Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day Part 8- Hercules Against the Moon Men!

Now it's time for a favorite episode of mine, Hercules Against the Moon Men. MST3K watched more than a few Italian sword & sandal films, and this is quite possibly the "best" of them.

Before I begin with the plot synopsis, I'm going to break with tradition and talk about one of the opening invention exchange sketches. For their invention, Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank have "Deep Hurting" featuring "Sand Storm". Bear that in mind, because it'll be important later.

Anyway, on to the main event! In this corner, Hercules!

Against the Moon Men!

In the kingdom of Samar, the people are forced to sacrifice their children to the Mountain of Death, which is hq for the Moon Men. Well, actually Moon Man, as we only ever see one of them. Anyway, the people of Samar petition Queen Samara to stand up to the Moon Men, because now they have a fighting chance, for coming to their aid is the great hero Hercules (who looks a lot like Machiste, but never mind that now).

But the Samara doesn't want to fight, as she and the Moon Men are in cahoots! Cahoots, I say! In return for her cooperation, she's been given the power to bewitch any man into thralldom and also the power to have a completely different hairstyle in every scene she's in (the reason why she needs so many different hairstyles is never adequately explained).

Anyway, Herc shows up and meets Old Adviser Guy, who is quickly bumped off. Luckily, his hot daughter Agar is there to help Herc. Meanwhile, Queen Samara is trying to sabotage the romance between her half-sister Phyllis and royal second-cousin (or something) Derek. Waitasec, Phyllis and Derek? That doesn't sound very Greek epic to me! Ah, well. Queen Samara tries to kill Derek because he's a part of the Resistance, and Phyllis is given to the Moon Men who need her as a sacrifice to revive their queen.

Anyway, Samara captures Derek and Agar. Hercules will save them! But, what's this? Hercules has been bewitched by Samara! Blast! Derek and Agar are sent to the dungeon. While Samara and Hercules are alone in the bedchambers, she reveals the full details of the evil scheme. Hercules chuckles; he wasn't bewitched at all! Now it's clobbering time, and he clobbers with gusto as Samara makes her getaway to join the Moon Men.

The Samar Army (Samarmy?) joins with the Resistance, and along with Hercules, make short work of the Queen's Royal guard. Now, it's off to fight the Moon Men. NOW, the Deep Hurting can commence.

What follows is a long, painful walking sequence, worthy of Roger Corman himself. The Moon Men have summoned up a Sandstorm (Saaaandstorm!), and what should have been a quick, brisk walk to the Mountain of Death turns into a 10-minute or so sequence. This sequence is compared with the infamous Rock Climbing bits from the Season 2 episode, Lost Continent. Many argue that the latter is more painful, as there's lots of Rock Climbing in that movie to pad out the film. That may be so, but at least all the characters were wearing pants.

Anyway, Herc shows up at the Mountain of Death, lifts some rock monsters over his head, lifts the Moon Man over his head, and all the bad guys wind up dead. The people of Samar are free, Derek and Phyllis become the new rules, and Herc and Agar ride off into the sunset.

This movie is bad (and the Sandstorm bit is awful), but otherwise, I'd enjoy this movie even without the riffing; Alan Steele plays the big muscle bound hero with aplomb and seems to enjoy himself. The riffing is great, however. The sketches are fun, and interspersed with the Mads taunts of "Deep Hurting! DEEEP HURTING!". And finally, there's the Pants Song (not to be confused with "Hike Up Your Pants" from Daddy-O), an ode to the garment that all men should wear at all times, especially the author of rival blog Nick's Nonsense (ya hear that, Nick? Put some damn pants on!)

All in all, Hercules Against the Moon Men is the best of the Hercules films, in my opinion, and certainly an all around great episode of MST3K in general.

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