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Sampo & Erhardt

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Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode Guide: 408- Hercules Unchained

Movie: (1959) Traveling with his young companion Ulysses, Herc’s mission to stop a war is sidetracked by hypnotic Queen Onfale, while his wife Iole pines for him.

First shown: 8/1/92
Opening: It’s wash and wax day for the bots
Invention exchange: The Mads have created decorator roaches (and Steve Reeves visits!), while J&tB present the Steve-o-meter
Host segment 1: Gypsy demonstrates that she is the Hellenistic ideal
Host segment 2: J&tB consume the water of forgetfulness, among other things
Host segment 3: Tom and Crow want to know what are Hercules and the nice lady are doing
End: J&tB ponder the meaning of the Hercules movies; while in Deep 13, Steve is no help
Stinger: The queen REALLY misses Herc
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (219 votes, average: 4.26 out of 5)


• This is the first of several sword-and-sandal outings for MST3K. I think they’re perfect for the show: colorful, action-filled, mildly sexy and really really weird. I don’t think this is their best one, but it’s a lot of fun. The riffing is great, and the host segments are slyly funny.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 7.”
• Is anybody a scholar of these Hercules stories? I’m not. How close does this plot follow the “real” adventures of the Herc? (Update: Several scholars filled us in in the comments.)
• One thing I DID notice, though: Herc is surprised to encounter Oedipus (whom Ulysses says is “a good man”) blind and banished, but nobody really thinks to ask why. The whole thing is kind of glossed over…
• I’ve never been a fan of “detour” movies and that’s really what this is: The main plot–Hercules returns to his hometown of Thebes only to find it in the midst of a power struggle between Oedipus’ two sons–is sidetracked for most of the movie as Herc lumbers down one plot cul-de-sac after another. When he finally gets where he wanted to get, the big battle scene is actually pretty cool. Plus ya got lots of scantily clad nymphs…
• This movie was originally released in Italy as “”Ercole e la regina di Lidia”
• The opening segment ends as Joel leaps over the desk at Crow. It’s actually a more difficult move than you may think: For those who don’t know, directly behind the desk is the puppeteer “trench”–essentially an approximately three-foot drop. In order for Joel (and later Mike) to stand right up next to the desk, there was a narrow wooden plank laid across the trench. So, to make that move, Joel had to launch himself forward, carefully plant one foot on the plank (and not misstep and go crashing into the trench), and spring over the desk. A fellow could hurt himself, he could.
• What is the music on the menu screen of the DVD? I don’t think it’s from the movie.
• That’s Mike as Steve, of course. I love that “Nuh-uh.” By this time it was really becoming a delight anytime he popped up.
• A little personal story related to the Steve-o-meter sketch: In a previous incarnation I used to write, for the Philadelphia Inquirer (and the now-defunct Knight-Ridder news syndicate), that little write-up next to the TV grid that tells you what’s worth watching on TV that night. In one column, I said something nice about an performance by Steve Allen’s wife, Jayne Meadows. A few weeks later I was stunned to receive a hand-written letter from Ms. Meadows herself, thanking me for my kind words. I wrote back thanking HER for being so nice, and in the letter I mentioned MST3K, briefly explained the premise of the Steve-O-meter and ended my letter with something to the effect of “now I know something else Steve thought of, marrying a class act.” A week or so later I was even MORE stunned to receive ANOTHER letter, informing me that Steve thought the Steve-O-meter bit sounded funny and asking where they could get their hands on a tape of that show. I duped off a copy and sent it to them, and later got a short note saying Steve thought the sketch was very funny.
• Somewhat obscure reference: “He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!” From the legendary Chickenman radio series back in the ‘60s. God, I loved that show.
• I can’t hear exactly what Servo says under his breath when Oedipus is mentioned, but it’s something about his mom…
• The whole little plot cul-de-sac at the beginning of the movie with Anteus the giant just seems like filler. It really has no relevance to the rest of the movie. And Herc is kind of a jerk during it.
