Hercules in the Haunted World. 1961. Italy . Directed by Mario Bava, Franco Prosperi. 35mm. 91 min.
“In a 2015 LA Weekly review of an event that combined live musicians, opera singers, and a screening of Mario Bava’s 1961 Hercules in the Haunted World, the writer says, ‘Stop laughing at old movies, you $@%&ing hipsters!’ Laughing at old movies is what took place at Club 57. Why? The patrons needed to humorously exorcise the media influences of their childhood, while at the same time acknowledging those media influences as important, surreal forces out of which art could be created. Bava’s low-budget sword-and-sandal epic was the latest from Italy, after the sexy success of the 1958 Steve Reeves flick simply called Hercules. Bava’s Hercules is Reg Park, a 33-year-old British bodybuilder. And Psychotronic favorite Christopher Lee shows up as—what else?—a ‘wicked uncle.’ What Hercules in the Haunted World had going for it was Bava himself, a visionary without Fellini’s or Visconti’s budgets. Also from 2015 LA Weekly: ‘Instead of chasing after realism, Bava embraces artifice.’” (film notes by John Epperson).