Gladiators Seven (1968) + Hercules & The
Masked Riders (1964) + Hercules
& The Tyrant Of Babylon
(1964/Cheezy Flicks DVDs)
C-/D/D Sound: C- Extras: C- Films: C-
was the end of the line for Sword & Sandal adventures and three films show
why: Gladiators Seven (1968), Hercules & The Masked Riders (aka Hercules Against Rome/1964) and Hercules & The Tyrant Of Babylon
(1964). While the big budget films were
played out, B-movie producers from the U.S.
churned them out to get quick money out of them. The former is a lame Spartacus (1960) rip off, while the other two are part of a long
and usually unconnected line of Hercules films.
Russel is the would-be hero of Seven,
which was produced in Italy
and makes him one of the only non-Italians on or off screen. It is bad, has dated badly and was not that
good to begin with. This one is for
diehard fans of these films only.
leaves us with two different playing Hercules and who just happen to have their
films both arrive in 1964. Sergio Ciani
was in Riders, while future Mission: Impossible star Peter Lupus
fared better in Tyrant simply by
looking much more like the character and having a build that was larger and has
not dated since bodybuilders became permanently integrated into action film in
Riders is slightly less amusing, but has
enough campy moments to save it from being a total dud, though Ciani would play
him one more time in another film issued later that year. Lupus (credited as Rock Stevens) only played
him once, but is not in his film enough for it to really work, for whatever
reason, but Tyrant has a better pace and Lupus is one of the best-cast actors
still to this day to play the role.
letterboxed 2.35 X 1 image on Seven
is very weak with aliasing errors and major definition issues, while 1.33 X 1
image in both Hercules releases are
disasters, looking like fading TV prints with image area missing on all sides;
especially since they were 2.35 X1 TotalScope productions. The PCM 16/48 2.0 Mono in all cases is aged,
rough and not so impressive. Add the
dubbing and you get some bad sound work throughout all of them. Trailers and Intermission shorts are the only
extras in all cases.
- Nicholas Sheffo