Maciste arranges for himself and his new friend Bangor to be captured by a mysterious band of white-clad marauders and taken to an underground city. There the two are forced to turn an enormous wheel along with other captives as part of a gold-and-diamonds mining operation. The underground city's queen, Halis Mosab, takes note of the handsome, muscular Maciste and chooses him to be her consort if he can meet such challenges as saving the kidnapped Princess Saliura from a gigantic ape.
Directed by: Antonio Leonviola
. Starring: Mark Forest
, Moira Orfei
, Paul Wynter
, Gianni Garko
, Enrico Glori
, Raffaella Carrà
, Roberto Miali
, Nando Tamberlani
, Carla Foscari
, Rosalia Gavo
, Graziella Granata
, Janine Hendy
, Grazia Campori
. Music by: Armando Trovajoli
I have to say that MOLE MEN VS THE SON OF HERCULES is cheesy, the pacing is uneven (there are some really dull spots), the acting is nonexistent and the story doesn't make a lick of sense. Now that I got that out of the way, I have to add that if you're a fan of Peplums or a fan of bizarre movies, you must see this one! There are 4 or 5 unforgettable scenes or elements in it that are amazing and it's the reason why I've rated this 7 out of 10.
The story concerns Maciste who gets involved with the mole men, a civilization which lives under the surface of the earth because the rays from the sun are deadly to them. One night, still on the surface of the earth, Maciste saves Bangor from the clutches of mole men. The two beefy men become friends and eventually decide to confront the underground enemy by letting themselves be kidnapped by them so they can be grouped with the slave population of the mole men and start up an uprising from within. The enslaved people are forced to work at a bizarre contraption that powers the whole underground civilization, which is ruled by an evil but beautiful queen. Maciste and Bangor are made to work at the MASSIVE wheel thing but eventually their presence causes a revolt and the whole underground civilization falls apart.
Suffice it to say, the story is total nonsense, certainly in the way it is presented. It begs more questions than answers. But who really watches these films for the logical stories, hmm? Like I said before, there are many highlights amidst the cheese.
The first highlight is the teaming of Mark Forest and Paul Wynter. They make an impressive beefy duo.
The second highlight is that bizarre wheel contraption, which has to be seen to be believed. It's actually quite impressive and yet funny (in an engineering kind of sense). Who came up with this design?
The third highlight is an incredible feat of strength Maciste, Bangor and another friend of the two have to endure: layers upon layers of heavy slabs are piled on Maciste's shoulders while both of his beefy fiends are sprawled on their backs next to him, with swords just above the two and about to stab them with each additional slab, as Maciste cannot keep the slabs up much longer. Will Maciste kill his friends? Will he then be crushed by the slabs? The whole thing is jaw-dropping. Again, who came up with this incredible torture idea that would be right at home in HOSTEL?
The fourth highlight occurs when Maciste is put on a conveyor belt (yes, a conveyor belt) by an enemy who wants him to be crushed by a rock grinder. Seeing Maciste holdingpushing against the rock grinder, directly forcing the slaves to work harder at the wheel, is too much for words.
And the fifth highlight, and it's a dozy, is seeing one of the mole man put to death with the rays of the sun. Though not gory or violent in any way, this scene would even make some viewers of today uncomfortable nevermind audiences in 1961 when this film was released: we see a near naked man, spread eagled, writhing and moaning loudly as he becomes exposed to the sun. Uniquely over-the-top!
Remarkably, the film still has other highlights, like Maciste killing four mole men with one spear (!) or when Maciste and Bangor bring down the whole underground civilization with the big wheel, or when the Queen discovers she can live in the sun, or the additional torture scenes with Maciste and Bangor.
Unfortunately, there are also some awful scenes such as when Maciste fights an unconvincing gorillamonster or the many night scenes which are clearly shot in the daytime. And the look of the mole men is not really effective or imaginative in any way, shape or form.
Anyway, MOLE MEN VS THE SON OF HERCULES will never be mistaken as great art but even so, I would love to see this film and those scenes on the big screen. I'm sure those amazing scenes would be even more impressive.
Review by Maciste_Brother from the Internet Movie Database.