Support Us

Satellite News is not financially supported by Best Brains or any other entity. It is a labor of love, paid for out of our own pockets. If you value this site, we would be delighted if you showed it by making an occasional donation of any amount. Thanks.

Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives

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.

Social Media

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

    BTW, it’s debatable (although I’m not interested in debating it) that “Cave Dwellers” was also a sword-and-sandal movie, so it might count as the show’s first endeavor in that genre.


  2. John R. Ellis says:

    Generally, I’ve seen sword n’ sandal meant for stories set in the Bronze Age, or thereabout.

    The Ator series can’t seem to decide if it’s set in a complete fantasy world, an alternate universe fantastic past of our world, or is a post-apocalyptic science fantasy. The narration and the films themselves all give conflicting statements.


  3. Creeping Terror says:

    I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned the intern at 24:42 (on the DVD) who seems to be helping Jim get Gypsy upright immediately before her entrance. He’s at the far left of the screen.

    This episode always gets some laughs from me, but it’s not really in my regular rotation of movies I watch. It does have some great lines, though (a family favorite being “Herculicious”). I’m not really one for the sword and sandals flicks, but they usually have better cinematography than what we usually get from an MST3K movie… And after “The Killer Shrews,” this movie is VERY appreciated.


  4. Creeping Terror says:

    Oh, and yes, the mythology IS a mess. Hercules is the Roman name of the character, yet he’s set in the Greek world (and also refers to “Pluto” and not “Hades” during the film). Heracles/Hercules has NOTHING to do with the story of Seven against Thebes, the Queen of Lidia (as far as I know), or the Oedipus tale. When the opening credits claim that the script is based on the works of Sophocles, it wreaks of pretentiousness. (Yes, Sophocles did write plays based on some of these myths, especially the Theban stories; but none of his works that survive have any relation to Heracles/Hercules).


  5. 24HourWideAwakeNightmare says:

    #50= Maxwell Parrish – Google Image Search. Tripppppppppppy stuff, usually of quasi-Classical landscapes. He very much pre-dated the whole recreational chemical culture, too. So I imagine the bits about a Paint-By-Number Piet Mondrian coloring book or a Frank Frazetta study of Frank Zappa went over your head too? I had enough of a cursory interest in visual arts to roll on the floor over those.

    Sorry to hear that RT/CT don’t plumb these depths, haven’t really watched much of either but I figured the latter would to some extent, given the cast involved. The obscurity was always one of the prime attractions of the show to me, too. Internet, this forum in particular, has unlocked many of these mysterious refs for me.


  6. jjb3k says:

    I love that moment near the beginning where Antaeus introduces himself and starts fighting Herc, and after a few rounds, Ulysses says “Hercules, I tell you, this must be Antaeus!” And Joel just goes “That’s who he said he was!” Like…none of the people who dubbed this movie caught that?

    Of all the Hercules episodes, this is my second favorite, after “Hercules and the Captive Women”. It’s a nice weird little story that’s not nearly as hard to follow as the first Herc film (which we won’t get around to unil Season 5, oddly enough). Agreed that this is much more comprehensible than Mighty Jack, despite what Servo says – I remember watching it recently and discerning the plot quite easily. I don’t think the Brains had to trim as much from this one.

    My sister rarely laughs at MST3K, but she busted up at Gypsy squawking “Last ni-IGHT!” and bashing her face into a harp. Some forms of humor are just universal.


  7. Stressfactor says:

    @ #56

    Re: Antaeus, I’m willing to kind of give htis one the benefit of the doubt. Antaeus was one of those by-blows of a god/mortal pairing and so were kind of like to rock stars of mythology. They tended to get big reputations so I kind of thought this was like one of those cases where you’d have a guy running around saying “I’m Antaeus” and since people might know Antaeus only by reputation not by appearance they might be kind of skeptical on if he was the real deal or just someone trying to pass themselves off as someone more famous.

    So, with that interpretation, what is being said is more along the lines of “Hey, Hercules, I think this guy really IS Antaeus!”


  8. Fred Burroughs says:

    @50 Cheapskate: a scene looks like a MaxFIELD Parrish painting, he was an illustrator who did a lot of tunic-wearing people in floral templed scenes with craggy mountainous backgrounds in rosy sunset colors. mostly referenced for the background of that scene. I agree, the later in the show you got less of those references.

    I agree with Servo, with all the plot Cul-de-sacs thrown together, Mighty Jack starts to look coherent by comparison. And I would add that Herc isn’t being a jerk; part of his aura is to be a bit of a cad, lounge around at inappropriate times, play with the nameless foes he’s dispatching with ease, flirt with the nymphs. OK, so, it’s jerk-like, but Herc uses his nonchalance to trick his enemies, his boyish confidence his charm.

