A movie older than the ideas behind it, this ditty was released in 1955 and is full of good old buddies from the Army days' and friendships that are formed. The first thing I noticed was the fact that the two main characters, Paul Able (Richard Long) and Tom Markel (Marshall Thompson), buddies from the past are roommates after leaving the Army. They also are both in love with the same lady, Julia (Kathleen Hughes), a budding actress. Julia makes the fateful decision and takes Paul as her choice, yet Paul and Tom remain roommates..........what a great coupla guys~
Although this release is only 75 minutes long, it seems sooooo much longer. Perhaps it is because it is the poor black and white over acted quality of the film. There is actually a story line, unusual for a monster movie, albeit a poor one. It centers around a group of soldiers in Asia (they don't mention the war, but I'm figuring the Korean War for this one) that run into a cult of snake worshipers. The idea is that the head cultess, the goddess if you will, actually turns INTO a snake. They manage to view this ceremony, with the help of Daru (Leonard Strong) but are discovered when one of the dummies takes a photograph of the ceremony - dummy! The High Priest (John Halloran) puts a curse on these guys, saying each one will die because of their infraction of the cult rules.
After returning Stateside, of course the bodies start dropping right and left, after the High Priestess (Faith Domergue) moves into the neighborhood. Paul begins to suspicion that she is the responsible party, but alas.....his buddy Tom (the jilted lover of Julia) has developed a serious case of the hots for the fair Priestess. Actually, he tells her he loves her - this after only one date and no goodnight kiss........hmmmmmm......where were theses guys when I was looking for them? Anyway, the story continues, blase', blase' skippy.....on and on and on!
Although this movie carries an NR rating, I could easily envision it with an R, even back in those times, because of some of the scenes in the cult ceremony. There is an outstanding dance scene between (supposedly) the High Priest and Priestess - absolutely sensual and well choreographed. This was performed by a dance team known as The Carlsons and they did a terrific job.
Overall the movie wasn't one of the best, in parts it is actually laughable. It is funny to see it now with these guys going bowling, parties, etc., in their suits, ties and hats and the ladies with their dainty hats with veils, dashing matching gloves, and co-ordinated outfits. There is never a single scene where the snake is shown in it's transformation, but there is one time where they show a shadow of Faith on the wall, then it suddenly becomes a shadow of a snake. Fairly pitiful, but I guess in 1955 they couldn't figure out how to make a human sized snake (HA! They should see Anaconda, now there's a snake!)
I wouldn't suggest you run out to rent this bad boy, but if you are sitting around at 3 am on a Saturday night with nothing to do.......Hollywood is open 24/7/365.....just a suggestion.
Also starring a young David Janssen as one of the Army buddies. Written by Jerry Davis, Directed by Francis Lyon.
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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