Many thanks to Cinematic Catharsis and Realweegiemidget Reviews for inviting me to the Christopher Lee Blogathon. I feel as though I'm really in my element with this blogathon, reviewing a partially-dubbed widescreen sword-&-sandals sort-of-zombie-vampire film where a movie legend appears for about ten whole minutes. That's totally right up my alley!
Speaking of being right in my element, I might have mentioned that I recently had a mid-life career change. Everything about my career is completely different. I used to stand on my feet all day, stay up way too late, and be extremely cool. Now I sit all day, get up very early, and I'm still extremely cool, but no one appreciates it, and I'm certainly not getting paid for that. I can no longer just skate by on style, sarcasm, withering glares, quirk, and stoicism. I'm now licensed to ACTUALLY KNOW THINGS. Not that I'm complaining. I needed to try something different and learn new skills, and I don't miss my old career in the slightest.
By the way, Happy World Goth Day to everyone! I'm listening to Bauhaus in celebration. Disclaimer, I've never really been cool, except for a two-week period in 1986, but the bar was set pretty low considering it was 1986.
Speaking of getting up very early, since I now sit at a desk with my big ol' knowing-things brain for 8 hours a day, I've gotten into the habit of rising at dawn and running through the Alps. No, it's not actually the Alps. I've been getting on the NordicTrack and watching a video some dude walking through the Alps while I jog and sweat for about 20 minutes. Sometimes if I'm feeling a little spicy, I'll watch a guy walk through a haunted house while I jog and sweat for about 20 minutes, because isn't that exactly what a video treadmill is good for?
This new found health regimen has had one unfortunate side effect. I might be imagining it, but I'm pretty sure that my calves have become more muscular than my thighs, resulting in my legs looking suspiciously similar to Popeye's arms.
Well, I could sit here and talk about 15% incline Swiss hikes, unintentional body building, and spinach all day, but let's get on the the movie review.
Hercules In The Haunted World
After a roll in the hay, Hercules' friend pushes his girlfriend in the river. Hercules throws a huge cart and destroys a hay-bearing structure, then there's mournful oboe. I'm not sure why there's so much hay and oboe.
While bathed in rich, colorful lights (which is a remarkable feat for thousands of years ago), Christopher Lee tricks a guy into getting stabbed over a tiara in a strange underground temple. He glares and looks generally bad-ass. GOALS.
Suddenly, some guy walks up behind Hercules and calls him Achilles as if he hadn't read the script, or maybe he just sort of wandered in from a different shorty-toga movie and got lost.
Hercules' boat travels through an otherworldly realm that is lit by a sinister red glow, and it reminds me of a completely different candy-colored boat ride, only this one is actually exciting and has a catchy tune.
Suddenly, Hercules throws a giant rock to get a magic apple out of the very top of a dead tree, which is often where magical, mythical fruit grows.
Suddenly, a rock monster appears.
It's not very interesting.
Suddenly, Hercules says, "Stop, it's a trap!", and I'm surprised he hadn't realized this whole trip smacks of being a set-up a little earlier.
Suddenly, Hercules goes for a weird, one-armed swim, then he wanders through moaning wicker and climbs over difficult lava. Then Hercules' friend falls into the lava, which has the consistency of chunky soup.
After nearly an hour of screen time, Christopher Lee reappears.
I neglected to mention the masked oracle by a pool. Well, I mentioned it, so you can get off my back about it.
Some much-needed vague vampirism finally occurs around the 1:07 mark, when Christopher Lee's face is reflected in a pool of blood, which wasn't half bad, really. Zombie-like hands burst forth from their graves and crypts for some reason, and wraiths suspended by strings levitate and swoop past the camera amidst crashing cymbals. Since it's kind of interesting, it only happens for about ten minutes.
Suddenly, Christopher Lee gets thrown by Hercules, then Christopher Lee stabs Hercules with a skeleton hand. On a scale of one-to-ten, I'll give it 5 Dave Vanians, 4 Peter Murphys, and throw in 4 Siouxsie Siouxs for good measure.
It's my policy to not post spoilers about the ending of the movie. I'm going to break that rule, because your viewing experience can only be enhanced by Christopher Lee bursting into flame. It's pretty sweet, unexpected, and not thoroughly explained.
Many times during my viewing of Hercules in the Haunted World, I imagined what it might have been like watching the vivid colors of the adventures of Herc and friends on a massive drive-in theater screen. Many times, I also nodded off, because 5 a.m Swiss jogs and stupefying leather toga'd boredom.
Hercules in the Haunted World features lots of scenes of toga'd individuals standing around talking and lots of hay. Hercules throws a bunch of stuff. There's a weird Goldilocks conflict over bed sizes featuring a rubber-suited rock monster. Hercules is only in the haunted realm for about 15 minutes, and Christopher Lee barely appears. The lighting is fabulous, though.