The Adventures of Hercules (1985)

How do you follow up one bad movie? With another!

Welcome to this week’s new B-Movie Enema article. Last week, I took a look at Luigi Cozzi’s attempt to revive the classic sword and sandal movies starring the Greek demigod in Cannon Films’ Hercules. This week, we’re just going to go ahead and knock out the sequel, 1985’s The Adventures of Hercules. Now, I typically don’t do stuff like this where I just take two random weeks in the course of a month that has no theme and cover a duology, but, frankly, if I don’t do this right now, I never will.

These movies are dreadfully bad and boring, and I struggle to say they are so in a fun way.

I’m not exactly sure what else to talk about to set things up. I mentioned last week that stars Lou Ferrigno and Sybil Danning basically hated each other. I’m guessing there was no hope for her to return whatsoever after that. Instead, we have a new female character joining the fray named Urania. I’m guessing she’s the Goddess of Your Anus. Wait… Hang on a sec… After some cursory research, I do see she is actually the “muse of astronomy”. She’s also apparently the “muse of Christian poetry” as well.

So, yeah. She’s the Goddess of Your Ass.

We do have the return of Claudio Cassinelli as Zeus. Also, William Berger as the dastardly King Minos. You remember him, don’t you? He’s the guy who worships technology, but also apparently believes enough in the Gods to do favors for them as well as worship a Goddess who so happens to lord over technology. You know… It’s… It’s confusing. Just know that King Minos is a turd. He also makes Lou Ferrigno act hard.

As much as I wanted to give Luigi Cozzi and the Incredible Hulk a chance in the previous movie, it’s an utter mess. It’s a mish mash of wild ideas that float somewhere in the cracks of science fiction and classic mythology with both of those things on heavy doobies. Worse, it’s kind of boring. I had to go back and read the article twice to prepare for the sequel. You might ask, “Why not just watch the movie again?”

Well, fuck you, good sir and/or madam.

Seriously, I didn’t want to watch the previous movie again. It was a slog to get through the first time. What makes you think the second time would be better? So, I took the position that I hope others take – actually attempting to read my writing. Jesus peoples, how do you do it? If you are one of the three or four people who keep coming back every week… why? You know what? Don’t answer that. Let’s just move onto the 1985 Hercules sequel.

Right out the gate, I like that this movie doesn’t fuck about. First, the movie is considerably shorter than the first. The first movie was like over 100 minutes long. This one is less than 90. You’re on the right path here, Cannon. Second, There’s some MGM DVD business that immediately launches into the movie showing Lou Ferrigno’s name on screen and we get another history of the universe before it tells us it’s Herc time, baby!

So, yeah, the universe was created and planets and trippy shit happened all over the place. Then the Gods came and created Hercules. The music builds to a crescendo to make us feel like we’re about to watch some real serious shit. And then we see a shot of Herc from the last movie, but the way he looks, the way he flexes, and the way Ferrigno is looking at us, I’m afraid to complain about this movie or he’s gonna shove that fist up my asshole.

Color me curious, Herc, but I don’t think that’s going to fit.

Wait a minute… This is just from the first movie when he had to prove himself worthy to escort Cassiopeia! Then, during the credits we see him fight the mechanical locust thing that killed his mom. We’re not done there either, he does the dam thing to wipe out that stable of Cassie’s dad’s. Man, I’ve already seen these Adventures of Hercules. I don’t want to watch them again. I purposely tried to avoid seeing that previous movie ever again.

Yes, yes… I know this is just keeping people up to date with what happened before, and keeping things exciting here through some pretty badly ripped off Superman-style credits, but, as quickly as they put Ferrigno’s name on screen, these credits are going waaaay too long now. Maybe the most shocking thing in these credits aren’t the scenes from the previous movie, but it’s that Pino Donaggio shows up listed as music guy. Donaggio is a fucking awesome conductor. I’m pretty sure he could be the direct reason for this movie being a dozen minutes shorter because he’s probably pricy.