    “Look! I’m Hungry” joke went over my head the first 10 times I watched it. This is an example of one of my favorite kinds of riffs, taking the words of dialogue out of context or too literally and responding in kind. I tend to blame these on Trace, but I could be wrong. E.g. when Joel complete’s a character’s sentence for them.

    fave riff: “Was she prettier than me?” “No, just different…long blond hair, smooth skin…” Joel: “Hair growing out of her wart.”


  9. Steve Laughery says:

    re: Garrison’s Guerrillas’ ” … cool Jeep-mounted machine gun”. Are you thinking of “The Rat Patrol”? As a little boy in the 60’s, I was a fan of both!


  10. Sampo says:

    Steve Laughery: Well, I think they both had that cool Jeep-mounted machine gun, which is why both shows were AWESOME!


  11. Steve Laughery says:

    Sampo – you may be right about the Jeeps. You’re definately right about the “AWESOME” (at least, they were awsome to an [this] eight year old boy!).


  12. Jose chung says:

    The music heard on the DVD menu is definatly a piece from a sound library. I’ve heard that song on promos for reality shows and other television ventures. Couldn’t tell you the name of it though. Rhino probably didn’t have access to music from the film.


  13. EricJ says:

    @62 – Rhino was too cheap to use anything but stock PD-library music for their menus, such as the stock faux-Munsters theme on “Monster-a-Go-Go”‘s menu. (Apparently, they thought it really was “Munster Go Home”.)

    @23 – And is it my imagination or is Ulysses dubbed by the same actor that did Speed Racer’s voice?
    There were basically THREE PEOPLE who dubbed all the foreign movie voiceovers in the 50’s and 60’s–Have to watch it again to see if it’s Marvin Miller, he did whatever Paul Frees wasn’t doing at the moment.


  14. EricJ says:

    (@63 – Er, that’s if Miller is Hercules, obviously–Speed Racer was Peter Fernandez, and while IMDb doesn’t list dub voiceovers, given the industry back then, I wouldn’t put it past him.)


  15. dsman71 says:

    Another fun episode. Hercules films tend to be really talky (in an English dubbing kind of way)This was a sequel to Hercules which was episode 501. Steve Reeves was a great Hercules compared to others who took the role.
    I also like that Last Niiiiiiiiight!!! From Gypsy
    One thing I always remember in this episode is in the 2nd to last segment going through the hexfield is Joels head in an extreme closeup reading a book. That hexfield / head thing made an impressive shot
    That being said
    Joels Hair (growing out)
    Joels Knees ( I think by now his jumpsuit had the exposed ankles)
    Joels Head
    Joels Hexfield
    Im hexed , I need therapy…or did I have that..
    Last Niiiiiiiiiiight ?!?!?


  16. EricH says:

    Mike also didn’t even need to make a physical appearance to steal a scene like when he voiced Megaweapon.


  17. ck says:

    As punishment for killing his wife and children (although it really wasn’t his fault) Hercules
    had to undergo the seven labors of Hercules. A good way to learn more of Greek myth, tragedy, etc. is to listen to some cds made by classical scholar Elizabeth Vandiver (while driving?). The series on greek tragedy is especially revealing, and some feature Herc.


  18. John M Hanna says:

    I had, in an earlier weekend thread, suggested repurposing the Steve-O-Meter into the Simpson-O-Meter. This was a response to the annoying ‘Simpsons did it first’ meme internet trolls love using. Still seems like it could work.


  19. JBagels says:

    @58 Fred Burroughs: Agreed. Those are my favorite type of riffs too, mostly because they’re usually such non sequiturs they almost make you instantly laugh. Riffs such as the obscure references are cool, but they don’t really make me laugh, just kind of say “ah, that’s a reference to such and such”. Kind of like the “State Park” riffs that Sampo refers to. It’s not really funny as much as clever I guess.

    Hey, there’s an EricH who’s a Mike Nelson fan? Can’t be a coincidence!


  20. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Ah yes, the HERCULES movies. I agree with Sampo (and others), these movies are perfect for the show, they contrast nicely with the drab black-n-white low-budget sci-fi flicks. I like UNCHAINED, and while it’s not my favorite HERCULES film, it seems like I’ve seen it a bunch. The riffing is solid, I like the Host Segments, this is a great episode.

    mmmm. . . .nymphs.



