THE KILLER SNAKES
Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
Maggie Li Lin-Lin
What's it about
An outcast loner loser, who canít seem to connect with anyone, connects with snakes. And he uses them to gain revenge on those who did him wrong!
Is it good movie?
The Shaw Brotherís 1974 Chinese film The Killer Snakes is a tough flick to recommend to the masses. Sure, this will find its audience, but if this were shown to a captured group, I suspect 1 out of 20 might dig it. Why? Well, itís a difficult sell; your classic story of the loner outcast who lives in a basement, has kinky sexual fantasies and possesses a kinship with snakes. Yes, who hasnít heard of this? Itís like a dark combination of the Horse Whisper, the Pied Piper, and Taxi Driver. Only in China in 74. But while all those stories carried meaning and a message, Iím not so sure with The Killer Snakes. Itís more of an exercise in fear. Also, thereís some abuse of the animals in a number of different ways, including skinning and mutilation of real snakes. Something tells me PETA wouldnít give an endorsement. Or the Womanís League, as women are, well, abused. Badly. Very, very badly. But Iíll get to that.
The main character, Chen, is a hard dude to like. Heís utterly pathetic with zero social skills. He digs porn, especially bondage and whips, which he witnessed his parents getting into as a child. The outcast porn lover creates the first part of the Taxi Driver connection. Both characters, Chen and Travis Bickle, despise the world and want to make it suffer. They want revenge on the pimps who mock and degrade women. If Bickle had been allowed to explore his sexual desires, it might have turned into The Killer Snakes, as Chen allows his sick desires to take over. The difference, however, comes from Bickle never taking crap. Heís a loner, but no punk and believes heís attempting to make the world better. Chen doesnít believe that. He just wants to hurt, but only after heís pushed to the brink and finally snaps. He gets revenge in horrendous ways, including a bound woman who gets a snake up into the most sacred of all places. Talk about torture.
So whatís good? Lots and lots of nudity with hot Asian women everywhere. With that said, thereís some decent gore and lots of sick snake action, which will no doubt please someone. The Killer Snakes also has awful dubbing and some of the most absolute worst clothing Iíve ever seen in a movie. Somehow, though, it made it more interesting. These elements only enhance the 70ís horror film experience.
Video / Audio
Video: 2.35:1 Widescreen. Itís a little grainy, but looks good considering.
Audio: 2.0 Mono in both Mandarin and English, depending how lazy you are. Be prepared for bad dubbing.
The Killer Snakes is a disturbing, sometimes unwatchable mix of horror, sex and violence, undone with lackluster pacing and bad, bad dubbing. However, any fan of 70ís horror needs to check it out. If this had been an American film, itíd be a cult classic for the level of graphic imagery. Itíll have fans. Not a lot, but fans. At least to watch some snakes slither.