Monstervision Host Segments for

Hercules & the Amazon Women

Just think about it: Is there any way at all that Joe Bob would NOT show a film called "Hercules and the Amazon Women?" It's right there in the title: Women. Amazon women. And if the Amazons weren't enough, the icing on this too-rich cake is the presence of Hercules, a man's man noted for kicking Classical World derriere around Mt. Olympus and back. With such goings on you won't even mind that there's no possibility for a motor vehicle chase.
"Hercules and the Amazon Women" opens with the promise of a wedding, but don't let that scare any commitment-phobes off. Seems that Herr Hercules' best friend is getting married and our favorite demi-god wouldn't miss it for the known world. The bride-to-be can't cook, can't mend clothing and can't care for the farm animals but she is darn good lookin', which Herc and buddy Iolaus discuss in a long male chauvinist argument before deciding that she's a Good Thing.
After disposing of an annoying hydra (yeah, like you're going to be in suspense about whether the duo survives), Herc and Iolaus prepare for the rigors of a fiance-cooked meal when a lurking peasant interrupts. Quick backstory reveals that his village is being attacked by mysterious, uh, attackers and that nobody else is willing to help. Herc sees his clear duty and can't talk Iolus out of tagging along to assist. By now, most of us are probably wondering where the heck are all the Amazon women but all that's worth saying at this point is just settle down and rest because once they do appear, you'll turn into some Tex Avery wolf with eyes a-poppin' and your back legs kicking your head. (The Amazons may be well-disciplined, man-hating warriors but they appear to have been hand-picked by Bob Guccione.)

The behind-the-scenes story may be more interesting than what's on-screen. Filming began in Thessalonia when Hercules arrived with an entourage of wood nymphs and a partially shaved satyr. An attack by a giant snake delayed the first day's shooting until... Nah, of course we're just hallucinating all that. There really is no Hercules and no Hera, no Zeus and probably not any Amazons either. But there is Mr. Kevin Sorbo, who gracefully agreed to pretend to be Hercules so that all these tv shows called Hercules could be made, not to mention our movie Hercules and the Amazon Women (which, like the TV show, was filmed in New Zealand). It might not have been this way since more-or-less reliable rumor is that Sorbo was considered for the role of Mulder on The X-Files, which might have lead to David Duchovny playing Hercules and a great imbalance in the forces of the universe. Equally unsettling when you watch Hercules and the Amazon Women might be suddenly spotting Xena the Warrior Princess, only you really haven't. That's Lucy Lawless all right, but this was a full year before the Xena show debuted so here she's playing a tough living Amazon named Lysia. She had even made an earlier appearance on Hercules playing a centaur's bride.
The Amazon queen, Hippolyta, is also the focus of some casting what-ifs. Elizabeth Hurley (of Austin Powers fame), Vanessa Angel (the computer genie of tv's Weird Science) and Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) were all considered before the part finally went to Downey. In one of those bizarre twists, when time came to cast Xena for that TV series, the producers decided on Angel, but she became sick so Lucy Lawless ended up as everybody's favorite warrior princess.
Hercules and the Amazon Women wraps up its entire story but fortunately leaves plenty for the TV series, though we're betting it doesn't follow Greek mythology too closely, since that had Hercules (or Herakles if you don't want the Latinized version) being driven mad and killing his wife and children with his bare hands. Ouch. MonsterVision's night of spectacle is much more entertaining and you could probably even let the kiddies watch.

Now here's the man of the late-night hour with those drive-in totals. "We have: Seven dead bodies. Two bewtocks. Three brawls. Death by being sucked into the ground. Three-headed giant snake fight. Multiple feet-washing. Stabbing. Choking. Tripping. Head-butting. Throat-slitting. Triple back-flip. Triple front-flip. Plummeting to death off an ancient Greek high-dive. Kung Fu. Swinging-through-the-forest-on-a-rope Fu. Amazon nookie. Four stars."



Hercules and the Amazon Women (1994)
The first of several pilot films which led to the popular Hercules series and its spinoff, Xena, features Kevin Sorbo in the title role, Michael Hurst as his sidekick, Iolaus, and Ms. Lawless as the aggressive leader of the Amazons. Stir in a dragon with multiplying heads, holes in the ground that devour people, and Anthony Quinn as Zeus and you have the makings of a fun fantasy-adventure. Rating: TV-14

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