Firstly, a massive thank you to our Patreon supporters. Your generosity touches me deeply. These supporters have become the single biggest contributing factor to the survival of DVDBeaver. Your assistance has become essential.


What do Patrons receive, that you don't?


1) Our weekly Newsletter sent to your Inbox every Monday morning!
Patron-only Silent Auctions - so far over 30 Out-of-Print titles have moved to deserved, appreciative, hands!
3) Access to over 50,000 unpublished screen captures in lossless high-resolution format!


Please consider keeping us in existence with a couple of dollars or more each month (your pocket change!) so we can continue to do our best in giving you timely, thorough reviews, calendar updates and detailed comparisons. Thank you very much.


Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Double Take Meets Hercules")


(aka "Samson and His Mighty Challenge" or "Samson and the Seven Challenges")


Directed by David Parker
Australia 1993


Starting off in the late 80s as a live comedy show from the Melbourne troupe Double Take, re-voicing B-grade masterpieces such as Astrozombies and Gene Autry, Hercules Returns is the screen adaptation of the popular show.

Cinematographer David Parker (Malcolm) makes his directorial debut, with a screenplay by original Double Take star Des Mangan, also known for his curation of Cult Movies on SBS Australia, and featuring the voice talents of the original Double Take team.

Move over Mystery Science Theatre, this classic riff from the Double Take team will have you in stitches!

Hercules Returns is the story of Brad McBain (David Argue, Razorback), a frustrated employee of Australia’s largest cinema chain. Brad decides to quite his job and sets about re-opening the Picture Palace, a disused cinema in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda, to show classic old films. An act of the sabotage on the opening night sees their first film, the 1964 Italian film Samson and His Mighty Challenge, swapped out for a non-subtitled print. As a desperate measure, Brad rallies his projectionist Sprocket (Bruce Spence, Mad Max II) and publicist Lisa (Mary Coustas, TVs Acropolis Now) to improvise voice-overs for the entire film, with hilarious results, to avert disaster.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE


Hercules Returns

Samson and the Mighty Challenge

Theatrical Release: September 1st, 1993 (Venice Film Festival)

Reviews                                                                 More Reviews                                                       DVD Reviews


Review: Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Standard edition Blu-ray:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Hercules Returns: 1:20:20.065

Samson and the Mighty Challenge: 1:11:57.980

Double Take version: 1:10:16


1.78:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,608,921,352 bytes

Feature: 22,470,162,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Hercules Returns Blu-ray:

Bitrate Samson and the Mighty Challenge Blu-ray:


DTS-HD Master Audio English 2035 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2035 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / DN -31dB

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:


1.78:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,608,921,352 bytes

Feature: 22,470,162,432 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.96 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

NEW! Audio Commentary with Cast & Crew
English dub of the Original Italian film 'Samson and the Mighty Challenge' (1:11:58 1080P Dolby Digital)
Double Take version (1:10:16)
"Hercules Returns" Soundtrack (audio only) (51:06)
Hercules Rap film clip (3:40)
Hercules Returns Extended trailer (5:57)
Trailer (2:30)
48 page bound book - A Collection of Behind-The-Scenes, Experiences & Art
Custom designed outer rigid slipcase
Custom design slipcase
8 artcards
A3 reversible poster
Limited Edition Numbered release

Blu-ray Release Date: September 27th, 2023

Custom Blu-ray Package - see below

Chapters 13


"Collector's Edition" package, sold by Umbrella HERE




NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Umbrella Blu-ray (October 2023): Umbrella have transferred David Parker's Hercules Returns to Blu-ray. It improves upon their 2011 DVD of the film with a 1080P transfer ("restoration from 35mm materials"), new commentary in a Standard Blu-ray and Collector's Edition Blu-ray that has a 48 page bound book, poster, artcards etc.. The Blu-ray includes an English DUB'ed version of 1964's Giorgio Capitani film Samson and the Mighty Challenge in 1080P as well as the comically DUB'ed version by 'Double Take' that was used in the film. It runs continuously without cuts back to Hercules Returns and is also in 1080P but severely picture-boxed. We will, discuss the latter two transfers below.

