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For folks who have no lives and avoid deep thinking, the sweaty Italian
beefcake films of the late '50s/early '60s rank right up there with the
Japanese "Godzilla" series and Mexican masked-wrestler epics as the
ultimate in brainless entertainment. I'm not alone in this conclusion:
Studies from Bulgaria in the 1970s provide the proof. They've got the
data; let's not argue.
If you hanker for bad dubbing, rotten special effects, and ridiculous plot lines, this genre is your meat. Universally, they feature poorly staged action scenes - always a bad sign in action movies - and richly saturated color that jumps off the screen and toys sadistically with human eyeballs.
"Vulcan, Son of Jupiter" is a better-than-usual entry for one simple reason: There are a lot of half-naked women running around, too. Set in Bronze Age Greece, it details a war among the gods of Olympus over who's gonna snag the tail of Venus. Or Aphrodite - can't remember exactly; she's the Goddess of Love, anyway. There's fighting, infighting, scheming and a very brave midget. Chariots... yelling. Y'know.
It stars a guy named Rod Flash. Of course, that's his real name... And I'm Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. Doesn't matter. He's got a bod that could sell a whooole lotta Blueboy subscriptions. In fact, I wonder how these guys manage stay so oily. Was there a pec-lubrication specialist on the set?
One bright spot is a beguiling showgirl-style dance by the astoundingly sexy Bella Cortez. Could any other woman so mesmerize with the gemstone jiggling in her navel? Whatever happened to this beautiful Cuban actress? At the end of her dance, the god Mercury shows up and tugs playfully at a jewel on her scanty costume; the quick gesture leaves a strangely potent erotic jolt.
Interestingly, most of the over-the-hill bodybuilders in peplum were Americans who hung out at Gold's Gym in Santa Monica. Gordon Scott actually had a brief Hollywood career - as the first Technicolor Tarzan. Steve Reeves was... well... he was in a Ed Wood film in the mid-'50s. Gordon Mitchell, who's in "Vulcan" and was a kind of poor man's Charlton Heston, was the best actor of the lot, with a career mostly in Italy lasting until the early 2000s (He played the catamite-hungry gladiator in Fellini's "Satyricon").
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I swear, for divine beings sometimes these Greek gods act like they
just stepped off the set of the Jerry Springer show.
Well, they were always a rowdy bunch and in this movie the reason du jour for all the hullabaloo is competition between Vulcan the god of fire and blacksmiths, and Mars, the god of War, for the favors of the goddess of Love (and apparently Floozies), Venus.
Venus, as played by Annie Gorassini looks like a model for a 70's toothpaste ad and vamps around like the bimbos on any of the VH1 reality shows. She plays men like an Aeolian harp and wrecks homes as casually as popping the top on a can of soda. There's one scene where an overseer is whipping some slaves and she and Mars look on, giggling and making out. Yeah, the chick's got issues.
When Jupiter, King of the Gods, declares he will decide who marries Venus, she and Mars escape to Earth, not only to protect their love, but also to plot a revolt against Jupiter. They encounter a crazy warlord with a grudge against Jupes and convince him to build a siege tower that would reach to the top of Mount Olympus, with which they will overthrow Jupiter.
Vulcan in the meantime has been hurled down to Earth from the top of Olympus by Mars' ally, Pluto. He crash lands onto a beach where happen to lounge a gaggle of harem girls. One girl in particular, Etna, takes quite a shine to the disoriented god and you can see right away that they're destined for romance. (What a story they'll have to tell their kids) No sooner does Vulcan regain consciousness than the entire coterie is attacked by a band of genuinely loony looking lizard men known only as The Monsters. What with having crashed to Earth from a mountain peak only minutes earlier, Vulcan is understandably woozy enough to make easy pickings for the lizard men.
Also imprisoned by the lizard men are a group of rebels of some sort and among their number is Classic Peplum Sidekick Mark IV, the Wiley Dwarf. His name is Kayo and the prisoners free him so he can get a message to Vulcan's friend Neptune, King of the Seas. Neptune is portrayed as a bit flaky, although he's got a good look going on and he sends a posse of his hardcore Special Forces dudes to wipe out the lizard men in a quick, brutal battle.
