The 300 Spartans (1962)

If you were around in 2007, you might remember a colossal film called 300. It was pretty popular. 300, directed by Zack Snyder, popularized the Battle of Thermopylae to a new generation of moviegoers as well as giving other films creative license to overuse CGI in their action. If you were not aware of the 1962 film The 300 Spartans, which basically covered the same narrative, do not fret as the older film has been relegated to the dusty shelves of history. Whether overshadowed by Ben Hur released 3 years…

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DUNGEONMASTER (1984)

This article starts my relapse into the world of 80’s fantasy films. Though I seemed to have covered a broad range of classics like Fire and Ice, Conan The Barbarian, and Highlander, there exists a wider landscape of movies that all are either terrible or wonderful or both. Whether nostalgic for some or completely new to others, these films come equipped with some of the greatest taglines in history: “A demonic wizard challenges a modern-day computer programmer to a battle of technology vs. sorcery, with the programmer’s girlfriend as the…

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WARCRAFT (2016)

world of warcraft

It is hard to think of anyone who hasn’t at least heard of World of Warcraft. The fourth installment of the video game franchise produced by Blizzard became a cultural phenomenon following its release in 2004. World of Warcraft and the idea of Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) became entwined with one being introduced with the other. That was 8 years ago and World of Warcraft has gone through 5 expansions with the newest set, Legion, being released in August. It is not difficult to see why the…

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HÄXAN (1922)

Holy shit guys and girls. So recently I have found myself drawn to early fantasy, science fiction, and horror of the silent film era. In the last review, we took a trip to the goddamn sun with George Meleieis Impossible Voyage. I enjoyed the films of the early 20th century for their brevity where 20 minutes was adequate time to digest wondrous travel. Now we have a film which is not only 2 hours in length but is probably one of the more dense subjects tackled in early film making….

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THE IMPOSSIBLE VOYAGE (1904)

A few years ago, for the months of Autumn, I ran through the highlights and gems of early Horror beginning at the Phantom of the Opera in 1925 all the way to the early 60’s Hammer films and the revitalization of classic monsters. It was during this point that I found myself drawn to early cinema as a bold frontier in film-making, as many aspects that have become commonplace in cinema were still being toyed with and experimented. Take this and add the theme of fantastic storylines and one has…

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THE CROWN AND THE DRAGON (2013)

Jesus, I really do not want to be negative but these current fantasy films are sort of making me this way. I am always timid when it comes to criticizing music albums, but find myself more desensitized toward films. although just as much hard work goes into a film as an album, the blame for bad cinema can be spread over a larger party including director, writers, actors, editing, and just about everyone involved. This may be the case for The Crown and the Dragon. I will even track down…

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film review: SINBAD – THE FIFTH VOYAGE (2014)

If you recall, I enjoy plunging myself head first into spans of film genres. One can look at each film genre as a great adventure and relish the time spent learning about nuances and origins of the style. If you also recall, I ran through classic horror for the Halloween season followed by a gallop through 1960’s Italian Sword and Sandal. These two exploits were propelled by my first film genre foray into Sword and Sorcery from the 80’s and 90’s. To mark a great conquest across fantastic filmmaking, I…

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film review: HERCULES IN THE VALLEY OF WOE [Maciste contro Ercole nella valle dei guai] (1961)

I am glad you have traveled with me this far. I understand that sticking with certain film series can be trying especially when things get really bad. The 40’s monster rally series was also poorly done, but not like this. The 60’s Italian sword and sandal craze started out decent enough, but quickly plummeted into abysmal quality. If previous entries can be surrendered to cheesy escapism, the 7th entry in the Hercules series is one of the most disposable and needless developments the genre has ever seen. I may be…

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film review: HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD [Ercole al centro della terra] (1961)

As we approach the fourth Peplum review it is important to note that we will be skipping in continuity. I understand that the adventures of Hercules, played by different actors and with non connecting storylines, may already feel disconnected, but for the sanctity of criticism we will mention the break in sequence. Ercole al Centro della Terra, translated Hercules in the Center of the Earth but for some reason titled, Hercules in the Haunted World, is the 6th film released in the Hercules series. Our hero is played by another…

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film review: GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON [La vendetta di Ercole] (1960)

By the time this movie came out, the Italian sword and sandal craze was already off and swinging, with multiple series running concurrently. Steve Reeves who played Hercules in our first two films, continued his career in a bevy of non-herculean Peplum films. One of these films was 1959’s Goliath and the Barbarians, which was released the same year as Hercules Unchained. Goliath and the Barbarians continued the success of Italian films distributed in the US. This is important, because when redistributing 1960’s Revenge of Hercules, the film was rebranded…

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HERCULES UNCHAINED (Ercole e la regina di Lidia – 1959)

Hercules Unchained

Though the subsequent sequels to the 1958 film Hercules would be in the teens, I never would have thought the quality of these Italian sword and sandal films would decline so quickly. In fact, I thought it would take at least 3 or 4 films before the stories became lazy and confusing. Imagine my surprise when the second film in the iconic Pelplum? series was already near sleep inducing on top of existentially confusing. Make no mistake, I am more than excited to see this series through until the bitter…

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HERCULES (Le fatiche di Ercole – 1958)

HERCULES

It is difficult to argue the grand scope of this 1958 film. First, it was a large production, drawing on various myths and unrelated Greek Mythology, featuring the oiled physique of bodybuilder Steve Reeves. Secondly, Hercules was the refinement, if not the genesis of the Peplum film genre, which saw an absurd amount of Italian sword and sandal films produced between the 50’s and 60’s. Seriously. Looking at the list of costumed biblical, Greek, Roman, Viking, and swashbuckler drama that was produced before the rise of Spaghetti western is near…

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The Hobbit – The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies

I feel the Hobbit series has become more of a point of contention for me, specifically directed at the rest of the world who seems to be dismissive of the entire series. One of the largest arguments I have made for the past three years is that Peter Jackson’s followup to Lord of the Rings, while not to the same caliber as it, is a decent enough fantasy film series that not only fulfills its role as an adaptation but works its way into setting the tone and stage for…

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EXODUS: Gods and Kings (2014)

Editors Note: That cant be the real fucking poster can it. No. that is a joke mock up for the real poster. Come on. Exodus: Gods and Kings came out during a special year in which I had already spent a considerable amount of time reviewing newer sword and sandal films such as 300: Rise of an Empire, Pompeii, and both Hercules films. 2014 seemed to be a ripe time not only for a mild resurgence of overstuffed sand fantasy films but also possibly the return of the large budget…

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