently, the meeting is in a tavern, because the tavern keeper offers Herc shelter for the night, adding, “No one will look for you in my tavern!” so that's kind of where I got that idea.
And the soap opera organ starts again, as Herc gazes in, well, passion at Agara, who returns this gaze postage due, and tells him, “Pleasant dreams!” and he kisses her on the forehead.
“Good night,” he says, and she runs off through the streets. Actually, it's more of a corridor. It seems the whole town is indoors! That must make it pretty convenient when it rains. She runs back into...the same chamber where she saw someone spying on her, some months back. Oh, good plan. Since they've killed your father, they'll probably just leave you alone. I guess that's more of your plan. I bet it isn't anyone else's plan.
Sure enough, Queen is there. She says she wanted to bring some words of comfort, but she forgot how to bake them, and anyway Agara was wandering around the city instead of weeping in her chambers. Queen talks (moving so she's matted out) about how she wanted to bring “words of comfort,” but Agara “will have to resign yourself.”
Agara says she'll resign herself, if it's proved (to her) that her father's death was “destined, and expressed the true will of the Gods,” because, then, naturally, she'd be okay with that. But she says it like she just knows Queen was responsible. By the way, who told Agara about Claudius? Officially, I mean. And what was the story? “He fell into some spears we were storing in the basement.” Just wondering.
Well, Agara says that her father was assassinated, and she asks Queen to investigate.
Queen checks out Agara's rack (if you watch, you'll see it) and says there'll be an investigation, but it won't be easy, as Claudius had no enemies.
Agara offers how her father only wanted to see everyone in Samar be happy and not sacrificed and stuff like that. She says her dad's slayers should be punished.
Queen says (after checking Agara's rack again) that retribution will descend on those responsible, just as (wait for it) it will descend on anyone who goes against the Queen's will. Oh, there's impartiality for you.
Cut to Boyfriend and Billis, saying their goodbyes as he goes off on his (secret) mission. They're pretty happy for the most part. They talk about how unexpected it was that the Queen was so agreeable, and agree that this was odd, but heck, we'll all go with it.
And Boyfriend goes off, promising to return in three days.
And wouldn't you know it, JUST AFTER Boyfriend leaves, Agara shows up and bums out Billis by saying she knows the Queen is aware that Boyfriend is part of the conspiracy, and that she has sent him into a trap! Well, Bosom, I mean BILLIS is pretty breast about this. I mean DISTRESSED. But Agara offers to take Billis to see Hercules, since he's so muscular and all, that would have to be a good thing, because if there are bad dudes set to beat up Boyfriend, Hercules can beat them up instead.
And we cut to some desolate rocky script—I mean, landscape, where some guy in a rope and Hercules are creeping around. It turns out, Some Guy is showing Herc the road to the Mountain of Death. “Come on, I want to see it,” says Herc, but a woman's voice calls his name behind him, and you know he can't resist that. He turns around.
It's Agara and Billis, and they spill their tale of how Boyfriend is going to be whopped on, a lot, in fact a great deal; Herc avows how this won't happen on his watch. And Agara and he kiss as he rides off. Actually, before he rides off, but you know what I mean. Some Guy Herc was with takes the women back to safety, and we get a lot of Herc riding, and some Queen men up to No Good, and Herc sees them, and he's all, Enough of This! And he rides down to...uh, well, we watch these men clamber up a mountain for quite a while, and it's actually not ruffians (oopsie!) it's Boyfriend and his retinue. And they're clambering up, and Herc follows at a discrete distance. And double oopsie, as it turns out, the retinue is composed of those loyal, order-following Queen men! They make to shoot an arrow at Boyfriend, who asks, “What are you doing?” Uh, HELLO, Boyfriend, they're going to shoot at least one arrow into you, DUH!
And they do, and it's a clean shot, right into the left lung. But of course it isn't fatal. He doesn’t even fall off his horse. And another guy says, “Let's finish him!” and brandishes his sword, and they all ride after Boyfriend now that he's an easy target. Bunch of wimps! He rides off, though, pretty well for a wounded man.
And there's Herc, someplace else, but probably wishing he was closer. He ain't, though.
And Boyfriend falls off his horse, and unsheathes his sword, and starts going to town on these bad, bad people. But there are a lot of them, and it looks bad for him, but then Herc shows up, and starts pounding on the bad guys! And he beats the bejezus out of them all, except for one kind of “in-charge” looking guy, who runs away like some kind of coward! Rather than grabbing his ass and beating it til he spews nickels, they let him go and Herc tends to Boyfriend's wounds. He picks him up and says he'll bring him to the city, where he can get some proper doctoring.
And cut to an odd-looking miniature landscape, with a moon rising over it. It's a full moon, and that can't be good, you know. You're aware of that, right? Good.
