The sequel to is coming along nicely, so Sheri and I thought we’d revive our practice of posting bits and pieces of the work in progress. Today it’s a selection from our chapter on heroes, legends, and dummi-gods.
Trivia Time: The Latin word for bear, ursus, comes from the Greek arktos, which means “unlubricated.”
Directed by: Luigi Cozzi (as Lewis Coates)
Written by: Luigi Cozzi
The screen is black. Sadly, it doesn’t stay that way.
An heroic anthem lumbers across the soundtrack, played by the Ambien Philharmonic Orchestra, and conducted by a slow loris. A deep-voiced, but effeminate narrator (sort of a cross between Darth Vader and Paul Lynde) rumbles at us,
“In the beginning, before Creation, there was darkness.”
$1.75 worth of Black Cat firecrackers explode, indicating that the Big Bang has occurred, and getting some flakes of charred paper stuck on the camera lens.
“From the primordial explosion,” Darth Lynde explains, “Emerged the Fire of Chaos.” At this performance, the Fire of Chaos will be played by a Kingsford Charcoal Briquet, confirming Stephen Hawking’s theory that the Universe has no boundary in space-time, and that its edges light quickly.
“Chaos merged with Darkness, and from this union were born the elements: Night, day, matter, and air.”
We’re pretty sure that Night and Day are not elements; nevertheless, we’re willing to split the difference and agree that out of the Primordial Darkness and the Fiery Chaos of Creation, there emerged a pretty catchy Cole Porter tune.
“Then,” the Dark Lord of the Lisp continues, “Out of this misty radiance of the cosmos, there came forth a jar. Golden and glittering. Pandora’s Jar.”
Pandora’s Jar? I thought she had a box. (I know, I know, that’s what she said.)
Then some Minoan hillbillies put Pandora’s Jug on a fence post and take pot shots at it. It blows up real good.
“From the fragments of the Jar, the planets and the solar system were formed.” So according to the filmmakers, the Ancient Greeks attributed the origin of the cosmos to the Pottery Barn Rule: You break it, you create the universe.
Due to layoffs and budget cutbacks, the Greek pantheon has been reduced to three gods, and outsourced to the moon. This understaffed celestial call center is ruled by Zeus, father of gods and men, lord of creation, and judging by his wig and beard, an off-season Salvation Army Santa with one of those crowns you get when you taste Imperial margarine.
The gods live in a crater, in the middle of an open air (or open vacuum) temple which recalls the majestic architecture of Classical Greece; except the columns look like giant plaster dildos, and appear to be covered in melted wax like Chianti bottles, so it’s sort of like ancient Athens if the Parthenon were a gayer, more fetish-oriented Shakeys.
Zeus creates a champion “who is stronger and more intelligent than all other men,” a process which involves a “Spotlight Dance on Lou Ferrigno!’ while he goes through his Mr. Universe pose down routine in front a green screen. Ordinarily this would just be horrifying, but Hercules goes the extra mile by having Lou wear a flesh-toned G-string to simulate nudity. And for those who’ve wondered about the steroids/shrunken genitalia connection, check out the contrast between Lou’s bloated musculature and flat-front thong; it’s like someone grafted Barbie’s crotch onto a Stretch Armstrong doll.
Zeus plays flashlight tag with the earth, before depositing a glowing glob into a baby, in a scene about which the less said, the better.
Sybil Danning, who is dressed like one of King Tut’s molls from the old Batman TV show, conspires with the Captain of the Guard to kill the king and the queen, and the “little Hercules” (apparently Sybil saw Lou in his flesh colored jockstrap).
Before our regicide gets underway, however, the Captain has Viet Nam-like flashbacks to more expensive cheap Hercules movies from the 50s and 60s, with actual costumes and sets and battle scenes.
Meanwhile, an archer with a patent leather do-rag pulls a big sword out of a hibatchi and is rightwise born king of all England as soon as they invent it.
The Captain rallies his troops, and again we get a fresh perspective on the founders of Western Civilization. In addition to their Illyrian helmets, Boeotian shields, and bronze spears, Greek soldiers were also equipped with Bedazzlers, judging by the generous use of rhinestones on their armor. Apparently there’s a previously unnoticed footnote to the Iliad which reads, “Fashions by Bob Mackie.”
So the royal family is slaughtered, but a maid snatches up “Poor Little Prince Hercules” and flees through the forest, although according to the Foley artist she’s running through corn flakes with a goat in her arms.
She puts Baby Hercules in a boat and sends him drifting down the river, where he bumps into Moses going the other way. The boat drifts past some View-Master slides, then goes over a waterfall, but the infant is saved at the last moment when his boat is caught in mid air by a giant cartoon hand from Monty Python.