So, where we at? Okay, Hercules took his rightful place on Mt. Olympus and all was good thanks to Zeus and his amazing technicolor seven thunderbolts. However, some Gods (mostly Goddesses because women be jealous, yo) decided that this would not do at all. So they stole those thunderbolts for… reasons? Anyway, we dive into the action with a chained girl being dragged by a couple Spartans to be sacrificed where this guy… Pfft. Oh my god, this guy is waiting for the girl to be delivered for the ceremony.

I’m willing to bet that there was never a Greek guy in ancient times that looked like that guy. Anyway, the girl begs for her life, but the guy says she should be honored to be chosen to be eaten by the fire monster Antaeus.

But now that I get a look at this creature, I think he might just be Kremzeek from The Transformers.

Also… That’s not fire.

Now, there’s a woman who watches from above. You’d think she might, you know, stop this girl from being eaten by the fire monster, but no. She watches her friend get eaten by the fire monster and we do see that she’s no longer just hot, but crispy too. The girl who looked on, Urania, goes to tell her sister, Glaucia, that their friend and/or sister was eaten by the monster. Glaucia asks why the Gods have chosen them to be picked on and fed to the fire monster. Urania says that it’s not the Gods’ fault this has befallen them.

Glaucia (R) and Urania (L)

Apparently, Urania has some foresight of things to come. She dreamed of the girl’s death but was too late to save her. She’s dreamed now that Glaucia is the next to be chosen for the fire monster. They decide they need to take on Aladdin Sane up there from the ceremony and destroy him. Urania says they don’t necessarily need to destroy him because she can outsmart him.

Urania goes to ask some fire fairies about what to do. These fairies say that Zeus lost his powers to help the people of Earth because of those missing thunderbolts. Urania must find and summon Hercules, who currently lives among the constellations. With Hercules, they should be able to save everyone. On the moon, Athena and Zeus talk about the shit that has gone down at their workplace. It’s not just that there are fire monsters and what have you running about, but without the seven thunderbolts, somehow, some fucking way, it’s caused the moon’s orbit to begin to decay. In time, shit is gonna get real fucked up.

So Zeus, who originally wanted humanity to stand on their own (forget how they will stop the goddamn moon from falling into Earth), decides it’s time to summon Herc.

Right away, Hercules is pretty much attacked by some sort of creature. It’s like a cross between Chewbacca and the salt monster from Star Trek. After killing the monster, it turns into one of the thunderbolts. The four rebellious Gods talk this shit over because, uh oh… Hercules is back and they’re gonna be in trouble. The four gods are Hera, returning from the last movie, Poseidon, who looks like a villain in a Doctor Who serial, Aphrodite lookin’ pretty hot, and some lady named Flora, who also looks real hot. We learn that the thunderbolts are hidden in the bellies of monsters that are roaming about the normal world. We also discover that Flora has some strings she pulls for some help.

This help they get is from a guy who yearns to be a demigod and is therefore willing to do a lot of really bad shit. Flora takes him to the secret tomb of King Minos. She gives him a magic axe to break the chains around Minos’ tomb so he can open the tomb. In order to resurrect Minos. Flora kills her goon and summons the other rebel Gods. Hera does a Hammer Dracula thing and drips blood from the goon over the bones of King Minos and he reconstitutes himself into a living being again so he can get that sweet, sweet revenge on the Hercmeister.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Hercules finds the blood-soaked belongings of another traveler that met some sort of a grizzly end. This makes Herc sad. However, he soon learns from Glaucia, who hid away from the attackers, that they were attacked by the slime monsters and they just came right out of the ground and took off with Urania. They find her pretty much right away but then get attacked by Slime People monsters, and it’s pretty great.

I will give this movie one thing… Hercules sure is punching the fuck out of things. It is a step up from the first movie. Despite all that first movie’s hairbrained and crazy stuff crammed into it, it was pretty dreadfully boring.

Hercules, Urania, and Glaucia escape into a cave that the Slime People are scared of. They come across a spooky chick named Euryale. She invites them into her palace. However, it turns out this lady has some pretty impressive statues of people that look almost as if they were immortalized in a moment of unexpected fear. That never seems like a good thing to hear about the ornaments in someone’s cave. They are then attacked by laser stone creatures. Hercules knows that Euryale was a Gorgon that turns people to stone. So he has Urania and Glaucia leave the cave while he plans to kill Euryale.