And in the Queen's chamber, that Guard who is always around comes in and says everything is ready; at the Queen's prompting, he says that Billis is “sleeping like a baby after that draft you had prepared for her.” I bet it was a draft of this script!
They decide that, since no one will see them, they should go. On the soundtrack is all this wailing and like that, no doubt sacrifices who are going to be, um, sacrificed.
Back in the tavern (don't mind if I do!) Boyfriend is being tended to, while he mutters that Billis “is in danger—I feel it!”
He asks, in general, for someone to save her, then notes that it's the night of the full moon, which means sacrifice. “The Queen...the Queen! Watch out for her!”
“He's delirious,” says the tavern-keep. “Leave him to me, Hercules. I know certain herbs that can cure even a wound like this.” He turns to his wife. “Get them!” He then asks if Herc is sure that his attack was ordered by the Queen, and Herc avers that he is certain.
Herc goes on to muse as to why the Queen would turn against her most loyal subjects, and more to the point, why she would want to have him (Hercules) murdered, as she didn't even know him, or that he was coming, or anything that would make her hate Herc. It just doesn't make sense!
That kind of sums up the whole movie.
Moving on, Herc asks how she seems to know where he is at all times (except, oh, the last couple of times, you mean, when she was completely baffled).
The Tavern-Keep says that the Queen has a magic powder which causes any man “to look at her through the eyes of love. They say she's never without it. She carries it in a gold locket around her neck.”
Doesn’t answer his question, but Herc allows how this is pretty useful to know when (he steps out of the frame) “I eventually come face to face with Queen Samara.”
Just then, some wailing comes from the outside. Herc asks why none of the other conspirators are here, and the Tavern-Keep says, to effect, that they're probably all pretty depressed so that's why. They need to do something to restore their sagging buttocks. I mean, spirits.
“I know,” says Herc, “let's put on a show!” And they put on a big musical that banishes all evil and the movie is over.
Okay, okay, not really. Just hopin'.
Tavern-Keep says they'll have to wait for daybreak, as the streets are full of soldiers getting sacrifices. But that's the whole damn point of the movie! Argh! “Fine, then, I'll just come back after the full moon, when it's too damn late, and then I'll do nothing some more!” Argh again!
Cut to Agara running across a street in what looks like the next day, but is probably terrible day for night shooting. Some soldiers ride past just after she hides from them. And she goes on after they're past, but then runs into a scene where some soldiers are gathering folks for the sacrifice! And those to be sacrificed are obviously not happy in the slightest, and this seems to hit Agara pretty hard. She watches as this happens throughout the street. And there are more sacrifices dragged out of their homes, and it's all grim and stuff.
In the Tavern, Tavern Keeper and his family look upon these workings and despair. But then comes the knock at their door! Herc takes Boyfriend away for safe keeping, but the soldiers want Tavern-Keeper's daughter. Of course, neither daughter or wife can, you know, SHUT UP, so they yell and the soldiers find them (brushing aside Tavern-Keeper), until Herc shows up! Yay Herc!
He makes short work of these creeps, picking up one, who says, laconically, “Oh, no, let me go,” and Herc tosses him expertly into a barrel of water.
More soldiers show up, and Herc tosses another into the barrel, and then beats up the rest of the soldiers (he sets one on fire) until they're all beaten up thoroughly and completely. Of course, he and the Tavern-Keeper have to leave because the soldiers will have some reinforcements coming along any day now.
So, they leave. And Agara shows up and tells Herc that she saw Billis being taken away in chains! Ooo, Hercules, do something! He says he will, and she asks him to be careful because what would happen to her if he got killed? He tells her not to worry, as he has no intention of getting killed. But who ever does? This is largely romance-foundation-stuff. It's like the parsley in these kinds of movies, you have to have it, so the customers can throw it away.
And we cut to some soldiers on the crest of a hill, and I bet they're evil soldiers, because the music pretty obviously says “Evil” so, if I'm wrong, it's the composer's fault. Like it usually is. And sure enough, here come some more, dragging the yelling and howling sacrifices behind them. Including Billis. Man, this is like a sheer rock face, you'd think as often as they do these sacrifices they'd put up a road.
And cut to Herc riding through some really grainy footage. And back to the sacrifices. Then back to Herc. And the music goes from Heroic Herc to Lamenting Sadness of Being Sacrificed Blues at each scene change. And Herc dismounts and climbs up the mountain to have a look-see and serve up some justice no doubt. Now, we're at the 45 minute mark so unless this movie is really merciful, I doubt we'll be seeing any whomping on Moon Men just yet. Of course, they love these slooooooow shots, so maybe it'll take an hour just to get to the sacrifice place. And then, the Mooninites could capture Herc, and he could escape. Imagine all the slow footage that could use! He could skulk through tunnels, barely avoiding a prowling Mooninite, or some Mooninites talking about smoking and drinking, and Herc would have to hide for a long time.
