Topic: Top Five Snake Shows
Before I get into this one, I want to point out that I didn't come up with the idea for this list. This was suggested to me by deadhorse13, so I just want to recognize his contribution. This one's for you, buddy!
It's rare to find someone who has a kind word about snakes. Reviled for centuries in certain cultures as the very embodiment of evil, snakes have something of an evil reputation. That having been said, it's not surprising that snakes have appeared in their fair share of horror films. The following list contains five snake-themed features that will have you slithering out of your skin. These selections exclude films that I found somewhat enjoyable, but that I wouldn't necessarily recommend (e.g.,Python) and films that had a degree of commercial success but, which I believe, simply flat-out suck (e.g.,Snakes on a Plane). Let's do it...
5- Anaconda (1997)
A group of people go off in search of a lost tribe, but wind up hunting a giant snake. The film is essentially a modern-day, 50's-style monster movie. Several disposable characters meet their demise before the survivors finally deal with the monstrous serpent once and for all. The film is entertaining enough if you're able to shut off your brain and go with the flow, but I do have one complaint. Danny Trejo appears in this film very briefly before getting bumped off (ditto Predators) and that is simply not cool. Danny Trejo automatically makes any movie more awesome just by his presence, yet directors seem to want to be rid of his characters the first chance they get. I just don't get it.
4- Jennifer (1978)
Did you like Carrie? If not, skip this one and move on to number three, otherwise, check out this late 70's chiller. The movie is about a young lady who was once a gifted snake-handler, but is now attending a private school on a scholarship and trying to forget her past. Of course, it wouldn't be much of a film if she were successful, so a group of kids makes her life difficult and she's forced to whip out her snake-mojo. It's not the slickest (or most original) film ever made, but it's got some interesting scenes, some stuff you won't expect in a film of this sort and some stuff that is intended to be dramatic but will likely have you laughing your ass off.
3- Sssssss (1973)
I wasn't really able to appreciate this film when I first saw it. It seems to be going for the sorts of body-transformation themes that David Cronenberg is known for, but it doesn't quite clear the bar. Still, it's a fairly solid film about a guy who becomes an assistant to a snake expert, only to later discover that Dr. Stoner (yeah, that's his name) is not exactly what he seems. Dr. Stoner injects his assistant with a serum that supposedly will inoculate him against snake venom, but will it really? If you're into 'mad scientist' movies, you'll get a kick out of watching Stoner ramble about human extinction and talk to his snakes. Fans of The A-Team will recognize the assistant (played by Dirk Benedict) as the same actor who played 'Faceman'. It's certainly not the most plausible movie ever made, but if you're willing to hang in with it, you won't be disappointed.
2- Signs and Wonders (The X-Files â€“ Season 7, Episode 9)
Yeah, this isn't a horror movie, nor was The X-Files a horror TV show, but Signs and Wonders is probably one of the best 'snake' features you'll see on TV. The story focuses on a pregnant young lady who is caught between her old church (a snake-handling church) and a new, more progressive church. If you're afraid of snakes, this is going to be a tough one to watch as there are not only plenty of snakes, but there are plenty of tight situations involving them. The episode isn't really so much about snakes as it is about what we believe, why we believe it and how willing we are to accept something that looks good, even if it's not. The X-Files was running out of steam around this time, but Signs and Wonders proved there was still some life left.
1- Venom (1981)
A British film about kidnappers who get more than they bargained for when the kid they're after has a black mamba slithering through his house. The premise seems absolutely ridiculous, but it comes together well. The movie is pretty tense, the acting fairly decent and the pacing is acceptable. The snake is used more as a device to create tension than as the star of the film, but I believe that is to the movie's credit. Let's be honest â€“ a snake isn't that hard to kill. The film makers play it smart and make the human actors do most of the heavy lifting, with the snake being used to deliver additional zest. If you've never seen this one (and I'm assuming most haven't), it's certainly worth a rental.
A final note
Not every great snake was able to appear in this list. There are some snakes who performed admirably, but will probably never get a list to themselves. In honor of these fine serpents, I have listed below five snakes that deserve recognition for their efforts.