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A gigantic serpent is captured on a remote island and shipped to an American college for experimentation. A British millionaire and an American scientist find themselves in hot pursuit of the beast when it escapes from captivity and starts to kill innocent people. Written by
Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
I think I liked this a whole lot more than most as it is indeed riddled with the most obvious flaws - all of which somehow come back to a script that doesn't work completely nor is allowed to due to budgetary problems. Oliver Reed plays a wealthy businessman who had gone on a hunting trip with his brother seven years ago. While there he was bitten by this supernatural snake whose venom mysteriously didn't kill Reed(though did his brother) but rather made a psychic connection with him instead. ? Anyhow, the film opens with Reed having some hunters capture the beast in Micronesia and bring it to him in San Diego. Reed enlists the help of Peter Fonda as a psychic specialist giving him a full laboratory and underwriting for research. While this is going on a snake cult leader wants to abduct this snake(how they initially knew about it is even a greater mystery)and they have hired Warren Crowley(Al Waxman) as the sleazy man who will get them the snake for their cult - not to be worshiped but because the snake is the great Satan or some crap like that. The story quickly erodes however into the snake being unleashed in San Diego and going on a killing spree. What exactly do we see? It surely isn't the snake. We get some angles of his head but never a body shot. We do get these color muted scenes that are suppose to be things from the snake's POV as well as Reed's once the psychic hot-line is stronger. Believe it or not, this POV stuff works and is not really that bad. But the rest of the film cannot carry these small moments terribly far nor a plot that just wasn't finished. We never get any closure with the snake cult - it just disappears at some point in the film. Peter Fonda is barely in the film despite a prominent role. Oliver Reed, looking like he could use a trip or two to the gym, walks(with a cane) through his role with unrealistic calmness at some points and unbelievable hysteria at others until the end comes and it is the low point of the film in every definition of that word. Despite all those things, I kind of liked Spasms. Director William Fruet has obvious skills though he doesn't always share them with us. Reed and Fonda are indeed bad but in an enjoyable manner. Al Waxman is a hoot. There are some weird, inexplicable plot threads beyond explanation - what about Reed's relationship with his niece? Were they going for some incest thing or something else? We never do find out though the foundation had been laid much earlier. The biggest problem with the film is not the acting, the direction, or the ridiculous story but the misnamed title. This film should never have been called Spasms. Yes, we some faces bloated and popping all over when bitten by this snake. The effects are intriguing to say the least. The film would have been better served if called something that was more closely related to what the film was about. How about The Seven Year Snake Meets the Seven Year Itch. Snake Eyes. Snake in my Head. Okay, a more serious attempt might be Venom or something simple. Again, I concur this is a very bad film but one that I liked for being somewhat fun. There are a couple scenes which stand out: the darkened opening scene where you see(barely due to the poor lighting) the men Reed has hired to catch the serpent looking on when the serpent opens assault on the natives. How about the greenhouse at the university where Fonda and niece run from the snake. The three girls being snaked to death in their home(catch the pretty blonde in the shower sans clothing) Or my favorite scene is the girl in the bikini catching a ball in a park. Man was that a snug fit...uh hummm...Spasms is a fun trashy film to some degree...take it from me.
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