• Primo Carnera, who played Anteus the giant was a household name in the 1930s. He was the world heavyweight boxing champion in 1933-34, during which he was also the heavyweight wrestling champion.
• Note the mention of Rondo Hatton, who we’ll later meet in “The Brute Man”
• Every once in a while in the theater, you can really tell that Joel/Mike and the bots are in a large echoey room. Listen when Joel yells “I haven’t showered since Zeus was a pup!” The acoustics are not good.
• Great job by Jim segment 1. He really belts out that song.
• The riff “Look! I’m hungry.” “Listen! It’s cold” brought back a memory: my daughter, about 8 at the time, thought that was one of the funniest things she’d ever heard. I remember her just rolling on the couch with laughter for about five minutes after she heard it.
• Another movie complaint: The guy tests if Ulysses is actually deaf by hurling a spear into the deck right next to him… I hate to break it to the movie, but any deaf person would feel the vibration of that. Not really a good test…
• Servo, as the pretentious theater fellow, mentions that he’s doing “an anti-Columbus thing.” And you might think: huh? Columbus? Remember, it was ’92, the 500th anniversary of ol’ Chris’ arrival in the western hemisphere and lots of people were making a pretty good living being outraged about it.
• Vaguely naughty riffs: “You mean nymph loads!” “Ow! My eye!” “It’s twue! It’s twue!” The Herc movies brought out the naughty.
• Then-current references: Distant entertainment memories “Curly Sue” and “Remington Steele.”
• As segment 3 opens, Joel is reading, highlighting and apparently really enjoying the novel “Tek Wars” by William Shatner. But he is — quite rightly — embarrassed by it.
• Segment 3 seems like it’s not in the right place. Tom says that by this point in the movie Herc is living with the nice lady. But actually by the time the segment comes up Herc has already left the nice lady. Seems like they could have moved Segment 1 to the third spot, Segment 2 to the first spot and Segment 3 to the second spot and it would have flowed with the movie a bit better.
• Tom says: “Oh for the clarity of Mighty Jack.” It’s a funny line, but really this movie has a much more easily-discernible plot than “Mighty Jack” which I had to watch about five times before I began to make any sort of sense of.
• Joel invokes the memory of short-lived ’60s TV show “Garrison’s Guerrillas,” which I think most boys loved because it had that cool Jeep-mounted machine gun. Who didn’t want to ride around in that when you were about nine?
• Callbacks: “He hit big Jake!” (“Sidehackers”) and the “He learned too late” speech from “It Conquered the World.” “Hikeeeba!” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet).
• Firesign Theatre reference: “He’s no fun, he fell right over.”
• The final segment is great, but I do wish they could have led into it a bit more smoothly. Gypsy’s question –“Why these kind of movies?”– sort of comes out of nowhere. But the rest of sketch is hilarious: Gypsy tries to contribute, but doesn’t quite have the mental dexterity. Crow has clearly paged through Campbell’s “Hero With a Thousand Faces” but, like an under-educated guy at a snooty cocktail party, can’t quite pull his thoughts together. Tom, ever the realist, cuts to the chase. Wonderful writing like “…which translates into big sweaty guys pushin’ girls around…” is one of the reasons why I love MST3K so much.
• Cast and crew roundup: This movie was made not long after the movie in episode 502- HERCULES, and many of the same cast and crew worked on both, including: assistant director/cinematographer Mario Bava (who also directed “Danger: Diabolik”), script writers Ennio De Concini and Gaio Frattini, editor Mario Serandrei and score composer Enzo Masetti. And don’t forget that Joseph E. Levine, executive producer of the American version, also produced “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” among many others. In front of the camera there was Steve Reeves, of course, plus Sylva Koscina, Mimmo Palmara (who is also in “Hercules and the Captive Women”), Gabriele Antonini, Andrea Fantasia, Aldo Fiorelli, Fabrizio Mioni, Gino Mattera, Aldo Pini, Fulvio Carrara and Willy Colombini. Another face in the crowd is Sergio Ciani a.k.a. Alan Steel, who we’ll meet again in “Hercules Against The Moon Men). And we’ll see Carlo D’Angelo again in “Secret Agent Super Dragon.”
• CreditsWatch: Additional contributing writer: Don Jurek. And, at last, the last name of Dr. F is corrected to “Forrester.”
• Fave riff: “You win the crazy award!” Also: Centurion: “Great Queen!” Joel: “Thanks!”

