(as Jess Franco)


(as Jess Franco), (as Rosa M-a Almirall)


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Cast overview:
Fata Morgana ...
Christie Levin ...
Exequiel Caldas ...
Tony Garko (as Ezekiel Cohen)
Luco Amadori III ...
Old Andros
Fabio Batistuta ...
Nat Adzibor ...


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Release Date:

28 March 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Женщина-змея  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

SNAKEWOMAN (Jesus Franco, 2005) **
22 May 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Having finally watched one of Jess Franco's notoriously cheap filmed-on-video efforts for the American company One Shot, I can safely say that these are not for me: considering this is supposed to be a return to form and his most notable work in 20 years (if I remember correctly, my Venetian friend and veritable Jess Franco authority Francesco Cesari even went so far as to call it his very best upon first viewing!), I was thoroughly unenthused by what I got! As was the director's fashion, he has revamped (no pun intended) one of his earlier successes, VAMPYROS LESBOS (1970); since that had been among his more stylish outings (with a killer soundtrack to boot), the utterly flat look here is all the more disheartening! Incidentally, this is a sure sign of how Franco's approach has changed (to its ultimate detriment) with the passage of time: the earlier film had complemented the nudity and psychedelia with narrative strands recognizably derived from Bram Stoker's "Dracula" (which he had already officially adapted the previous year!); from the mid-1970s onwards, however, his plots grew increasingly thinner (though, at his best, he could still prove intriguing – as amply demonstrated by the recently-viewed and somewhat similar LORNA…THE EXORCIST {1974}, which is why I decided to follow it with this one) and the films basically became a succession of protracted sex scenes (which SNAKEWOMAN certainly is)!

Anyway, what we have here is a female reporter going to a remote house to catalogue the property of a legendary uninhibited entertainer; before she has even arrived, the woman starts to feel her subject's influence (even if the latter is supposed to have died 60 years before!). However, the girl who lives there, adorned by a snake tattoo across her entire body (hence the title: thankfully, she is not made to turn into a reptile but is rather fitted with vampire fangs and cape, and nothing else!), claims to be her – apparently, she went into hiding after WWII and kept her youth by somehow becoming undead! She is flanked by a couple of servants (inevitably named Morpho and Andros but, apart from parading around stark naked, they do very little of any consequence!) and, as was the case with both VAMPYROS and LORNA, we are also introduced to a former lover/victim of hers who has gone bonkers and is being 'treated' in a clinic. In her case, however, it is by an even loonier monk (Franco regular Antonio Mayans) who spends much of his scenes "chanting in Latin" (as per the English subtitles on the print I watched, except that a lot of it is mumbo-jumbo and occasionally slipping into Italian)!; eventually, he is bitten by his patient but, rather than becoming a vampire, he kills himself!

As I said, a sizeable chunk of the 98-minute running-time is taken up by lesbian matings – with a man being involved only, in old hardcore footage with a bloody climax (pardon the pun), ostensibly unearthed among the artifacts, its value being hilariously overstated by the heroine's newspaper editor as "of the Host"! While I did not mind watching the Snakewoman herself in action, Carmen Montes (since she is truly one of the most gorgeous Franco leading ladies ever – this is her 4th of 6 appearances for Franco so far – and I even liked her performance in general…though the feral vampire attacks, especially given the spot she literally sinks her teeth into for sustenance, are overdone!), her partners were somewhat less photogenic (and engaging on a personal level). Incidentally, we even have a cameo by Lina Romay aka Mrs. Franco – who, for once, keeps her clothes on (she is getting on in years, after all!) – as a psychiatrist dealing with the heroine's 'conversion' to the ranks of the undead; in the end, the reporter and her 'mentor' are re-united in the latter's house. While there are some attempts at atmosphere via the usual shots of birds (which may or may not be intended as symbolism) but also crude optical effects, and the music score is not too bad, it is sad to see film-making freedom being squandered on such trivial fare (so much so that I was tempted to dub this DRECKULA!); it is also highly ironic, then, that Franco frequently berated associates for compromising his vision but, more often than not, those situations yielded superior (or, at least, more palatable) results in the long run!

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