Thursday, October 06, 2011

Goliath and the Vampires – review

Directors: Sergio Corbucci & Giacomo Gentilomo

Release date: 1961

Contains spoilers

In Italy he was called Maciste but in the US dubbed release he became Goliath (Gordon Scott) and this was a sword and sandal flick that I wondered, for a while, as to whether it should actually be a ‘Vamp or Not?’ I decided that it was vampire and didn’t need the investigation but the vampiric element is unusual and fairly small.

shifting rock
But that hardly matters for we are in the totally camp world of heroes and villains, swords and sorcery, and all that jazz. Things begin with Goliath ploughing his field and coming across a boulder in the soil. With a mighty flex he removes the offending item but the field doesn’t get ploughed as his help is called for. Ciro (Rocco Vitolazzi), a young boy, is drowning. Goliath saves him and then takes him home as Ciro’s sister, Guja (Leonora Ruffo, Hercules in the Haunted World), is Goliath’s fiancée.

Amahil leads the raid
They see smoke and Goliath realises their village is under attack. We cut to a protracted scene where the menfolk and old women are cut down by raiders, led by Amahil (Van Aikens), who kidnap the young women. This doesn’t gel later when we hear that menfolk have vanished also, so we’ll assume we didn’t see them captured and they were put in a different ship’s hold! Hercules gets there too late but a survivor tells him they have gone to the island of Salmanak. He swears revenge and rescue and he and Ciro follow.

Magda in the slave market
On ship the women are frightened. Eventually Amahil goes to the hold and bleeds some of the prisoners into a goblet. Guja offers herself but is ignored. This makes the women, bar one called Magda (Annabella Incontrera), turn on her as they think she is to blame. Amahil goes to a cabin and, from behind a screen and out of smoke, we see a hand appear and take the goblet. This is the villain credited as Kobrak the vampire (Guido Celano). Now, later we will hear that he has a robot slave army that he powers on blood but in this scene it appeared that the blood was for him, being in a goblet and all. Perhaps, perhaps not but it is our vampire connection.

summoning Kobrak
Indeed the robot army is actually made up of kidnapped men, their brains destroyed by sound (put in a giant ringing bell) and given a treatment that turns them into living statues. Seemingly these are powered on blood. Why, then, the women are simply sold as slaves at the market in Salmanak rather than transferred as blood stock, is unexplored. Kobrak seems to be able to be summoned in spirit form that becomes solid at will and is described as a sorcerer also.

Kobrak's true face
When we first see him he is in gaudy armour with a big, face-covering helmet. He can shape-shift, which leads to Goliath fighting himself until he pulls away the Goliath mask and reveals Kobrak’s true form – sort of skull like and fanged. The plot twists and turns for a bit, but essentially Kobrak controls a puppet sultan (Mario Feliciani), whilst the true heir to the throne, Kurtik (Jacques Sernas), is leader of some (literally) blue men and Kobrak wants to make Goliath a robot slave to defeat the world… phew…

It’s all very camp and very silly. It isn’t a good movie but, in the right mood, it might be a little bit of what you fancy. However there are better Italian sword and sandal films out there. 3.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


RoseOfTransylvania said...

Sounds quite nice in totally brainless way.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

it is Rose, but there are better examples of sword and sandal films (and, indeed, vampire orientated ones). You can find this one on YouTube though

Clark49 said...

dare I it dubbed? Do the various "actors" speak in their own languages? I hope so, cuz watching something as cheesy as this if they were also doing that would leave me breathless with laughter (although I'm sure that's not the me twisted)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

the US version, which is what I watched is dubbed. It is also on YouTube

Giuseppe Lippi, Milan, Italy said...

To me, this is the film which inspired John Milius' screenplay for CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982). The attack to the hero's native village is there,the young boy is there, Kobrak may be a vampire but is also a Snake-man. And the Mountain of Power? And the black slaver in the initial attack, the one who will then abuse Leonora Ruffo (or will try to...)? All in all, a comparative study of the two films is STRONGLY called for! :-)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

You may well have a very good point there Giuseppe