A group of friends are trekking through the surprisingly Californian-looking Italian Alps, in pairs, heading for a meet-up at base camp. James and his moany girlfriend find a secret cave that’s been untouched since Roman times (despite the concrete, remnants of iron rails and road leading up to it). While the girlfriend does a spot of sunbathing in the road, James enters the cave and finds some fancy dress armour and weaponry, a cauldron, a dessicated corpse, and a lot of papier mache rock surfaces. He is suddenly compelled to put on the cadaver’s helmet and armour. This causes a smoke machine and green lights to come on, and the spirit of a demonic gladiator to possess him.
After roaring out some cheesy gladiator lines (in English) he starts to massacre his friends. He chops off heads and limbs (or pokes them with a sword and they just come off). He runs around in his cheap looking costume waving swords or axes, while people stand there watching him approach from the distance - presumably in mild amusement. And he recites Latin phrases while stirring and generously seasoning a big pot of stew with rubber hands and feet floating in it.
There are a lot of unintentionally amusing things to chuckle over in this film. There’s some half-hearted fighting, people are filmed clearly walking on the spot, the possessed man speaks in Latin to his English-speaking friends and English to the Roman gladiator corpse, daytime and nighttime seem to become confused, and a man running around in a ‘Skeletor’ helmet in broad daylight is more silly than scary.
The climax is presumably ‘inspired by’ The Evil Dead (1981). The scenery is ok, and the dried up corpse is quite effective. Some cheek-gash makeup is well done. But most of the other effects are not. The old cave looks too much like a disused tram or mine tunnel. The ancient statue plinth looks a lot like a concrete water tower base. The acting ranges from adequate to frankly embarrassing. The plot makes little sense and is full of holes. The film generally looks cheaply produced and rushed. Having said all that, it was laugh-out-loud entertaining. It’s campy, cheesy, and takes itself far too seriously. It’s definitely one to watch with a group of friends. 4/5