Two of the many â€œsons of Herculesâ€ (at least 60-odd, between Hercules and his hundreds of sons)â€”both â€œinvicibleâ€ in the Italian originalsâ€”and two with Venutians as villains out to conquer the Earth, although in one case theyâ€™ve already failed. In other words, pure B-movie goodnessâ€”but with badly damaged prints.
Son of Hercules: The Land of Darkness (â€œErcole lâ€™invincibleâ€), 1963, color, Alvaro Mancori (dir.), Dan Vadis. 1:21.
Itâ€™s another Italian/French/Spanish Hercules flick, which means pretty good production values, lots of beefcake (but the women also wear short outfits), and some wacko plot involving Hercules or a son, at least one beautiful young woman in peril, probably evil royalty (and an evil beautiful woman), and of course Legendary Feats of Strength. This one was apparently Americanized into a two-parter, with chunks of other flicks dropped in here and there. Turns out there was even a cheesy â€œSons of Herculesâ€ theme song, used over the opening montage and titles on both of these movies. Watchable. $0.75.
Devil of the Desert Against the Son of Hercules (â€œAnthar lâ€™invicibleâ€), 1964, color, Antonio Margheriti (dir.), Kirk Morris, Michele Girardon. 1:33.
See comments aboveâ€”but this time, the continuity is pretty good. Unfortunately, for much of the flick thereâ€™s a white damage stripe down the center of the screen. Oh yes: A serious anachronism, with lots of time spent in a Hall of Mirrors that almost certainly wasnâ€™t feasible when the Sons of Hercules actually roamed theâ€¦well, never mind. If not for the damage, Iâ€™d give this one a slightly higher value; the acting and plot are pretty good as these things go. $0.75.
First Spaceship on Venus (â€œDer Schweigende Sternâ€), 1960, color, Kurt Maetzig (dir.), Yoko Tani, Oldrick Lukes. 1:19
East German, chopped by 16 minutes for American release. Actually quite well made, with good visuals and a workable plot, which blames the Tunguska explosion on a Venutian spaceshipâ€”which turns out to be the scout for a doomed invasion of Earth. Generally good color. A few too many blips in the print for a higher rating, but still quite watchable. $1.25.
Zontar, the Thing from Venus, 1966, color, Larry Buchanan (dir.), John Agar, Susan Bjurman. 1:20.
John Agar: What more do you need to know? The calmly mad scientist, in this case helping Zontar to snatch a new research satellite (pulled from orbit to Venus, then back to orbit, in half an hourâ€”but Zontar somehow needs that satellite to invade?), come to Earth, shut down all fixed and mobile power sources (including hand-cranked power and car engines, but somehow not including gunfire), and send out growths to take over key people and control the Earth. (Agarâ€™s fed up with being ignored, and believes the infinitely superior oversized vampire bats from Venus will bring peace on Earth, until his best friend argues him out of it.) Apparently done as a TV movie. The colorâ€™s badly faded in most of the flick, frequently looking like sepiatone. Lots of sound damage as well. Could be better, could be a whole lot worse. Agar does such a great job of playing John Agar, sci-fi-crazy, and the ideal method for making a monster movie on the cheap: Zontarâ€™s in the movie for, oh, two minutes, except as blurps and beeps on Agarâ€™s radio. $0.75.