He actually tells the girls he “shan’t” be long. If I was ever unsure of whether or not Ferrigno is dubbed, I think I would have found my answer.

Hercules hunts down Euryale. Euryale is kind of thinking she’s leading Herc into a trap where she will then add him to her menagerie of stone people. It’s a good thing that Herc recently rented Clash of the Titans and checked it out before returning to Earth because he knows to pick up a reflective shield and sword and use the shield to see when she approaches. Then, he surprises her and lops off her head after she transformed into a legally-distinct scorpion-like monster.

The quartet of rebel Gods are getting a little nervous. First, Hercules is starting to get pretty good at finding these thunderbolts. Second, after resurrecting him, Minos has gone missing. Get this… Minos gets on a boat and sails west. Poseidon followed him to keep tabs. He even tried to change the winds and currents of the sea to keep him from getting too far away. However, Minos uses his science shit to counteract Poseidon’s actions.

They fucking resurrected a dude who immediately cheesed it. That’s fucking hilarious.

Hercules, Urania, and Glaucia discuss their mission. Hercules knows that another thunderbolts will be found when he kills that fire monster. Yet, he’s not immune to the heat he would give off. So they decide they need to talk to those fire fairies that Urania got her marching orders from. In order to get there sooner, they have to go through a forest supposedly ruled over by Tartarus. Herc’s attacked by a demonic white knight who plans to kill him, but Hercules impales the knight and it turns out to be the third thunderbolt.

Hercules is starting to rack up these wins pretty fast now. Those Gods need to do something about that or find King Minos and put him back on track or something. Hercules is almost halfway through his mission. Speaking of Minos, he’s gone to commune with his techno goddess what’s-her-face. She gives him a cool furry sword… Actually, no. I guess that’s an ice sword.

Imagine for a few minutes that you are going to your local multiplex in 1983 or 1985. You’re watching one of these Hercules movies. Lou Ferrigno’s actions should be pretty easy to understand. He’s punching things and stabbing things and what have you. However, they are throwing characters around and dropping names and events and things that are supposedly important, but I couldn’t imagine trying to just go to a movie theater with a box of popcorn and a drink and a box of Raisinets and trying to follow any-fucking-thing in these movies. It had to be torture.

Like, seriously… This movie came out in 1985. It’s pretty damn possible that if you see that a movie called The Adventures of Hercules is playing down the street, you might be curious enough to see it. At the very least, your little brother or son might want to see it. It’s Herc, baby! He’s probably punching and stabbing and throwing people! And if it’s not people he’s throwing, it’s a fucking bear! Now, it’s real likely you probably didn’t see the first one, so when this fish-headed bitch named Dedalos shows up and talking about science being all powerful and gives this other guy who’s supposedly also kind of important a fuzzy sword… It would be utter madness!

Now, I do want to back up for a minute. Dedalos is played by Eva Robin’s. Yes, that’s her name. No, that is not an inappropriately placed apostrophe. Robin’s is an Italian actress probably best known for playing a seductress in a white dress and red heels in Dario Argento’s Tenebrae. She’s a gorgeous woman. She’s one of the earliest successful transgendered actresses in cinema. When she was 16, a neighbor, who knew she was wanting to live as a woman, introduced her to feminizing hormones. In five years’ time, she was living as a woman. She originally took the name Eva Robbins as a combination of a character from the Diabolik comics and the popular writer Harold Robbins. She saw her name spelled Robin’s somewhere and just decided to take that spelling. Robin’s never had, nor wanted, reassignment surgery as she became incredibly comfortable with her body as it was after she transitioned hormonally. She’s a fascinating person.

Alright, so Urania has gone back to see these fairy oracle ladies. She wants to know how Hercules will stand up to the fire monster’s, well, fire. They know the answer, but, of course, nothing is given away for free. It always has to be some kind of goddamn quest or puzzle. They say they have to find a specific material that’s made from, I dunno… water or some such shit. They tell her to go find this temple where she can then get the substance so she and Hercules can craft the suit that will protect him from the fire demon… Goddamn, this is taxing.

