Hercules The Avenger

Hercules The Avenger (1965)
Image Entertainment
Cast: Reg Park, Alan Steel
Extras: Photo Gallery

On this double feature DVD, Image Entertainment is presenting the 1965 film ’Hercules The Avenger’ starring Reg Park, as well as the 1964 adventure ’Hercules And The Black Pirate.’ The first of the film is a great fantasy epic with all the elements you could ask for. Battling heroes, dragons, zombies, busty girls in short skirts and a goddess hell bent on world domination. It is a fun film that hasn’t seen a lot of exposure in the US and as such may be new to most viewers.

’Hercules And The Black Pirate’ is a completely different beast. Here Hercules is time-traveling to Elizabethan England and suddenly finds himself with Musketeers and pirates. Interestingly despite its weird premise, ’Hercules And The Black Pirate’ is a wonderful movie that is directed with style. It has some great moments and plenty of sword play action to make fans happy.

A note at the start of the presentation indicates that the source materials that Image had accessible were very limited and of varying quality. Still, however, he presentation of the movie is less than impressive. Although presented in 16×9 enhanced widescreen, ’Hercules The Avenger’ boasts an image that is eternally out of focus. Not a single shot in the film is in focus, giving the presentation a completely blurry look with washed out colors. While black levels are good the presentation never manages to get above a mediocre VHS quality, I am sad to say. The audio is equally bad with an unnatural ambiance, occasionally out-of-sync after-dubbing and a limited frequency response that give the presentation a harsh and shrill quality.

As expected, ’Hercules And The Black Pirate’ doesn’t fare much better, unfortunately, and is not even in widescreen. The release also does not offer captions or subtitles, but you’ll find a muscle Man Gallery on the DVD.

It is too bad Image didn’t get the materials to create a better release of these films. There is a fan community out there who adore these sandal films from the 60s and I’m not sure they will be too pleased with this release. You really have to be a die-hard fan to look over the technical shortcomings of this release depsite the fact that both films are great genre entries and a lot of fun.