krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
I finished off commenting on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Outlaw" by admitting that perhaps I'm just not as engaged by "muscles 'n' mythology" movies as I am by other kinds of movies the series tackled. Then, to pick up commenting again, I went straight back to another "muscles 'n' mythology" movie... although, in place of 1980s hair, we get 1960s hair in "Hercules Against the Moon Men." It's one of the three "Hercules" movies, each one featuring a different well-endowed actor in the title role, that the series featured in its fourth season. (As it turns out, though, this movie seems to have started not as a "Hercules" movies, but as a "Maciste" movie, the character who managed to keep his own name in the dialogue if not the title of "Colossus and the Headhunters"... not that it really seems to matter.) It did happen that after making my decision of what episode to watch, I realised this one features the origin of a sort of Mystery Science Theater catchphrase, "Deep Hurting..."

After that threatening promise from Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank, the movie itself begins with a mysterious light falling from the sky ("Skylab!"), whereupon strange monsters oppress the people of Samar with the connivance of their queen ("Okay, you're shapely!"). Trying to prevent their youths being marched away to a deadly mountain ("Jim Henson's Exodus Babies."), the aged Claudius enlists the help of Hercules ("His body makes me feel funny.") On arriving at Samar, though, Hercules sees Claudius killed in boobytrapped secret tunnels and is set on by a bizarre ape-like creature. ("Hey, fur kills, I guess.") He emerges from all of this and gets involved with the resistance, but the queen manages to round up everyone and Hercules is put into a spiked deathtrap powered by the suffering citizens. Fortunately, he's strong enough to break the infernal machine, and the queen decides to administer a love potion to him. Unlike in "Hercules Unchained", though, the forewarned and forearmed Hercules manages to dispose of the potion and, after enjoying the queen's hospitality ("Meanwhile, in Herc's Grotto..."), busts loose again. ("Ah, come on; you're only making it worse for yourself; I'm Hercules!")

Then, we get around to the terrifying "sandstorm" sequence, the core of "Deep Hurting," as the queen, Hercules, and the citizens stagger through blowing sand as the moon closes in on the earth. ("This is like the planet of 98-pound weaklings. Everyone gets sand kicked in their faces!") Finally, the rocky and stiff-moving Moon Men themselves get into the game within their mountain citadel. (In a perhaps unusual change from the references to 1960s and 1970s television that often appeared in the "riffing," the Moon Men are called "Inhumanoids"... although someone also familiar with 1980s Saturday morning cartoons gets a little pedantic about the reference.) The queen is ordered killed by the somewhat owlish leader of the Moon Men, who close in around her ("It's Stonehenge on Ice!" "How humiliating. She's being killed by a patio!") Finally, Hercules gets through the sandstorm and hurls the Moon Men around, rescuing one particular young princess whose blood is about to revive the queen of the Moon Men. He accepts the companionship of a different young woman of Samar and rides away.

It's possible that the "riffers" just ran out of quips to make about the sandstorm, but getting worked up over how bad the sequence is perhaps in a way drawing attention to it by giving up. However, there's plenty of good stuff about the episode, including a "host segment" where Joel gives Crow and Tom Servo their own enormous arms and they try to come up with their own "big and brawny" names and a musical "tribute to pants."

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