This movie gave me a nightmare that was plugged into my subconscious by the film's show-stopper climactic scene where the young "hero" at the center of the movie starts spewing live snakes out of his gullet while trying to crawl out of a drain pipe. In my nightmare I was working as some sort of a janitor in a food service establishment (scary already) and had to clean up a bathroom where a bunch of people had vomited after eating plates of teeming little snakes. It was more of a gross-out nightmare than one that was frightening so waking up and putting it behind me was easy, though it did take me a while to figure out where the idea of people vomiting snakes had come from. Then I remembered CURSE II: THE BITE, which is kind of an OK idea I guess, executed in a way that was sort of imaginative at times. It was nice seeing Jamie Farr wearing pants on my TV set for a change, lead actress Jill Schoelen was enjoyable and looked good in her underpants, Bo Svenson seemed to enjoy playing a beer swilling Southwestern sheriff walking a fine line between arrogant corruption and duty, there are some effective shock sequences (my favorite was the one where a woman doctor looses her lower jaw: OUCH THAT'S GOTTA HURT) and the film had a good sense of it's location in the Southwestern US and it's world of interstate highways, overpasses, cowboy bars and dusty back lots. It is a serviceable time-killer with some amusing special effects as the schnook in the lead transmogrifies into a gigantic fake looking snake, and may have been a dream come true for it's special effects technicians who looked like they got some milage out of material that otherwise would have been pretty routine. With plenty of Miller Lite, Meister Brau and 7-Up for all.
So the snake puking stuff is effective & evocative enough to trigger a nightmare, but the film did have one sequence that stopped the fun cold. I've been studying Snake Horror as a horror movie idiom for a while and one of the aspects about it is the very nature of exploitation at the heart & soul of the movies in question. Snakes do not attack, hunt or otherwise interact with people unless humans disturb them. Snakes also have an inescapable social function as sexual metaphors. There is of course the Adam & Eve connotations with the serpent as an embodiment of temptation or sin, tempting humans to revel in their natural tendency to have sex. Snakes are also the ultimate phallic symbol, being legless animals who's heads have a somewhat suggestive shape. It is difficult to use a snake in a movie -- especially a horror movie, since horror movies are sex movies in disguise -- and not deal with the sexual subtexts. This one does in a subtle but somewhat nauseating manner by suggesting that one of them crawled through Ms. Schoelen's unmentionables and deposited a glop of viscous green goop. Like, eww. She is also fresh out of the shower, still wet and wrapped in nary but a towel when the scene unfolds, reinforcing the perverse subtext of the scene with the snake a representation of the dark side of deviant human sexuality.
All well and fine, but the images that stopped the fun cold happen before that. First, during a road trip break scene the two leads pull over, the young lady retires behind a bush for a pit stop, and the schnook she is with has to use a rifle to blow away some kind of a snake that creeps up behind her. Telling the young lass to simply get up and walk away wouldn't make for a very effective horror scene and sadly it appears that the producers opted to have a technician either shoot or otherwise blow away an actual live specimen, an unfortunate but all-too common occurrence in the history of horror films. Nobody thought twice about killing a snake since they are legless squirmy inhuman creatures: Humans like things that have 2 or 4 legs and walk about while standing up. But the real problem comes in the following scene -- inexplicably described as "hilarious" by a reviewer somewhere else -- when the two leads run over what appeared to be hundreds of actual living snakes strewn about on a stretch of road.
I watched the scene in shock: Is this for real? If so it is one of the most barbaric sequences of animal cruelty yet unleashed, and following the links for producer/director Frederico Prosperi will lead one to a film called SAVAGE BEASTS, a 1978 "Nature Strikes Back" movie about zoo animals freaking out after PCP contaminates their drinking water, which used staged actual on-camera animal killings. Such behavior is beyond stupid, it is thoughtless, and a quality that many Italian made or produced films from the period have in common. Everyone knows about CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and how inhuman it's animal killings are, how come nobody has protested CURSE II yet? I am more offended by how utterly stupid one would have to be to think it acceptable film-making, and the idea that people would not only be entertained by such but find it "hilarious". I have friends that keep snakes as pets & love them like they were kittens, I would not want any of them to see this movie because of that one sequence and am re-thinking my fascination with the idiom as a result of having seen it. If you have ever wondered why the movie is unavailable I would point to that as the prime reason why.
4/10: Stick to the dark sexuality next time, at least the snake might get something out of it also.
Curse II: The Bite
Action / Horror
Curse II: The Bite
Action / Horror
After a young man is bitten on the hand by a radioactive snake, his hand changes into a lethal snake head, which attacks everyone he comes into contact with. Also, his body becomes filled with snakes. Now, he must prevent himself from hurting others.
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March 15, 2016 at 10:14 AM