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A young girl and her mother run a hotel during the war. When the mother dies, the girl finds herself at the mercy of her sex-crazed guests. Soon enough, a cloaked figure starts killing off everyone that tries to harm her.
"Human Cobras" ended up in my must-see list because the (Italian) title sounds pure giallo, because the film poster looks pure giallo and because it's included in most gialli lists, duh! But throughout at least half of the film's running time I kept on thinking: "if this is a giallo, then I'm the Queen of England". It's definitely not your typical and textbook type of giallo in which numerous scantily clad beauty models are sadistically knocked off by an unknown pervert wearing a dark raincoat and thick black gloves. No, "Human Cobras" gradually turns into that other type of giallo – albeit only halfway through the film – namely where the plot is centered on a convoluted murder conspiracy and literally all characters are involved in betrayal, corruption, adultery or sexual deviance. Generally speaking this type of giallo is less entertaining and a lot less memorable, and "Human Cobras" sadly doesn't form an exception. The first 30-40 minutes come across as a boring Poliziotesschi imitation with a lame anti- hero and poorly choreographed action footage. Tony Garden, a former criminal with a nasty face, receives a telegram to inform him that his brother Johnny has been murdered. He promptly travels to New York and visits the brother's attractive wife Leslie to find out what happened. Whenever Tony finds a person willing to talk about his brother, that particular person is murdered right before he/she has the chance to share what they know. We also know immediately who the killer is, but we don't know why. Then, for some reason I didn't quite capture, everybody travels to Kenya and from here onwards the film admittedly becomes more interesting and entertaining (although for all the wrong reasons ). It doesn't happen too often that giallo-plots take place in different locations, and definitely not in African countries. At a certain point, the characters even nonchalantly go elephant-hunting! I mean, seriously? I know it was the early 70s, but promoting stuff like that in films is never cool. Luckily enough, the hunters get into conflict and start shooting at each other instead of the elephants. One of them even gets run over by one of the massive animals and dies. Yay for the elephants! The denouement is fairly dumb and predictable, and establishes once and for all that "Human Cobras" is a passable and unworthy Italian thriller.
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