16 April 2008 | Bunuel1976
THE MEDUSA AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES (Alberto De Martino, 1963) **
Passable low-brow mythological hokum: Richard Harrison is Perseus who, rather than the offspring of Zeus, here is the adopted son of Hercules (and an unwitting deposed monarch to boot!). The film provides two villains in Arturo Dominici, an ambitious man who usurps the throne by killing the current ruler and marrying his wife (the scriptwriters must have read "Hamlet"), and Leo Anchoriz as his equally despicable son who also acts as a rival to Harrison for the heroine's hand; the latter, then, is the usual lovely sovereign of a rival harassed empire (but who, at least, demonstrates a prowess with bow and arrow).
In this outing, Perseus fights a couple of monsters: a man-eating dragon residing in a lake(!) and the titular paralyzing creature (which, instead of sporting writhing snakes in its hair-do, is a vine-like Cyclops that would better fit the atmosphere of a science-fiction movie, in the vein of the shapeless one-eyed alien seen in IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE , than a sword-and-sandal flick); nevertheless, the latter confrontation anticipates the Ray Harryhausen opus CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981). With respect to the human end of the scale, the ongoing dispute is resolved over a long-running duel between Harrison and Anchoriz taking place at the heart of a tournament organized by Dominici.
Director De Martino made a few peplums before going on to other "Euro-Cult" genres (Spaghetti Western, war, horror, giallo, etc). Eugenio Bava father of cult film-maker Mario served as technical adviser here, presumably contributing the matte work involved in the creation of the special effects. The film's score is highlighted by a catchy but corny title tune heard over the opening and closing credits.