Harry Spalding and his wife Valerie inherit a cottage in a small country village after his brother mysteriously dies. The locals are unfriendly and his neighbor Dr. Franklyn (a doctor of theology) suggests they leave. They decide to stay only to find that a mysterious evil plagues the community.Written by
H P Holley
When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure a 'X' rating. It is believed all cuts were waived in 1994 when the film was granted a '15' certificate for home video. However Hammer have put out a call trying to locate lost or censored footage from the following scene: An extended knife in neck/snake bite scene (this is thought to exist, but no known evidence). This rather suggests that this is the footage censored from the 1966 cinema release and that it is still missing from home video releases. The BBFC cut was described in The DarkSide magazine as: A gloating close-up during the lancing of a snake bite. See more »
The Reptile is famous for the fact that it utilises the same sets as the brilliant 'Plague of the Zombies', and as such; you would expect the rest of the film not to be up to Hammer's usual standards. This couldn't be further from the truth! While this may not be Hammer's best work, all the things that us fans have come to expect from this great studio are present, along with a few other little surprises. The film follows a man and his wife who move to a small village to live in the cottage that the man's brother left him. The brother died in mysterious circumstances...and our hero makes it his business to find out why. This plot is good enough, but it's the other one that really sparks the interest. The film introduces a brand new monster - the Snake Woman! Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster etc are all fine; but we've seen them all before. I have a lot of respect for this film just due to the fact that it's got something different on offer. The Snake Woman is an unfortunate victim of a curse...and she stalks the local population on the moors at night.
The film features a lot of suspense, and it pretty much runs throughout the entire run time. We are always on tender hooks to uncover the mystery behind the mystifying Snake Woman, and this is helped by the way that the plot continues to deal out cards, without telling the audience exactly what is going on until the end. The only real problem with the film is that the mythology never really explained in any great detail...the film, having a new monster at it's centre, would have benefited greatly from delving a little more into how she came about. This film is notable for Hammer fans because of the fact that the studio's favourite co-star, Michael Ripper, has got himself a starring role! This actor has done so much for Hammer films, and it's good to see him in a larger role for a change. The film benefits from the traditional Hammer style, including both lavish sets and a sense of goodwill that runs throughout. The film's climax is really good, as it provides an answer to both the plots running during the film, and even manages a little poetic justice! On the whole - don't miss this one. It may not be Hammer's best - or most famous - but I'm already looking forward to seeing it again!
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