In Hercules Conquers Atlantis (Gottafavi, 1961), the ultimate embodiment of Atlantean aggression and threat is Queen An tinea herself. On some levels, Antinea is a conventional figure in the pepum genre, the seductive matriarch who potentially threatens patriarchal authority and male potency. Maggie Günsberg identifies Antinea and similar peplum characters as ‘bad, sexually desiring women, who also covet power’ (Günsberg, 2005, p. 121). As noted, female characters associated with recreative rather than procreative hererosexuality are usually marked as non-domestic and by implication malevolent, especially if they occupy social or political positions of power, such as the Amazons in Hercules (Francisci, 1958) and Queen Oomphale in Hercules Unchained (Francisci, 1959). In these instances, their spheres of influence are relatively limited and may be contained if not destroyed. The Amazons are not defeated by Hercules but remain restricted to their island. Oomphale commands an army of men but seems concerned mainly with selecting a succession of male sexual partners, who are routinely killed and embalmed as trophies once she has tired of them. An tinea’s ambitions, however, are not confined to Atlantis or her own sexual appetite, extending across the entire world.
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