HERCULES IN THYE HAUNTED WORLD (Ercole al Centro Della Terra)
1961/ Directors: Mario Bava/Franco Prosperi/Writer: Mario Bava
Cast: Reg Park, Christopher Lee, Leonora Ruffo, George Ardisson, Marisa Belli, Ida Galli, Franco Giacobini
ALSO KNOWN AS: Hercules at the Center of the Earth, Hercules in the Center of the Earth, Hercules in the Haunted World, Hercules vs. the Vampires, The Vampires vs. Hercules, With Hercules to the Center of the Earth
I was lucky enough to see Mario Bava's Hercules in the Haunted world at the small Sanctuary Theater at Seattle's legendary Scarecrow Video. I had seen the film before as a kid in b/w and it just did not compare to seeing a nice print of the film on a big screen. At that time I roughly knew about Bava from Black Sunday and Black Sabbath and that was about it. It would only be until this last year that I got a copy of the film on DVD and watched again and feel safe saying it is one of the best Peplum films ever made and certainly the most gorgeous, thanks to not only Bava's direction but his work as art director and cinematographer as well. The film is a Woolner Brothers release -who helped to bring many Mario Bava films to the US-and does not star iconic Steve Reeves as the Son of Zeus but this time, in his 2nd Hercules, starred British body builder Reg Park. Reg Park was a pretty good Hercules and if Reeves was to Hercules what Sean Connery was to James Bond then we could think of Reg Park as Roger Moore. Park was stockier and more muscle bound in appearance than Reeves and not as commanding in presence (in my opinion) but he does just fine as the good hearted but often slow witted and easily angered demi-god. Park had played Hercules in the same year's Hercules and the Captive Women and it is not a bad entry into the Sword and Sorcery genre and will probably get reviewed here eventually.