Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Killer Snakes (1975)

The warning label for The Killer Snakes states that it "contains extremely sick and disturbing scenes" and also that this is "not meant for most people". Boy, they weren't kidding. The Killer Snakes is one of the most exploitative pictures I've ever seen this side of XXX - the rating, not the picture (or The Sinful Dwarf). The picture opens with an abrupt black and white scene involving a young boy playing with snakes as his mother is smacked around for sexual gratification in the next room. Yet another boy with mother issues growing up to be weirdly perverted. It's that kind of picture. And more!

Shaw Brothers was like the Warner Brothers of China. They've got that classy logo (located on the window on the door of Shaw Studio offices). So, it's weird to see a picture of this ilk coming from them. We know about their kung fu stuff (Five Deadly Venoms, The One Armed Swordsman, etc). They also delved into dramas and comedies. Not many people are aware of their horror output and that includes me. I watched this thing with my jaw on the floor.

I don't know though. I liked it. We've got a lead character named Zihong who can't keep a job, can't get a girl, and is being constantly bullied. He lives in a basement apartment with holes in the walls and crumbling bricks. He's got his eyes on a pretty girl (Xiujung) who feels sympathy for him, but that's about it. Strangely enough, we actually feel sympathy for the guy even after he does some of the things he later does. This guy basically needs some friends. Well, all it takes is one injured snake slithering through a hole in his wall. The thing had its gall bladder removed (which have "overrated" healing powers, according to Zihong) so he takes it in, sews it up, and gives it love. The snake then tells it's friends and suddenly hundreds of snakes are living in his shit hole of an apartment, having a great time, doing his bidding, etc. "I've got so many friends", Zihong now exclaims.

This picture is like China's answer to Taxi Driver only instead of driving around in a cab this guy bosses around some snakes. Also, it was made two years earlier so I guess that makes Taxi Driver our answer to The Killer Snakes. At first, Zihong just uses the snakes for innocent stuff. You know, pranks and, when he puts a cobra in his pants and visits the prostitute that helped get him fired from his last job as a delivery boy. First he fucks her, then he has the snake kill her friends. Then he brings her back to his dungeon where he ties her up, strips off her clothes, and has his little scaly friend violate her to death. Yup, that's pretty much as innocent as it gets. You can imagine some of the other shit without me having to describe it, I hope.

The Killer Snakes is a sleazy journey into the underbelly of deviant human behavior. It left me feeling a little filthy to be honest. Especially the part with the gilla monsters. I signed on for killer snakes, but not that shit. This probably isn't movie night appropriate unless your guests are as fucked up as you are. The lead (some Chinese guy) is exceptional as Zihong. His love interest (Chinese gal) is adorable. Eventually, she falls into some danger and has to be saved...or, maybe avenged. Basically, the end is just a tragic free for all of snakes; we got cobras, pythons, bulls, boas. And, I'm sure there were some milk snakes thrown in there. Maybe an anaconda or two. Vipers maybe. I'm making this shit up as I go along. I know shit about snakes. I did find it interesting how they seemed to communicate with Zihong through a low hiss. These snakes are good actors.

Oh, and did I mention the nudity? We got tons of nudity. None of it very titilating. Mostly it's just the tied up and gagged while snakes bite their breasts and faces type of nudity. I didn't notice if there was a line at the end of the credits claiming that "no snakes were harmed during the making of this movie". I don't think there was which makes me wonder about the scene where the guy with the sword was chopping up snakes as they jumped at him. Oh yeah, these snakes jump. Well, I can't think of anything else to add for this one. I'm gonna go take a shower.

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