Awfully Good: Curse II: The Bite
Curse II: The Bite (1989)
Director: Frederico Prosperi
Stars: J. Eddie Peck, Jill Schoelen, Jamie Farr
Is there a plot?
In a more realistic version of superhero mythology, a guy is bitten by a radioactive snake and instead of getting superpowers, is slowly and horrifically turned in to a terrible snake monster.
What's the damage?
First off, CURSE II: THE BITE has absolutely nothing to do with a curse of any kind, let alone the first Wil Wheaton-enhanced CURSE movie. It’s reminiscent of the whole TROLL-TROLL 2 title debacle and while THE BITE doesn’t reach “Oh my Goooooooooood” levels of Awfully Good, it is surprisingly fun.
Clarence immediately regretted getting his wisdom teeth removed by Dr. Giggles.
Imagine SPIDER-MAN. Now imagine SPIDER-MAN where Toby Maguire gets bitten by the spider and actually begins to turn in to an arachnid. (I think there was a run of the comics/cartoon where this actually happened, but just humor me.) More accurately, just his arm begins to slowly develop in to a spider and starts attacking children, ripping internal organs out of Aunt May and even giving Carnage some serious nightmares. Also, in this scenario, instead of Uncle Ben guiding young Peter, you have cross-dressing MASH star Jamie Farr as a chubby chasing pseudo-doctor.
I will not tell you if this was taken out of context or not.
This messed up tale of David Crongenberg's SPIDER-MAN is the story of THE BITE. While visiting a gas station next to a power plant, poor Clark gets the sharp end of a radioactive snake. Soon one of his appendages starts getting scaly and hissy as it literally turns in to a snake. And not just any snake…an evil snake! Clark's arm-serpent has a mind of its own, ala IDLE HANDS (am I the only person that remembers
Jessica Alba’s underwear that movie?) and it's quite the vicious bastard. Aside from razor sharp fangs, Snakey also has a long tongue that can grab people "Scorpion from Mortal Kombat"-style, the ability to spit acid venom at its prey, and a disturbing tendency to vomit up smaller snakes.
It only took a few lawsuits before Nestle had to recall their new line of Extreme Jawbreaker candies.
Thankfully, all this gross transformation stuff plays against the sweet love story of all-American couple Clark and Lisa. Did I say sweet? I meant "messed up," just like a monster snake appendage. What should be a tale of tragic romance is turned in to a hilarious comedy of two people who suck at relationships. Example: Lisa flirts with another guy at a bar. Clark, filled with snake-like rage, punches her in the face and then beats the guy nearly to death in the bathroom. We are then treated to a tender moment where Lisa is driving away, bruised and crying, before Clark feels remorse and puts his increasingly phallic hand up her skirt. Domestic abuse is immediately forgiven and they pull in to an abandoned barn to do it.
One too many viewings of SURF NINJAS always led to a few Moto Surfing accidents.
Perhaps even better than Clark and Lisa is the random addition of Jamie Farr, most famous for playing the transvestite Klinger from MASH. Here, Farr plays Harry, a traveling salesman who befriends Clark at a hotel after his snakebite. Luckily for our hero, Harry also happens to dabble in the medical profession as a hobby, and just so happens to be carrying around a suitcase of snakebite anti-venom on his person, which is really, really creepy when you think about it. Dr. Salesman administers the antidote, which cures Clark and everyone moves on with their lives. A day later, however, Harry realizes he may have given Clark the wrong anti-venom and spends the rest of the movie on a mad dash to reach the young man before it's too late. And in perhaps the film’s oddest moment (keep in mind this is a movie with a SnakeDog), Farr takes a break from his quest to sleep with a rather large, fairly manly female truck driver.
Like Jizzmopper O'Callahan, some people are just born in to their jobs.
THE BITE starts off pretty slowly, but stick with it—the movie only gets better as it goes on. There's intense snake road rage, a bizarre foreign family (with a cameo by a young Shiri Appleby), some great reptile attacks, and by the end, a legitimately creepy body-horror sequence as Clark goes full serpent. With great practical effects by Screaming Mad George, who's worked on everything from PREDATOR to NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET to REANIMATOR, the ending is pretty badass and should put a smile on any horror fan's face. Check out the "Best Parts" section below for a taste.
This scene is a showcase of bad acting and cheesy lines. I also fail to see why running over snakes with your car is such a big deal. (And see if you can count how many "snakes" are actually rubber hoses.
1) Three of the film's best hand-snake attacks.
2) Some highlights from THE BITE's ending, where Clark's transformation is complete. [WARNING: SPOILERS!]
3) What happens when a mutant snake has sex with a dog? Find out here!
There's a couple sex scenes, but no skin. BONUS: Plenty of phallic snake imagery.
Play Along at Home!
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Snake attack!
- Someone reaches their hand in to place without looking
- The movie uses the same "suspenseful" music over and over again
- A girl is struck
- A girl yells unconvincingly
Double shot if:
- A cameo by a young Shiri Appleby is spotted
Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.