Colossus and the Headhunters

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Colossus and the Headhunters
Colossus and the Headhunters.jpg
Directed byGuido Malatesta
Produced byGiorgio Marzelli[1]
Screenplay byGuido Malatesta[1]
Story byGuido Malatesta[1]
Music by
  • Guido Robuschi
  • Gian Stellari[1]
CinematographyDomenico Scala[1]
Edited byEnzo Alfonzi[1]
  • RCM Produzione Cinematografica
  • Alta Vista[2]
Release date
  • 10 January 1963 (1963-01-10) (Italy)
Running time
81 minutes

Colossus and the Headhunters (Italian: Maciste contro i cacciatori di teste, lit. 'Maciste against the head-hunters'), is a 1963 Italian peplum film directed by Guido Malatesta.[1]


Maciste arrives on an island only to find it rocked by a catastrophic volcanic eruption...and sinking. The survivors board Maciste's raft, and he pilots it toward a nearby yet unknown island. The group gets captured by a tribe led by Queen Amoa. Her people are under continuous attack by another tribe on the island—a tribe of savage headhunters. Maciste and his survivors decide to help her, so he and some of his friends set out to find Amoa's father. They travel to a ruined castle occupied by the headhunters—which used to be a great city of gold—and find Amoa's father, now blind, imprisoned alone in one of the dungeon rooms by the headhunters. Meanwhile, the leader of the headhunters captures Amoa and decides to marry her by compelling her father to give his blessing. A large battle erupts at Queen Amoa's village when the headhunters attack. During the fight, the headhunter leader abducts Queen Amoa. Maciste pursues them, saves Amoa, and fights and defeats the wily leader of the headhunters. Having saved the day, Maciste rides away on his raft with Amoa in his arms.


Colossus and the Headhunters was partially shot in Ljubljana in Yugoslavia.[2] For some special effects scenes, Maletesta re-used the volcano footage from his previous film Fire Monsters Against the Son of Hercules.[3] Filming was finished in 1962, which allowed the director to finish working on Fire Monsters Against the Son of Hercules.[4]


Colossus and the Headhunters was released in Italy on 10 January 1963 with an 81 minute running time.[1] The film was featured on the film mocking television show Mystery Science Theater 3000 on August 20, 1994.[5]


In a contemporary review, the Monthly Film Bulletin, who commented on the special effects, noting that the "volcanic eruption is remarkably crude" and the "earthquake's flying boulders are subsiding ground are only slightly more effective."[6] The review also commented on the films dubbing, finding it "abysmal".[6]

From retrospective reviews, Gary Allen Smith wrote in his book Epic Films, that the film was "definitely one of the worst peplum films" noting that it included "some of the most ridiculous dialogue ever dubbed".[7] In his book Cinema Italiano, Howard Hughes referred to the film as "by-the-numbers peplum".[3] Barry Atkinson referred to the film as "not quite the nadir of bad filmmaking, but getting there" and declared the film as "lowbrow as peplum can possibly get [...] despite cardboard effects, corny dialogue and a hesitant performance from Morris [...] [the film] brings a smile to the face."[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 36.
  2. ^ a b c Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 37.
  3. ^ a b Hughes 2011, p. 20.
  4. ^ a b Atkinson 2018, p. 123.
  5. ^ "Season 6, Episode 4 Colossus and the Headhunters". TV Guide. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Colossus and the Head-hunters "(Maciste contro i Cacciatori di Teste)"". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 35 no. 408. British Film Institute. 1968. p. 120.
  7. ^ Smith 2009, p. 58.


  • Atkinson, Barry (2018). Heroes Never Die!: The Italian Peplum Phenomenon 1950-1967. Midnight Marquee Press, Inc. ISBN 1936168758.
  • Hughes, Howard (2011). Cinema Italiano: The Complete Guide from Classics to Cult. McFarland. ISBN 0857730444.
  • Kinnard, Roy; Crnkovich, Tony (2017). Italian Sword and Sandal Films, 1908-1990. McFarland. ISBN 1476662916.
  • Smith, Gary Allen (2009). Epic Films: Casts, Credits and Commentary on More Than 350 Historical Spectacle Movies. McFarland. ISBN 1476604185.

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