I'm just saying. Now, I don't hope any of that happens. I hope the movie ends in ten minutes, that would make my day
Anyway, some of the evil soldiers (the ones in front) say, “Here they come!” and they ride a bit faster. Who they is, I dunno—maybe all Herc's manly muscles have been spotted.
Herc leaps off a ledge and runs to Billis. He enjoins the princess to escape with him, but then notes with startlement, “You're not the princess!” And she isn’t! It was all a wily trap, and it worked too, as Herc was lulled by the dull pace of the film into letting his guard down, and the soldiers throw a net over him! Man, so much plot, in about ten seconds! The real director must have been sick that day.
But he soon returned to the set, as Herc struggles under the net forever until a soldier comes up and says, “We've got you at last.”
And fade to some woman lying in the dark somewhere. There's the whirr and buzz of unearthly machinery. The woman has some kind of strange helmet on, and we pan across her, past a rather uninteresting floor (sorry, floor) to the evil Queen, with someone who might be Billis. She's blonde, anyway, and appears entranced. Maybe. I hope it's not some new blonde chick, I have enough trouble as it is telling these folks apart.
Off screen, a Mooninite says, “You see?” and walks into frame. The Queen notes that this lady with the helmet and Billis look identical, and the Mooninite says that was the plan, as the blood of Billis will allow the Moon Queen to live again. In the background is the best thing in the entire movie—a huge statue, an elongated humanoid. Very weird looking and very interesting looking, too. I hope we get a close up, I'd like that.
Anyway, Billis snaps out of her trance and notes that the Queen brought her here to kill her (yes, we knew that) and asks if the Queen would really do such a thing, and begs not to be killed. Queen is like a stone statue, and finally Billis runs off.
The Mooninite raises his hands and says, “Take her!” and Billis runs into some large guys who are totally ready to rock, because they're made of rocks. The suits are...okay, nothing anyone but a toddler would find convincing (but then the movie has probably long put the toddlers among you to sleep), but they'll do for the effect.
They march in unison about as slow as this movie, and it turns out there's a whole rock band of them, and Billis collapses in the center of their rock ring.
“The sacrifice will take place tomorrow night,” says the Mooninite. “Behold, when the planet Saturn comes into conjunction with Mars, and under the evil influence of Uranus [they pronounce this in the way guaranteed to get snickers], then will occur unimaginable disasters, like the Carter presidency.” Over all this we see some Zodiac symbols rotating in some light show on the ceiling of the Mooninites cave. “The oceans will rise, the mountains crumble, and inexorably our Moon will draw near the Earth.”
The Queen takes all this in, so the director can get in one of his patented “Nothing Happens” shots, and the Mooninite goes on. “Through this cataclysm, only our form of life can survive. After the long night of sleep, we shall become the masters of the Earth.”
Well, if you're the only life form, that's kind of a given, isn't it?
Queen continues to stare on impassively, until that bit about how only the Mooninites will survive sinks in. “But how shall I live, then?” she asks.
“You will have the reward you have earned, [Queen],” which is soooo ironic and all, you know, because he's talking about “just desserts” and stuff like that. “Your beauty will never fade,” the Mooninite goes on, “and your power will be equal to ours. You will possess all nine sets of 'Friends' DVDs.” Okay, you caught me on that one, he actually says she'll possess “all the riches of the world. But remember,” he continues, “that there is still one task you must carry out. Kill Hercules!” The music here is muted drums and xylophones, kind of cool if it wasn't in this movie.
“Have no fear,” says the Queen, “Hercules is already in my hands! He will die!”
And cut to Herc, chained up in a cage. He doesn't seem happy at all about this, but like a lot of men he keeps his emotions all bottled up. Cut to Agara, sneaking through tunnels (again!) and more tunnels, etc, etc, calling out for Hercules, and he answers, saying that this place is dangerous and no place for her.
She says that the plans of the good folks are complete, and they're inciting everyone to revolt. Well, good that she came to fill Herc in on the latest doings in town, I guess, but did she bring a skeleton key?
She does talk about freeing Herc, but he opines that he must free Billis first, and if he's freed first, he can't free her, so he can't be free yet, because only one person can usefully free him, and that's the Queen. So Herc I guess has a plan.
Agara thinks this is a nuts plan, though, and she urges him to reconsider.
You know, if you were someone who drank too much alcohol, here is a game that would help you cut down. Watch this movie, and every time something exciting happens, take a shot. You'll be sober in no time.
Well, Herc says that the only way Agara can help is to do what the movie does: nothing.