Then there are some plot contrivances and Vulcan, his Main Squeeze Etna, and their band of rebels take on Venus, Mars, the warlord and their warriors in a Big Final Showdown.
It's a great battle scene and features the rebels vs. the warriors, Vulcan vs. Mars and Venus vs. Etna in what is probably the first ever babe on babe bullwhip brouhaha. Yup, chicks with whips.
Speaking of that scene, which also features hair pulling and skirt tugging, let me point out Bella Cortez, who plays Etna. WOW! Let me repeat that for emphasis. WOW! She put the "lure" in alluring. Bella is a beautiful Cuban actress who performs the Best Veil Dance Ever. Why she didn't become a huge star is beyond me.
Gordon Mitchell doesn't have a lot to do, but he's still good as the villainous Pluto. He could teach Maniacal Cackling at USC film school. He always picks up a movie.
Iloosh Khoshabe aka Rod Flash (awesome fake name) plays Vulcan as a bit of a Dudley Do-Right type. His chin is strong and his love is chaste. Beefy yet athletic, he's pretty convincing as a hero.
Lacking in a Hercules or any of his Hercu-surrogates, this is another of director Emimmo Salvi non-traditional peplums, which also include Ali Baba and the Seven Saracens and The Seven Tasks of Ali Baba. It's great light, energetic fun. The personalities and looks for all the gods are distinct and unique, which you don't always find in a peplum. If you're a B-movie fan you'll get a big kick out of this movie.
This is one of those movies that is so bad it instantly becomes a classic fun film. This is a movie where so much happens you won't be bored, it just keeps moving onward throwing monsters, gods, and myths in every which way at such a rate that you have to keep watching because you simply can't believe whats been thrown into the stew. Watch the film, preferably on a rainy afternoon when its the perfect time for a movie.
The Roman Gods take center stage in this one with an old fashioned
Olympic triangle taking place at the home of the Gods. Venus, the God
of beauty and love is making a play for Vulcan and she's got him
panting hot and heavy after her. That upsets Mars and Jupiter banishes
all three to earth to sort it all out.
Vulcan finds himself a nice earthly mortal who rivals Venus for her beauty, but he still doesn't like Mars. And Mars has got himself a Tower of Babel like scheme whereby he allies himself with some earthly despots to build a tower as tall as Olympus. Can Vulcan stop him in time from challenging Jupiter himself?
The Greeks and Romans did not believe in one all seeing and all pervasive spirit like Deity. They liked their immortals with all the, dare I say it, human frailties built in. The idea for the film is an interesting one, but the roles would require some classically trained actors, not people who are used to peplum spectacles.
This is now my fourth encounter with a movie involving Italian
film-maker Emimmo Salvi 2 of which proved positive but the remainder
were not; consequently, I cannot say that I am looking forward to catch
up with a fifth title...which is bound to be the Spaghetti Western,
WANTED JOHNNY Texas (1967)! Anyway, the film under review is yet
another peplum dealing with mythological Greek gods and must surely
rank as one of the weirdest ever made sometimes breaching a level of
awfulness that almost equals the one displayed by Luigi Cozzi's more
inventive HERCULES revamps of the 1980s!
Rod Flash (a pseudonym for Iloosh Khoshabe!) plays the titular blacksmith (the Roman god of fire) forging weapons for the likes of Achilles in the Olympian foundry who is improbably involved in a divine love triangle with the nymphomaniac Venus (played by Annie Gorassini being, quite evidently, the Roman goddess of love!; her initial tryst with Adonis is summarily ended by a lightning bolt thrown by an angered Jupiter!) and Mars (for being the Roman god of war and impersonated by future "Argoman" Roger Browne, he is pretty ineffectual in combat and has to seek the help of humans to reach his vengeful ambitions!). The ensuing struggle angers the king of gods, Jupiter (the Roman equivalent of the Greek almighty, Zeus) who sends them all to sort out their romantic issues on Earth! Lamely, despite all manner of wild-eyed characters and wild creatures, the conflict is finally resolved by Jupiter's anti-climactic vocal admonishment from the skies after all! For what it is worth, among the other inhabitants on Mount Olympus that put in an incidental appearance here are Pluto (incarnated by Salvi regular Gordon Mitchell and prone as ever to maniacal cackling!) and Mercury (played by character actor Isarco Ravaioli).
