In 1890 England a doctor, in order to cure his wife's "sick mind", injects her with snake venom. She later gives birth to a daughter the villagers begin to call "The Devil's Baby". They ... See full summary »
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Sidney J. Furie
In 1890 England a doctor, in order to cure his wife's "sick mind", injects her with snake venom. She later gives birth to a daughter the villagers begin to call "The Devil's Baby". They soon burn the family's house down. Years later a Scotland Yard detective is sent to the village to investigate a rash of deaths that are caused by snakebite. Written by
Fans of atmospheric and story-driven 60's horror all over the world should urgently combine forces and catapult "The Snake Woman" out of oblivion and into the list of favorites! Despite the compelling storyline and an acclaimed director in the credits (Sidney J. Furie), this early 60's chiller incomprehensibly got neglected over the years, whereas other much worse horror films from that period received unnecessary fancy DVD-releases. This is a solid thriller, filmed in stylish black & white and filled with fluently written dialogues. The events take place during the late 19th century in a little Northern English town inhabited by superstitious and easily petrified people. Since many years, a brilliant scientist successfully keeps his wife's mental illness under control by injecting her with snake venom. When the wife dies whilst giving birth to a daughter, a local witch claims that the newborn child is pure evil and must be destroyed. The scientist is killed by an angry mob but the baby girl is miraculously saved with the help of an understanding doctor. 19 years later several corpses are found in the Moors, containing a lethal amount of snake poison. The frightened villagers believe that the curse of the snake woman has struck them, but the young Scotland Yard inspector doesn't believe in old-fashioned witchery and investigates the case. Sidney J. Furie impressively manages to maintain the mysterious atmosphere throughout the entire film and makes great use of the rural locations and spirit of the era. You can truly sense the fear of the villagers when they're confronted with yet another new murder and their belief in the supernatural, voodoo and evil curses is impeccably portrayed. The subject matter of venom and reptiles in general apparently got researched in detail. For example, the snake girl has no eyelids, she's highly sensitive to certain sounds and she regularly sheds her skin. It's little details like this that make mythological horror so great! My only complaints are that the movie is too short (runtime 68 minutes) and that there isn't enough background to Atheris' (the snake woman) character. What happened to her in those 19 years? Does she hold a grudge against the town or does she just kill by instinct? The acting performances are very adequate and the paranoia end sequences are typically 60's.
This baby just screams for a proper DVD-release!
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