    Mike (as Steve Reeves): “On this set I toasted more than one braincell, if you know what I mean.”

    double swipe on the title credit,
    Crow: “Did that just happen?”

    The legitimately GREAT Mario Bava worked on this as “special lighting effects director.” Didn’t see what was so special…

    Servo: “Have fun stormin’ tha castle.” —-Princess Bride reference

    Crow: “I fell on my keys!”

    Servo: “Rondo Hatton!”
    Joel: “You know, Rondo’s good ’cause you can slam him down hard.” —-?

    in Host Segment #2, I enjoy the “Fruit Stripe gum of Stability.” I was just talking to someone about Fruit Stripe gum the other day. . .do you guys remember that stuff?

    Crow: “Dad?” —-callback to CAVE DWELLERS

    Servo: “Oh, it’s Kim Cattrall.”

    about Queen Onfale,
    Joel: “The closer she gets, the weirder she looks. ewww.”

    Servo: “Oh for the clarity of MIGHTY JACK.” —–a ripe comparison, but MJ is worse..

    Crow: “HI-KEEBA!”

    Joel (as tiger): “You killed my dad, you freaked out maniac!” :tiger:

    Crow: “Now he’s the KNIGHT of the living dead.”
    Joel: “Oh, I get it.”

    Crow recites part of the Peter Graves speech from IT CONQUERED THE WORLD. Very nice.

    Joel: “Last day of school is always like this.”

    during the Closing Segment, Servo once again says, “Crow, you’re so high.”

    TV’s Frank, so Steve Reeves: “Are you related to Keannu Reeves?”



  21. Nick says:

    I am a sorta scholar on this. My thesis is on an Italian Director who made a few peplums, which was what this genre was referred. It was a huge mainstay of cinema in the 50ies/60ies over there. Part of the reason for its success was it was able to circumvent the power of the Christian Democrats/Church which held alot of power during the time. The movies could show combat, bloodshed, sexy women belly dancing, and a host of other titillaying and exciting images – but since many of the stories use Biblical or Historic background (rather losely!), they were able to be quite subverse! Plus the movies were in colour, widescreen AND VERY CHEAP to make. So they churned out a huge profit until the genre died off to be taken by the Gothic horror movies, giallos, and spaghetti westerns of the 60ies.

    It’s a shame that so many of the peplums survive today in such crappy quality.


  22. JBagels says:

    Fruit Stripe gum was awful. I’m a Big League Chew kind of a guy myself.


  23. Kenneth Morgan says:

    @#55 24HourWideAwakeNightmare

    RT, back in their days as the Film Crew, did a DVD with “The Giant of Marathon”, starring Steve Reeves. The movie is pretty low-grade compared to the Hercules movies, but the riffing is great. I’m pretty sure CT did a sword-and-sandal movie, too, but I can’t remember the title.

    And I’m still waiting for either group to riff on one of Lou Ferrigno’s Hercules movies.


  24. Stressfactor says:

    @ Kenneth Morgan

    Yeah, CT apparently used to do “Samson and the Seven Miracles” live but for some unknown reason the gang seems to have pulled this one from their live repetoire. They never did a studio release for it either.

    Weird. It’s still represented though on the posters they sell at the shows.


  25. Nemovir says:

    Wish I knew that Hercules original name was Heracles when I first learn about Greek myths. Makes a lot mores sense. I wouldn’t be too happy if one of my husband’s skank named her son after me. :pissedoff:


  26. ckdexterhaven says:

    Reeves doesn’t really do much for me as Hercules. I’ve always preferred Alan Steel. He seemed to have more fun with the role.

    I like how when Frank seems excited to meet Steve Reeves (Mike), it seems to perk Steve up.

    Fave line:

    Some guy in the movie: “they prefer Creon.”
    Joel: “… to markers.”


  27. Luther Strickland says:

    Love the Hercules eps, even with the detour into the land of Onfale. Regarding Primo Carnera’s boxing career, there were rumors of a fix when Carnera won the title from Jack Sharkey – many fans and sportswriters questioned whether the knockout blow actually made contact. Carnera had a lengthy wrestling career of 15 years after his boxing days. How about a cage match between Carnera and Tor Johnson?

    Mike’s Steve Reeves cracks me up every time.


  28. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    @72 JBagels:

    Amen brother!


  29. ck says:

    Tor body slams Carnera to win WWE cage match..
    Oh the humanity!

    “Time for go to bed.”


  30. Dan in WI says:

    John Hanna #68> But you can’t have a Simpsons-O-Meter. Again it is Steve Allen who thought of everything first. The Simpsons came after him. All hail Steve Allen.