“I'll obey you,” she says. “I love you.” And she turns away from the cell and probably gets captured.
Yep, I think it's that same Guard that's always around the Queen. “It wasn't hard to find you,” he says. The way she yells all the time, probably not, no. “Come on, the Queen wants you to be present at a little ceremony!” As she hesitates, he says, “Get moving! Go on!” Just trying to bring this rich cinematic world to life for you.
And we cut to Herc, I think in a completely different set of chains now. We never really saw him too well in the cage, but he seemed pretty trussed up; here, he's just bound by his wrists and his belt. And there are spikes around him.
And we see the Queen, who has let down her hair for the occasion, watching Herc in chains, and she tells a guard flunky, “Go ahead. Make my day.” Okay, you caught me again.
Well, the guard whips a bunch of slaves who start turning a crank or something, and these big plates full of spikes start closing in on Herc, like the leaves of an immense metal Venus flytrap.
This is like the old Batman show (though this movie predates it), where, instead of just shooting Batman, the villain of the week had to bake him inside a giant cake which would fling him into a giant cake slicing machine, which would box up the slices and mail them to an active volcano. It's too elaborate to ever work, and unless this movie has a real surprise up its sleeve (I accidentally typed “sleep” instead of “sleeve,” silly me), it's not going to work here.
Of course, it probably helps that the slaves are old, exhausted and weak to start with, but of course Herc manages to keep the jaws of death apart.
This goes on, like everything inconsequential in this movie, for a long, long damn time. Let's go to Plan B, Queen. I can't tell you how many potato chips I've eaten since this bit started. Oooh, one of the tips almost touches Herc's manly chest, but we still get straining by Herc and slaves which goes pretty much nowhere.
Until finally it stops. You know what stopped it? That thing that was a cliché before Charlie Chaplin was born, the old fraying rope. It pops into frame a few seconds before it parts, and the jaws spring open and all the slaves, well, it kind of looks like they got hurt pretty badly when the thing sprang back at them, but who cares, they're slaves! Ha ha ha ha. Of course, I kid. I sent them some relief money through Amazon, what did YOU do?
Anyway, the soldiers rush forward, spears at the ready but Queen orders them to stop. As Herc stands there, chest heaving sweatily, Queen gives him the once-over, and says, “Conduct him to my quarters.”
Agara looks glad that Herc survived, but kind of like, will he be seduced to the Dark Side?
Cut to the Queen's chamber, where they escort Herc in and surround him with javelins. A quick shot of the Queen shows her in total slut pose on her bed. “All of you go,” she orders, and they lower javelins and depart. Man, we all know where this is going, was it fresh and new when this thing was made? Are we too “modern” and “cinematically aware” to really enjoy this film? Or is it just boring and badly made? History will judge!
So, yeah, Herc and the Queen are alone in her boudoir. She notes that there were “a hundred” lances pointed at his heart (she can't count I guess), and if she had gestured differently, he'd be dead. The music is all soap-opera organ, just so you aren't stunned by what's going on I guess.
She vamps over to him. “But I prefer the challenge you offer alive,” she says. “I know that you are strong enough to crush me...but it's worth the risk.”
Let's pause a moment. She just ordered him trussed up and put into a Venus flytrap, is going to kill the princess and all his friends, has already killed Claudius and nearly killed Boyfriend, but she thinks he'll overlook ALL THAT if she just slinks around a bit?
I understand that the word “stupid” is now a “bad” word, and I'd prefer not to use “bad” words in my “reviews.”
But I'm sure thinking it.
Anyway, Queen says, “All you'd have to do is take your hand,” which she does, “and place it against my throat,” which she does, “and break my neck, the way you'd break the stem of a flower,” and he does, and the movie says THE END.
Sorry, that was a very bad joke. The movie is not over. Sorry. She tosses his hand away and says, “Why don't you do it?”
“You have nothing to fear from me,” says Herc. “Now that I've seen you, I could no longer rebel against you.” Ooo, that's a good line. That'll work. “I want to stay with you. It's Hercules who asks this, no slave is as faithful as I would be.”
She goes to pour them some wine, of course, putting some kind of drug in the one for him. So I guess she wasn't fooled. She asks that they toast their union.
Just then, before they can drink, some damn flunky comes in. “My Queen!”
She asks him to get out, and he says it's urgent, and as she turns to him and tells him to wait outside, Herc tosses most of his drink away, then (as she turns back) pretends he just took a mighty swig. Good thing no one here's a fool, I guess. Although, if Herc drank the poison, that would make the movie longer and that is just plain wrong. I'm not sure, but it might be illegal.
Herc pretends to get woozy and pops onto the Queen's bed. So maybe he is hoping to get lucky.
