The trade route for the kingdom of Seriphos is cut off by the kingdom of Argos. Anyone trying to find a way around Argos’ army ends up in the clutches of either a huge dragon or ends up forced into the territory of Medusa. Those that wander into Medusa’s territory are soon turned to stone by her gaze. Argos is ruled by Acrisio (Arturo Dominici) and his son Galenore (Leo Anchoriz). Acrisio married Danae (Elisa Cegani) after killing her husband. Danae was not aware of the crime until after she married Acrisio. Danae prophesizes that her son will avenge his father’s death and take back Argos. She tells Galenore that when her son returns he will slay the upstart. She also says that he will know it is her son because he will have three marks on his shoulder. They denote the sign of Jupiter.
An emissary between the two kingdoms is Tarpete (Antonio Molino Rojo). He informs the ruler of Seriphos, King Cefeo (Roberto Camardiel), that peace can be obtained if he allows his daughter Andromeda (Anna Ranalli) to marry Galenore. Cefeo is aware that such a match would put Seriphos within the rule of Acrisio and refuses. Andromeda, however, decides she wants to meet Galenore and decide for herself if she is agreeable to a marriage between the two kingdoms. Galenore is invited to Seriphos.
While on a hunt Galenore kills Perseus’ (Richard Harrison) pet deer. Perseus confronts Galenore. Perseus is unaware that Andromeda is the daughter of the king. He has met her on several occasions but she never told him who she was. Galenore accuses Perseus of not paying Andromeda the proper respect. When Galenore attempts to kill Perseus for his insolence Andromeda intervenes. She says that, according to custom, he must be allowed to defend himself. She declares that a tournament be held. She also states that she will marry whoever wins.
During the tournament battle Galenore sees the three marks on Perseus’ shoulder and realizes he is not only the rightful ruler of Argos but the one that will eventually kill him. Perseus wins the contest but since he doesn’t know his parentage he refuses Andromeda. Galenore tries to kidnap Andromeda but is stopped by Perseus. When Perseus takes Galenore back to Acrisio he finds out that he is the legitimate ruler of Argos. Galenore kills Danae and blames Perseus. Perseus vows to defeat him and Acrisio and take back Argos.
“Medusa Vs the Son of Hercules” AKA “Perseo l’invincibile” AKA “Perseus the Invincible” was released in 1963 and was directed by Alberto De Martino. It is an Italian sword and sandal film. The film is one of the fourteen random films that were syndicated for television in the United States and repackaged as the “Sons of Hercules”. It’s not a bad little movie. Standard for the genre with lots of battles and a couple interesting monsters tossed in.
The special effects, including a puppet dragon and the Medusa tree-like monster with one glowing eye, were done by Carlo Rambaldi. Although the effects here are quite low budget and not so great Rambaldi would go on to design effects for “Alien” 1979, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” 1977, “E.T.” 1982 and dozens of other films. Even though the dragon and Medusa are not great, they are fun. Actually the Medusa creature when seen through the fog of its domain is actually kinda creepy. Especially when there are stone statues all around and it is the only thing moving. Although the monster is affectionately referred to as a tree-like monster, in reality it’s supposed to be a snake-like creature with snakes wiggling from the top of it and one glowing eye.
Richard Harrison was an American actor that did several Italian sword and sandal films in the sixties. When spaghetti westerns became vogue he dabbled in some of them. He did refuse a part in the film “A Fistful of Dollars” 1964 but recommended a young Clint Eastwood for the part. Richard went on to do a whole bunch of Ninja movies in the eighties when he moved to Hong Kong. He played a reoccurring character, Ninja Master Gordon, in a string of them.