117 Replies to “Episode Guide: 408- Hercules Unchained”

  1. Bill says:

    I believe Servo mutters “Loves his mother.”


  2. Mark says:

    Good solid episode from one of my favorite genre’s for MST. The invention exchange host segement is one of the very best ever. And the rest of the host segments are strong as well. The riffing isn’t top notch, but the movie is goofy fun and actually fairly decent.


  3. GizmonicTemp says:

    Show #480 had 770 riffs over 1:15:01 of movie time for an RPM of 10.264. That ranks #27 all time!

    My favorite of the Mstied Herc series!

    “This is the green bean and French onion casserole of forgetfulness.”


  4. Brandon says:

    Re: I can’t hear exactly what Servo says under his breath when Oedipus is mentioned, but it’s something about his mom

    Bill is right. If you’re familair with the Oedipus story, you’ll know that Oedipus unknowingly fulfilled an oracle and killed his father (thinking he’s a hoodlum), and married his mother.

    Most people don’t realize this, but the story of Oedupus was really a “prequel” of sorts. The “Antigone” story was written first.


  5. RCFagnan says:

    Fav Riff:
    Ulysses: “I’m telling you it must be Anteus, son of the earth goddess!”
    Joel: “That’s who he SAID he was!”


  6. Joey Stink Eye Smiles says:

    After a disgruntled Crow gets a good washing….

    Joel: Well, what do I have to do to make it all better?

    Crow: I want you to beat up Tom!


  7. Mac says:

    For what it’s worth, the Hercules story is grafted onto “The Seven Against Thebes”, and Hercules doesn’t belong in it at all. Other than that, the Thebes stuff seems fairly faithful.

    The Herc stuff seems to be very loosely based on the story where (as punishment for going crazy and killing his family) he was forced into slavery under Queen Omphale, who decided it would be fun to make him dress in women’s clothes. You can see why the moviemakers decided not to stay too close to the source material there.


  8. GizmonicTemp says:

    Mac, now THAT’S cool information. Ironic that Herc usually walked around in his Underoos anyway so a nice bedsheet might actually be an improvment.

    To borrow from another Herc episode, “Sing the praises of pants!”

    “Look! I’m hungry!”


  9. skenderberg says:

    I love the Hercules films, most of the anyway. Seems like they’re more competently put together than most of the other films featured on the show. The riffing’s not half bad either, with the description of Herc’s final incursion into Thebes described as “Smurfs vs. skins” as my favorite.

    Also: Gypsy as the Hellenistic ideal is hilarious. Bereft of other options, she plays the lyre by repeatedly bashing her head into it.

    My full review of this episode is here.


  10. Bobo "BuckDat" Briggs says:

    This episode became my instant favorite for quite a while when it came out. Even topping Godzilla versus Megalon. I seemed to end up watching it on tape with my best friend over and over again during the “dark days” without Comedy Central. Ended up knowing the episode practically by heart. One of only a few. It’s weird that my favorites always seem to be the ones with movies I remember fondly as a kid.


  11. Joey Stink Eye Smiles says:

    Yep, they say you only rent the Waters of Forgetfulness.


  12. Seth Anders says:

    All of the Oedipus stuff is correct, of course, but I believe they actually got “loves his mother” from the Tom Lehrer song “Oedipus Rex”.


