Attorney Wayne Fletcher and his secretary are having an affair, so when Wayne's wife is found smothered to death, he becomes the prime suspect. As the police investigate the murder, a ... See full summary »
Lon Chaney Jr.,
J. Edward Bromberg
Francesa Kinsolving, a very pregnant widow whose husband was rescently killed in action in Vietnam, travels to visit her late husband's mother in a snowy Minnesota town only to get snowed ... See full summary »
David, a college student, is looking for a job. He is hired by Dr. Stoner as a lab assistant for his research and experiments on snakes. David also begins to fall for Stoner's young daughter, Kristina. However, the good doctor has secretly brewed up a serum that can transform any man into a King Cobra snake-and he plans to use it on David. Written by
A pre-title card opens the film declaring all the reptiles used in the film were real and states "We wish to thank the cast and crew for their courageous efforts while being exposed to extremely hazardous conditions." See more »
The fear of snakes is one that goes right to the core of our human nature. Creepy-crawlers, who slither and hiss, will always invoke a visceral reaction. So, when you watch a film like "Sssssss" and your reaction is to yawn, you know things are not working.
The story revolves around a less-than-sane doctor (played by Strother Martin), with a more-than-healthy fascination with snakes, who uses his lab assistant (played by a very young Dirk Benedict) in an experiment to turn a human into a snake. Albeit, without the assistant's knowledge.
The premise seems sound enough, even if a bit hokey. But it is so badly developed and delivered, that it lacks any of the scares or dramatic punch that some 70's kitsch should have. The reasoning behind the doctor doing this is never made very clear. His motivation almost feels like an afterthought, once it is revealed. There's a romance with the doctor's daughter (played by Heather Menzies-Urich, who is named as Heather Menzies here) and the assistant, which never really goes anywhere. Even when the doctor forbids it, you never really get the sense that any of it means anything, as it all come to nothing. There the stereotypical bully jock and snooty colleague, which the doctor does in with some snakes, but neither of these deaths brings any real scares. All the while, the story just plods along and you never really care. And in the end, the doctor is done in by his own stupidity and the assistant suffers a fate we are left to never know, as the ending of the film, with the daughter screaming in horror, is as perplexing as it is abrupt.
There really isn't a lot here to give you any real sense of dread or fear. The snake handling in the film, as almost all the scenes of them were of actual real snakes, is a bit interesting at times. And the doctor's "dance" with a king cobra is probably the best scene in the film. But even Dirk Benedict's performance can't save this turd (although, since this in one of his first acting gigs, he might not have developed the roguish charisma we've come to know and love from him).
In the end, "Sssssss" is all hiss and no bite. It's hard to believe anyone was actually scared by this in 1973, much less that anyone today would be. It's harmless fare, that anyone over the age of five could never see as frightening, but which is ultimately pointless and disappointing. You'd get more chills watching the snakes in your local zoo. In short, this film Sssssssucks!
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