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Hercules in the Haunted World (1961)

Ercole al centro della Terra (original title)
Hercules must journey in Hades itself to retrieve the magic stone that will free his love from the powers of darkness.


(screenplay), (story) | 3 more credits »

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Cast overview:
Marisa Belli ...
Ida Galli ...
Franco Giacobini ...
Mino Doro ...
Monica Neri ...
Helena (as Rosalba Neri c.s.c.)
Ely Drago ...
Jocasta (as Ely Dracò)
Gaia Germani ...
Raf Baldassarre ...
Un mercenario
Elisabetta Pavan ...
Aldo Pedinotti ...
Sunis (as Aldo Padinotti)
Claudio Marzulli


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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Superhuman Strength Versus Supernatural Evil! See more »


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Release Date:

April 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hercules in the Haunted World  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Due to his height and imposing, massive frame Reg Park had to do all his own stunts, as was common for sword and sandal films as there were simply no Italian stunt men available who were big enough to double for body builders of Park's stature. See more »


Re the above, for the record Pluto's daughter is not called Persephone in the original version, but 'Myosotide' (spelling not guaranteed). It's explicitly stated at one point that she's Pluto's daughter with Persephone. That mistake must have been added in the dubbing. See more »


[first lines]
Medea: This is Italia, a kingdom city of ancient Greece in an age of myth and legend. It is a time when Olympian gods and demigods rule over the elements of nature and control the destinies of men.
See more »


Referenced in Hercules: A Sex Adventure (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Hercules in a Haunted Gothic Hades - Mario Bava, We Worship Thee!
11 March 2010 | by See all my reviews

Mario Bava is one of the greatest directors who ever lived, in my opinion, not only in Italian Horror cinema, but regardless of country and genre. The magnificent Italian Horror deity died thirty years ago this April, and yet he remains unequaled in his unique talent to create a beautifully haunting atmosphere, and gorgeously uncanny mood. Like no other Horror director, Bava 's wonderful repertoire includes such a wide variety of brilliant gems that it is hard to pick favorites. The man's most essential masterpiece is doubtlessly "La Maschera Del Demonio" ("Black Sunday" / "The Mask of Satan", 1960), which was also the first film he took full credit for as a director, and which furthermore rose the wonderful Barbara Steele, the unrivaled goddess of Gothic Horror cinema, to fame. However, his filmography includes a variety of other true masterpieces that range among Horror's all-time greatest, such as the brilliant anthology "I Tre Volti Della Paura" ("Black Sabbath" / "The Three Faces of Fear", 1963), the unspeakably eerie "Operazione Paura" ("Kill Baby Kill", 1966), the incredibly beautiful "La Frusta E Il Corpo" ("The Whip and the Body", 1963), or the proto-Gialli "La Ragazza Che Sappeva Troppo" ("The Girl Who Knew Too Much", 1963) and "Sei Donne Per L'Assassino" ("Blood and Black Lace", 1964) with which Bava single-handedly created the wonderful Giallo-sub-genre. And even when dabbling outside his most familiar Horror genre, Bava surpasses all the rest as his insanely brilliant Crime Thriller "Cani Arrabbiati" (1974) proves.

Having adequately praised the master (as in any review on a Bava film that I write), I can finally come to this film. While "Ercole Al Centro Della Terra" aka. "Hercules in the Haunted World" aka. "Hercules Vs. The Vampires" aka "Hercules at the Center of the Earth" of 1961 isn't nearly en par with any of the man's masterpieces, it is yet another beautiful feast for the eyes that no lover of Gothic goodness could possibly resist. Co-directed by Mondo-great Franco Prosperi ("Mondo Cane"), this Hercules feature, which was inappropriately given a "Vampire" aka. title in order to cash in on Bava's Horror fame, is a Sword and Sandal film. However, it is a Sword and Sandal film by Mario Bava, and therefore has more to offer than the usual heroism, muscle-men, and beautiful nymphs in despair. "Hercules in the Haunted World" sends the eponymous Greek demigod (played by muscle-man Reg Park) to Hades. And who would be more predestined to bring the Greek underworld, the 'haunted' world of the dead to screen than Bava? No one, of course. Bava brings his wonderful Gothic style to ancient Greece here, and the underworld he creates is hauntingly beautiful as only Bava could do it. The almighty Christopher Lee, another great man whom I could praise forever, plays the villain in this film, but unfortunately has very little screen time. The female cast members are entirely beautiful, above all the gorgeous Ida Galli, who also had a part in Bava's own "The Whip and the Body" and many other Italian Cult productions.

Overall, "Hercules in the Haunted World" is obviously a lot cheesier than Bava's Horror films, and certainly not his most remarkable creation. People unfamiliar with the great director should first see the masterpieces named in the first paragraph. However, my fellow Bava enthusiasts can not afford to miss this excursion into a haunted Hades of Bava's creation. Highly recommended!

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