The image quality on Hercules Returns is decent enough. A clear advancement over SD. It's 1080P with a supportive bitrate - obviously the Samson and the Mighty Challenge portions are weaker; speckles, light marks and contrast irregularity. But the modern part of the story looks sweet - grain, consistency and color balance. Reasonably pleasing, imo.

NOTE: We have added 60 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Umbrella use a DTS-HD Master / linear PCM mono track (16-bit) in the original English language. Hercules Returns has few aggressive moments that come through with modest depth and score by Philip Judd (latter TV work), sounding clean with consistent dialogue in the lossless transfer. Umbrella offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Umbrella Blu-ray offers a new commentary with writer Des Mangan, director David Parker, Producer Philip Jaroslow, and actor David Argue (Brad McBain.) There are many details, from the inspiration to the production and directorial details to Argue contributions - plenty of laughs and reminiscing. We also get 50+ minutes (audio only) of the "Hercules Returns" Soundtrack with Rap music, a cover of The Village People's “Macho Man” and more. There is also a Hercules Rap film clip, Hercules Returns Extended trailer etc. - these were on the previous DVD.

Now, I was very keen to see the quality of Samson and the Mighty Challenge with a stand alone, non-comical, English DUB. It released in 1965 near the dying days of the peplum, sword-and-sandal, subgenre cascade of largely Italian-made historical, mythological, or biblical epics exclusively set in ancient times. Samson and the Mighty Challenge has a directly translated title as Hercules, Samson, Maciste, and Ursus: the Invincibles. The plot centers on Hercules, as decreed by his father Zeus, only being allowed to marry Omphale, queen of the kingdom of Lydia, if he defeats the most powerful man in the world, Samson. Both agree to a 'match' but Delilah, aware of her husband's lothario ways, interferes by cutting some of Samson's hair - making him too weak to compete. It has reasonable production with Greco-Roman antiquity sets, a 'person of small stature', plenty of buff body-builders etc. but far from, say, Ulysses or Mario Bava's Hercules in the Haunted World. The transfer, while appearing to be from an SD source, is in 1080P and takes up 11.5 Gig with a supportive bitrate for the, less than, 1 1/4 hour film. There are no subtitles offered. It looks frequently better than the up-scaled version used for Hercules Returns, that often looked boosted - and is cropped. It fills 6.5 Gif and also no subs. Umbrella include the comically English DUB'ed version of Samson and the Mighty Challenge by 'Double Take' that was used in the film. However, it runs continuously without cuts back to Hercules Returns modern setting and is also in 1080P but severely picture-boxed showing plenty of damage and color irregularities. Strangely, it starts with the Italian-language title, Ercole, Sansone, Maciste e Ursus gli invincibili, and studio credits but runs a slightly shorter running time.

Also included in the extensive "Collector's Edition" package, sold by Umbrella HERE, are a 48 page bound book, poster, artcards etc. (see image above.) They really went to town on this.         

David Parker's Hercules Returns is not an original concept. Woody Allen, in his feature-length directorial debut, 1966's What's Up, Tiger Lily? - used footage from a 1965 Japanese spy film, International Secret Police: Key of Keys, and re-ordered it and completely overdubbed it with original humor-filled dialogue about the search for the world's best egg salad recipe. Hercules Returns has a cult-following and is okay - fairly funny if a bit ribald with names of characters like "Labia" and "Testiculi". Much of the humor is Aussie-centric but most will 'grok' the jokes including some cinephile references. Fans of Hercules Returns will be quite pleased with this mammoth package. Umbrella have transferred the film to both Standard Blu-ray added a commentary plus significant accoutrements in their Collector's Edition (for those that wish to indulge) including book, poster, artcards and more. Hercules Returns is certainly a rewatchable hoot with the option of a keepsake Blu-ray package.

Gary Tooze


Menus / Extras




1) Umbrella (Hercules Returns) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Umbrella (Samson and the Mighty Challenge) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Umbrella (Continuous 'Double Take' version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM






















More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE



Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Standard edition Blu-ray:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Umbrella - Region FREE - Blu-ray



Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


Hit Counter



























DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!