  13. Bob says:

    Primo Carnera played Anteus. He was a world-class boxer and WWII hero of the Italian underground. I’m not a boxing fan, but reading a bit about his career is fascinating as it was full of terrific accomplishments and one tragedy where his opponent died of his injuries.

    I watched this movie tons of times as a child and enjoyed seeing MST3K deal with it so wonderfully. Just as many monster movies of the day made viewers wait all movie for a 2-second glimpse of the monster at the end, Hercules Unchained makes one wait the whole movie to get to the all too brief cool action scene at the end.

    My favorite riff in this episode comes during the battle scene near the end where one army is moving along with huge seige towers and battering rams and Joel comments that it’s “a traveling rest-stop”. That makes me laugh loudly every time I hear it and I’ve watched this one a lot.

    I also always thought the deafness test was highly flawed for the same reasons pointed out by Sampo. But then, plausibility is not really a major concern in this movie in many areas. How about the echoing voice-over that tells us what is happening from time-to-time when a story element is not obvious, like when Hercules is first about to drink the waters of forgetfulness? They serve as a sort of Greek chorus giving us the exposition we need to be able to follow the story. Without it, the whole premise of Hercules forgetting who he is would be somewhat mystifying for sure.

    There is a huge amount of lounging around in this film before we finally get back to some action. Without the pretty dancing girls during some of the lounging scenes, viewers would surely be as sleepy and bored as Hercules.

    Note that Steve Reeves’ voice was dubbed in these films because it wasn’t all that deep and the film’s makers wanted a more booming voice apprently. Somewhere out there is a print where Mr. Reeves is not dubbed because I once turned this film on when it was airing on the AMC cable channel and got treated to a much higher voiced Hercules than I was used to hearing when watching this film. It didn’t sound bad, but I can see why Steve Reeves might have been dubbed to get a more demi-god-like voice for these films.


  14. R.A. Roth says:

    I have a difficult time plodding through this one. The riffs are solid, it’s just Herc and the inane dialogue and the poor dubbing and the insanely illogical plot (how does the queen know Herc is going to be anywhere near the Waters of Bad Plot Devices, let alone AT THAT PRECISE TIME???!!!!) and the general malaise it induces make me wanna plunge spears in my ears and eyes.



  15. ThorneSherman says:

    I always wondered about the unlikely timing of the Queen’s soldiers finding Herc as well. To correct Bob, not a major point, Carnera was not really all that good a fighter, just a really big one. He was champ for a short run, and got crushed by Max Baer, whose son was, of course, Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies.


  16. Sean74 says:

    This is a solid, if not unspectacular, episode for me. The riffing is good, the host segments are funny (Segment 1, with Gypsy singing “Last night!” and then harshly banging her harp, is always a scream for me to watch.) As for MST treatments of Herc movies go, I have to admit that Alan Steel’s “Hercules Against the Moon Men” is my fav, but this is a close second. I always got the impression that the reason why Herc sleeps so much is that whoever the actor is playing him is…well, let’s just say, not very natural at acting, and the director feels that they can pad the film by having either Steve Reeves, Alan Steel, or Reg Park “sleep” through a portion of it. I agree that these movies, as a whole, are easier to follow than, say, “Mighty Jack”, “City Limits”, or either of the “Fugitive Alien” movies. And like the Russo-Finnish movies, some of the scenery shots are well done.


  17. GersonK says:

    Maybe I’m showing my youth here, but what, oh what, is the tune the Steve-o-meter plays?


  18. Bobo "BuckDat" Briggs says:

    I’d have to listen to it again but just from memory, isnt it from Match Game? I wanna say it was from the show that had the “Whammy” and they’d say “Big money, Stop!” But Steve never on that one. I may be totally trippin though.


