Ssssssss!

Tagged: Film

Film (1973; vt Ssssnake!). Zanuck-Brown/Universal. Produced by Dan Striepeke. Directed by Bernard L Kowalski. Written by Hal Dresner, based on a story by Striepeke. Cast includes Dirk Benedict, Strother Martin and Heather Menzies. 99 minutes. Colour.

In a period when most Monster Movies were spoofs, this competently made film is unusual for playing it straight despite the joky-seeming title. The obsessed Mad Scientist Dr Stoner (Martin) believes that only ophidians (snakes) will survive what he sees as coming ecocatastrophe, so he works on developing snake-like properties – such as cold-bloodedness – in humans. Lab assistants unknowingly become subjects for Stoner's experimental serum, early failures being sold to the carnival freak-show. He finally succeeds in transforming college student David Blake (Benedict), who is also the boy-friend of his daughter Kristina (Menzies), into something not unlike a king cobra. Some rather good make-up by John Chambers makes the result an effective Monster. Then along comes a mongoose ... [JB/DRL]

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