MINOTAUR, THE WILD BEAST OF CRETE (1961)
(a.k.a. TESEO CONTRO IL MINOTAURO)
Article #1567 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-29-2005
Posting Date: 11-26-2005
Directed by Silvio Amadio
Featuring Bob Mathias, Rosanna Schiaffino, Alberto Lupo
Theseus goes to Crete to take on the Minotaur.
It seems like ages since I’ve had the opportunity to cover another sword-and-sandal movie, and that’s a good thing; you can overdose on these things. This one starts out promising; the attack of a woman by a big hairy monster in a pre-credits sequence seems to promise a fair degree of monster mayhem. Well, don’t hold your breath; there’s only one monster in the movie, and since they’re saving it for the big climax, you have to wade through eighty minutes of typical sword-and-sandal shenanigans before Theseus even announces he’s going into the labyrinth to take on the Minotaur. So we get an evil queen lusting after our hero, a village of peasants massacred by armed warriors, lots of bare-chested male camaraderie, and four (count ’em, four) moments when the story grinds to a complete halt so we can have a dancing girl sequence. That’s at least three too many and way above average for this type of movie. The plot is so elaborate they even have to bring in a goddess at the halfway point to clue Theseus in on a gaggle of plot development. Unfortunately, our hero is one of those normal-strength variety; the biggest rock he throws is no larger than your head, and his attempt to bend the bars in his jail cell is merely pathetic. Still, on the plus side, the dubbing is much better than usual for this sort of thing, you can actually use the word “spectacle” to describe the fight scenes without giggling, and the monster is pretty good for a peplum, even if it doesn’t resemble the traditional description of the Minotaur in any way, shape or form.