  19. lpydmblb says:

    Three things:

    As an old Eta Sigma Phi member (Classics honor fraternity to you peasants), I’d agree that the movie adheres closely to the Seven Against Thebes story, especially compared to other movies in the genre;

    Bob probably knows this, but if your interested in Primo Carnera, then seek out Humphrey Bogart’s last film, “The Harder They Fall,” based on Budd Schulberg’s novel loosely based on Carnera sad foray into America;

    I fondly remember Sampo’s contributions to the Philadelphia Inquirer (nobody since then has come close) and am glad to hear he received compliments from people of such high worth.


  20. Nancy says:

    Seth Anders, I totally agree! I was glad to see someone else thought of this song right away. Now I have it stuck in my head. Hilarious reference.


  21. Sitting Duck says:

    “BuckDat”, IIRC the show that had the Whammy was called Press Your Luck.


  22. happy says:

    Steve Reeves actually made some good movies while in Italy, Italian westerns and he played other Gods besides the Herc…
    Speaking of Herc, the man who played the Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno is going to be at the wondercon comic convention here in town for autographs and stuff. Starts today
    I cant wait !!


  23. Kenneth Morgan says:

    happy said:

    “Speaking of Herc, the man who played the Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno is going to be at the wondercon comic convention here in town for autographs and stuff. Starts today
    I cant wait !!”

    It’s a shame they never got to feature the Ferrigno Herc movie on the show. That one’s a real trip.

    As for this ep, I still get a kick out of hedonists Crow & Servo singing that song from “The Way to Eden”.

    And is it my imagination or is Ulysses dubbed by the same actor that did Speed Racer’s voice?


  24. Rowsdower17 says:

    :???: I know I’m in the minority here, but I always felt that the “sword and sandal” pics were some of the weakest episodes. They really drag for me, and the riffs are pretty weak. The only thing I really liked was the whole “sandstorm/deep hurting” bit from one of the other flicks.


  25. M "I'm So Sleepy I Can Barely Keep Awake" Sipher says:

    Sorry, I gotta chip in as another voice of dissent here. The skits were good (Gypsy’s performance really is hilarious), Mike’s Steve is great… but I’m not a fan of this episode at all. It’s in an era I consider more a “holding pattern” for MST, a period that feels a little too scripted and a little more “safe”, as it were. And the Herc episodes in particular just don’t do it for me. Mind, a chunk of it is, as noted, the films themselves. They’re just flat-out dull and boring, which hurts the riffing.

    And “Sandstorm” is a funny gag when the Mads are breathing it ominously into a mic, but as a movie sequence? Even with the riffs, argh. (Radar Secret Service’s “Hypno Helio Static Stasis” was a better delivery of the general “Mads secret movie weapon” gag, I feel.)


  26. Bob says:

    To correct ThorneSherman, Primo Carnera scored 15 first-round knockouts in his career and was a heavyweight champion. He once won 18 straight fights by knockout in a 6-month period. His record was 88-15 overall. So, whether or not he was “great” like any sport-talk is highly subjective, but I hardly think my comments bear pseudo-objective “correcting”.


  27. Sean74 says:

    One other thing I didn’t mention: how many times has Mike stolen a scene with one of the many characters he’s played? Before taking over as host, he was the show’s secret comedic weapon, posing as Morrissey, Michael Feinstein, a holo clown, and Jack Perkins with hilarious results; and I know I’m missing at least afew dozen other characters he’s done.


  28. Bob says:

    Yeah, Mike in character was always great. His Amazing Colossal Man appearance and the Russian cosmonaut appearance are two of my favorites and his Valeria was hilarious too. The show was just so great with both Joel and Mike on it, they each brought such diverse and interesting elements to the humor on the show and the combo of the two was killer stuff.