She watches in satisfaction, then goes back to that unfinished business. (Good thing her drug was designed for that and not to turn people green or something.) Turns out the guards now know Boyfriend is alive, as the lone survivor details how Hercules showed up and killed everyone but him. In all this, the music is still soap opera organ. Time to change the record, sound dude!
Queen asks the guy where Boyfriend is now, and he says he doesn't know, he was badly wounded and only just managed to drag himself here.
“To tell me you failed in your mission?” says the Queen pretty harshly. “Execute him!”
Well, the guy protests quite a bit at this as he's dragged off screen, but, you know, omelets and eggs and things like that.
Guard (yeah, the same guy) says that Boyfriend being alive and all is pretty bad for them all, so they should find him.
“That's not difficult to do,” says Queen. “All we need to do is follow Agar.” John Agar? Because if she meant “Agara” she left off a syllable. Maybe evil Queens can get away with that sort of thing.
Well, Guard is off to do this, Queen grins and turns to the collapsed Hercules. She taunts about how he, Herc, thought he could trick her, the Queen, but when he wakes up, he'll be her “most faithful slave.” And if Herc shot up right now and broke her neck, you could probably hear my cheering all the way over where you live.
Instead, she leaves, and Herc opens his eyes and grins. And the music is now love strings with harp. And he, that man of action, fluffs up the pillows and decides to take a nap.
Sigh. I’m in Hell, aren’t I?
Cut to Agara in front of the Queen, being accused of treason, conspiracy and “falling in love with Hercules.” But the Queen, trying to be wily, says that too much blood has been shed (must have been when I was asleep) so Agara won't be killed, she'll just be banished from the kingdom.
And Agara slowly leaves to her banishment, and Guard follows her. Cut to Boyfriend, all bandaged up, thinking he should get out and get some air or go shopping or something. Someone with him notes that this is a bad idea, but you know Boyfriends, they can't be dissuaded from stupidity.
Boyfriend catches up those of us who were fitfully dozing, caught in the dreams of the witch house, that Billis is missing, Herc's in the dungeon and Agara has no news. What's a Boyfriend to do but put himself in danger, as he doesn't want to be left out? I guess?
Before he can go, though, he collapses with woundedness, and his pal says he'll go instead to meet with Boyfriend's pals, “Just tell me what to say!”
Of course, just then, Agara knocks on the door, asking to be let in.
Okay, I know that was the Evil Queen's plan. But what the hell? Such a plan SHOULD NOT have worked. You've just been banished from the kingdom for conspiracy and such. What's the first thing you do? Imperil the lives of the others? Well, I guess if you're Agara, the answer to that is “yes.”
Pal lets Agara in, and she tells about how Herc is a prisoner and no one knows where Billis is, and the soldiers show up and bust in the door. And they start sword fighting, but there's like tons of these guys, and Boyfriend's Pal gets killed, and Boyfriend and Agara get captured.
Cut to Herc and the Queen, with Herc being a great slave and all. Three lady musicians play harps and stuff to make a soft love atmosphere. Herc asks that the musicians be sent away, and Queen claps her hands and they go. Queen asks why he asked her to do that, and he says he wanted to be alone with her. She goes into some smoochin' action. Herc then asks about some stuff that apparently, we missed her telling him in the first place. Like how he would become the most powerful man ever if he was next to her, but he just can't figure the “how” part.
She says that “tonight” will answer all his questions. But he persists, wanting to know more about this kind of thing.
She says he has to have faith in her, and that tonight he'll see with his own eyes that she's “told you the truth.”
Hm. Wouldn't this doubting on the part of Herc clue her in that mebbe he's not totally under her control? That was what she wanted, after all. Maybe she should see if that potion has a money-back guarantee.
Well! She says the important thing is that Herc tell her that he loves her, which he does, and that he's never loved anyone as much, which he also affirms. He looks over her head each time, which maybe the Hercules way of saying “Just kidding!” It looks kind of obvious, to me at least, but maybe Queen's blinded by lust.
Or maybe not. She looks really peeved, suddenly, and gets up from the bed and strikes a gong, and Agara and Boyfriend are brought in, and Herc—he clutches the sheets!
Queen asks if Herc knows these two, and he says “They were the ones who tried to set me against you.”
Queen asks if he has any special feelings about Agara, and Herc laughingly says that she's just a girl who took him in, “like the others.”
Agara doesn't like that at all, and accuses Herc of betrayal, but Queen notes that Agara was supposed to leave the country yet didn't. Queen asks what Herc thinks ought to be done with these two miscreants.
Herc says the death penalty, “a slow death,” that they should starve to death and think a lot about regretting their disloyalty. (Maybe they should be made to watch this movie.)
Both Agara and Boyfriend, being stupid, think this suggestion of Herc's is a bit harsh. In his position, what would they expect him to do? He's trying to help them escape! My GOD what dimwits.
