Colin Timothy Gagnon (sacredspud) wrote,
Colin Timothy Gagnon

31 Days of Halloween: Night of the Cobra Woman

Remember the two-word review of Spinal Tap's album, Shark Sandwich?

Night of the Cobra Woman isn't quite that bad. Not quite. But almost.

Look, I don't know why I watched Night of the Cobra Woman. Netflix recommendations are a vicious circle; they keep recommending these movies and I keep checking them out, but they're not movies that I like and the fact that I watch them makes the recommendations worse. Night of the Cobra Woman was recommended based on Re-Animator and The Stuff which, I'll grant, are not high art, but it's a long, steep drop from either of those movies to this one.

Well, I've committed to a review a night, so I'd better get to it:

It's World War II. It's the Philippines (I think). Two young women are gathering rare herbs in a cave. One gets raped by a soldier FOR NO REASON, and the other--whose name is Lena--gets bitten by a fire ring cobra which is not (as far as I can tell) a real thing.

Blah blah blah now it's the '70s. A pretty, young scientist who's doing some kind of work with snake venom for UNICEF shows up looking for Lena who is rumored to have a pet fire ring cobra. The scientist's name is Joanna, and she's brought along her boyfriend, Duff. Joanna doesn't get much help from Lena, but Duff and Lena hit it off spectacularly. They begin having an affair and at some point we learn that Lena's been killing the locals with sex and she is slowly turning into a snake and her skin is peeling off and something about venom also an eagle look i can't i just dont this is not aseiofjpadibfpamfb[pjaeb[injafbfionafbonafbuonjae9bjae0bjae9-0w34tvfnl;akfnboasfb[igjr]=aeorghuiaryv80why9hnq2349f-9nejf9auv89bvhjlandc,mxnvdn odnfbvo[iahbvo9hj b89-gfj9a34hntu9gq349hbawd80vu-ad9bjbgkonajkebtrhwuiargh89ebu0afzkldbnadnbo[e4jg[3g.

I can't do it. I just can't summarize this movie, which ended less than half an hour ago. It's badly written and badly executed. It was produced by Roger Corman's New World Pictures, and Corman--who did not have a hand in the finished product--was reportedly disappointed with the result. This is an exploitation picture with plenty of violence and nudity, so when Roger Corman says it's not very good, that's your cue to stay away. Of course, I didn't know that until I looked it up after the fact.

I get the feeling that Night of the Cobra Woman was probably conceived as a sexploitation thriller, but it doesn't quite fit into either genre. If I have anything positive to say, it's that the two female leads, Joy Bang (her real, married name, apparently), and Marlene Clark are both quite attractive, and I feel like a jerk even mentioning that. Looking around online, it seems that Netflix cons a lot of people into watching this movie, all of whom feel cheated.

Look, I'll be honest here: my nights are pretty busy, more this October than previously. I selected this movie because at 85 minutes it was the shortest among Netflix's recommendations. I keep scrolling up and down in this write-up looking for some way to flesh it out or expand on the plot, but I just can't. Sometimes it pays to try the low-hanging fruit. Sometimes you spend an hour and a half with a cobra woman.

Click here for the trailer.
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