    I have to say I really like the sword and sandal episodes of the show. The movies are mostly action filled fantasy fun with lots of pretty girls and fun costumes, plus I love mythology even if it’s very heavily re-written in these movies. Hercules Against The Moon Men (acutally originally a Maciste movie renamed to sell in America) is still a favorite episode for me, it is just so goofy. The “what are Hercules and the nice lady doing all day” sketch from Hercules Unchained is a real favorite for me as the writing is so cleverly done and extremely funny (to me, anyway) from start to finish.


  29. Earl B says:

    Fav riff: “Nuts, I can’t bend it. Guess I’ll have to stay here with all the nymphs.”


  30. Frank says:

    Bob, almost all of Primo’s fights were fixed by the mob. This has become common knowledge since the time, although people would shout “fix” at Carnera before his fights would start. He is renowned in both the world of boxing and wrestling for being god awful. He couldn’t jab, he was clumsy, and he had a glass jaw among other numerous problems. The mob would use intimidation to get the guys to take a dive if the fight wasn’t very strictly fixed beforehand. Ernie Schaaf’s death was caused by injuries from his fight with Max Baer, and Primo essentially finished the job. From there the mob used the natural promotion and got him to the World title, but he had an embarrassing fight with Max Bear where he was knocked down twelve times in eleven rounds before the referee finally had to stop the massacre. It’s on YouTube, you can see from that he sucks. Eventually the mafia continued using him until he was dried up, and then essentially left him for dead after being diagnosed a diabetic. He made an unsucessful comeback attempt in boxing in 44, losing three times to no-names and tin-cans. Reqiuem for a Heavyweight was a close parallel to his career. Interestingly Primo unsuccessfully sued the makers of The Harder They Fall for being a fictionlized account of his life. In 1946, he joined the regularly worked sport of professional wrestling where he went undefeated for roughly a year and was a top drawing card for about another decade. One time he tried to get tough on shooter Lou Thesz, and the “real” boxer he got his ass handed to him by the “fake” wrestler badly. Lou once said he joked to Joe Louis (during HIS illfated turn in wrestling) “Can (Primo) box any better than he can wrestle?” Louis responded with a resounding, “No.” He wrestled into the sixties where at one point he begged “Classy” Freddie Blassie not to break his legs, and Blassie didn’t know why he was threatened by him. Primo was a poor smuchk who got used by the mob.


  31. funrama says:


    Joel: “OarFolkJokeOpus” (During movie credits)

    That’s a famous record store in Minneapolis. Now called Treehouse Records.

    Tom Servo: “…Yeah I’m doing an anti-Columbus thing down at the Heart Of The Meat Puppet Beast Theater…” (during Segment Three)

    “In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre” is a Theater Company In Minneapolis that has been putting on performances with puppets since the 70’s.

    Joel (In Minnesota dialect): “Oh I love my new Location, it’s so conveniently located , what with the Chanhassen Dinner Theater…”

    It’s a suburban dinner theater where you can watch a show while you eat food.


  32. Sampo says:

    Wow, I never thought we’d be having a disagreement about Primo!

    Say what you will about him he was on the cover of TIME magazine.


  33. Frank says:

    So was Hitler. :razz:


  34. ThorneSherman says:

    LOL…i didn’t think i’d touch off an argument either, sorry Bob, i mean, i did say it wasn’t a major point. Good job by Frank filling in the details though.


  35. Frank says:

    I never commented on this episode, which I watched just the other day, so I should after the Primo debate. The episode starts off slowly, but starts geting better. The middle half is the best part with “five star” riffing. Then kinda slides to the end. Best riff target is the old man. The Hercules movies are sorta disappointing. They were a long time B-movie staple playing on Afternoon Matinees and Late Night Features, but weren’t classics like the Season 3 AIP films. Yet, I don’t know if they coulda done any better because these are just all so incredibly boring and confusing. Honestly, people knock the brainless action movies of today, but at least they have SOME action, most of the time. Host segments were classic season four material. Not the classic I would have hoped for, but still better than the SciFi Universal episodes.