On the earthly side of the fence, Vulcan is abetted by Bella Cortez (playing his new love interest Aetna and the protagonist of a surprisingly sensual dance routine that for once justifies these normally terminally bland additions to the peplum stew), a pony-riding dwarf (ingenious or what?) and a sleepy-eyed Neptune and his Morlock-like minions! Hindering his progress, so to speak, are a Thracian warlord (who is somehow convinced by Mars to build a tower all the way up to Olympus with the intent of besieging it!) and his awfully silly-looking fanged lizard men!! This unheralded and (mostly unintentionally) enjoyable viewing came by way of a very battered, highly washed-out English-dubbed print available on a "You Tube" channel dedicated to this most maligned of film subgenres.
Two muscle men: Gordon Mitchell is Pluto this time and Rod Flash is
Vulcan! Monsters are terrorizing the people of the land and Vulcan must
save them before Mt. Olympus falls to ruin.
This one does have enough cheese to make the bread taste good. It's dumb enough to be entertaining, yet bad enough that most people will not watch.
This one could have been a good movie if was done right. I'm not advocating a remake but if the film makers would have done this one properly it could have been almost as good as Clash of the Titans 1981. Sadly this one didn't have the money pumped into it to create a film as good as "Clash"... it had the potential though.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Possibly one of the cheapest peplums ever made, this low-budget epic is
not totally without merit, although it does get pretty bad at times.
Thankfully, instead of being so-bad-it's-boring, this is a
so-bad-it's-funny kind of film which is pretty enjoyable to watch, even
if the film itself fails to hold up as an effective slice of escapism
as many of the pepla were. The story, which is simple and confusing at
the same time, inter-cuts footage of the gods in a dry-ice temple in
heaven arguing and discussing things with more standard
sword-and-sandal action down on earth.
Our first introduction to Vulcan is when we see him banging away on his anvil. The sexist Vulcan is played by Rod Flash, who never became a peplum star for obvious reasons. Physically he's very impressive, however, with an impossibly broad chest and a Steve Reeves-style beard. Sadly, Flash's acting is non-existent, and his acting style is the most wooden that I've ever witnessed in a peplum movie. It's so bad as to be cringe-worthy. Flash fights people by beating them over the back or throwing them around unconvincingly, so in the action scenes he's not too good either. Thankfully the supporting cast are more interesting.
Vulcan's major opponent is Mars, played by Roger Browne (The Incredible Paris Incident). Browne in comparison is small and lithe, making the protracted battle of the pair at the end of the film a bit unnecessary. Still, he makes for a nice baddie, pairing up with an angry bald warrior king who looks like a cross between Peter Lorre and Telly Savalas. The pair are fighting over the love of Venus, an incredibly floozy who drapes herself over any man nearby; obviously the Italian's idea of the Goddess of Love is as a flirty, shallow, blonde bimbo woman! Appearing as a "special guest star" is none other than peplum favourite Gordon Mitchell as the evil Pluto, who is criminally under-used in this film. Appearing in only a handful of scenes, all he does is stand around, laugh, and occasionally act. In the end he gets banished back to his own kingdom by Jupiter - huh? Thankfully, the love interest (not Venus but Etna, a slave girl) is played by Bella Cortez, whose incredible figure is highlighted in the number of skimpy costumes that she wears; her exotic dancing is one of the film's highlights.