Hera is one of the three remaining gods and is pissed that she has to work a double shift, so she sends two snakes to kill Hercules. And when I say “snakes,” I mean “two yard long turds that have been flocked like Christmas trees and spray-painted the color of split-pea soup, then given two bicycle reflectors for eyes.” It doesn’t work out.
Herc is plucked from the river by two Greek peasants who live in the Flintstone’s house for some reason (possibly Fred was laid off from the quarry after the transition from stone to bronze tools, and he and Wilma walked away from their mortgage. Or maybe Dino matured into a velociraptor and learned how to open the front door).
Herc’s foster mother is barren, but likes to press the infant to her dry breast just to mess with him. Nevertheless, he grows up into big ‘n tall Lou Ferrigno, who mercifully trades in his invisible G-string for a Naugahyde diaper.
Herc is out in the forest, harvesting Styrofoam trees, when his father is mauled by stock footage of a bear. Hercules is so enraged that he screams and punches the camera, then throws a Build-A-Bear into orbit. It collides with a bone hurled by a slightly more intelligent hominid from 2001: A Space Odyssey, then the murderous plush toy explodes into a Laser Floyd show, finally settling down and becoming the constellation of Ursa Major.
Meanwhile, Minos has abandoned Crete and is also now living on the Moon (it’s getting really built up over there), where he has been crowned king of an exterior set from Star Trek. He uses the transporter to summon Dedalus, who in this version of the myth is an alien chick dressed in a plastic unitard and a shower curtain with a cellophane Dracula collar, a codpiece, green spray-painted cowboy boots, and a golden leather football helmet with fish fins.
Minos believes in Science!, so he commands Dedalus to create some mechanical monsters which can destroy Hercules. She responds with some Mexican Day of the Dead figurines and a Millennium Falcon model someone assembled while on acid, then burned in the driveway.
Back on Earth, Hercules is plowing a field by dragging some rocks behind him. Weaker men might have preferred to plow using something with an edge on it – like a plow – but Herc likes to flaunt his demi-godly strength, and frequently uses rocks in place of ordinary household items, like forks, or toilet paper.
Suddenly, Hercules’s friend Mulletus gallops over the hill and screams, “Your mother is in danger!” Then he turns and trots off. Herc’s expression is rather blank, but he undoubtedly appreciates Mullutus telling him that his mom is about to be killed. He probably would have appreciated a ride even more.
By the time Hercules arrives, his foster mother has been killed by an infernal machine (it’s supposed to recall the mechanical owl from Clash of the Titans grown to Brobdignagian proportions, but it more closely resembles a Norelco shaver made out of Legos and despair).
After an implied fight with the Tinker Toy monster thing, Herc cremates his mother, then torches the Flintstone place. Mulletus asks why he’s burning down his own house, and Herc replies, “I don’t have a house anymore.” Well, no, now that you’ve just set it on fire.
Hercules goes off to audition for some king (I think his name is Brad) who’s looking for bodybuilders with a minimal amount of stage combat training. Our hero doesn’t seem to qualify, but his Fairy Godeditor helps out by enchanting Herc’s sword, so that whenever he smacks someone it burps out a crappy video effect.
Next, Hercules must fight twenty men at once. Unfortunately, he never learned the complicated rules of Greco-Roman wrestling, so he just picks up a giant log and crushes everybody. Then he hurls the log into deep space, where it becomes the Duraflame constellation.
The king’s daughter Cassiopea wears a veil, because it is foretold that she will marry the first man who sees her face, or maybe because she just hasn’t waxed her mustache lately. She’s Greek, after all. The king subcontracts Hercules to escort Casio to Athens, but first he has to clean all the horseshit out of the stable, then see what he can do about rinsing some of it out of the script.
Herc tosses a rock into the Grand Canyon, which somehow makes the Colorado River take an elevator to the top and drown all the horses. It also turns the stable into a sparkling gay bathhouse
The mildew-free tile and wet, dead horses arouse Calliope, and she removes her veil in slow motion. She and Herc stare at each other blankly for a minute, then they kiss; but suddenly, a badly superimposed Zeus appears and shoots a lightning bolt at them from his forehead. Then Sybil Danning shows up in a formal swimsuit and has the unconscious lovers taken aboard her ship.
You know those majestic triremes people in Hercules movies are always sailing around the world? Well, they can’t afford one of those, so instead we just get to watch Herc go swimming (apparently he was thrown overboard in lieu of chum).
Herc washes ashore on that island where H.R. Puffnstuf is mayor, and is immediately molested by Witchiepoo. She takes him to the Cave Room at the Madonna Inn and tests him for steroids and diabetes, then drinks his blood sample and transforms from a hideous crone into a beautiful maiden! Or at least into a pleasant-looking woman in her thirties without a lot of dried rubber cement on her face.
