|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|Index||13 reviews in total|
This is a late night trash-o-rama joy. Its about a vampire that steals woman and Goliath who goes to get them back. This is one of those so goofy its great movies that hooks you and makes you watch all the way to then when you realize that its made no sense what so ever but which you've enjoyed more than some of the good for you films people gush over. Its got weird monsters, good fights, great pacing, decent sets and a bunch of Blue Men that make me wonder if the Blue Man Group ever saw this movie. If you're in the mood for silly fun give it a shot.
I don't know what possessed me to pick up this movie from the video store,
but it turned out to be an interesting, and enjoyable, flick. I think I
would have enjoyed it much more, if the video transfer hadn't been of such
This otherwise routine sword-and-sandal film is livened up the truly
villain and some excellent music. One tune in particular, which plays
a slave girl dances, wouldn't sound out of place on a Ventures album, or a
compilation of surf tunes.
The story concerns Goliath's attempt to rescue the women of his village who were kidnapped as part of a diabolical scheme by the wizard Kobrak. The villain wants to use their blood to power his army of robots. (In this movie, robots run on human blood.) In the final scene, Kobrak changes into Goliath's shape. Goliath must then do battle with himself.
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!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I finally caught GOLIATH VS THE VAMPIRES, which stars Gordon Scott as
Goliath (not Hercules) and I have to say that I'm disappointed by it.
The film starts off strong: it's violent and even shocking by its
bluntness, the scene when the black warrior hands the evil demon the
cup of blood is effective and it reminded me of SUSPIRIA! But then as
the story went along, the film slowly fell apart because it kept
introducing incongruous genre elements which I thought didn't belong in
a S&S. Not only the film deals with vampires (as unvampiric as they
are) but it also has demons, Flash Gordon-kinda of elements, Ali Babba
elements, harems, zombies, haunted forest, cheesy giants insects,
The production design is above average or at least more elaborate than most Peplums but it also looks more cheesy or cardboard-like. I've never seen so many styrofoam props being tossed around. And the saturated blue/purple/red tone of the lighting didn't help much. Realism is not important in these kind of films but I thought it just looked too fake, even for a S&S.
There are some stand-out moments in the film, most of them happen at the beginning, like the entire scene when Goliath causes a ruckus at a square, which is one of the most thrilling scenes in any Peplum, and the dance sequence is also a highlight. The fight scene when Goliath battles with himself is also a highlight, in more ways than one, but that's sorta about it as effective moments go. Compared to other S&S films, the stand-out scenes are few and far in between.
Another negative point about this S&S, and it's sorta an odd one for a film made back then, is that aside from Goliath, his wife and Jacques Sernas, everyone else ends up dead, and that includes the kid!!! When Goliath stands in honor at the end, with the crowd cheering him, well, there's very little to celebrate if Goliath couldn't save anyone from his village or even that darn kid! Not very heroic, if you ask me.
The one really positive thing that really stands out in GOLIATH VS THE VAMPIRES is the score. It's truly excellent. Angelo Francesco Lavagnino wrote the score and deserves high praise. It's as good if not better than most scores heard in action films today.
For fans of Peplums like me, GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES is a definite must see but, in the end, it's not on my favorite list. It was somewhat entertaining but hardly memorable.
This is probably the first "Peplum" movie I ever saw, so I'm pretty biased about it, but even considering that, it's very entertaining. As one reviewer on another site points out, it's a revenge story (an unusual thing for this category of film), and one that's surprisingly violent at the beginning. And also that the requisite little kid sidekick isn't squeezed edgewise into scenes, but used in a pretty clever way. Along with that, it has plenty of good "formula" things - the harem girls, a pretty good supernatural monster, a "villainess" (albeit the kind who changes sides - I prefer the "unrepentant" kind), and (as many posters have pointed out) the "Blue Man Group." Gordon Scott always fit so easily into these movies (I might be the only one on earth who thinks that "Danger : Deathray" is okay, thanks largely to him), as did the Italian actors in this one.
From the mid 1950s' too the mid 60s' there was a Tsunami of 'Sword and
Sandal' films. In their native Italy they were referred too as
'pepla/peplum'. Heroic strongmen bestrode the land defeating Monsters,
Evil Tyrants and rescuing Damsels In Distress (D.I.D.). They went under
many names. Hercules, Maciste, Ursus, Samson, Goliath and even 'The
Son's of Hercules'. Which had a catchy tune in the intro and exit of
Most of these films had either a brief appearance at the 'Drive-In' or went directly to T.V. in the U.S.A. Production values were not the equivalent of a film like SPARTACUS (1960) nor the star power. Though occasionally a name Actor needing a quick cash fix made a appearance, like BRODERICK CRAWFORD or ORSON WELLES. Most times the lead was played either by a Italian 'Body-Builder' with a Americanized name or a American such as STEEVE REEVES, MARK FORREST or in this film GORDON SCOTT.
