Movie Review: Hercules and the Captive Women (Pain Box)

Posted: January 20, 2010 in Movie Review, Pain Box, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hercules and the Captive Women (1961 Dir. Vittorio Cottafavi) Episode 12 of Season 4 which was shown on September 12th, 1992

Now squeal for me piggy! (yup, a sodomy joke right out the gate)

Flaming Crab Cakes! It was hard finding any information about this. The name of the movie is actually “Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide” and that is not the same thing as is written on the side of the box, let me tell you! I got an Italian Language Wikipedia page when I put it in and only someone who speaks Italian could tell me if it’s even about Hercules or this other cat Ercole. Is that an Italian name for Hercules? Who can tell? As Hercules Unchained is called Ercole e la regina di Lidia in Italian I’m going to guess that Ercole is Herc. I did find one page, but I didn’t really bother reading it because I’m in enough pain already and the movie hasn’t even actually started yet.

Did we really have to meet in this parking structure?

We start with as short historical narration about who ruled Thebes and how Herc and his son lived there. Now this isn’t Steve Reeves as Herc, this is Reg Park. A big red filter goes over the screen, while someone tries to start the plot, but I can only see a screen of red and I worry I’m probably missing something. The sound and color are horribly washed out and it’s hard to hear what’s supposed to be going on. It doesn’t help that we’re five minutes in and the only scene of dialogue is a bunch of people asking each other what the hell is going on. I think they’re being threatened, but it could be that the gods are giving life, so maybe they’re being threatened with life giving goodness? Seriously, I have no idea what the hell is supposed to be going on.

And here he is napping

Okay! A fairly clear dialogue scene has told me that a great evil is approaching to attack the Greeks. Sort of en mass I guess, but the Greeks can’t decide if they should unite against evil or just have a sammich. Androcles decides to go alone, worrying that someone will take over his kingdom. So Herc, being the helpful guy he is, announces no one will sit on his throne. He then proceeds to lift it up and hurl it to the ground, breaking it into pieces. He says they’ll rebuild it, but they can’t exactly go to Ikea to get another one. So the king decides that Herc is gonna go with him, and of course he doesn’t take no for an answer.


I think Herc’s son put a sleeping powder into his drink and shanghai’d his dad, but again, the audio is so bad it could be anything. Had they left in the original Italian, or possibly used a Portuguese dub, the sound might be worse, but I doubt it. Herc isn’t ticked though, he sort of finds it amusing that the king has just him and his son for an army against the enemy they know nothing about. No really, they even mention they know nothing about and have never even seen the enemy. No one knows who he is, what he wants, if he exists. Yeah, I said it. Maybe there is no enemy and this was all just a trick. If it turns out I was right, I want to say I called it right now. Umm, yeah, I’m watching as I type. I can’t take watching this and then watching it again to write the review so I’m reviewing as it plays. You’re getting it realtime baby! WOOOO! It’s the future! Well, actually it’s the past because I’m reviewing this in July.

Still napping. There is a lot of him sleeping in this movie.

So Herc sleeps while someone cuts the water pouches. Actually, there’s a lot of that. War starts, Herc Sleeps, they drug his wine, he sleeps, they travel the high seas, Herc sleeps, they cut the water skins, Herc sleeps, they kidnap the king, Herc sleeps. Herc only wakes up when it’s clear the guys are stealing the boat, and then he gets up and drags the boat back into shore via the anchor chain. As Herc’s name is in the title though, he wins and takes the boat back. AND THEN… Herc goes back to sleep. What a surprise. Waaaah. I just noticed that we’re only 22 minutes ion and have 72 left. Whimper. Why do I do this to myself? How many people are really going to read this?

Oh look! He’s standing now!

Okay, so a storm kicks up, but I can’t understand anything that anyone says because the storm noise kills all the voice work. Herc’s son gets swept off the boat though. Then the boat gets wrecked, and if you’re ready for a shock, Herc goes back to sleep. YUP! He goes to sleep on a bit of driftwood. I have no idea how he got to be such a big deal, since all he does is sleep. He has a dream about the king, begs Zeus for help, has a nap and then swims to an island, presumably because he thinks there will be better naps there.