Queen thinks Herc's suggestions are good ones, and orders the two put away. She grins at Herc, and we cut to some barn somewhere where the local folk are discussing politics. Oh, good, a guaranteed sedative. Just when I thought this movie COULDN'T get more exciting.
Tavern-Keep from a while ago is stirring these layabouts that they should take action. They all commiserate how the soldiers know who they are, and will be there any minute. What's the point of anything, they say, like watching more of this movie?
Oh, wait. That was me. Sorry! I just got so caught up in this thing.
Suddenly, there are soldiers who want to be let in to the barn.
Some guy we've never seen before comes in and says he knows what's going on here, and it would have been easy for him to come with more guys and have everyone here put to death, instead, he's asking to join them. He says that “the army” is with him, and that they should all join with him to fight against “Mogul” and “the household guards.” Whoever the hell they are. I've kind of ceased caring, since I see we have over twenty minutes to go. Twenty minutes! Man, I have nightmares like this, but from those I can wake up. Here, I have to keep typing!
Anyway, this new guy is questioned, briefly, about how didn't he take an oath to be loyal to the Queen? And he says that he, like many of the soldiers, have women and children who might be sacrificed.
“He's right, let's storm the palace!” shouts someone, and they all go off to do this. Good grief, Guy-who-just-showed-up, if you were a spy, you sure have a talent for it!
Back to the Queen, she calls to Hercules to “come look at that.”
It's the Moon. “It's from the Moon that my power will come,” she says.
“From the Moon,” Herc repeats. “What do you mean?”
“Now that I'm really sure of you at last,” she says, “I'm able to tell you. For many years, my ancestors were sorcerers to the monsters of the mountain.” (Sounds like heavy metal lyrics.) “But I've gone even further. I'm their ally.”
“You? Allied with them?” Herc asks.
“Yes,” she says. “They are powerful, Hercules. But despite their power, without me, they're helpless.”
“What help could you give to them? Except to deliver the victims they want.”
“I gave them Billis!” she says. “At this moment, Billis is in the hands of the Stone Men. Her sacrifice will revive Selena, their Queen [the lady with the helmet from earlier].”
“Where is Billis?” asks Herc, with a bit more urgency than seems discreet.
“In the Mountain of Death,” says the Queen.
“Perfect!” says Herc. “That's exactly what I wanted to find out!”
Queen asks what's going on, and Herc spills the beans about not being under her control, and how he's going to liberate the prisoners and stuff, but Queen (who has been moving away from him) escapes via a secret passage. Herc can't open it, so he runs out of the Queen's chamber, and guess what? The guards all know instantly that he's no longer an ally. And we think e-mail is instantaneous!
He beats up these guards easily, in fact whole tons of them. And he runs into the basement parts of the palace, and beats up some more guards. If you read some description somewhere about how someone beats up a bunch of people, and that person says it was dull, and you think, “How cynical!” well, be careful, because that person might be me!
Well, he beats up some more guards, and runs to Agara and Boyfriend to free them. They note how they knew he wasn't a bad guy, etc.
Upstairs, Queen orders Herc and pals executed, and Guard shows up to say that the People are Revolting, and she says, well, call out the army, and he tells the bad news that the Army is revolting too. He says that only the palace guards are left, and Hercules is “slaughtering them.” So, Queen goes to plan C, which is that she and Guard escape and leave everyone else to their own devices.
Back in the dungeon, Herc had lowered an iron wall to keep the guards away from the prisoners. Now, he orders Agara and Boyfriend up top, and he goes to open the iron wall again! What the hell! You couldn't leave them there, pounding away with their little hammers?
Okay, my mistake. He wasn't raising the wall, he was lifting it just enough so he could crush the guards with it. Oopsie! I take back what I was thinking.
Elsewhere in the catacombs, Guard is running around. He and Herc meet, and have a sword fight, and Herc disarms Guard, but who wants to bet Herc will let him live? Well, Herc tosses his sword away so it'll be fair, and Guard proves treacherous (big surprise inserted here), and Herc throttles him with his own spear.
Outside, a bunch of torch-bearing peasants show up, and Boyfriend yells at them, “Hurry, to the Mountain of Death! Hercules is already on the way!” Well, naturally being told that Hercules is way ahead of everyone spurs them on to follow his example. So they all run off.
And we cut to someplace dark, I'm gonna bet here that it's the Mountain of Death's inner chamber or some other haunt of the Mooninites; considering that they've got no other haunts, it's a safe bet. Here we go to find out!
Actually, my second guess is that it is a very dark night sky, with a full moon behind clouds. Sure, it looks like someone playing a flashlight over a cave wall, but I don't even think Hercules has flashlight technology, and probably the Mooninites don't either.