Cut to the Los Angeles County Arboretum, where Circe (for it is indeed she!) and Hercules are standing beside a waterfall.
“This,” Herc exclaims, “is a Garden of Eden!” Apparently it’s the beta version.
Circe was exiled to this Sandals Resort by Minos, but she can help Hercules find Callista if he will only help her to recover a lost talisman. “We need the charm, to carry us wherever we want to go,” she tells him. “Even to Thera!” Which is where Sybil took the kidnapped, Chlamydia. Unfortunately, “they threw it where no one could possible get it.”
But Hercules can get it. All he’ll need is both hands and a flashlight…
Meanwhile, Casserole is imprisoned in one of those cardboard jails where people pay “fines” to get “bailed out” at Rotary Club fundraisers.
Circe leads Herc across the “Rainbow Bridge,” which leads to “the Gates of Hell.” They don’t find his girlfriend or the charm, but they are greeted by lots of dead pets.
Charon, the skull-faced boatman ferries them across the Styx (at this performance the role of the River Styx will be played by a cement floor and a fog machine) to “Skull Island,” where they can presumably rescue Princess Tiger Lily.
Circe and Herc find her talisman; it’s in a big plastic Easter egg on a papier-maché nest, but it’s “protected by a triple barrier,” according to Circe. Herc reaches for the egg, which makes his hand disappear, and weird electronic music play, so apparently two of the three barriers are a process shot and a Theremin.
Herc reaches for the egg again, and this time his arm bursts into flame and burns cheerily like the WPIX Yule Log. Then it freezes. Then he reaches inside the egg (which is squishy – apparently ickiness was the third barrier) and pulls out a Christmas ornament. And just in time for the holidays!
Okay, so now they can go find Cassette, right? Nope. Circe uses the talisman to transport them to the set of a Beach Party movie, where Herc has to fight the King of Africa, who arrives on a sedan chair borne by the Washington Generals.
The King offers to give our hero a ride to Thera, but only if the demi-god agrees to irrigate the land, because apparently Herc went to Agricultural college. This could take awhile, so Circe transforms Hercules into Ultraman, and he grows large and tall enough that we really can’t help but look up his skirt. Thanks Circ.
Unfortunately, one upskirt shot and Circle falls in love with Hercules, which makes her lose all her powers. But they accidentally arrive at their destination anyway – “the Green Isle of Thera,” so named because everything is shot with a green filter. And wouldn’t you know, the instant they arrive, Circe is shot with a laser by – I’m not kidding – a robot Cyclops centaur. Hercules smacks the thing around until it makes a sound like a 1970 Plymouth Duster swallowing a valve, and then, in it’s death throes, it performs anal sex on itself with its own tail.
I’m still not kidding.
Herc breaks into the Green Lantern Corps’ central power battery for some reason, then falls down a hole.
Meanwhile, Sybil takes Cassavetes to her father, who turns out to be that Minos guy from the Moon. He watches Herc futz around inside a snowglobe for awhile, then suddenly stands and shouts, “Science!” like Thomas Dolby if he were dressed like an Amish Burger King.
Herc wakes up chained to the floor, just as Sybil arrives with a chalice full of “The Black Lotus” and tells Herc they’re going to get high and then boink. But for probably the first time in the history of these movies, Hercules doesn’t actually drink the roofie. Instead, he pulls off the fake chains, and then actually fights some opponents who weren’t made out of miss-matched Aurora model kits and added later in post production.
Minos takes Cass Sunstein into Mount Doom, where he plans to stuff her into a picnic basket and lower her into the lava. She seems okay with this, probably because the “lava” appears to be Campbell’s tomato soup on a low simmer.
Herc arrives, freshly unboinked, and goes mano a mano with Minos. But the king is armed with a glowing, flaming, multi-colored sword that’s kind like a light saber if they came in Neopolitan flavor.
Since our two foes are elderly and lumbering, respectively, it’s not exactly the climax of the 1938 Robin Hood. But Herc does accidentally make the volcano erupt with stock footage, setting fire to the entire island, and killing hundreds of extras from other, less cheap Hercules movies. Castrol and Herc panic and run around the tiny set, while we cut to shots of burning Styrofoam pyramids and hear the ADR folks shrieking gamely from the looping stage.
So, Herc has managed to kill everybody on the island, but he did get the girl. He just doesn’t seem to know what to do with her. Mama Cassiopea tries to give him a kiss, but he deflects it and retaliates with a little pack-patting hug. Then they suddenly shoot into the stars, where they become the Just Good Friends constellation.