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A zoologist is called to a construction site that has been plagued by snakes. He finds out that the place once was the ancient headquarters of a snake-worshiping cult and that the same cult placed a curse on the grounds. Soon the zoologist and the workers find themselves under attack by hundreds of deadly snakes. Written by
Interesting little mish-mash here literally is a Hong Kong / American co-production, in the sense that some quick thinking producer blended a half finished American action/horror potboiler with highlights from one of the most insanely notorious Hong Kong made exploitation films ever.
The majority of the film's runtime is taken up by a rather bland story about a Hong Kong woman's efforts to rid her husband of a curse laid down on him years before when he & his father attempted to save his sister from being sacrificed by an obscure jungle cult. Half of this is shown in 1985 era footage starring Clint Walker as the herpetologist son of the great white hunter who guided them on the rescue attempt (interesting how white guys always end up being the jungle experts in these things) and Chris Mitchum as his macho assistant, who naturally saw combat in 'Nam and knows how to handle explosives. I would have been disappointed if he didn't.
Along with their perky female lab assistant they try to infiltrate an American based serpent cult under the domination of former Catwoman Eartha Kitt, made up as a serpent witch and easily the scariest part of this side of the production. We see a couple of curious semi-psychedelic voodoo snake ceremonies -- one of which consists of male cult members dancing the jigaboo while holding snakes in their mouths, I kid you not -- and then Clint Walker & Chris Mitchum fight a running battle against the cult's sadistic biker corps in an extended action sequence that seems to have been inspired by THE ROAD WARRIOR.
For those of you scoring along back at home wondering what happened to the husband cursed by the cult a kewpie doll for keeping him in mind, as his part of the tale is told by footage recycled from the completely over the top 1982 Hong Kong thriller CALAMITY OF SNAKES which is so obscure & hard to track down that I have never even seen it. That film concerned itself with a building developer who earns the wrath of a zillion wriggly beasties after torching a nest of snakes while constructing his new high rise, with the snakes then getting their revenge by attacking the entire building during a disco dance party in a sequence that has to be seen to be believed. "Makes SNAKES ON A PLANE look like Lassie!" someone said, and they are correct. I've never seen so many snakes used in a movie before, all I could wonder while seeing the footage that ended up in this film was "What the HELL were they thinking when they made this?" The answer of course being that they weren't, in 1985 the animal rights movement still didn't have much of a lobby and were actually more concerned with the well being of four legged mammals than snakes, and in 1982 era Hong Kong nobody gave a damn about the poor critters, though the scenes featuring a kung fu battle between one of the workmen and a gigantic snake puppet is one of the damnedest things I've ever watched. And once you get down to brass tacks the American side of this combo project doesn't come close to measuring up to the CALAMITY OF SNAKES footage, which completely steals the show.
It almost makes the rest of it worth watching, though the snake cult scenes were not nearly as sleazy as they really should have been and the whole film amounts to a great big tease once you get down to it. But it's fun nonetheless, a camp kitschy ride through a bunch of trash movie genres that certainly aren't being made anymore. Thank God.
4/10: Liberals will hate it.
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