To avenge his father's death, and free the peaceful people of Seriphos from Galenore, the evil son of the king of the neighbouring city of Argus, Perseus, the mighty warrior, must first defeat a dragon and the monster Medusa, whose steely gaze has turned all of Seriphos's best warriors into stone. bcarruthers-76500
The peaceful people of Serifo are unable to use their trade route due to attacks by the soldiers of Argos, led by the king's wicked son Galenore (Leo Anchóriz), and the existence of both a dragon and the hideous Medusa along the way. Help comes in the form of Perseus, the rightful heir to the throne of Argos, who defeats the dragon and the gorgon, and commands an army to defend Serifo from an attack by the Argos army.
As much as I admire the work of stop-motion genius Ray Harryhausen, I was never that impressed with his final film, Clash of the Titans, which saw Greek hero Perseus defeat the gorgon Medusa and rescue the beautiful Andromeda from the Kraken. In some ways, this cheapo '60s Italian fantasy peplum adventure, in which Perseus (played by Richard Harrison) also battles Medusa, is marginally more enjoyable than the star-studded Clash.
While Perseus Against the Monsters' special effects are undeniably far cruder than those in Clash of the Titans, they are arguably more memorable, the dragon an impressive life-size mechanical model that is wheeled out (literally) whenever someone gets too close to the edge of its lake, and Medusa a tree-like cyclops with snake branches who moves along on writhing tentacles. Both are clumsy looking creatures, cobbled together out of odds and ends by effects man Carlo Rambaldi (of E.T. fame), but they're imaginative and surprisingly effective, Medusa in particular managing to be be quite unsettling despite the fact that 'she' looks like she might topple over at any moment.
Director Alberto De Martino also packs in more action than Clash, with none of that boring nonsense on Mount Olympus that really dragged the Harryhausen film down. There's a fun tournament that involves jousting and a duel on a wooden bridge, plenty of battles with clashing swords and deadly arrows, and a castle siege. There's even a jolly theme song over the opening and closing credits. It all adds up to a passable piece of peplum bolstered by some family friendly fantasy.
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