  31. dsman71 says:

    #76 Alan Steel was actually Maciste not Hercules but its all the same (at least to American audiences)
    The worst Hercules of all
    Hercules in NY with Arnold Schwarzenegger (aka Arnold Strong) who was dubbed – his first film ! :)
    So bad its …well, bad .


  32. Kenneth Morgan says:

    @80 (Dan in WI)

    And the ghost of Ernie Kovacs disagrees…


  33. Hamdingers says:

    “Cripes! I -am- the Herc” and especially: “I’m so sleepy I can barely stay awake…”

    Love this episode and quote it often.


  34. dad1153 says:

    Man, try as I might (this being my sixth or seventh attempt) I just can’t get into “Hercules Unchained.” The plot meanders all over the place (it doesn’t help that the Brains cut the movie down and further muddle the already-confusing stories), the widescreen-reduced-to-full-screen photography looks bad, the dubbing is unintentionally funny (this part I like when it results in weird stuff like the ‘Anteus’ exchange that Joel makes a good crack about) and, IMHO, the riffing from Joel and the Bots is never strong-enough to overpower these movie’s cheese. Up until Herc drinks from the Waters of Forgetfulness (gotta smile at the convenient out-of-nowhere voice-over-as-Greek-chorus explanation) I’m laughing and actually enjoying the experiment. Steve Reeves looks the part of a human God (including the arrogance of falling asleep when the going gets tough) and the fight with the giant is just laced with homo-erotic undertones. Mike’s appearance as Steve Reeves introducing his own movie is hilarious but also, in a weird way, a kind-of sad reminder that many actors/celebrities/athletes from long ago didn’t have a fallback once their careers/skills faded. As the experiment continues though I grow more bored, less entertained (by both the movie and riffing) with only an ocassional spike from an unintentional laugh, usually from J&TB’s doing sexual innuendo riffs (which are welcome in such a overtly-sexualized flick, but I expect more from the Brains). At least “Hercules Unchained” saved some good action for the end because, until then, we get too much talking/walking and not enough of Herc kicking butt. The Steve-O-Meter invention is classic (I’m a huge Steve Allen fan from his Goodson-Todman panel show appearances on TV) but the Mads’ invention falls short by comparison (and I hate cockroaches! :pain: ). The host segments aren’t funny (Gypsy slams her head against the harp really hard over and over… and this is funny, why?) but Mike-as-Steve-Reeves bookending the experiment at least stars/ends the proceedings on a high.

    TWO-AND-A-HALF STARS (out of five) for “Hercules Unchained.” Hopefully the upcoming Herc experiments will be better, but I only remember them being as bad or not as good as “Unchained.” FAVORITE RIFF: ‘Now he’s the Knight of the Living Dead.’ :-D


  35. ServoTron3000 says:


    I believe that was the 12 labors of Hercules.


  36. snowdog says:

    An all-time fave for me, partially because I genuinely enjoy the Herc movies on their own. The host segments were all funny, although I fear there’s something I’m not getting about Hellenistic Ideal sketch. Mike was funny as Steve Reeves (“Nuh-uh!”) and looks pretty good in a beard. Five stars.


  37. Zeroninety says:

    @77 Sharkey claimed that even his own *wife* suspected him of taking a dive.

    I had a look at the Sharkey-Carnera title fight (it’s on Youtube, naturally). Just my opinion, but I’m willing to give Primo the benefit of the doubt there–it looks like he nearly took Sharkey’s head off with that last uppercut! I doubt Sharkey was a good enough actor to pull off the face he makes the moment after the punch landed; all that were missing were the cartoon birds tweeting around his head.

    So, I’d argue Primo was a mobbed-up stiff who won a bunch of fixed fights (and legit fights against nobodies), who gradually learned how to box a little on the job, then made it to a title fight against an aging, out of shape champ who was known for being mentally erratic. Sharkey dominated the early rounds, got impatient when he couldn’t put the big lug away, started forcing the fight to try and get a KO, got winded, and got his bell rung by an uppercut he didn’t see coming. Then Primo went on to get his ass kicked by Jethro Bodine’s dad.

    I feel like I should be wearing a fedora and chomping a cigar while typing this. Incidentally, for those of you who are a bit younger, “boxing” was kinda like MMA, except they wore big padded gloves, couldn’t use their lower bodies, and fought in a square ring instead of an octagon. :)


  38. Mr. B(ob) says:

    Crow says, “And that woman is nobody’s aunt.” The sketch where the ‘Bots try to get Joel to explain what Hercules and the “nice lady” do all day makes this episode essential viewing. The movie may be slow while Herc and the queen lounge around for half the film, but the jokes are just so good during the entire film that I couldn’t care less. And the action scene at the end is certainly fun and exciting. Every time, I mean EVERY time they comment that the siege towers are “a traveling rest stop” I roll with laughter. The film is inferior to the first Steve Reeves Hercules film, but it certainly made for a great episode of MST3K. Love it!