From the moment a lightning bolt appears, having been scratched manually on to the film, you're made aware that the special effects aren't up to much. In fact the only other "effects" (if you can call them such) are of the lizard men, obviously just green-painted actors with bad rubber covers tied to their backs. I mean, no attempt has gone into them to make them even look halfway realistic and not like actors, but there you go. What can you do when you don't have a budget? Other highlights include a scene where the delectable Cortez is attacked by primitives in a mountainous valley (probably the film's only good bit of action) and a cat fight between Venus and Etna, with the pair whipping each other!! Sadly these scenes are countered by the presence of a (very) annoying dwarf character who acts as an unwanted comedy sidekick for Vulcan. He does things like disguise himself as a bush and push people over and is one of the most irritating characters in a peplum movie ever. So, finally, VULCAN, SON OF JUPITER is worthwhile only for bad movie fans who may get a kick out of Flash's wimpish hero, or undemanding movie viewers who may get a kick out of grown men hitting each other with lumps of wood. The choice is yours.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Trouble develops in Olympus when "Venus, the Goddess of Love" (Annie Gorassini) is scolded by her father, "Jupiter, the God of Lightning" (Furio Meniconi) for her promiscuous ways. To remedy this continual problem, Jupiter announces his intention to marry her off to either "Mars, the God of War" (Roger Browne) or "Vulcan, the God of Fire and Blacksmithing" (Iloosh Khoshabe). Yet rather than wait a month or so for Jupiter's decision, Venus decides to take matters into her own hands and joins with Mars and "Pluto, the God of Darkness" (Gordon Mitchell) in an attempted revolt. And since both Mars and Vulcan have been cast to earth pending Jupiter's determination, that's where Mars begins his disloyal operation. Now rather than reveal any more of this movie and risk spoiling it for those who haven't seen it, I will just say that this was an okay "Sword & Sandal" film for the most part. Unfortunately, it suffered greatly from being rather incoherent and confusing at times due to a lack of sufficient character development. It's also quite possible that the fact that this movie was originally produced in Italian and dubbed into English may not have helped either. Likewise, a few of the costumes could have used some improvement as well. On the plus side, I thought that both Annie Gorassini and Bella Cortez (as the sea nymph, "Aetna") were rather striking which certainly didn't hurt matters. Even so, neither of them were able to overcome the disjointed script or plot and as a result I rate this movie as slightly below average.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The previous _peplum seen was also a GM one, but this one's better
right from the beginning, and _unreluctantly soa bit more adult yarn,
aimed at teenagers as opposed to kids
. This one at least has a
rousing, knockout score, signed by none other than Giombini. It also
has slightly better production values, a sense of playfulness, etc..
It's a bit more colorful, sexier, violent enough, the protagonists are
the gods Vulcan, played by Iloosh Khoshabe, Marsplayed by Roger
Browne, while Venus is the delightful Annie Gorassini; there are Vulcan
and Mars on Earth, Mercury and Pluto in Olympus, Thracians, Sicilians,
Neptune, various barbarians with raping propensities.
Emimmo Salvi, Bella and Gordon are movie pals that have met more than once; someone seemed intent on promoting Bella, who has nice thighs, Gordon is credited as a genuine star, here they don't have any scene together.
And yet these outmoded fairy tales with athletes also express my willingness to indulge in a free, unrestrained physical life.
Sets, cast, broads, score, fights, effects, production values.
A movie should never be chided for cheapnessbut for stupidity, lack of ability, etc..
Neither Gordon M., nor Cameron M., were original Mitchells; the first was a (Ch.) Pendleton, the second was a Mitzel. This one was almost 5 yrs older than the strongman.
You might have already noticed that these newer, more playful reviews, are governed by overtly social, not aesthetic norms; that is, they transcribe more of a social awarenesschatting with my audiencethan an uncompromisingly aesthetic one, as once. Now my writing is molded by social concerns.
"It's a battle between mortals and gods as the right to claim the
Goddess of Love as their own brings the Roman gods of myth to life in
this classic tale. Vulcan, the God of Fire, wishes to have the
beautiful Venus as his bride and will battle strange creatures and
fellow gods alike, in his quest to win her. Amazing feats of strength
and fantastic fights abound in this tale of adventure and true love,"
according to the DVD sleeve's synopsis. "Vulcan, Son of Jupiter" is a
dubbed in English, Italian-made feature. Bouncy, bountiful Bella Cortez
and alluring Annie Gorassini are the fleshy film's G-rated headlights,
** Vulcan, Son of Jupiter (1961) Emimmo Salvi ~ Richard Lloyd, Bella Cortez, Annie Gorassini
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