Queen Samara (Jany Clair) is the ruler of Samar. She has made a pact with an ancient and evil alien race from the Moon. These aliens are led by an alien called Rudolphis (Roberto Ceccacci) and are trying to awaken a moon goddess so they can take over the world. When they do Samara expects to become the most powerful woman alive. To try to awaken the goddess Samara sacrifices some of her subjects to the goddess on every third full moon.
Chancellor Gladius (Nando Tamberlani) has sent for Maciste/Hercules (Sergio Ciani) to help free the people of Samar and to defeat the moon creatures before they can awaken the goddess.
When Queen Samara finds out that Hercules is on his way she sends a bunch of her finest warriors to attack him and kill him before he can get to Samar. Hercules easily dispatches the warriors and is met by Chancellor Gladius’ daughter Agar (Anna Maria Polani).
Agar takes Hercules into the city and to her father Gladius. Hercules agrees to help. While Gladius is taking Hercules through the underground caverns and back out of the city he is killed. With her father dead Agar becomes more committed to helping Hercules.
Meanwhile the Queen’s half-sister, Princess Billis (Delia D’Alberti), and her cousin Prince Darix (Jean-Pierre Honore) have fallen in love and wish to marry. Samara pretends to agree but says she needs to send Darix as an emissary to another city to handle some negotiations. In reality she is setting a trap for him. Hercules manages to save Darix from death but Samara’s soldiers manage to wound the prince.
Samara, being the evil bitch she is, decides that she will give her sister Billis to the aliens so they can use her to restore the moon goddess Selena. The wounded Darix and Hercules’ girlfriend Agar are sent to the dungeons to starve to death. She also plans on making Hercules her lover by giving him a magic potion. Hercules manages to outwit Samara but is now tasked with saving Darix and Agar and then saving all of humanity from the alien Rudolphis and his rock monsters.
“Hercules Against the Moon Men” was released in 1964 and was directed by Giacomo Gentilomo. This was Gentilomo’s last film. It is an Italian-French venture. The Italian version of the film has the hero named Maciste whereas the American release uses the name Hercules. It is one of the last sword and sandal films done during the traditional period.
The star of the film was Sergio Ciani. Sergio usually used the stage name Alan Steel for the American release of his films. Sergio was an Italian bodybuilder that got into films by being a body double for Steve Reeves. Sergio was one of the few Italian bodybuilders that got into the business. Most he-men were imported from America and occasionally Britain.
The color was washed out and in some spots to the point where is looked like black and white film stock. The windstorm on the mountain of death may have gone a little longer than it needed to but I didn’t mind it. Plus they actually had some stock footage in there as well which was a pleasant surprise. To top it off they had rock monsters. I loved them. I also liked the cavern system and the other sets, even though they were probably used many times before.
The French language version "Maciste e la regina di Samar" ("Maciste against the men of stone" is a much more colorful version. The dubbing, however, is just as bad as the English version.
It may not have been a quality film, and it was certainly low budget, but it was a lot of fun. It had quite a few action scenes and a fair amount of boulder tossing, including the rock monsters. Of course the rock monsters were my favorite part of the movie. Ever since I saw “Missile to the Moon” 1958 I have loved rock monsters and these were even better looking than the ones in “Missile”, and of course taller.