Goliath and the Vampires

08/12/2022 08:52

Film: Goliath and the Vampires (Maciste contro il vampire)

Year: 1961

Director: Sergio Corbucci and Giacomo Gentilomo

Writer: Sergio Corbucci and Duccio Tessari

Starring: Gordon Scott, Leonora Ruffo and Jacques Sernas



This is another horror movie that I had never heard from 1961. Being that I was celebrating Italian horror month along with the 22 Shots of Moodz and Horror back in November, I decided to find all the movies from this year that are from Italy and check out them as part of my Odyssey through the Ones. This looked to be another sword and sandal/sorcery type film which is under seen by me. I do enjoy quite a bit though.

Synopsis: Goliath (Gordon Scott) must save the kidnapped women of his village from an evil zombie leader who needs their blood to feed his soldiers.

For this movie we start with Goliath as he is plowing his field. He finds a large rock or tree stump to which he must remove before continuing. He then hears a commotion about someone drowning. He jumps from a cliff to save Ciro (Rocco Vidolazzi). He saves this person and decides to take him back to their village. Ciro is the younger brother to Goliath’s fiancée, Guja (Leonora Ruffo). The two of them notice smoke in the distance.

It is from an attack on their village. It is led by Amahil (Vanoye Aikens). Those that fight back are killed and the women taken hostage. This includes Guja and Magda (Annabelle Incontrera). They are taken to a ship and they set sail. Something isn’t right about this though. Amahil and his men take blood from some of the prisoners and bring it to their leader, Kobrak (Guido Celano). At this time, we only see his arm which is monstrous and even Amahil is scared. There is commotion in the prisoner hold during this as Amahil decides to take Guja from the rest.

Goliath learns of where this ship is going and heads for the town. The women are being sold into slavery there. There is a man who is interested in the proceedings of Kurtik (Jacques Sernas). When Goliath shows up, he sees an ally in him as they have a common enemy. The leader of this town is Sultan Abdul (Mario Feliciani). He is concerned with his people turning on him due to the cruelty of Kobrak. Astra (Gianna Maria Canale), a slave in his service, tries to convince him that is not the case. Kobrak is helping him. We see though that she isn’t to be trusted as she is a servant of this evil master.

When Goliath tries to save the women from his town, this draws the attention of Abdul. He demands his capture. Kurtik reveals himself to Goliath and Ciro, informing them they can be helpful to each other. The goal is to defeat Korbrak, who appears to be supernatural as the synopsis states. Magda is taken reading a scroll on how to defeat him and Amahil is hunted for having Goliath’s fiancée. Goliath will need to trust Kurtik if they’re to save these women and those who have fallen victim to this powerful villain.

That will be where I leave my recap for the movie. Where I want to start is when searching for this movie, I realized that this seems to part of a series of films where Goliath would fight different villains, both natural and supernatural. Looking at the original title, his name is Maciste. Doing a quick search, this looks like a name that is associated with Hercules in mythology. These would be retitled to that name along with Goliath and Samson in other countries. The goal is to capitalize on people seeing this by giving them a familiar name. The idea is that he is physically larger than most people and of great strength. This is my first foray into a Goliath film, but I have seen an Italian Hercules film recently.

With that out of the way, this movie has an interesting story here. I’m not sure about where they got the mythology. The synopsis states that Kobrak is the king of the zombies. That makes sense as he is creating mindless entities that follow him. This movie calls them robots with blood. He is credited as a vampire as well. What is interesting is that he fits closer to Eastern take on this creature than the more Gothic version. His enemies in this from the lore are these ‘blue men’. Their leader is Kurtik. I’m not sure who they are supposed to be. It has me intrigued, but I can’t seem to find out additional information. I’ll give it to them for coming up with something creative.

What I wasn’t expecting here was a bit of social commentary that works today. We have this small community that is most likely fishers and farmers. They are attacked by these raiders. They feel like Vikings. Their captain is Amahil who has allegiance to Kobrak. These Vikings take their slaves to sell in this town that is run by Abdul. This Sultan is also under the fear of Kobrak. We are seeing that everyone is living under the fear of something greater than them. It is taking those that are being trampled to rise and defeat the villains at the top, running things. This eerily sounds like corrupt capitalism.

To shift over to a negative, this movie runs a bit too long for me. If there was more fleshing out of the some of the story elements, I’d be on board with that. Instead, we get a couple of dancing numbers that feel like filler and don’t amount too much. Are the women dancing good looking? Of course, but with a movie like this I want more fighting or as I said, fill in a bit more of the legends that we are getting set up here.

Then to get back to a positive, the acting is solid. Scott has a good look for this character of Goliath. His acting isn’t bad either. It is interesting that he is fighting people with weapons and just knocks them around. What I did like though is we see him in peril. He is arrested a couple of times. He can get out due to his strength, but I like seeing him at least fail. Ruffo is attractive in her role. The same can be said with Canale and Incontrera. Something else I like deals with Astra and how villainous she is. Sernas is solid in his mysterious way. Vidolazzi is fine as a boy. Feliciani is interesting as the sultan since he is a pawn like the citizens underneath him. I did like seeing that. Then the last person to give credit to would be Celano. I thought he fit well as this villainous creature. The acting overall worked.

The last things to go into would be the effects, cinematography and the soundtrack. For the former, I like that they make things look heavy so when Goliath picks them up, it makes him look stronger. Things were done practical here, which is good. I could tell where things would break intentionally, but this movie is from 1961. I’m not going to hold it against it. We did get ghostly things that are done with superimposing. That worked for me. I liked the look of Kobrak along with his soldiers. The blue men looked fine. Some of the fight scenes don’t look great, but again, that is the era. The cinematography was solid enough. Other than that, the soundtrack fit for what was needed. The best part is the theme they use for Kobrak when he would appear. It is violin heavy and adds a creepy vibe.

In conclusion, this is a solid enough movie. I’m still new to this subgenre of the Italian Sword and Sandal films. I do like that we’re getting a supernatural twist here with Kobrak the vampire. The acting I thought was good across the board. There is some filler, but for the most part, the story works well enough for me. If anything, there is a bit more that could have been fleshed out. The effects aren’t great, but I’m not going to hold it against the movie due to the era. Cinematography was fine and the soundtrack was about the same. The theme for the villain though was on point. I’d say that this is an above average movie for me. I’d recommend it if you’re into these type of flicks for sure.


My Rating: 6.5 out of 10