A shy co-ed and her classmates travel to Europe to see a ritual. With a satanist/professor with them, he lures them into deadly traps to become sacrifices to Satan. One co-ed is a virgin, ... See full summary »
A giant king cobra escapes from a freight train, to stage a biblical war against a town priest (Weaver) whose faith is waning. Numerous deaths occur leading Father Farrow to the conclusion that it is Satan himself, incarnate as the biblical serpent of evil, sent from hell to bring about damnation to human kind. Or, as herpetologist Jon Korkes prefers, "it's just a big snake". Contaminating the plot, is a much anticipated opening of a local dog track that a local businessman – supported by the morally corrupt mayor of course – is determined to see through at any cost. End result, while the punters might have missed an opportunity to flush their hard earned, they are, on the other hand, spared a holy war of biblical proportions thanks to the renewed faith Weaver finds, just in time to save his soul.
Technically well constructed, with performances of conviction, and generally well paced, there's nothing ostensibly wrong with this mild shocker – even the make-up effects are generally better than most films of the snake ilk. The church organ inspired score can be irritating at times, and some of the supporting cast rank amateurs, but generally speaking, it's not unlikeable for the first 85 minutes.
Disappointingly however, the film peters to the climax and instead of some "Exorcist" or "Omen" style epic fire and brimstone, we're treated to an alter ritual in the catacombs, where "Satan" has abducted the good Dr. Sheridan (Gretchen Corbett) and is holding her captive in wait for the man of the cloth. Add in a couple of conversions to the deal, and what we've got here, is surely a miracle.
That's Christina Applegate as the token child victim, while veteran actor/producer Norman Lloyd looks as confused as the audience, trying to explain how Fr Farrow's bloodline is the cause of Satan's return, every three generations (or something like that). So, while not without some justifiable criticisms, this isn't that bad and certainly not the stinker that kept it in the tin for three years, before it was finally released in 1982. If the distributors were hoping for maturity in that time, alas, it didn't quite happen, but still worth a look.
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