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Admittedly, not very good, but not all that bad either.
A king cobra being transported by train to a carnival supposedly becomes the resting place for Satan himself. And in this form, Satan has the ability to command other slithering reptiles to do his bidding. This company of snakes arrives in a small town to disrupt the lives of the locals, among them irreverent priest Father Tom Farrow (Fritz Weaver, "Creepshow"), dedicated doctor Maggie Sheridan (Gretchen Corbett, "Let's Scare Jessica to Death", 'The Rockford Files'), and herpetologist Paul Hendricks (Jon Korkes, "Syngenor").
"Jaws of Satan" certainly wears its influences right on its sleeve, including the naming of the Hendricks character. It plays like a cross between "Jaws" and "The Exorcist", except without the level of craftsmanship in those two classics. It's directed in very workmanlike fashion by TV veteran Bob Claver, in what appears to be his only feature film. The shocks aren't anything special, nor are the suspense scenes, but at least the animal action is well executed. If this low budget production at least *looks* very good, that's due to the contributions of the great cinematographer Dean Cundey and camera operator Raymond Stella, two guys who did some of their best work for the director John Carpenter. The music score by Roger Kellaway ("Evilspeak", "Silent Scream") is quite good, and the movie does have an atmospheric opening. The similarity to "Jaws" itself is quite obvious in the way that the mayor (Jack Gordon) and businessman Matt Perry (Bob Hannah) don't want public fears about snakes to interfere with the operation of their brand spanking new dog racing track.
Some of the supporting cast is rather nondescript, but things are held together by a highly engaging Weaver. Diana Douglas, whose son Joel was the production manager, co-stars as the doom sayer Evelyn Downs. A very young Christina Applegate makes her film debut here, playing the daughter of her real-life mom Nancy Priddy's character.
This viewer found "Jaws of Satan" agreeable enough. It's not a great movie, or even a good one, really, but it's passable schlock for lovers of Animal Attack cinema.
Five out of 10.
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