Sensuality in Sword and Sandal Films

Instead of trying to move us with profound drama steeped in history, most pepla tried to excite us with lavish sensuality steeped in fantasy. The appeal is innate and it showcases gorgeous male and female bodies wearing as little clothing as possible. The heroes are simple musclemen – played by bodybuilders – who rarely wear shirts. The heroines are simple maidens arrayed in colorful dresses.

The villainesses are evil queens and princesses who brew love potions and perform sexy dances.

Peplum: Film Genre

Peplum meaning "a short flared, gathered, or pleated strip of fabric attached at the waist of a woman's jacket, dress, or blouse to create a hanging frill or flounce, or (in ancient Greece) a woman's loose outer tunic or shawl."

The peplum film, also known as sword-and-sandal, is a genre of largely Italian-made historical or Biblical epics (costume dramas) that dominated the Italian film industry from 1958 to 1965.