War of the Zombies
Original title: Roma contro Roma
- 1h 38m
Seen on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater only in 1968
1963's "War of the Zombies" had a rather generic Italian title, "Rome Against Rome" (Roma Contra Roma), earning a third for its television airings, "Night Star, Goddess of Electra," a later example of the dying genre of peplum, soon replaced by the Spaghetti Westerns. We do have a heroic figure in Ettore Manni as Gaius, stalwart Roman centurion sent to recover a treasure confiscated by sorcerer Aderbad (John Drew Barrymore), deriving his powers from the one eyed moon goddess which gives him hypnotic abilities over all humans, his intention to raise all the warriors slain in battle to prove invulnerable in combat with the living. Gaius falls for beautiful servant girl Rhama (Ida Galli), much to the displeasure of Tullia (Susy Anderson), wife of the duplicitous governor, using an effigy to attack Gaius while accusing him of murdering her husband. The film comes alive whenever Barrymore is the focus, on a cavernous set with huge glaring idol at its center, papering over the listless backstabbing subplots left over from previous muscleman epics. Ida Galli, better known as Evelyn Stewart in later vehicles like "The Murder Mansion," had previously graced Mario Bava's exemplary "Hercules in the Haunted World," boasting none other than Christopher Lee as its blood drinking villain, while Susy Anderson recently essayed a more bland part in Bava's "Black Sabbath." The climax must be ranked as a disappointment, using stock footage from Edgar G. Ulmer's 1959 "Hannibal," the undead army appearing as transparent phantoms rather than a corporeal menace. Manni is no bare chested warrior, easily overshadowed by the flamboyant Barrymore and both female leads, the strong horror angle helping it stand out from a mostly routine pack, surpassed by Gordon Scott in "Goliath and the Vampires."
- Nov 21, 2021
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