movies such as Killer Snakes and Fangs Of The Cobra are chickenfeed
compared to Calamity Of Snakes (1983). And even with the budget
and special effects, the recent Snakes On A Plane still pales in
ASIAN VALUES VCD REVIEW
Kong production starts off when a construction site discovers
a nest of snakes. To avoid unnecessary delays, like calling in
the proper authorities to deal with the snakes, developer Ko Yuen
(the film stars a number of Shaw veterans) decides to cut a few
corners and take matters into his own hands. With the crew, he
bulldozes and chomps his way through the snakes.
a hole in the ground, the snakes have no escape. It's a bloody
job but someone's got to do it and animal and reptile lovers will
cringe at the wholesale slaughter. They will also likely to cringe
at a detour through a night market to a stall which sells snake's
blood and snake's gall bladder. Here viewers get an instructional
view of how the snake's gall bladder is extracted.
But the snakes
have not been vanquished. They attack and kill one of the workers
but not before he had enjoyed himself with a prostitute - in the
film's only sequence which shows outright nudity. After all, snakes
and sex do make interesting bedfellows. Meanwhile, the workers'
quarters get an infestation of snakes. Having rats at the snakes
might be a good idea - shown in a very graphic sequence - but
there are too many snakes for the rats to handle. Spreading sulphur
seems to keep the snakes at bay but the method becomes totally
ineffective when a heavy rain washes the sulphur away.
Next a snake
handler, who works at a magic show, is engaged and he takes on
an impressive looking python. As in many kung fu/wu xia
movies, the hero needs to demolish a couple of the minor minions
before taking on the bad guy himself. Here, the snake handler
bites off a couple of the smaller snakes before a duel to the
death with the python. It's a well choreographed and bloody fight
with the python coiling itself round the snakeman before the snakeman
strings it up to die.
apartment building completed, a gala opening is held and the rest
of the film resembles The Towering Inferno, with snakes taking
place of the fire. Snakes, and more snakes, descend upon the building.
An ageing playboy is killed when a load of snakes crashes onto
his car. Lifts, bedrooms and baths become flooded with snakes
as more victims fall one after another. Enter the mother of all
snakes - it's a behemoth in size but because, in many instances,
it looks like a man in a suit (figuratively speaking), it just
isn't as scary as the killers in Anaconda.
It is left
to the legions of smaller and real snakes which effectively send
the chills. Imagine a corridor full of snakes. There's really
nowhere to run or hide. At the last moment, it is the calvary...
the firemen and their deadly spray/foam that save the day but
not before the unscrupulous developer dies in a fiery dance of
death with the giant snake.
Snakes On A Plane, with impressive-looking effects and make-up,
it is the knowledge that there are real snakes on screen, not
one or two but a whole screenful that makes Calamity Of Snakes
chilling. The movie would have been more effective if it had undergone
some form of restoration. As it is, the colours are slightly washed
out. Unfortunately, the dialogue is not in Cantonese or Mandarin
- it's an American-dubbed track, which really adds a layer of
hilarity but truly lives up to the film's grindhouse notoriety.
Note: The Calamity Of Snakes DVD is banned in $ingapore.