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Film / Colossus and the Headhunters

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Colossus and the Headhunters is a 1963 Italian Sword & Sandal movie in the same vein as the earlier Hercules movies. Bulky hero Maciste (whom the titular Colossus presumably refers to) helps lead a party of survivors from his tribe's homeland, which is destroyed in a volcanic eruption. The survivors float to an island where they're embroiled in a fight between two warring nations, one of which is dubbed the Headhunters. Central to this conflict is a coup attempt by the evil Kermes and his fight against Queen Amoa. Can Maciste help resolve the situation?

Trivia note: The film Hercules Against the Moon Men was also about Maciste, until the English dubbing crew decided to capitalize on the bigger name recognition of Hercules.

For tropes and specifics relating to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.


Colossus and the Headhunters contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Amoa is good with a short sword, and presumably with a longbow as well; however, she's still susceptible to the Standard Female Grab Area.
  • Choke Holds: Maciste's preferred method of dispatching foes.
  • *Click* Hello: The bow-and-arrow variant, as Maciste is greeted by Queen Amoa thusly. He immediately calls her out on it; turns out that, due to the travails of her people, she's quite paranoid but eventually friendly.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Kermes imprisoned and tortured the King, betrayed his country to a group of savage headhunters, slaughtered hundreds, and then kidnapped the Queen... only to reveal that his end goal is simply to become her advisor? Way to aim low, villain!note 
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  • Holding the Floor / Leave the Camera Running: Milana's excruciatingly long dance to stall for time. At least in this film, there's a plot reason for it.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: When Maciste initially refuses to get involved with the local politics, Amoa tells her maidservant that she hates him. She then immediately declares that she's in love with him. As noted below, the actress doesn't really sell it.
  • Made of Iron: Colossus/Maciste takes an arrow to the upper chest/shoulder, but seems to walk it off after a few minutes.
  • Non-Action Guy: For much of the movie, Colossus/Maciste is rather unheroic; indeed, at first he refuses to get involved in the local conflict. Admittedly, it's because he feels a responsibility to the refugees he's shepherding, and he does voice a desire to return and help the locals once the refugees are safe. However, he doesn't actually tell Amoa this, leaving her to think he's just a coward.
  • Satellite Love Interest:
    • Amoa is almost certainly destined to be Maciste's lover. She doesn't sell it very well, however.
    • The girlfriend of the Prince (Maciste's sidekick) also qualifies; she has literally zero character.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Amoa is strong enough to hold her own in a sword fight, but can't even pull away from one middle-aged man holding her forearm.


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