  36. Sitting Duck says:

    Crow will demonstrate his familiarity with Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces again in 813 – Jack Frost.


  37. Joel Kazoo says:

    This was a time when I was more obsessed with the host segments than the movies themselves, and remember laughing my head off over Gypsy’s singing and “playing”. As I look back, it seems to me often times when the riffing was less than stellar, they went for broke with the host segments, and vice-versa. This ep has memorable host segments (“He…eats!”), but I really can’t remember any riffing that stuck out in my mind (but then, this was a time when I’d just FFWd the movie to get to the segments, as well!) Later years, when I had the patience to watch (borderline ADHD), it was like rediscovering the show all over again!


  38. Meranalf says:

    Magic Voice actually rats on Crow at the end of the opening host segment.

    At the beginning of Host Segment 3, Tom mentions playing cartoon tag with Crow in quadrant 12. By definition, can’t there only be 4 quadrants?

    Favorite riff: The final strains of the Get Smart theme as the spikey door closes.


  39. Uranium - 235 says:

    My favorite part of this movie is the wagon scene at the beginning. Every riff is just Grade-A, though the Deep Purple on the lute is my favorite :D


  40. Spector says:

    Great stuff! Of all the “sword and sorcery” flicks the Brains did over the years this one was the best. I believe this was also Joel’s favorite episode, noting the rich cinematography and the sheer scale and ambition of the filming. It is probably the most ambitiously bad movie they ever riffed. My favorite bit comes early in the film with Hercules relaxing in the back of the caravan and his wife singing, when Tom Servo joins in with his own lyrics:

    “Hercules couldn’t perform, because he’s using steroids”.

    Another great episode from Season Four and another one that ranks among my favorites. Truly a classic episode.


  41. I love these old Hercules flicks even without the riffing, but the folks at MST make them even better. Thanks for wonderful memories!


  42. RockyJones says:

    best riff of the entire movie has got to be:

    “Is this the line for the executions?”
    “No…we’re in line for U2 tickets………aren’t we?”


  43. Dan in WI says:

    That wash and wax did sound pretty extreme. I don’t think I’d want to go in there. But it is a nice touch after Tom was all done he was wearing a towel around his waist, err, I mean hoverskirt.

    The invention exchange rebounds a bit from last week’s off outing. The decorative cockroaches are okay but the Steve-O-Meter is a classic. My favorite bit of Steve Allen trivia proving he was everywhere is that early on he spent time as a professional wrestling announcer. Oh and I’m not at all surprised Steve has already thought of he Steve-O-Meter.

    It really is a stroke of genius getting the Steve Reeves to introduce his own movie. Funny they didn’t do that more often.

    In the sub-category of movies with impossible to follow the plots I have to say this is my favorite. This is one of the weaker sword and sandal outings yet I still enjoy it.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Crow “huh, rats. I can’t bend it. I guess I have to stay here with all the nymphs.”

    Ulysses using something looking like a file to get out of his dungeon/room… Crow “oh working on a new filing system”

    During a battle… Tom “Yes it’s Hercules, history’s first high energy prop comic.”

    Crow “It’s the newest sport. Grandpa dunking.”

    Joel “Hey this kind of reminds me of the Empire Strikes Back except it’s not very good.”


  44. robot rump! says:

    having seen a number of these movies un-MSTified, i do know that there’s alot missing from what we see here. having said that, in any version of any Herc film, you have 3 constants:
    1. Herc being an overall jerk.
    2. Herc runs around, gets drunk and falss asleep. occasionally getting in the random flex and pose.
    3. buffalo shots… lots…of…ugh buffalo shots


  45. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    #5: Well, he just said he was Antaeus, he wasn’t necessarily THAT *specific* Antaeus. In ancient Greece, any Tom, Dick, or Harry could be named Antaeus.

    “I haven’t showered since Zeus was a pup!”

