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H. Tjut Djalil
Ilona Agathe Bastian,
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A young man who has been beaten, abused, humiliated and laughed at all his life finds that he has an unusual empathy with snakes. He can talk to them and they understand him, and eventually he finds that he can get them to do his bidding. He decides to use his newfound friends to take his revenge on everyone who ever did him wrong. Written by
Snakes seeking fame and fortune in the Asian film industry are advised to read their contracts carefully: it's not rare for an over-eager reptile to be duped into partaking in 'snake snuff', ending up mangled, mashed, burnt, chopped, mutilated, or in some cases, even batted to death by a monkey, all for the sake of art.
Those who do risk signing up without reading the fine print certainly have guts, as is graphically demonstrated by the cobras at the beginning of Killer Snakes, who have their skin split open and gall bladders yanked out before being cast aside to die. Fortunately for these cold-blooded critters, they narrowly escape death (well, in the film they dofor a while; in reality, they most likely carked it straight away) when they are found and cared for by Chen Zhihong (Kam Kwok-leung), a meek but messed-up young man who has an affinity with snakes (and just a few screws loose, thanks to a very disturbed childhood).
Whilst nursing his scaly pals back to health, Chen suffers daily physical abuse at the hands of local bullies; eventually, however, he is able to turn the tables on his tormentors when his newfound, fork-tongued friends decide to lend him a hand in exacting revenge (metaphorically speaking, of course; I know that snakes don't have hands!).
Time flies by as our luckless chump and his slithery chums set about settling the score (which includes abusing female bullies by abducting them, tying them up, and letting his snakes find a nice warm place to hide); meanwhile, pretty market girl Xiujuan (Maggie Li Lin-lin), the apple of Chen's eye, has fallen on hard times and is being groomed by Madam FangFang for prostitution. When Hu Baochun, a wealthy slime-ball, sets his sights on breaking in the new girl, Chen and his hissing homeboys (hey, I'm running out of things to call them) attempt to stop him before he can successfully sample Xiujuan's as-yet untouched delights.
Now available on Region 1 DVD in its uncut form, this sordid slice of Shaw Brothers snakesploitation is a top contender as 'Most Unsavoury Reptilan HK Horror Ever', even rivalling the excellent Calamity of Snakes for the title. Set in an inner-city slum, where Chen lives in a particularly squalid hovel, the film is unapologetically grubby, wallowing in its own filth and depravity and delighting in its sexual violence and animal cruelty. It's obviously not a film for animal lovers or the politically correct, but thicker-skinned fans of outrageous and excessive Asian oddities should definitely check out this film for its sheer craziness, which includes Chen's all-too-brief visit to a local whore, an attack by vicious Komodo dragons, mucho mid-air serpent slicing, some sleazy flashbacks to Chen's childhood that explain his predilection for bondage, and a nifty nihilistic ending that sees the snakes turning on their master.
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