Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
'Drink from the Black Lotus, it will deaden the mind and heighten the senses!' is what the character of Ariadne, played by the completely legendary Sybil Danning would tell Hercules, played by the completely legendary Lou Ferrigno.  If I had to guess, everybody involved with making this semi-classic from back in 1983 was on the Black Lotus, because no one with an alert mind would've signed off on anything that we saw in this movie, but I can see where heightened senses, especially the sense of insanity would've been cool with just about everything.  Insanity is a sense, right?

Deep Voiced narration guy starts us off with undoubtedly the craziest version of creation I've ever heard of.  Even though I couldn't make heads or tails of most of it, I do know that Zeus and Hera and some other chick observe Earth from the moon, an Earth that was created by the smashing of Pandora's vase.  Anyway, evil is getting the upper hand on Earth so Zeus creates a light creature to enter the soul of a baby to grow and become the champion of man.  Kind wondering what happened to that poor baby's original soul, but we will keep moving on.

Now it doesn't take long for me to get completely confused in this movie as I believe the character of Minos (William Berger) stages a coup, along with his daughter Ariadne, and had plans on killing this baby, the legitimate future king, but the child is saved.  Minos also steals a wacky sword during this madness which will come into play much later in this movie.

Regardless, this baby is rescued and grows up all big and strong and stuff, looking like Lou Ferrigno and is working the farm minding his own business.  But that darned Hera, in yet another thing I don't understand, is fighting against Zeus on the side of evil.  Kind of.  I get in the mythology that Hera despised Zeus… but this ain't really that.  This is also about the time the wackiness kicks off in full effect, like when the stock footage / man in bad suit bear attacks Herc's adopted dad.  So upset with this bear, Herc killed it then threw it into outer space.  He totally did that.  Created Ursa Minor in the process.  I did not know this is how that constellation came to be. 
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Now Minos is aware of Hercules and wants him dead, so he uses the scientific talents of Dadalos (Eva Robbins) to create mechanical stop motion beasts to destroy Hercules.  It's insane.  Then Hercules does some more labors and meets the beautiful Cassiopea (Ingrid Anderson) who he falls in love with, but alas she is stolen from him by the completely evil King Minos.  I guess he's evil.  Actually, at this point he seems a pretty fair and just ruler, just wants his people to be brain dead and have heightened senses.  Kind of like we are today. 

Anyway, Hercules along with his new hot side kick, the sorceress Circe (Mirella D'Angelo) must make the trip to… Hades I think… hell, I don't know.  But I do know they have to save Isabella.  And have a light saber fight.  It's insane.

I was going to say that somewhere in the Kingdom of Heaven sits Luigi Cozzi, the writer and director of this film… but apparently he's not dead yet.  At least as of this writing.  In that case there will be a special place in Heaven for Mr. Cozzi as he has given us two of the most glorious cinematic masterpieces ever made in this film, and the classic 'Star Crash'.   Now 'Hercules' isn't quite as transcendent as 'Star Crash' but it is far more insane.  This is one of those movies, probably more so than any movie ever made, that I would've paid good money to be in the war room while they were plotting this thing out.  I dig that the plan was for the geniuses at Golan and Globus to make Big Lou the next Arnold back in '83, but did these guys actually see 'Star Crash' or 'Contamination' before they turned this movie over to Mr. Cozzi?

From the first frame to the last, there is nothing in this film that even pretends to makes any kind of sense.  When the narration guy starts droning on about how creation began, on one hand you're baffled that someone actually sat down in front of a typewriter to write this stuff, then you will be amazed that they convinced someone to say it and then to film it, but on the other hand you know that this is insane and the chances are it will only get crazier and you can't wait to see how crazy it can go.  You will not be disappointed. 

From the stop motion robot battles, to Herc's propensity to throw things into Outer Space, to the women in this family friendly film who consistently wear next to nothing, to the bad dubbing, including of Lou Ferrigno who speaks perfectly fine English, all the way to the epic light sword battle to close out the show… this was an experience like few others.   Even minor things were classically insane, like the guy who rode on horseback for miles to tell Big Herc that his mom was being attacked by a giant robot bird, only to ride back without taking Hercules along, forcing him to run the distance.  Herc didn't get there in time.  He should've murdered that dude.  Distraught, Herc burns down his own house… though it's made out of stone and probably won't burn.  Herc is stupid.  Even though Zeus told me he's the smartest of them all.  He's stupid too.

Because of the three Hercules films released in 2014, I had to track back to watch the craziest one of them all.  A film which should be taught at all film schools on how to completely annihilate a myth.  Nothing does it quite like Hercules 1983.
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