Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sssssss (1973)

Director: Bernard L. Kowalski

Writers: Hal Dresner, Daniel C. Striepeke

Composer: Patrick Williams

Starring: Strother Martin, Dirk Benedict, Heather Menzies-Urich, Richard B. Shull, Tim O'Connor, Jack Ging, Kathleen King, Reb Brown, Ted Grossman, Charles Seel, Ray Ballard

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Terror is ready to strike!

Plot: Dr. Carl Stoner is a respected snake expert who masks a frightening desire to transmute a man into a king cobra. Realizing that his new lab assistant, David (Benedict), is the perfect specimen, the demented doctor begins administering to him injections of "immunization serum." Soon, David begins experiencing strange and disturbing side effects: his skin is shedding while his body shape is changing. But before he realizes the horrible truth, the metamorphosis from human to serpent has begun.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Well here's a nice surprise. This is a fun picture and part of it's due to a great subtle performance by Strother Martin as Dr. Carl Stoner.  He's terrific. Really.  He plays it cool and subdued which makes it really easy for him to get away with a bunch of shit because no one would suspect such a nice, intelligent man like him.  The supporting cast is great, too, and it's neat seeing a pre-BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Dirk Benedict.  It's a horror flick so there are a few kills...

That's Reb Brown's foot in its movie debut, by the way.  There's an extraordinary amount of information about snakes in the first half hour, most of it coming from Dr. Stoner.  Martin does a fine job of delivering it making it sound interesting and kind of fun.  I don't like snakes but I was fascinated by how well they broke down the myths about fearing them.  The picture moves along at a pretty good clip.  I wasn't bored for a moment.  While the ending isn't as satisfying as I would have liked, it doesn't take away too much from the rest of the picture.  I'll definitely watch it again someday.  It's too bad the Universal DVD only has the trailer as the only extra. The widescreen print looks great, though.  A commentary would have been great.  There must've been some great stories about this production.  The director died in 2007 but the DVD came out in 2004.  Hell, the cast is still around.  Anyway, it's a fun flick that's not nearly as bad as the internet says.

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