'Maciste contro il vampiro' (1961) made its appearance in the U.S.A. in 1964 as GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES or THE VAMPIRES. My Brother and I saw it on T.V. in a double feature of such movies that ran Saturday's during the Fall/Winter', circa 1966. Great Stuff! Our Hero 'Maciste' now 'Goliath' played by GORDON SCOTT was up too our expectations. As well as the Evil Villain, 'Kobrak' the Vampire. 'Goliath's' mission, save the abducted Women (D.I.D.) of his village. Restore the rightful ruler of Salmenak to the throne, 'Kurtik', JACQUES (Jack) SERNAS and rid the World of 'Kobrak' and his minions. Mission accomplished in a entertaining ninety-one (91") minutes.
These films have a certain charm and nostalgic appeal, particularly for those who grew up with them. I remember them fondly and particularly my Mother's home made Pizza we were treated too while watching for lunch. Many are a pleasant surprise like this one which is credibly done. Rewatching this film and seeing JACQUES SERNAS was in itself a surprise. Remembering him from HELEN OF TROY (1956), IMDb********Eight. The main problem with these films is obtaining quality copies. In the U.S.A. most of the DVD's come from non-source material and that is reflected in their poor condition. If you can get by that you will find many worthwhile.
I happen to like these cheap made in Italy spectacles. When I was I kid growing up in the sixties they were constantly on TV. So the appeal of these films to me is primarily nostalgia. However, I must admit most these films, in fact just about all these films are pretty bad. These films were the "kung fu" cheapies of there day. No I would never say that this film is good, but as far these films go, this one is not bad.At least its got a rather bizarre plot with its evil vampire bent on enslaving man kind. The bluemen are also kind of strange. The film is well paced and there is lots of action. Many of these spear and sandal epics are talky and static. Also from watching this film one can at least see that Gorden Scott din't get to fat to play Tarzan!
Most of the Italian sword and sandal epics of this era were about Maciste but the name was invariably changed to the name of a more famous legendary strongman in order to attract US audiences though I can hardly imagine that anyone interested enough to watch "GOLIATH AGAINST THE VAMPIRES" would choose not to if Maciste was billed in the title.Usually if it was either Steve Revees or Gordon Scott starring in these films at least you knew that you would be watching the best in the genre.Ex Tarzan Scott headlines this entry and it is a visually exciting and spectacular exploit made more interesting by the vampire angle.Other Scott movies of the era such as "SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES OF THE WORLD" and "THE CONQUEST OF MYCENAE" (aka "HERCULES'S CHALLENGE")were equally as enjoyable.If these films were to make anything like an acceptable transition to video I feel sure they would be popular again.As it is most video copies are grainy and faded.As the versions that show up regularly on German satellite stations are generally of a pristine quality it is difficult to see why this should be the case.Someone out there should champion the cause of movies such as "GOLIATH AGAINST THE VAMPIRES";modern day audiences then could ignore the critics and discover there is much gold amongst the dross.
Introducing non-traditional elements into the standard sword-and-sandal
formula can be risky. The results often collapse into confusion and
absurdity. Here, however, the merging of horror-movie with mythic-
strongman motifs results in a "peplum" which stands a notch or two
above its competitors. There are, of course, the standard but
always-welcome virtues: a lively brawl in a town square and again in a
tavern, a hoochy-koochy dance number inside the Sultan's palace, a
beefcake-bondage scene in which our sweaty, bare-chested hero struggles
with a wooden yoke bound across his brawny shoulders and outstretched
arms, etc. Then there are the spooky, supernatural vampire elements --
not as hokey as you'd fear -- and a memorable fight which pits our hero
against none other than his clone. Thrown in for good measure is an
ear-drum torture scene carried out inside a giant bell which conjures
up memories of similar moments in MGM's "The Mask of Fu Manchu" and
Rory Calhoun's "Colossus of Rhodes." Finally, a word of approval must
be given to this movie's refusal to use the boy, Ciro, for the comic
relief usually provided by those annoying Italian midgets.
There are, not surprisingly, weaknesses. Leonora Ruffo isn't given much to do as the heroine and, as a result, seems pale, lifeless, and forgettable, especially when compared to the vibrant, dark-haired "bad girl," Gianna Maria Canale. Secondly, the role of the Sultan is so poorly developed that the political situation inside Salmanak remains needlessly muddled. What's more, not enough is done with the character played by Jacques Sernas -- somewhat surprising considering Sernas' star-power.
Assets clearly outweigh detriments, however, and towering over everything is the impressive figure of Gordon Scott, an underrated screen presence who was somehow more than just a glorious physique.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Italian composer Angelo Francesco Lavagnino furnishes "Hercules Against
the Moon Men" director Giacomo Gentilomo with a flavorful, atmospheric
score for his above-average, but predictable spear and sandal saga
"Goliath and the Vampires," starring muscle-bound Gordon Scott as the
legendary champion. Like the Reg Park outing "Hercules in the Haunted
World," Goliath confronts a supernatural adversary called Kobrak.