  39. incrediblehorriblemrlimpet says:

    JOEL: “Is the horse talking?”


  40. MarshmallowPeeps says:

    This episode gave me one of my more favorite lines to use whenever someone is complaining about something.

    After Tom is washed and waxed and he is strut-hovering around with his towel on, Crow is crying loudly about his upcoming cleaning. Tom shoots Crow a look and says, “I’m sorry, your WHAT hurts?”

    Solid gold, baby.


  41. Lisa says:

    Ugh, not a fan of the sword and sandal movies. To me they are so dull, though this one is probably my favorite. I’ll have to re-watch it soon.


  42. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    This is another one of those episodes I use to introduce folks to MST3K.
    The movie is familiar enough that people can relax and enjoy the riffs.

    My favorite among the Herc movies, the gyrating plot drifts are common among American International Releases of foreign films. I think they edit for the fun of it. (See First Spaceship on Venus)

    Favorite riffs,
    You only rent the waters of forgetfulness
    And when Ulysses knocks the chalice from Herc’s hand, Herc says “Everyday you do that,”
    to which Crow observes, “How would he know that?”


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

    FWIW, in some myths Heracles/Hercules’s birth name is given (1) “Alcaeus” (named after his adoptive father’s ancestor) or (2) “Alcides” (“of the line of Alcaeus,” see above). He got his better known name after he, as a baby, strangled two serpents whom Hera had sent to kill him in his crib. Perhaps re-naming him “Hera’s glory” was intended to mollify Hera, but no such luck. Then again, if his nickname was not “Herc” but “Al,” would he have caught on nearly as well?


  44. lancecorbain says:

    Oh, I love me some sword, sandal, and sorcery movies, from the utterly silly like Ator and Deathstalker to the stylistic and borderline-artsy like Herc and Sinbad. Probably my third favorite genre of film that got riffed on, the first two being the fairy tales (Day The Earth Froze, The Magic Sword, Jack Frost) and Sandy Frank. I could never get enough of some big meaty guy running around not being very bright. Slab Bulkhead!!


  45. gojira7 says:

    My favorite part?

    “Hercules couldn’t perform.” “Shut up about that.” “Because he’s using steroids.” “Not true!”

    This is among my favorite MST3K’s. Definitely among the ones that makes me wish MST3K was still on tv. (sniff)


  46. Kathy says:

    @72 – “Fruit Stripe gum was awful.”

    Maybe by the time you got to it. Don’t know how old you are.

    Those of us around Joel’s age who were just old enough to remember when it first came out can tell you the original version was awesome. And then they started making it “healthier”….


  47. NoOneOfConsequence says:

    “Stop feeding my bride!”

    “Ow, my eye!”

    I love this episode, but unlike most people, apparently, I prefer the parts before Herc gets back to Thebes. I guess I just have a thing for nymphs. :)

    I still want to know why Episode Guide entries here don’t show up in my RSS feed, though. (While everything else on the site does.)

    Oh, and to the guy who thinks that Hypno-Helio-Static-Stasis is a better gag than Deep Hurting… to quote TV’s Frank, “I don’t THINK so.” :)


  48. Jbagels says:

    @kathy, yeah I’m 29 so I only know about the new fruit stripe gum of the late 80s and 90s. I missed out on the original.


  49. SATURN2 says:

    Thanks for the Steve Allen anecdote-that skit was an all-time favorite of mine.I’m sure you have those notes framed-Steve Allen was a true TV legend-and made a record with Kerouac,to boot!


  50. Mrs. Dick Courrier says:

    Love this one. Its one of the “comfort episodes” to me. When I’m feeling blue, its one of the many I turn to for comfort.

    As a lover of mythology (not a scholar by any means, but I know quite a bit) I love the absurdity of it all. Hercules had many many labors, but I have read the one with Omphale. Wonder why they left out the cross-dressing. Would have made the movie even better.

    Favorite parts of the movie are the host segments. Golden.

    Love the actor who plays one of the evil Lucys, Sergio something is his name. He plays basically the same role in Giant of Marathon. Have quite a crush on him. Hot stuff.

    Sad sidenote, the beautiful actress who played Ophale died quite young, I think she would have gone on to great things.


Comments are closed.