While fishing for whales Maciste (Mark Forest) sees several riders being chased by some strange looking men dressed in white robes shooting them with arrows. When the sun rises the men in white appear to be drastically affected by the sunlight. One old man who was shot is barely alive when Maciste reaches him. Before he dies he tells Maciste that his village was destroyed and his son taken prisoner as well as the Princess Saliura (Raffaella Carra). At the old man’s village only one person is alive, a woman who hid when the village was attacked. She says the attackers were called mole men.
Maciste follows the mole men’s trail and finds them preparing to sacrifice a man who is tied to a post. He kills most of the mole men and chases away the rest. One of the ones who gets away is wounded. He is Katan (Gianni Garko), the son of the high priest Kahab (Enrico Glori). The rescued captive is called Bangor (Paul Wynter). Maciste traces the mole men’s route and discovers that they are living underground. Maciste allows himself and Bangor to get captured. Underground he finds the remaining villagers being used as slave labor.
The evil Queen Halis Mojab (Moira Orfei) rules the race of mole people. Because of an ancient curse they are not allowed to go above ground during the day. To do so means instant death. The slaves they capture from above ground are used to power a machine that crushes rocks to extract diamonds from the ore.
The mole people worship the moon. They plan on sacrificing Princess Saliura. The Queen also plans on having Maciste and Bangor fight each other. The winner gets to then fight a gorilla and save the princess who is unceremoniously tossed in the gorilla cage. If he beats the gorilla he gets to sacrifice the princess and marry the evil queen. Maciste has a lot on his plate. And that all happens in the first forty minutes.
“Mole Men Against the Sons of Hercules” AKA “Maciste, the Strongest Man in the World” was released in 1961 and was directed by Antonio Leonviola. It is an Italian sword and sandal film and is one of fourteen films that were repackaged, sold to American television, re-titled and shown on a television series called “The Sons of Hercules”.
The movie is campy and a lot of fun for the most part. There are two beefy he-men in the film, Mark Forest as Maciste and Paul Wynter as Bangor. Mark’s real name was Lou Degni. He was an American bodybuilder and actor. Paul Wynter was also a bodybuilder and sometimes actor. He was from Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean.
The sets are not too bad. There is a huge wheel that the slaves push around to grind up the ore and extract the diamonds. It’s an impressive machine. The underground sets in general are decent. The plot goes on and on. Maciste has a lot of feats of strength that he has to handle. There is one where slabs of rock keep getting added and Maciste has to hold it all up or Bangor and another character will be skewered with knives. In another scene he battles several lionesses. The entire movie is a string of these impossible feats, each one more inventive than the next.
There are also some of the usual bad effects. The gorilla suit looks a little moth eaten and you can see the stunt man’s eyes through the eye holes. The narration is also a little cheezy. Plus the silly opening and closing song that all the “Sons of” movies were strapped with when they were Americanized. The fun and outrageous stuff more than outweighs the crappy stuff. Altogether is was an amusing and entertaining addition to the genre.