Pirates from another kingdom attack a defenseless village without
mercy. They raze the village, slaughter the men, abduct the nubile
young women and transport them across the sea into slavery. So wicked
are these heartless sea raiders that they feed the older women to the
sharks. The eponymous strongman travels to the faraway island to rescue
the women. Outnumbered as always, Goliath tangles with dozens of
soldiers, but he exploits his strength to compensate in his battles
against superior numbers. No, Kobrak doesn't qualify as the standard
vampire with fangs, a regal wardrobe, and beguiling eyes. He
materializes like an apparition from nowhere, kills with his clawed
fists, and reduces his victims to lifeless mummies. Moreover, the evil
Kobrak shows no qualms about dispatching his own subordinates.
Gentilomo and scenarists Sergio Corbucci of "The Mercenary" and Duccio
Tessari of "Duck You Sucker" have contrived one of the better peplums,
with several elaborately staged combat scenes. Indeed, a couple of
counterfeit looking little monsters cheese up a scene or two, but they
are quickly forgotten. Meantime, our brawny hero has his hands full
most of his time struggling with his opponents. Bare-chested Gordon
Scott is appropriately stalwart and purpose-driven as the male lead.
The beautiful, hour-glass shaped women wear big hair. Gianna Maria
Canale looks as gorgeous as she is treacherous, and producer Dino De
Laurentiis seems to have spared no expense.
The opening scene solidly establishes the protagonist's character. Goliath (Gordon Scott of "Tarzan's Greatest Adventure") trudges behind two oxen and a plow, gouging grooves in an inhospitable field. Typically, the peplum hero is an outsider, sometimes a wandering adventurer, who enters a society and delivers it from tyranny, but Goliath is not an outsider here. Later, when he enters Salminak, he is an outsider. Gentilomo depicts Goliath as a peaceful farmer, using his incredible strength to uproot and remove a stump from the field. Clearly, though the most convincing but mundane scene, this modest display of brute force illustrates Goliath's determination to let nothing stand in his way. He uses his brawn to solve his problems. No sooner has Goliath gotten rid of stump than he hears cries of alarm. The young boy, Ciro (Rocco Vitolazzi), that Goliath brought with him, is drowning. Plunging from a high mountain cliff, Goliath saves the lad from a watery grave. Some kind of sea monster may have figured in Ciro's near drowning, but the fight has been mysteriously edited. As he takes Ciro back to their village on his white horse, Goliath reminds the youth that his sister would never have forgiven him if Goliath had let him die. Ciro chastises Goliath because he has kept putting his impending marriage to sister, Guja (Leonora Ruffo of ""Goliath and the Dragon") on hold. Gentilomo and his scenarists sketch more depth into Goliath's character than the typical peplum. As they approach the village, they see clouds of dark smoke gathering. They arrive too late to thwart the pirates. Ciro's mother and father lay dead, while Goliath's mother (Emma Baron of "Aphrodite, Goddess of Love") dies in his brawny arms.
"I shall avenge them," Goliath vows. "I shall free Guja and the others and those responsible will pay for their crimes." Moreover, Goliath is puzzled by the raiders. "Their ferocity and cruelty make no sense. Why do they murder like this without plundering. Why take nothing from the houses? Only the women are kidnapped and the men are thrown in the fire." An elderly man who survived the carnage informs Goliath that the raiders hail from the faraway island Salminak. Meanwhile, aboard their ship, the pirates slash the women, drawing plasma from all them but Guja, to fill a goblet for Kobrak to quench his thirst for blood. Kobrak's initial appearance aboard the ship is rather sinister. The leader of the raiders enters a chamber and a hideous looking hand wreathed in smoke emerges from behind a curtain and grasps the goblet. Gentilomo heightens the tension as the interior turns blood red and the curtain billow after Kobrak has drunk the blood. The captain scrambles out of the room, happy to be alive. Later, we learn Kobrak is assembling an army of faceless zombies to conquer the world.
Peplum lenser Alvaro Mancori of "Ulysses against the Son of Hercules" captures the larger-than-life splendor and savagery of "Goliath and the Vampires" with his widescreen cinematography. The violence is somewhat abrasive, but it remains primarily bloodless during the commission of the act with blood visible afterward. One scene shows a marauder firing an arrow into a man's face, while other shows a spear hurled into the villainess' stomach. The Corbucci & Tessari screenplay boasts a surprise or two, especially during the finale when Goliath confronts a foe that matches his strength. The filmmakers put our hero in several tight spots. One fantastic scene has Goliath with his wrists shackled to a huge wooden yoke behind his neck and across his shoulders. Goliath's captor challenges him to escape. Exerting his superhuman strength, Goliath snaps the yoke in half, removes the shackles, and then dislodges a pillar that brings part of the dungeon crashing down on his captors. An earlier scene in the town square has our hero dismantles a torture device with giant spikes in it and wields it as a weapon against armed horsemen. According to the Wild East blurbs, Corbucci helped out Gentilomo helming a scene or two, but Gentilomo directed the lion's share of the action. He keeps the action moving briskly along in this trim 91-minute opus.
"Goliath and the Vampires" ranks as a better-than-average peplum.
|Page 1 of 2:|| |
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|