    Okay, I know that’s a variation on the expression “since Hector was a pup” (used to mean a long time ago). But what does THAT mean? Who in the context of that expression is Hector and when was he a pup? So if he WAS a pup, that means that NOW he’s a really old dog, right? Anyone? Thanks.


  46. Stressfactor says:

    This one is fun but it feels to me like one of those episodes where the riffs don’t start getting really good until we’re deeper into the film.

    The riffing is good but I really enjoy the host segments for this one. I particularly like that Magic Voice is the one who rats Crow out by telling Joel he’s hiding over by Cambot in the opening. I like that poor Joel is having to play ‘slave’ to his creations in the first segment, and I love Joel going ‘parental’ again and trying to avoid talking about sex with the bots in the third segment.

    Obscure and useless trivia:

    Composer Camille Saint-Saens (probably most famous for the pieces “Danse Macabre” and “The Carnivale of the Animals”) composed a piece based on the myths of Omphale and Hercules called “Omphale’s Spinning Wheel”. Part of “Omphale’s Spinning Wheel” went on to greater fame as the original theme of “The Shadow” radio show.


  47. John R. Ellis says:

    I’ve found this to be a good “primer” episode for those new to MST3K, or even for RiffTrax/Cinematic Titanic fans looking for the older stuff.

    Thanks to entertainment trends of the late 90s and to basic cable, everyone’s seen an odd, goofy sword n’ sandal flick at least once.

    The strength and consistency of the ruffing just make it so much better.

    Even my mother, who despises the show, gets laughing once they start in making fun of the Weird Evil Enchantress and her “romance” with Herc.


  48. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    I don’t think you can miss out with the Herc films…I think Herc vs. The Moon Men is probably the best, but even the weaker ones like Herc and the Captive Women and, ugh, Colossus and the Headhunters have something worthwhile…it’s big, dumb fun all around…

    I must’ve drunk the Waters of Forgetfulness because I can’t remember anything about this one…the part where they rib Herc about steriods is funny…all the host segments are great (I like the Prince Roach) “Sign him up for the Panty-of-the-Month Club!”

    [Bad guy throws the spear] Soldier: “I almost yelled for him myself!”
    Joel: I wet ’em, sir!

    Anyone know why the heck Marilyn McCoo is the Hellenistic Ideal?


  49. Matthew Shine says:

    Shockingly enough, the Hercules films are reguarded as “epic” films here in Spain, not unlike Ben Hur or The Ten Commandments. Some movie stores even have their own “Epico” section in the back and I distinctly remember watching a couple of the Hercules movies UNRIFFED in Spanish on public television at least once.
    This movie is called “Hércules Y La Reina De Lidia” which means Hercules And The Queen Of Lydia. I’ll give the Spanish titles for all of the Hercules films when they’re posted.
    Speaking of which, aren’t all of the other Hercules films in the Public Domain? Makes you wonder why Shout! hasn’t released any yet…

    My favorite moment in the episode is Gypsy’s lovely song. “LAST NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!” BANG!

    Did anyone ever notice Crow briefly mimicking Groucho Marx during that segment? (He turns directly towards the viewers, remarks “Well folks, you sure don’t hear music like THAT anymore!” and does that weird yet funny eye roll/open mouth thing.)


  50. Cheapskate Crow says:

    I’d say 4 stars which makes this one of the weaker outings of season 4, which is filled with 5 star goodness. I watched a DAP copy of this, does anyone else have the problem where DAP copies look like the brightness is turned up way too high on the TV?
    I originally thought of the Steve-O-Meter when reading Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, where a group of monks is devoted to the idea of showing that all possible ideas have already been thought of at some point in human history. I’m pretty sure the Steve-O-Meter already knew this would happen.
    I really miss the obscure references like the one to the Maxwell Parrish painting or to Duel (which was 21 years old at the time of this episode) in present day CT and RT. I have no idea who Maxwell Parrish is but when you got one of those obscure references, it was great!


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