An Evil Queen, a Cyclops and Muscle Men – Maciste nella terra dei Ciclopi (1961)

Maciste nella terra dei Ciclopi 6
Maciste is just a simple man. He lives off on his own, doing good where he can and asks nothing in return. It is not too soon that he is dragged into a web of intrigue though, one made by man and gods that sees him rescuing the son of Queen Penope before the child is found by a rival queen who goes by the name of Capys. Queen Capys must sacrifice the boy, the last descendant of Ulysses and for whatever reason; it must be to the Cyclops that is held prisoner inside a cavern. Maciste nella terra dei Ciclopi 25If Queen Capys should fail to do so, she will become a slave to the darkness and to that effect, when Maciste stumbles into her life, she is unsure if she will be able to sacrifice the child when she gets a hold of him because she has fallen in love with Maciste who protects the boy.

As far as Peplums go, this Italian-made film which is also known as Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops despite the lack of anyone named Atlas, is quite decent. It is a little hokey of course and a little over the top, especially with the romance angle between Capys played by Chelo Alonso and Gordon Mitchell who plays Maciste. Maciste nella terra dei Ciclopi 21The two do make a handsome couple, Mitchell all rippling muscles which are focused upon more than once by director Antonio Leonviola and Alonso is all kinds of seduction and you can see the two becoming a couple in a perfect world. Yet, as Capys wants to kill the child to save herself and is willing to kill as many people as she has to so that she might glean the location of the boy, that little bit of evil comes between her and Maciste and prevents the story from giving Capys that happy ending.

Maciste nella terra dei Ciclopi 17For the most part, the action scenes are a little silly, almost like the choreographer had no idea what he was doing. There were a few good moments in the film, the best being the when Capys’ henchman decides to take matters into his own hands and kill Maciste by having the man’s arms attached to ropes while two groups of men play tug-of-war over a pit of lions. It then sees our hero with his incredible strength trying to remain balanced and pulling the men on either side into the pit. The fight with the lion near the beginning of the film was decent as was the battle with the Cyclops towards the end, but visually and emotionally as it was packed with suspense and excitement, the scene over the pit stole the show.

There are better sword and sandal films out there, movies that feature better scripts and more exciting stories, but this one never failed to entertain you in the slightest. Like most peplums, it features the hero’s quest, has a lot of beautiful women and a monster of some sort to kill, in this case a giant cyclops which looked quite impressive. If you are looking for matinee-fair, Maciste nella terra dei Ciclopi is perfect escapism.

3 out of 5

2015 Edition

First EntryTrapped in the… – Valley of the Dragons (1961)
Second EntryCan You Feel the… – Tremors (1990)
Third EntryBeauty and Danger Collide in… – Viking Women and the Sea Serpent (1957)
Fourth EntryDance the Night Away in the… – Village of the Giants (1965)
Fifth EntryIt Was a Time… – When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)
Sixth EntryDo Not Fall Into the Grasp of… – The Giant Claw (1957)
Seventh EntryWho Knew They Could Give Birth? – Tremors 2: Aftershocks (1996)
Eighth EntrySo Many to Choose From – The Loves of Hercules (1960)
Ninth EntryShould Have Stayed Down Below – Up From the Depths (1979)
Tenth EntrySnakes On a Boat! – Anaconda (1997)
Eleventh EntryThink Twice Before You Cheat – Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)
Twelfth EntryBack to the Trough – Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001)
Thirteenth EntryPast and Present Collide in… – Mega Shark Versus Mecha Shark (2014)
Fourteenth EntryMating Season – Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004)
Fifteenth EntryA Land Before Time – One Million Years B.C. (1966)
Sixteenth EntryBattle of the She-Titans – Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader (2012)
Seventeenth EntryLook Out for The Hoff! – Anaconda 3: The Offspring (2008)
Eighteenth EntryImpossible Dangers on… – The Lost Continent (1968)
Nineteenth EntryYou Will Wish the Legend Was Over – Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (2004)
Twentieth EntryGoing Global – Tremors 5: Bloodlines (2015)
Twenty-First EntryThey Had Discovered… – The Land That Time Forgot (1975)
Twenty-Second EntryThey Were… – The People that Time Forgot (1977)
Twenty-Third EntryDare You Enter… – The Lost World (1960)

Last Year’s Creatures…

Giant Monster Gamera (1965)
The Monolith Monsters (1957)
Gamera vs. Barugon (1966)
Tarantula (1955)
Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967)
Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957)
Gamera vs. Viras (1968)
The Cyclops (1957)
Gamera vs. Guiron (1969)
Monsters (2010)
Gamera vs. Jiger (1970)
The Killer Shrews (1959)
Gamera vs. Zigra (1971)
The Deadly Mantis (1957)
Space Monster Gamera (1980)
King Dinosaur (1955)
Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)
The Black Scorpion (1957)
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)
Them! (1954)
Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris (1999)
The Giant Gila Monster (1959)
Gamera the Brave (2006)
Frankenstein Conquers the World (1966)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.