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Maciste In Hell (1962)

(aka: The Witch's Curse)



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A witch is burned at the stake and issues a curse as she dies. A hundred years later, women are being mysteriously driven to suicide by it. No problem -- Maciste, Italy's Hercules clone, to the rescue! What's Maciste doing in 17th century Scotland? Don't know. Doesn't matter. These movies dismiss details like that and are probably right to.

Unfortunately, this film has been clumsily handled by the international distributors. The English language versions were severely cut, rendering some scenes inexplicable. The title was changed to Maciste In Hell to The Witch's Curse and sold as a horror movie instead of the sword-and-sandal flick it was, the unconventional setting notwithstanding. The movie is in the public domain, and that's spurred fans to reconstruct the film by editing different existing versions together. The restored footage shows just how much more atmospheric and evenly paced the original cut was.

This is thus one of the better Maciste films (who is actually called Maciste here, even though most of the English language dubs of the series changed his name to Hercules, Samson, Goliath, Atlas, Colossus, or some such better known name), though it is not as good as the similarly-themed Hercules In the Haunted World. There is also too much of an occult presence in the story. But the underworld sets and set pieces are impressive.

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