Rome Against Rome Reviews
The synopsis here isn't quite right. There are no zombies in this swords-and-sandals awfulness. There are ghosts raised the high priest of a sort of cyclops-goddess. They don't show up until the last 15 minutes or so of the film, though, and when they do, they're hidden by a magical black cloud that makes it nearly impossible to see them. Much of the film suffers the same fate; the director thought that unlit night shots were a good idea. At numerous points in the film, there's nothing visible but a black screen and maybe an eye, an ear, or someone's foot. Whole scenes of blackness with disembodied voices reciting ridiculous lines. For instance, when slave-girl Rama (lama ding-dong) cuts the forearm of our hero, Gaius, we hear, "I couldn't help myself. The goddess controlled my arm. She hates you," issuing from the on-screen blackness. Intersperse a bunch of shots of men in period armor riding horses and waving swords, a couple of gibberish speeches before the Roman Senate, and cheesy special effects involving double exposures and a spotlight "death ray" issuing from the single eye of a giant plaster head painted gold and you've essentially got the whole flick.
There are some high (?) points, though, mainly in terms of the cast. First, the evil Sarmatian priest is played by John Drew Barrymore. He would later go on to father Drew Barrymore and enjoy a long career as a drug addict, alcoholic, child abuser and vagrant. Gaius is played by the ironically-named Errore Mani, whose greatest claim to fame came in 1979, when he accidentally shot himself in the groin and died. Nobody in this film can act, and none of them appear to be trying. In "Rome Against Rome," the actors are props from which to hang togas and armor.
Having seen this, the thought occurred to me that millions must have been spent on the lavish sets and gigantic battle scenes. All of that money gone to waste. Isn't that how Rome fell?
This is not a horror film. It's barely a film at all, considering how much of it takes place in complete darkness. What a mess. It would take a Roman orgy's worth of drinking to make this one palatable.