While stationed in Asia, six American G.I.'s witness the secret ritual of Lamians (worshipers of women who can change into serpents). When discovered by the cult, the High Lamian Priest vows that "the Cobra Goddess will avenge herself". Once back in the United States, a mysterious woman enters into their lives and accidents begin to happen. The shadow of a cobra is seen just before each death.Written by
All five of this movie's leading men later starred in at least one successful TV series: Richard Long ("The Big Valley"), Marshall Thompson ("Daktari"), William Reynolds ("The F.B.I."), Jack Kelly ("Maverick"), and David Janssen ("The Fugitive"). See more »
You know, it doesn't make any sense. A guy goes through a whole war without a scratch and then ends up like this!
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On paper, this was arguably the least promising entry among Universal's second exclusive "Sci-Fi Collection" – but it turned out to be quite enjoyable in its unassumingly campy way, lying somewhere between the exotic fancy of Universal's earlier COBRA WOMAN (1944) and the cautionary Gothic of Hammer's THE REPTILE (1966). Director Lyon generally cut his teeth on a variety of Western oaters and, while not exactly inspired by the material at hand, elicits a very good performance from his leading lady Faith Domergue – a former protégée' of the legendary Howard Hughes. The story starts at the tail-end of WWII where six G.I. buddies, looking for some kicks before leaving Asia for home, attend a clandestine ceremony held by the titular sect where no reptiles are actually worshipped – instead we have a woman painted like one who comes out of a large vase and crawls around on the floor! Suspicious Richard Long, embittered (and incredulous) Marshall Thompson and a carefree David Janssen comprise half of the band of infidels who incite the wrath of the cultists by their irreverent presence (foolishly, one of them photo-graphs the ceremony, even if he had been repeatedly warned beforehand not to); needless to say, the proverbial curse is invoked on them by the High Priest which is subsequently enforced when they return to the United States. In quick succession, four of them get offed (including bowling alley owner Janssen who expires in a fairly spectacular car crash) after having a close encounter with a cobra; their demise coincides with Thompson's meeting with his sensuous but enigmatic neighbor Domergue. There are virtually no transformation scenes (or, rather, only in silhouette and via a quick dissolve to boot!) and we only get a good look at the large cobra during its last attack backstage in a theater, where it eventually receives its come-uppance by being pushed out a high window by Thompson (for whom the conflicted Domergue actually almost jeopardized her mission!)...and which is just as well, since there is no creature on earth that I loathe or fear more! Incidentally, I was somewhat bugged by the fact that when the dead snake inevitably regains human form, it is unaccountably dressed in the black gown Domergue wore prior to her demise!
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