The evil Queen Tenefi, who’s usurped the throne of Memphis, demands that a steady supply of young women be sacrificed to the God of Fire inside the Mountain of Thunder. Maciste (Son of Hercules) intervenes and saves from this sacrifice a village’s women including the beautiful Antea.
One of the many massive men of peplum who dominated popular Italian sword-and-sandal epics of the early 1960s, Italian Kirk Morris (né Adriano Bellini) was born in Venice on August 26, 1942. A gondolier and winner of the 1961 “Mr. Italia” bodybuilding contest at the time he was discovered by an Italian movie producer, Kirk was immediately plucked from the canals and greased-up runway for a go at campy muscleman stardom.
Director Tanio Boccia chose Kirk for the title role in Il trionfo di Maciste (1961) (The Triumph of Maciste) and the slightly boyish-looking, pearly-toothed neophyte making a fine impression on camera. Deemed thereafter a perfect speciMAN to showcase their low-budget spectacles, Kirk proved a fitting beefcake hero to help offset the silly special effects and poorly dubbed dialogue. If one was to try and distinguish Kirk from the other absurdly-muscled actor/bodybuilders around at the time (Steve Reeves, Gordon Scott, Dan Vadis, Ed Fury, Gordon Mitchell, Reg Park, Alan Steel, Brad Harris, Mark Forest, Richard Harrison, Sergio Ciani, et al.), he frequently dyed his pompadour-styled hair from dark to blond and possessed a somewhat sulky resemblance to Elvis Presley. Other than that, his stoic posturings as Hercules, Samson and Maciste were no better or worse than the other bronzed and brawny “biceptuals.
Kirk portrayed Maciste, one of the sons of Hercules, in several other movies — Hercules in the Valley of Woe (1961), The Witch’s Curse (1962) (aka Maciste in Hell), Colossus and the Headhunters (1963), Atlas Against the Czar (1964) and Hercules of the Desert (1964). The mythological plots, usually set in ancient Egypt, Greece or Rome, were notoriously formulaic — saving damsels in distress, freeing slaves, restoring thrones to their rightful rulers, battling evil queens and kings, and defeating life-threatening serpents, beasts, witches and demons.
While his hero’s name often changed, Kirk’s mission was almost always the same — flex and save. He portrayed Samson in Clash of Steel (1962); Sansone in Sansone contro i pirati (1963) (Samson Against the Pirates); Hercules himself in Hercules, Samson & Ulysses (1963); Sandar Khan in Terror of the Steppes (1964); Anthar, son of Hercules in The Slave Merchants (1964); Nadir in Desert Raiders (1964); Ercole in Maciste il vendicatore dei Maya (1965) (Maciste, Avenger of the Mayans); and Kadir in The Falcon of the Desert (1965);
By 1966, Italian spectacles fell out of favor and lost its core audience. While Kirk would continue to find filming throughout the rest of the decade, most were in featured roles. He played a scientist who gets romantically involved with a voluptuous female alien in the silly-plotted sci-fi adventure Star Pilot (1966), and then played ill-fated bad guy and gunslinger named Ringo in the Terence Hill “spaghetti western” Crazy Westerners (1967).
Kirk went back to playing one last top-billed hero as Jeff Smart, who seeks revenge against a Mexican gang in the “spaghetti western” Sapevano solo uccidere (1968) (I’ll Die for Vengeance). The film also featured his bodybuilding comrades Alan Steele and Gordon Mitchell. Kirk ended his movie career with the Italian/German action drama The Seven Red Berets (1969) and as a Scottish soldier in the Italian combat story Overrun! (1970).
Kirk eventually migrated to the United States and went into the advertising field. Years later, however, he returned to Italy and the movies — but this time as a producer.
Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh
color, mono, widescreen, dubbed in English, 85 minutes. DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!