Hercules in the Haunted World


1h 31m 1964

Brief Synopsis

Upon his return from battle in the previous film, the great warrior Hercules learns that his lover, Daianara, has lost her senses. Acording of the oracle Medea, Dianara's only hope is the Stone of Forgetfulness which lies deep in the realm of Hades. Hercules, with two companions, Theseus and Telemachus, embarks on a dangerous quest for the stone, while he is unaware that Dianara's guardian, King Lico, is the one responsible for her condition and plots to have the girl for himself as his bride upon her revival.

Film Details

Also Known As
Ercole al centro della terra
Release Date
Apr 1964
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
SPA Cinematografica
Distribution Company
Woolner Bros. Pictures
Country
Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

The evil Lichas, Pluto's servant, kills the King of Ecalia and imprisons his daughter, Deianira, in a palace. There she succumbs to madness. Hercules, who loves Deianira, learns from Keros that the only cure for her malady is a flower which grows in Hades. Accompanied by his friend Theseus, Hercules journeys to the underworld. After overcoming numerous obstacles, he obtains the precious plant and returns to Ecalia. In thanksgiving for Deianira's recovery, Hercules builds a temple to honor Pluto, but the god destroys it because Theseus has carried off his wife, Persephone. Theseus refuses to heed Hercules' request to send her back, and the two engage in combat. Persephone intervenes and avoids further strife by returning to Pluto. Hercules abandons his plan to kill Lichas when the usurper returns to Hades. Hercules and Deianira marry, restoring peace to Ecalia.

Film Details

Also Known As
Ercole al centro della terra
Release Date
Apr 1964
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
SPA Cinematografica
Distribution Company
Woolner Bros. Pictures
Country
Italy

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Hercules in the Haunted World - MARIO BAVA'S HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD


Italian musclemen epics - a genre known as "peplum" in Italian cinema - were once a regular stable of kiddie matinees in the late fifties and early sixties in the United States. But while the exploits of Steve Reeves as Hercules (1959) might have been an awe-inspiring sight for a ten-year-old boy, these sword and sandal adventures were largely responsible for the endless jokes and terrible reputation about English dubbed Italian movies that still exist today. True, many of these musclemen epics WERE poorly dubbed, haphazardly reedited and distributed with cheesy promotional campaigns ("See the torture chamber of the blue men!"), but occasionally a real gem could be found amid the heap. Such was the case with Hercules in the Haunted World (1961), now available in a stunning new digital widescreen transfer from Fantoma Films.

Directed by Italian horror fantasy specialist Mario Bava, Hercules in the Haunted World was produced on a ridiculously low budget but thanks to Bava's ingenuity, eye for pictorial composition and special effects background, the film is an unqualified triumph and the best place to start if you're new to the "peplum" genre. The plot, which combines elements of mythology, the supernatural and Hollywood-style epic filmmaking, follows Hercules (Reg Park) and two companions as they attempt to rescue Hercules' beloved from the depths of Hades. Obstacles on their journey include the evil Lichas, a servant of Pluto (played by Christopher Lee), a rock monster, seductive but deadly sirens, seas of molten lava, and worse!

It was said that this film and Reg Park's physique inspired a young, impressionable Arnold Schwarzenegger to become a bodybuilder. But for horror and "peplum" film fans, Hercules in the Haunted World signaled the arrival of a major artist - Mario Bava. Although this was only his second film as director, his command of the medium is already evident from his atmospheric set design to his use of color. Tim Lucas, editor of Video Watchdog and author of the upcoming biography, Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark, wrote the following for the DVD liner notes: "If Black Sunday established his mastery of black-and-white, its follow-up confirmed his unrivalled authority in the realm of color. The word has now been overused to the point of meaninglessness, but when seen on the Big Screen in a 35mm scope print, with its Technicolor hues blazing, this movie is literally dazzling - and perhaps the first film of the 60s to qualify as a truly psychedelic experience. Watch the scene of our hero sailing languidly into Hades and see if you don't agree."

The Fantoma DVD of Hercules in the Haunted World is presented in a 2:35:1 aspect ratio, enhanced for 16X9 TVs. The extras include both English and Italian language versions of the original European cut, the rather worn and faded theatrical trailer, richly detailed liner notes and a gallery of rare stills and poster art.

For more information on Hercules and the Haunted World, visit Fantoma Films. To purchase a copy of Hercules and the Haunted World, visit Movies Unlimited.

By Jeff Stafford
Hercules In The Haunted World - Mario Bava's Hercules In The Haunted World

Hercules in the Haunted World - MARIO BAVA'S HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD

Italian musclemen epics - a genre known as "peplum" in Italian cinema - were once a regular stable of kiddie matinees in the late fifties and early sixties in the United States. But while the exploits of Steve Reeves as Hercules (1959) might have been an awe-inspiring sight for a ten-year-old boy, these sword and sandal adventures were largely responsible for the endless jokes and terrible reputation about English dubbed Italian movies that still exist today. True, many of these musclemen epics WERE poorly dubbed, haphazardly reedited and distributed with cheesy promotional campaigns ("See the torture chamber of the blue men!"), but occasionally a real gem could be found amid the heap. Such was the case with Hercules in the Haunted World (1961), now available in a stunning new digital widescreen transfer from Fantoma Films. Directed by Italian horror fantasy specialist Mario Bava, Hercules in the Haunted World was produced on a ridiculously low budget but thanks to Bava's ingenuity, eye for pictorial composition and special effects background, the film is an unqualified triumph and the best place to start if you're new to the "peplum" genre. The plot, which combines elements of mythology, the supernatural and Hollywood-style epic filmmaking, follows Hercules (Reg Park) and two companions as they attempt to rescue Hercules' beloved from the depths of Hades. Obstacles on their journey include the evil Lichas, a servant of Pluto (played by Christopher Lee), a rock monster, seductive but deadly sirens, seas of molten lava, and worse! It was said that this film and Reg Park's physique inspired a young, impressionable Arnold Schwarzenegger to become a bodybuilder. But for horror and "peplum" film fans, Hercules in the Haunted World signaled the arrival of a major artist - Mario Bava. Although this was only his second film as director, his command of the medium is already evident from his atmospheric set design to his use of color. Tim Lucas, editor of Video Watchdog and author of the upcoming biography, Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark, wrote the following for the DVD liner notes: "If Black Sunday established his mastery of black-and-white, its follow-up confirmed his unrivalled authority in the realm of color. The word has now been overused to the point of meaninglessness, but when seen on the Big Screen in a 35mm scope print, with its Technicolor hues blazing, this movie is literally dazzling - and perhaps the first film of the 60s to qualify as a truly psychedelic experience. Watch the scene of our hero sailing languidly into Hades and see if you don't agree." The Fantoma DVD of Hercules in the Haunted World is presented in a 2:35:1 aspect ratio, enhanced for 16X9 TVs. The extras include both English and Italian language versions of the original European cut, the rather worn and faded theatrical trailer, richly detailed liner notes and a gallery of rare stills and poster art. For more information on Hercules and the Haunted World, visit Fantoma Films. To purchase a copy of Hercules and the Haunted World, visit Movies Unlimited. By Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

'Christopher Lee' 's voice was dubbed by another actor for the English language version.

Notes

Released in Italy in December 1961 as Ercole al centro della terra; running time: ca90 min.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1960

Released in United States 1996

TotalScope Super 100

Released in United States 1996 (Shown in Los Angeles (American Cinematheque) as part of program "The Haunted World of Mario Bava" July 26 - August 31, 1996.)

Released in United States 1960