Saturday, June 10, 2017


After borrowing the DVD of this Hong Kong set Shaw Brothers Production I finally got around to watching it tonight and my God is this a strange film! It's kind of a character story about a social misfit and his odd life. He's a very socially awkward loner who's constantly the victim of bullies, cheating employers, low level criminals and muggers. Constantly harassed in many different ways he is a sad, pitiable creature who seems to have either the worst luck in the world or is without a doubt one of the most put-upon film characters I've ever seen.

Part of his problem seems to stem from an unfortunate childhood incident in which he watched a sadomasochistic sexual encounter between his mother and some man or his mother and his father  - the film doesn't really make it all that clear. This has made his adult view of sexuality somewhat stunted. He does have one romantic focus and that is the only virginal female in the entire story who he fixates on to the exclusion of any other female attention. Anyone who has ever seen a film about this kind of miserable young love knows that this will not end well!

Adding to the fellow's odd nature is the fact that he seems to have an almost supernatural affinity for snakes. He seems to be able to communicate with them and clearly feels absolutely no danger handling every type of snake or reptile that you can think of. Whether it's incredibly venomous cobras or fairly dangerous monitor lizards he seems to have some kind of extrasensory mental rapport with them and, as you might expect, eventually is able to command them to do his bidding. This leads to the expected revenge portion of the film in which a lot of people who have treated him like dirt end up on the receiving end of a lot of poisonous fangs. That might be considered a semi-satisfying section of the story but it's coupled with the nastiest elements that they can throw into a story of this type.

So, of course, there's a sleazeball scumbag who desperately wants to have sex with the virginal female and so is slowly pushing her into being a prostitute. The virgin's best female friend - who's already a prostitute - is pushing her in that direction as well because they're just aren't a whole lot of economic opportunities for the young lady. So by the time the inevitable happens and the slithery venomous revenge takes place we all know where this thing is going. It's difficult to feel bad for any of the snake victims as they lead such wretched, self-centered lives but the nastiness of the story also blunts any sympathy we might have for the main character and his romantic fixation. Everyone here is doomed to live out a cheerless, sad existence until the snakes come.  

I can't call this a good film and I can't say that I totally enjoyed watching it but I must admit I was completely fascinated by it. It's chock-full of nudity, sleazy sex, and just a ton of snakes of every type and description. Potential viewers should be warned that a lot - and I mean a lot - of snakes were obviously killed in the making of this film. And I mean in every way that you can think of. There's a scene in which about 8 or 9 are killed by machete and a scene near the end where boxes of them have gasoline poured on them and are set aflame. It's a little nauseating. Adding to my own discomfort with this film are several sections that can only be read as intentional dark humor but in each case it's so off-putting and inappropriate that I began to wonder if that's how the rest of the film was going to play out. But it was not. This is a grim, nasty, mean-spirited little movie and I can't recommend it for most people. If you read this far and it still seems appealing, well, at least you know what you're getting yourself into.

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