Maciste is a classic tale that had been borrowed from the pages of the classic Inferno by Dante. The film deals with heavy amounts of religious content while strangely remaining removed from the religious aspect of hell and dealing with the conventional, physical hell. God is rarely brought up. The version that I could get my hands on was horrible, but under that I witnessed a movie with a great deal of potential. I was watching Guido Brignone, laying the brickwork for Italian directors that would come after him.
This is a movie about the Devil trying to corrupt the world's strongest man, Maciste. He brings him to hell and offers him all of the usual fare: pleasure, fortune, power. The film follows Maciste as he wonders this horrible world. The visuals are fantastic. You can literally see the influence that George Melies has had on this director. Some of the shots are too fantastic. They actually get aerial footage, and a couple shots where you can spot a zeppelin in the background. It is very well made--it's a wonder that it was so hard to find.
Bravo to the direction of this movie. It is a shame that there isn't more people that know about it. As of 2012, you can get this movie on Internet Archive for free. Check it out if you can. Spread the word. This is a good movie. Not really creepy, but really fun and well made.
- The visual of some scenes in Hell, as a demon buried to the waist in ground, are from the published illustrated novel book by famous French illustrator Gustave Doré.
- Bartolomeo Pagano had the role of Maciste in over a dozen films. Apparently he had his name changed to Maciste before his retirement.