Case Number 00100


Trimark // 1998 // 93 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Sean Fitzgibbons (Retired) // August 20th, 1999

The Charge

30 Feet Of Pure Terror!

Opening Statement

King Cobra plays more like 93 minutes of pure boredom which even Pat "Mr. Miyagi" Morita cannot redeem. Ironically, Trimark gives this monstrosity of a B-film extremely nice treatment on DVD.

The Evidence

There are not many positive things I can say about this film. Basically, there are two types of B-movies. Some B-movies know they are B-movies and do not take themselves seriously. Those movies are at least watchable. However, there are other B-movies that fail to recognize how truly horrid they are and attempt to pass themselves off as good films. Unfortunately, King Cobra falls into the latter category.

Try to imagine a killer snake film even worse than Anaconda, and you've got King Cobra. To be fair, the opening scene of King Cobra had me interested, and even slightly hopeful that I could watch this film for its duration without falling asleep. In a remote laboratory a few disgruntled workers shoot up some cocaine and go crazy while working. The workers, in their strung-out frenzy, begin smashing around the lab and accidentally start a fire. The fire destroys the lab but also releases a mutated snake; a huge monstrosity that is a mix of African King Cobra and Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (not to mention 30 feet of pure terror) named Seth. The snake slithers his way to a local town named Fillmore. Unfortunately enough for those in Fillmore, Seth decides to show up during the annual lager beer festival. Be sure to look for a cameo by big name star Erik Estrada (of CHiPs fame) during the festival.

At this point, the film gets extremely Jaws-esque. Once the locals realize a snake is out and about the town doctor wants to stop the local beer-fest, but the Mayor will not, as the beer-fest is what gives the town its recognition. Not too much unlike the Mayor refusing to shut down the beaches on Amity Island after discovering a killer shark is on the loose. Eventually, the town of Fillmore resolves to bring in an expert snake hunter (Pat Morita) while a few yokels attempt to hunt down Seth for a bounty (a la Jaws). Snake hunter Nick Hashimoto decides that the best way to kill Seth is not to shoot it, but to lure it into a huge concrete pipe and gas it. The tension builds and the "surprise" ending is one you will not soon forget!

Trimark indulges the crap that is King Cobra by releasing an extremely flattering DVD for the film. The audio and video quality on this disc is not stunning, but very solid. The widescreen image, presented at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio (non-anamorphic), holds up well with no visible compression artifacts and a fairly decent black level. The resolution is a bit low, but the image is fine to pass off for the single viewing most will probably give the film. Meanwhile, the audio is presented in a nice Dolby 2.0 track. It's not like the film could afford a great audio track, but dialogue is well placed, sound effects sound good, and the incredibly cheesy score is brought to you in all its grandeur. I'm positive this is the best possible way to view King Cobra as it won't be playing in any movie theaters; ever.

The extra content on this DVD is nothing less than amazing. I'd be happy if Trimark let King Cobra die in peace, but they indulge this DVD as if the film is a work of art. Listen to the hilarious audio commentary from the creators of the film (David and Scott Hillenbrand) who comment on the film as if it actually was good! At least Kevin Smith and his commentary gang on Mallrats recognized the bad parts of their film, which is like Casablanca in comparison to King Cobra. You also receive a production featurette and a "theatrical" trailer (I'd be hard pressed to find a theater that actually ran this trailer) as extra content.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

One of the worst films that I have ever seen in its entirety. The acting is high school level, and even Pat Morita has a poor and one-dimensional role. As I already pointed out, this film rips-off Jaws in almost every way (except for the fact that it is land based). The direction is poor and uninspired, and the score complements this in an annoyingly cheesy fashion.

I cannot articulate how bad this film is. I would not even entertain the thought of watching this trash-film at 2AM in the morning on HBO while waiting out an insomnia fit. The Hillenbrand brothers have absolutely no future in the film industry and should quit before they dig themselves into a deeper hole than they are already in.

Closing Statement

Do not buy, rent, or journey to a completely free screening of King Cobra. Trust me, you will want those 93 minutes of your life back. Trimark did a good job of getting this trash on a DVD, but with such an incredibly worthless film, why even bother? Forget you ever read this review!

The Verdict

Trimark is a great studio, but they are guilty of releasing this schlock on DVD. The Hillenbrand brothers are sentenced to death by lethal injection.

Subsequently, after the release of this film, prisons have resulted to a new form of cruel and unusual punishment by forcing prisoners in solitary confinement to repeatedly watch King Cobra. Many suicides have resulted when prisoners, driven insane by the film, have shoved their faces through the TV screens showing this film. An investigation of this inhumane punishment is currently in progress.

Review content copyright © 1999 Sean Fitzgibbons; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 80
Audio: 80
Extras: 70

Perp Profile
Studio: Trimark
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)

* None

Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13

Distinguishing Marks
* Commentary
* Behind The Scenes

* IMDb