Scrooge looked in amazement at how bad this movie was.

Huh? What’s he doing here? Weird. Anyway! On the island we have the eponymous captive women, or woman. It’s one girl in a fake looking bit of plastic rock that has bits cut out so you can see her face and hands. The girl tells him to run away, after asking him to kill her and end her torment. I know how she feels. An old man also tells him to leave and turns into the fakey-est looking fake iguana monster I’ve ever seen and then a wall of flame. There is also some talking, but I can’t understand much more than every third word. I hate complaining about the audio so much, since I’m sure most of what’s being said isn’t worth listening to anyway, but it’s really a problem here and I’d like to be the one to decide.

Are you guys even trying?

Herc kills he monster, saves the girl and… is there a plot to this? I mean I know Herc Unchained had problems but really! I can’t even tell if there is a plot, much less the seven or eight unchained had. Anyway, Herc walks to Atlantis, without even taking a break for a nap and surprise, surprise, the Queen of Atlantis is wearing a cocktail dress and has a beehive hairdo. She’s less thrilled than you’d think to have the girl, who turns out to be her daughter, returned to her. It seems if the daughter of the queen lives then Atlantis shall be destroyed. She let the daughter get this far because this is Herc’s world and we’re just livin’ in it. See, if there weren’t a full-grown girl for Herc to get interested in, then he wouldn’t save the day. Pretty much all of Herc’s motivations are sleep and tits.

Seven days after watching a video with her in it, you die!

Herc’s Son turns up with his midget, oh yeah, there’s a midget, and they fight the soldiers that are supposed to kill the daughter. Mostly they do this by hitting their shields with rocks and knocking them out. NOT KIDDING! They save the girl, and talk to her, but I can’t understand anything they say because of the lousy audio. I could claim the audio got really bad and had to turn on the MST3K episode, which has better audio and video to boot. BUT NO! I’m going to keep up this pretense of professionalism and watch this bitch. Even if there is only really audio on the left channel, even if the colors only come in the palette of “Washed out” and even if what little of the movie I can understand makes me long for the moments I can’t. I will do it, because I’m the baddest mofo ever to review a crappy movie. Eye of the Tiger baby!

Herc is actually very short.

So anyway, someone tires to kill Herc in his sleep. Big surprise there, him being asleep and all. Oh yeah, it’s the king that wanted to kill him except it’s not really the king, just some guy who looks like him. Or maybe it’s really him. Who knows? I don’t. The queen tries to mack on Herc’s hot bod and gives him some wine. When he falls down asleep, I want everyone to know that I called it. Of course it’ll be hard to know if he was drugged by the wine or just laid down for another nap! BUT WAIT! For once it wasn’t a nap. Ahh, bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you?

Sleeping, sleeping, sleeping
Sleeping AGAIN! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie were one character sleeps so much.

Oh yeah, the son and the girl and the midget all walk along together while son and girl fall in love. No love for the little guy though, they never let the short guys fall in love. They run around in the desert, trying to avoid soldiers… for some reason that I haven’t quite worked out yet, and fall in love. I’m not just being contrary, the audio is so bad that I honestly am having trouble following the story of this movie. Assuming the movie has a story you understand, which is something I’m not willing to concede just yet. Another problem is that there are actual breaks in the film which were just spliced together. So there are missing bits of movie here, along with everything else. I should have just watched the MST3K version, that at least had clear sound and video.

Make your own Creepy Crawlers with the Creepy Crawler Playset.

So it turns out that the Alantians are trying to form a master race abusing the men of the valley while doing it. I’m pretty sure the men of the valley only just turned up in this movie, though I could be wrong. Herc agrees to help stop the people of Atlantis and save the men of the valley while his son stays behind to mack on the chick. The problem is that the men of the valley have decided that today is a good day for someone else to die and decide to attack the city. Herc’s son thinks this is bad because they need to wait for his father. Not to beat an already dead and decaying horse, but because of cuts and bad audio, I have no idea what the problem is. I still have half an hour of movie to watch and I’ve yet to work out the plot.

Frankly our colors are so washed out, I don’t know what side we’re supposed to be on anymore.