They get these leaves that will give them gills so they can swim underwater to this temple. But do we see them get these gills? NO! We see them turn into little light tadpoles and crash into the sea. When they become people again, they are just normal people with glowing auras around them. I wanted to see some fucking gills… Goddammit!

Anyway, they talk to some mermaids. For real. They tell them the moon’s about to fuckin’ crash into the planet! So after saying that Hercules and Urania have the fate of the world in their hands, they get the stuff they need to defeat the fire monster. That… was pretty easy. Of course, things aren’t perfect. David Bowie’s troops have taken Glaucia and plan to sacrifice her next to the fire monster.

Now, take a good look at that picture above. That’s too long, weirdo. Anyway, Glaucia is chained, bent over backwards, on that boulder. Does it have to be so… uh… suggestive? Did they have to pose the girls they sacrifice like that? Who is that for? Is it for the guy who calls the fire monster? Is it for the fire monster himself? Or is it for us, the audience? Is this some good ol’ Italian fan service?

I mean, Sonia Viviani, the lady playing Glaucia, sure has nice things to take a look at. Sure, I like her tiny skirt and her crop top or whatever that would be called. Does she have to be necessarily posed like that? I’m guessing someone, maybe even Luigi Cozzi himself, said it was necessary. It had to be like that.

Anyway, can you tell I’m having to constantly find other shit to talk about? This movie is, again, not very fun to watch. How can two Hercules movies starring Lou Ferrigno doing batshit insane things and saying even crazier stuff, be so boring?

Okay, so the fire monster is summoned and Herc arrives just in time to fight the thing. This creature, while getting punched and tossed around quite often, is a tad bit harder to put down. He does eventually defeat the creature and get the fourth thunderbolt. The rebellious Gods are still talking about how Hercules is getting closer to returning all the thunderbolts to Zeus. They are really needing Minos to get off his duff and, like, do something? So this Flora chick, one of the rebel Gods, goes to see Minos to tell him to do what they want him to do. He uses that ice sword given to him by Dedalos and it freezes her or ages her or something. I don’t know.

This movie isn’t just giving me a headache, but the actors are getting one too.

Now, here’s what I don’t understand – a lot of things about this movie. So, Urania is doing a LOT of the legwork in this movie. That is either because she has great legs or because it’s highly unlikely Lou Ferrigno will be incredibly believable when shown conversing with spirits and what have you. Some of the dialog that poor Urania has to say is incredible. The fire fairies? Those are constantly referred to as the “Little People”. Is Darby O’Gill with them too? Anyway, so she keeps saying she has to talk to the Little People. She converses with them in two different places, and then tries to go to another temple, but then has to say that she just needs to go talk to the Oracle of Death. What?!?

I’m fairly sure this script was just made up on the fly. Urania goes to see the Oracle of Death. She drinks this potion stuff that transport her to the Astro Plane. Okay, fine… whatever. She communes with the Little People who tell her that it’s difficult to talk to her on Earth. Um… No. That’s not true because she had no trouble talking to them on two different occasions in two different locations. I think you’re feeding me some bullshit, movie. Oh fuck it. Anyway, Urania has learned that she will help Hercules save the world but it will come at the cost of her life.

Meanwhile, outside, Hercules and Glaucia are attacked by Amazons. The Amazon queen, according to Glaucia, is the most evil of them all. Are the Amazons evil? Are they? They knock out Glaucia and they throw an electrified net onto Herc and take him captured.

They summon the Amazon Queen (they call the Queen of Spiders… ew). She sends her Amazons away and wants to be left with Hercules. Urania has returned and gets the updates from Glaucia. Urania transfers some powers of light to Herc so that he can kill the Queen of Spiders before she can kill him. He throttles her and sees her transform first into a slug like creature before transforming into the fifth thunderbolt.

Hera, Aphrodite, and Poseidon plan to do away with King Minos after he kills Hercules. However, Minos hears their plans and attacks. He kills Aphrodite and Poseidon with laser beams. I think this movie just said that science has killed love and polluted the ocean. Minos says that Hercules works for him unknowingly and he plans to obtain the thunderbolts from him instead of them being returned to Zeus.

