Hercules in the Haunted World

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Hercules in the Haunted World
File:Ercole al centro della terra film poster.jpg
Italian film poster for Hercules in the Haunted World
Directed by Mario Bava
Produced by Achille Piazzi
Screenplay by Mario Bava
Sandro Continenza
Franco Prosperi
Duccio Tessari
Story by Mario Bava
Starring Reg Park
Christopher Lee
Leonora Ruffo
George Ardisson
Music by Armando Trovajoli
Cinematography Mario Bava
Edited by Mario Serandrei
SpA Cinematografica
Release dates
16 November 1961
Running time
91 min.
Country Italy
Language Italian
Box office ITL 398,000,000 (Italy)

Hercules in the Haunted World (Italian: Ercole al centro della terra) is a 1961 Italian sword-and-sandal film directed by Mario Bava. British bodybuilder Reg Park incorporates Hercules while legendary British actor Christopher Lee performs as Hercules' nemesis Lico. Shooting at Cinecittà director Mario Bava used some of the same sets from his earlier Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis which had already starred Reg Park.[1]


Upon his return to Italy from his many adventures, the great warrior Hercules learns that his lover, Princess Deianira (Daianara), has lost her senses. According to the oracle Medea (Gaia Germani), Daianara's only hope is the Stone of Forgetfulness which lies deep in the realm of Hades. Hercules, with two companions, Theseus and Telemachus, embarks on a dangerous quest for the stone, while he is unaware that Dianara's guardian, King Lico, is the one responsible for her condition and plots to have the girl for himself as his bride upon her revival. Lico is in fact in league with the dark forces of the underworld, and it is up to Hercules to stop him.

The climax has Hercules smashing Lico with a giant boulder and throwing similarly large rocks at an army of zombies.



Christopher Lee's more familiar deep, smoothly menacing voice was dubbed by another actor for the English-language version of the film.[2]

Critical reception

In a contemporary review, The Globe & Mail referred to the film as a "particularly awful Italian movie", specifying Reg Parks' acting and the film plays "havoc with the mythology".[3] The review also noted the English dub which was described as "corny almost beyond belief"[3]

Allmovie wrote "Hercules in the Haunted World is about as good a film as could be made on a budget in the 'mythic hero' subgenre of action films. If that sounds like faint praise, it isn't intended to be, for while overall Hercules can't totally rise above the many limitations of its genre (and budget), it nevertheless will thrill fans of such movies and even give non-devotees a number of very worthwhile elements to ponder."[4]


The Opera Theater Oregon commissioned composer Patrick Morganelli to write a companion piece to the film, Hercules vs. Vampires, which premiered in Portland in 2010.[5] In April 2015 the work was staged by the Los Angeles Opera.[6]


  • Hughes, Howard (2011). Cinema Italiano - The Complete Guide From Classics To Cult. London - New York: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-608-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. Hughes, p.8f
  2. Hughes, p.8f
  3. 3.0 3.1 Morriss, Frank (September 10, 1964). "Castle of Blood Fraying To Nerves". The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail. p. 11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Craig Butler. "Hercules in the Haunted World (1961)". Allmovie. Retrieved 2 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. James McQuillen (May 17, 2010). "Opera review: 'Hercules vs. Vampires' shines light on link to low-budget film genre". The Oregonian.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Simon Williams (April 25, 2015). "Hercules vs. Vampires: Los Angeles Opera". Opera News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links