There is a magic rock, made of the blood of Uranus, which kills people. Herc wants to destroy the rock, but some old guy will only let him if he proves to be a man of great power. The old man then tells Herc that sunshine is the best disinfectant and that if he can shine the light of the sun on the stone then its power will be destroyed and so shall Atlantis. I wish you were here, partly so I could prove this insanity but mostly because watching these things alone can’t be good for me. After the old guy tells Herc about the Sun, there is a battle we don’t see. No, really. They actually fade out, as if there was a commercial, and when we come back, all the men of the valley have been slaughtered. The only reasons for these old Sword and Sandal movies is to have the big battles at the end and they skipped it! Maybe it’s because there is still 20 minutes left. 20 minutes? I was sure this movie should have ended an hour ago!

This man no longer believes in the movie he’s starring in. I don’t even know why he bothered being awake for this scene.

It would be so easy to just walk away. You could just fake the rest. Just pretend like you watched it, just pretend. Who is ever going to watch this to make sure your review is accurate? They’ll never know, just throw in the last twenty minutes of Seven Samurai. Fake some screen caps, put some suggestive comments. No one will ever know, I’ll keep the secret, you can trust me. Not only will it be easier, but everyone will thank you in the end. C’mon, it’ll be so easy, just walk away. Think of it, you could be watching The Evil Dead right now! Huh? Huh? Maybe even the Seventh Seal, or The Rocketeer. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Hmmm?

You could be watching a movie that doesn’t suck right now

Ma-Movie that doesn’t suck? Are there such things? Are there movies that don’t suck? I can has non-crappy movies?

Are you going to let this crappy movie win? Is this all there is to you?

I… but it sucks so much.

I thought you were made of sterner stuff. I thought we could depend on you.

It just… I hurt so bad.

… No! Weirdo! Please, you can’t quit now. Think of Camo-Ninja! What would Camo-Ninja say? Would he give up? Would he quit?


You can do it Sailor Moon!

Camo-Ninja? Is that you?

C’mon! You can beat this movie! THINK! What would Marlowe do?

Can I? He’d… what would he do?

He’d do it for God, for England, and St. George!

Wha? Would he?

Do it for Tiny Tim!

But surely, Mike, Joel, Crow and Tom could…

They are not standing on the square sir! You are.


Will no one help the widow’s son?

Now wait! I’m not even a Mason.

Will you let this evil movie have it’s way with this cute little hottie?



I don’t want to, but what can I do? It sucks so bad.

We’re going to enjoy her, just step away and we’ll end this now.

…Don’t worry. It’ll all be over soon. Don’t worry about this riff-raff, we’ll just pretend like they didn’t even exist after this.

Don’t look baby, you don’t want to see this.

Look! I’m sorry, okay? I’m just a small time writer with ADD and a tiny readership. Even if I did somehow wrestle this movie to the ground, what could I do? Warn fourteen people of the danger? I’m not Stephen Fry you know. This isn’t even really what I do, this is an off-shoot, a side project. I only post here maybe four times a year normally. I’m sorry if evil seems to have seeped out and is currently destroying the world, but I can’t do anything about it. It’s not as easy as you seem to think. I’m sorry. I’m not as strong as you thought. I’m sorry everyone, I just don’t think I can keep going on. This is the sort of movie that just rips your soul out. Even if the color wasn’t screwed, and the sound wasn’t some of the worst I’ve ever heard, and it wasn’t re-edited to within an inch of it’s life, it would still be just a crappy cash in.

Confound it sir! Will you simply sit there idle while evil deeds are afoot? If you do, then you shall receive NO SANDWICHES!







Must… go… ON! Must… finish… crappy… movie! How the hell… does Shatner… do this? I guess that’s why he’s The Shat and I’m not. Never… mind that, must… not… quit! This movie must be watched, no matter the cost. If I can just open this Autobot Matrix of Leadership, it’ll unleash the power of Stan Bush. If only there was a mystical token, a bright shining emblem that could help me. If only I had a metallic fish backed up by a funk fiber optic reflection superimposed under it. I need a golden fish. Must reach for a golden fish. Help me Obi-Wan Ken-Sadko, you’re my only hope.

If I can just get a golden fish…

Did he say a golden fish?


Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. I feel cleansed now. To be perfectly honest, that’s actually a recreation of how I felt while actually watching this mindless pile of dreck. I really did have a crisis of conscience where I contemplated just turning on the MST3K episode and following along from there. I even considered saying to hell with it filling in the rest of this review with bullshit and pretending like I watched it. But I knew that you, my audience, would want to know you could trust me. I needed to finish this, not for you but for me. And besides, I know you depend on me to tell you what movies you should see. You rely on my interpretations to tell your friends what things to watch and what to avoid. Besides, what would Peter Cushing say?

Let’s finish this.

Word up Pete!

Now, where was I? Oh yeah, the queen of Atlantis tells Herc that her soldiers are all Super Soldiers ala Captain America and that all of them have his strength. I wonder if they also has his weakness, that being the constant need to nap. It doesn’t matter because the fight is now officially on! Or maybe it isn’t because Herc jumps through a trap door, finds his son and then you think the fight must really be on right? You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. The movie never really gets going unfortunately. What we do get is Herc and son trapped in a room full of magic gas and a progressively lowering ceiling. Yeah, they went there, they went for the crushing ceiling. Pity there aren’t any spikes.

Wait? So the Master Race is Amish?

It doesn’t matter of course because Herc and son easily push the ceiling back and crawl away from the evil magic mist. Then they travel through some caves before finally Herc Announces that he has had it with these melon farming snakes on this melon farming plane and goes all out balls to the wall… no, actually he doesn’t. He just steals a chariot and goes joy riding. *Sigh* Steve Revees, where are you? Hell, I’d take Bruce Li at this point. Herc gets to the chamber where the stone made of blood is and starts breaking through the ceiling to let the sun shine in. Meanwhile the midget tells the son that the girl and the king have been kidnapped so they go to try and pretend that they’re going to wrap up the B-Plot even though this movie doesn’t really have an A-Plot to deal with so there can’t very well be a B-Plot to sort out.

So close, and yet so far.

Herc breaks open the ceiling and sort of sets a time bomb since the sun shines down about two feet away from the spot where the stone is. The old man tells him that the sun will move and destroy the stone, even though, really, why should Herc believe that? Let’s think about this for a moment, who has been trustworthy in this whole movie? No one that I’ve seen. So why believe the old man? I guess because the plot says so. Also, the light does shine down, the island explodes, everyone on Atlantis dies, the joint sinks and only Herc and company escape. The island takes about nine hours to be destroyed though, which is strange because there’s only five minutes left to the movie’s runtime. HOWEVER! The girl is among the company so the son does get the girl. So that’s nice. The King remembers Herc, the Son gets the Girl, The Midget gets nothing. And I get deep psychological scarring that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Ah well, it’s not like I’m able to sleep at night anyway.

Is it me, or does that guy on the right seem about to scream that this is Sparta?

I need to say, this really was a tough movie to watch. Strange as it may seem, I actually like these movies. For all the teasing I gave them, I liked The Atomic Brain and The Transparent Man. They’re sort of cheep, but they’re still entertaining. It’s fun to watch that stuff and take the piss out of it. You can like something while admitting all the flaws that dog it at every step. A lot of time, you need these crappy bits of garbage, just to give the truly great movies a place for comparison. This however, this wasn’t fun. This was really hard and painful to watch. Also, I can’t really watch something for a review with friends. They get resentful when I pause the movie to write a paragraph. So watching it alone, my reviewing space became a very lonely place indeed. When the movie is this bad, and you’re alone, it hurts you and that hurt is a lonely hurt and this here truck is alone in the world. Yeah, a real live, genuine literary references in your Hercules review. Suck on that! It hurt bad and there was no help for it. This movie derailed plans I had to do a whole month of MST3K movies without the bots. Instead, I ended up with what you got, which wasn’t perfect in my mind. Still, there is tomorrow, and I’ve got something sort a treat planned. A treat to me anyway. Although at this point you must feel like you’re opening one of those puzzle boxes every time I post now.

What’s your pleasure sir?

PS- I do hope you noticed the voice of evil is Comic Sans MS. I thought it a particularly nice touch myself.

Official Score:
-60 Degrees on the Graffiti Bridge Scale.

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