Okay, so because this movie is bonkers, that means there needs to be some bonkers shit to happen here at the end. They take what I can only call a stairway to heaven that basically the first place you cross through in order to ascend to Olympus or something. I don’t remember what they said. This leads to a trippy moment followed by a kind of depressing moment. They go to this place that Urania says is not much more than an echo chamber. Sounds echo and light reflects. There, they find the sixth thunderbolt and Zeus is nearly back up to full strength.

But uh oh! Glaucia is a traitor! Well, sorta…

Get this, boys and girls… Glaucia died. Yeah. When Urania and Hercules went to go talk to mermaids, I guess maybe Glaucia tried to follow them, but Minos asked Poseidon to basically kill her by water. Or I guess drowning. Either way, she died and was replaced by a perfect duplicate created by Minos and Dedalos. She didn’t know she was their creation until the sixth thunderbolt was recovered and her sleeper programming kicked in.

Minos reveals himself to Hercules who just gives him a disappointed “Minos… Not again.”

Minos tells Hercules, “The future belongs to chaos… and science.” Now, call me dumb, but I’m pretty sure no one who had any hand in creating this script knew anything about science. Science explains the order of things. It’s not part of chaos. Chaos is, uh… not scientific. It’s random. Randomness is not scientific. Sure, you could say that some things appear to have happened in the cosmos randomly. It just so happens that Earth was the right distance from the sun with the right materials available to it to create life. However, the more we learn about how life forms, the less random all that is and feels.

Oh fuck it.

Minos asks Hercules to join him. Hercules says no, and Minos zaps him unconscious. He tells Urania that he will use Hercules to create a new race of humans in his image but scientifically programmed to not make errors. I hate everything about that sentence I typed. He then tells Glaucia that he no longer needs her and she should kill herself. She does and Minos takes Urania prisoner. Before Minos returns to talk to Dedalos about the next part of their plans, Zeus uses the power of time to, I guess, kill Dedalos.

Hercules is given a special science-defying shield to take into the final battle against Minos. Minos brags about having all the power. He then decides to take Hercules on in space. I shit you not. There is a fight in space between Minos and Hercules. It’s… It’s amazingly dumb.

Apparently, at some point during this fight scene, the movie gives up and becomes a cartoon. Then Zeus returns and says that Hercules has defeated Minos and they need to get that last thunderbolt. This movie has… died. Worse, it nearly killed me. I had my hands on either side of my face, mouth agape for several minutes watching this climatic fight in space. How… HOW could this get released to a movie theater? Going back to my original question – how could this have possibly been received in a theater, with actual paying customers, in 1985? I’m befuddled. I’m flummoxed. I’m vexed. I’m dumbfounded. I have been found dumb.

So… can you guess what the seventh thunderbolt is? Turns out Urania is Hera’s daughter. She created Urania with light. The final thunderbolt was hidden within her heart. Urania gives up her life to save the planet. Meanwhile… I’m curious where Hercules is. Is he still in space? Is he just watching over all this thinking, “Um… Do you need me around to clean up anything? Can I go ahead and clock out?”

Once Urania turns into the final thunderbolt, Zeus can move the moon back to its proper orbit. He makes Hercules grow to super size and it is the exact same effect used in the first movie when he separated, sigh, Europe from Africa. He gets big and he just thinks that he’s huge now, but Zeus yells to him and tells him to stop the Earth and moon from colliding and set things back to right or something. He makes Urania the muse of your ass (or, I guess, space and astronomy) and puts Hercules back into the stars.

God this movie sucks.

Thank fuck it’s over and I don’t have to watch another Cannon Hercules movie. You know what I do get to do, though? Watch a good Italian movie. Next week, it’s time for the second part of the Fulci Gates of Hell trilogy with 1981’s The Beyond. That’s guaranteed to be a far better experience than this was. Go over to the right side of the screen, scroll up, and find where you can follow B-Movie Enema at the various places.

Until next Friday, may I rule over you with chaos and science!

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