Judge Brett Cullum sucks the venom out of this snake lady.
Only the cobra could satisfy her unearthly desires.
Night of the Cobra Woman is a horror movie shot in the Philippines during 1972. It was a co-production of New World Pictures and Roger Corman who at the time were just interested in making quick and easy exploitation titles. The infamous schlock maestro expressed his disappointment in the final product, saying the badness came from a script that had no logic and no effort on the part of the director to correct that in the production. This definitely the kind of feature you'd expect to received the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment, and what a shame they never got a hold of it. The sheer fun of this experience is seeing just how unapologetically terrible it all is.
The plot is this: A nurse wanders into a cave, gets bitten by a cobra, and then wanders around snaking out on people, attacking or rescuing them in bizarre ways. In her new half-snake state, she needs plenty of blood and sex from virile young men to sustain her. Oh yeah, and she sheds her skin at a key point in the narrative. You might expect a lot of gratuitous nudity, given the tagline about satisfying unearthly desires and the lead actress' name is Joy Bang. Alas, there are only brief shots of boobies, it's not very lurid, and not at all coherent. While the acting is uniformly pathetic, the snakes do a great job with what they're given, turning in the most believable performance in this mess. Then again, I can't imagine their human co-stars took any of this material seriously.
Scorpion Releasing offers up a standard def 1.78:1 transfer that looks surprisingly palatable with vivid colors and nice blacks. For a cheapie flick that barely hit drive-ins in 1972, Night of the Cobra Woman doesn't look half bad. Be prepared, as there are plenty of jump cuts where frames in the original negative were lost and there are some sequences that look worse for wear, but somehow most of it survived pretty well. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo track is muffled and tinny, which isn't unexpected from a film of this vintage, and most of the dialogue sounds badly looped in post-production.
Bonus features consist of new interviews with Marlene Clark, the titular "cobra woman," who's quite proud of the film, and it's a joy to see her reminisce. She's definitely more engaging than the film, and this extra makes it worth getting the DVD over streaming. There is also an engaging interview with Roger Corman who's proud this was the first Philippine horror movie. He's softened his stance on the final product, but remains baffled by its cult status. We also get the film's original trailer.
Night of the Cobra Woman is easy enough to find through streaming services, but it's worth the investment to see the Cobra Woman in all her glory talk about it decades later. It's bad bad bad, but maybe that's just what you are in the mood for. The only thing missing is a cameo from Samuel L. Jackson.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Scorpion Releasing
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