And then we cut to the outside, where someone is staggering through a powerful sandstorm. I think it's Queen but it's hard to tell. She keeps getting blown out of the frame.
This goes on for quite some time, as does everything else of no importance in this...thing.
Finally, a greenish glow comes from a cave opening, and Queen (for aye, it is she) sprints for it and, once inside, starts calling for “Rudolphus” or “a dolphin” or something which, I'm gathering, is the chief Mooninite's name. It isn't Ingniknok or Err but I can't quite grasp what it is, despite the fact that Queen shouts it out a lot.
She comes right into the camera to ask that the Mooninites save her, as Hercules is on the way.
Mooninite One, however, is thinking about her promise to take care of the Hercules problem, so he says, “You betrayed us.” Actually, she just did a bad job of it, sir, which isn't the same as betrayal (you could look this up in an Earth dictionary). Anyway, he points at her and the rock group starts to advance on her. She starts yelling how she didn't betray them, she was the one who was betrayed, I guess it gave the dubbing actress something to yell. The rockers get closer and closer. And finally, they give her a big hug, which proves fatal. Wow, that little plot thread got tied up pretty quick. Can we go now?
Not yet, as, back in the sandstorm, Herc is wandering around as Queen was mere moments ago.
And back in the cave, Mooninite One is gazing down on the sleeping Moon Queen (who, despite her helmet, is way more human than any of her subjects). “Selena? Selena?” he says, then notes, “at last your hour has come.” He reaches across to the sleeping Billis and slashes her wrist. Uh, showing up now would probably be a good thing, Herc.
Anyway, having cut her, he folds his arms with satisfaction, and looks up at this big pulsating bag, somewhere. Yep, it sure pulsates.
And we see Billis, still sleeping. Yep, sleeping away. And we pan down her arm to where her wound is (discretely turned away from us), and the Mooninite intones that “Drop by drop, this blood will bring you back to life, my Queen,” and we pan further to see that (I guess) the blood is dripping right on Selena! Ew! Well, I guess the Mooninites have different customs and all, we mustn't judge them, etc.
And back outside, we've got someone else running through the sandstorm. This must be a very popular pastime in Samar. Turns out, it's a whole flock of folk, who are calling out to Herc, who answers with his locale. “Stay together!” is some advice it would be good to heed. Also, no one is dressed properly for this activity. They urge themselves on through the stinging sands. I think I recognized Tavern-Keeper. And more staggering. Some people have axes. Everyone walks around like George Romero's living dead people. I wonder if he got the idea from this movie?
And cut to the pulsating, glistening ball. Then to Billis, eyes wide open and looking pretty dead, and pan down to Selena; those of you who would have bet that her eyes would shockingly pop open would have lost. And we cut to the Mooninite, and we can see where he is in relation to the pulsating sack. He's looking upon it with the air of someone well satisfied with the turn of events. And those astrological symbols from before are still moving around. Yes, all's well in Mooninite Cave. For the Mooninites!
Outside, the sandstorm is a bit less dense now, though still making the same amount of racket as Herc jumps over a big rock and goes into one of his stances. He breaks down some old trees that were just standing there doing nothing, and dashes on.
And I think Agara is collapsing in the sand, and finding it difficult to go on, but you know, we’ve got running time to fill and all so we can’t slow down. Well, we can slow down, sure, but you know what I mean.
And more folks are staggering through the sand. Some guy howls for everyone to wait for him, as he can’t go any further, but no one listens and they go on. And Agara collapses and calls out for Boyfriend.
I guess this is one of those giant disasters that the Mooninites were predicting a while ago. Let’s hope Herc can stop them before they get to the Carter Administration!
Speaking of Herc, he finds the hidden door, but of course it ain’t gonna open for him, so he has to use sheer manly muscle (and lots of running time) to force it open.
More pulsating bag, etc, and the Mooninite gestures. There’s either a poorly matted window (a cave window, I should note) or a poorly matted viewscreen of some kind, but it shows a greenish planetoid surrounded by clouds. They’re not going to tell us this is the Moon, I hope. And a shot of Selena, now glowing green.
And back to Herc, struggling with that door. And the villagers in the sandstorm. One guy tells Boyfriend that Agara isn’t around any more, and he says, “Perhaps we’ll find her on the Mountain of Death.” And everyone goes on.
And that greenish planet comes closer, and there’s some stock footage of seas all with big waves and being all stormy. And some fluffy white clouds forming, and some clouds forming from volcanoes at sea. Yeah, it’s Nature Run Amok, I’ve got the message thanks. Oh, and lightning, gotta have that. Are we done now?
