Hercules, Prisoner of Evil (1964)

aka Ursus, il terrore dei kirghisi
Article 3222 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-13-2010
Posting Date: 6-10-2010
Directed by Antonio Margheriti and Ruggero Deodato
Featuring Reg Park, Mireille Granelli, Ettore Manni
Country: Italy
What it is: Sword and Sandal

A monster is loose in the vicinity, and so far, Hercules has been unable to track it down. An evil king decides to use the situation as a pretense to invade the region, claiming that the monster is a creation of Hercules and its residents. However, complications arise; Hercules is in love with he woman who is the rightful heir to the throne, and not everyone is who they seem…

Whatever flaws this particular sword-and-sandal movie has, I’ll definitely give it credit for one thing; it avoids the trap of merely repeating the tired story lines that usually mark this genre. The key wild card that has been thrown into the mix is the monster, and the mystery surrounding it and its elusiveness sets up some very interesting plot twists indeed. Technically, it’s not a Hercules movie; the Italian movie indicates that the main character is actually Ursus. Another piece of trivia; this is the first directorial work for Ruggero Deodato, who would go on to direct the notorious CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST; he’s only credited as assistant director, but according to IMDB, he was an uncredited co-director. The story gets a little confusing at times, and parts of it are unsatisfying, but the unusual story line and revelations make this one of the more interesting examples of the genre.


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