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Gianna Maria Canale
Raiders, attacking the village of Goliath and young Ciro, transport Goliath's girlfriend, Guja, to the island of Salmanak. Goliath and Ciro follow. Salmanak, nominally ruled by a Sultan, is actually controlled by the vampire, Kobrak. Kobrak has an ally in the villainous Astra, a beautiful woman who exerts influence on the weak-willed Sultan. Meanwhile Goliath allies with Kurtik, leader of the Blue Men. The Sultan's soldiers soon capture Goliath but he escapes, after rescuing Guja, and together the two flee to a cave in the desert. There they discover the waxed bodies of Kobrak's victims and reunite with Kurtik. Kobrak arrives, puts Goliath in a pit, encloses him in a bell, and tortures him with sound waves. Goliath survives, thanks to balls of wax in his ears provided by the repentant Astra, but Kobrak succeeds in turning himself into a replica of Goliath. The "bad" Goliath and the "good" Goliath battle. Virtue triumphs, Kobrak's victims are revived, Kurtik is installed as the new ... Written by
dinky-4 of Minneapolis
At the beginning of the film Maciste jumps into the sea holding an ax. When he is in mid-air he lets go of the ax which can clearly be seen dropping the water some meters away from him. In the next scene, underwater, the ax is back in his hand. See more »
Kobrak, the Vampire:
[speaking of Goliath/Maciste]
I want him alive. His magnificent body can serve as a model for the army of slaves with which I shall conquer the world.
See more »
GOLIATH AGAINST THE VAMPIRES (Giacomo Gentilomo and, uncredited, Sergio Corbucci, 1961) **1/2
Due to the potential horror elements inherent in the title, I had been intrigued since childhood by a one-page still from this film in a large book about "Epics" owned by my father's showing Gordon Scott grappling with an unseen assailant; only in hindsight do I realize he was battling 'himself' (22 years before SUPERMAN III!) by way of some amusingly modern wrestling tactics! Therefore, I was glad to finally get to watch this via a faded, English-dubbed print available on a "You Tube" channel dedicated to peplums...since, strangely enough, the film has never been shown on Italian TV or available on VHS in my neck of the woods! After donning Tarzan's loincloth 6 times, it was a natural step, I suppose, for American muscleman Scott to go to Italy and incarnate their household mythological hero Maciste (although Mark Forrest had already done so before him) albeit ludicrously redubbed with the Biblical moniker of Goliath for U.S. export! a role he would officially repeat twice more later on in the decade.
Speaking of the film's title, the American one also misleadingly hyped up the number of horrific villains in it by going for the plural word "vampires" rather than the more accurate singular one of the original; in fact, the vampire attacks here are nothing more than the collection of blood from sword or claw wounds suffered by the victims of the vampire's acolytes, which is then apparently used to revive the master villain Kobrak's desiccated wax-like warriors (described as "robots with blood"!) stored in his red-lit (netherworld?) cave; disappointingly, Kobrak's true skeletal visage is only really ever seen towards the film's closing moments! Maciste starts out as a village farmer but he is soon pelting soldiers with uprooted trees and stone columns or piles of chains! The biggest laugh-out loud moments are when Maciste slaps an assailant and literally sends him flying to the roof and when he is shown standing around whirling his arms into people like one of those gladiatorial training contraptions!
Thankfully, however, the film delivers aplenty in the atmosphere department and, all in all, this is yet another satisfying work from prolific and versatile Italian director Gentilomo assisted here by future Spaghetti Western expert Corbucci. Indeed, GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES emerges as one of the most bizarre and entertaining peplums ever, punctuated as it is by lively action sequences (a protracted market place scuffle early on is a particular highlight) but also an atypically grim countenance (not only are there no dwarfish comic relief figures but the characters of Maciste's mother and the little brother of Maciste's fiancée end up dead! But, wait, there is more: the prerequisite Arabian-style dance routine is anachronistically accompanied by modern-day jazzy sounds and goofy crab-like creatures lurk in the villain's pit! Besides, it turns out to be surprisingly blood-thirsty for what is traditionally kiddie fare with an arrow shot at point-blank range right into a villager's eye during the initial attack, another slides off a pole and ends up impaled on spikes, Kobrak's ominous threat of torturing Maciste by the use of sound-waves is nothing more ingenious than slipping him inside a giant bell and having his men clang the hell out of it(!) and, hilariously enough, old women are thrown to the sharks off of a slave ship (so what was the point of abducting them in the first place?). Actually, with all of this going on, the film still manages to lose some momentum in the build-up to the climactic attack on Kobrak's cave!
Apart from Scott, the cast includes genre stalwarts like Gianna Maria Canale (as Astra, ostensibly The King's favorite slave but truly Kobrak's servant), Leonora Ruffo (as Maciste's girl) and Jacques Sernas (rather than playing the obligatory romantic second lead, he plays an ambiguous alchemist leading a rebel army of Blue Men)! While I could tell the female lead here was an attractive blonde. I did not associate her with the stunning brunette from THE QUEEN OF SHEBA (1952); looking over her filmography, I realize that I have already seen her in 5 other movies and have another one (her last, Fernando Di Leo's BURN, BOY, BURN released in 1969) in my unwatched pile!
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