Back to Agara, she was going forward, now she decides to go back. And the green planet. And some more volcanoes. And Agara looking and screaming—I guess she’s seeing all this stock footage. And she climbs the mountain as stock footage lava spills all around. Then she faints. Then she wakes up and keeps going.
And cut to Herc, finally inside the Mooninite Cave. And he passes a rocker, who casually swats him. Herc staggers under the blow of this incredibly awkward creature.
He recovers, finds a convenient iron bar, and whacks the rocker a good one; it doesn’t harm the rocker and bends the bar. So, Herc does the natural thing; he picks up the rocker and tosses him. And then he sees more members of this rock group advancing. Hm, what a poser this problem is!
He ducks behind a column and we get a big closeup of his sweaty chest as he strains at this rock. Ladies, I hope you enjoy this, otherwise it’s rather icky. He breaks the column, and the rock group is broken up by the ceiling falling on them. But, there’s always reunion tours.
In the chamber, the Moon Queen opens her eyes. Herc dashes in, and the Mooninite says, “Stop him! Kill him!” Well, which is it?
More rockers stagger ungainly toward Herc. Fortunately, they’re so slow he can just ignore them, that works as well if not better than fighting them. He jumps past them, though, and runs up right where the Mooninite is standing, and tosses him off the little platform. (It looks as if that cool statue has the pulsating bag on top of it.) Well, that was pretty damn easy. Moon technology sucks.
The rockers all look at Herc like, Now what? And he looks at them like, Now what?
So, he pushes the statue over on them. This has the effect of causing most of the place to burst into flame, and we can see in the bright light that Herc is standing right next to where Billis is lying. So, he picks her up and prepares to scram. We get a shot of the Moon Queen, now looking all aged and expired and, sure enough, she starts to rapidly wrinkle up and die. In the end, there’s just dust.
And boyfriend walks into the chamber of flame and collapsing rock, and so does Agara, and Boyfriend calls out for Billis, but suddenly--
--the music gets all soft and stuff, and wee see gentle footage of some peaceful stream. Flowers are blooming and such. I suppose this is showing us that the world is back to normal.
And cut to Boyfriend and Billis together, bidding adieu to Hercules, asking if he really has to leave—
Now wait just a darn minute here.
Yes, I can infer what happened, but Good LORD when a movie shows you
people wandering through tunnels or staggering through a sandstorm so many
times, and at such length that you want to bite something, for them to forego
the footage of the denouement is just plain wrong. You stupid movie!
Anyway, Hercules says he can’t stay, he may be needed elsewhere in the world where trouble may strike.
Boyfriend says that he and Billis hope that Agara can persuade Herc to stay. But Herc is hoping he can persuade Agara to come with HIM, instead, and share the risks and dangers with him.
”Oh, yes, for the rest of my life!” she yells happily as she jumps up onto his horse.
They embrace, and Herc rides off into the setting or rising sun. And the ocean waves are sure nice and peaceful now, and it’s The End.
I thought of something, here. Since the Mooninite guy and the rock groups were disposed of pretty easily, basically in a matter of seconds, I bet this was trouble for the director who was told he had to deliver a movie ninety minutes long. That’s why we had all those tunnels and trudging people and long, slow tracking shots of walls. Now, you might say, why not make the Moon people tougher and lengthen that bit? That’s because you don’t understand movie making. You don’t do the hard stuff, you do the easy stuff!
But that’s just a theory, and it honestly doesn’t make the movie interesting at all. At least not to me now. Maybe when I was a kid? Who knows.
Sometimes I long for a more innocent age, when stuff like this could fill someone's Saturday matinee, and that someone would go home afterwards and wrap a towel around himself and say, “I'm Hercules!” That would have been a nice age, I think.
But the reality is that anyone really caught up in this drama must similarly have been enchanted by the bathtub drain--”All the water went down yesterday—will it go down today, too? A mystery awaits! The suspense! The sheer, unadulterated suspense! I—I—I have to use the bathroom, I'm so suspended!”
The thing is, this film just out and out lacks. Excitement, suspense, a reason to be. I don't think it has anything to do with out jaded, irony-soaked modern age. I think this film is just plain dull. Would there be any circumstances which might warrant watching it?
Well, if it was the only thing on, and someone broke into your house and said he'd kill you unless you watched TV, and you had to stay awake, this is at least several levels over some of the dreck I've seen in recent months. It's dull and boring but it's not scarring. I mean, you could watch it, and not feel that you've been drained of life energy. If you were cooking something, and this was on, it might make pleasant background noise as you were sautéing the mushrooms or basting the pheasants, or shimmying the corn or comforting the potatoes.
Otherwise, avoid. Aside from one cool statue, there's nothing in this thing. There's nothing bad, of course. But there's also nothing good. There's just nothing, like the cold whistling void between worlds.