The Mongols, under the rule of Genghis Khan (Roldano Lupi) wanted to expand their empire. They swarmed Westward and invaded Poland. At Krakow they were defeated. The remaining warriors of the tribe retreat. Tales of a man who fought like a hurricane reach the angered Khan. Khan blames his son Kubulai (Ken Clark), who was in charge of the army, for the loss at Krakow and orders that he be killed. A number of his warriors spoke on his behalf, including one of Kahn’s other sons, Gason (Howard Ross). Relenting Khan orders Kubulai to kill or sell his servants, slaves and women.
Kubulai, thirsting for revenge on Poland and the so-called hurricane visits a Polish prisoner that has been held in the dungeon for 20 years. Kubulai believes that he has a secret that will help him in his quest. He visits the blind man one more time. The man is mad but there is information in his mindless babbling that gives Kubulai the answers he is looking for.
In the meantime, a woman named Arias (Gloria Milland) arrives near a small Polish village. Some of the townspeople believe she is a witch and hunt her down. She is saved by Arminia (Jose Greci) and her father. They make her welcome in their home. Arias notices that there is a star shaped scar on Arminia’s neck. That night a few Mongols attack the house. They kill the father and kidnap Arminia. Once again, blaming Arias the villagers start to burn her at the stake when Hercules (Mark Forest) arrives and saves her. Arias tells Hercules that she is an emissary of King Vladimir (Mirko Ellis), and that Arminia is actually the heir to the throne and the Queen of Poland.
Hercules goes to see Vladimir. The king tells him that his father and Arminia’s father decided to unite the two kingdoms to make Poland stronger. To that end Arminia was betrothed to Vladimir. Arminia and Hercules are in love and plan to marry. Arminia is not aware of either her heritage or her betrothal to Vladimir. Understanding that he must relinquish his promise to marry Arminia, Hercules, nevertheless, agrees to venture into the Mongol territory and try to save Arminia from the clutches of the vicious Mongols.
”Hercules Against the Barbarians” AKA “Maciste nell'inferno di Gengis Khan” was released in 1964 and was directed by Domenico Paolella. It is an Italian sword and sandal movie. In the original film the hero is named Maciste. The American version changes his name to Hercules. The movie is a hybrid taking Hercules out of the Greek arena and dropping him into the heart of Poland.
Most of the movie is in the story so there are not a lot of feats of strength like in most peplum movies. Hercules does battle against a giant rubber snake and the fakest looking crocodile I’ve ever seen. I guess crocodiles come that way in Poland. There are some other examples of bar bending and rock tossing toward the end of the film plus some kind of unusual cage fight with spears all around. It’s a sort of Mongolian thunder dome but with lances instead of bars.
Some of the sets are those that were used in the film “The Mongols” 1961.