A British millionaire (Oliver Reed) gains a telepathic connection with a snake demon after being bitten while hunting in New Guinea. He later has it captured and shipped to America where chaos ensues.
Yes, you read that right. This movie was fuckin' wild, man. Much like my experience with Killer Party a few months ago, I had no idea going in that this movie was directed by Canuxploitation icon William Fruet. I always thought Spasms was Italian, but now I see I was confusing it with Lenzi's Spasmo. The more Fruet films I see, the more I realize just how much of a maverick this guy is.
So right up front, Fruet doesn't even try to hide this movie was shot in Toronto. It's supposed to be San Diego, but the CN Tower can clearly be seen in one shot. He really gets some mileage out of Soldier's Tower, staging a scene that's basically a snowball's throw from the one in Black Christmas. My favourite for sure though is how Fruet used the Scarborough Bluffs to double as New Guinea.
|The Scarboro Tribe.
To use a phrase that Reed's co-star Peter Fonda may have said, this movie is far out. The snake attack scenes were absolute gold with the two highlights being the raid on the girl's dorm and the final showdown against a knife wielding Reed. Fruet must have liked his attack footage because he reused it at the climax to fill time when the production ran out of money. The snake's death scene was the only anti-climactic thing about this movie though. I really dug the snake bite bloating effects by Carl Fullerton & Dick Smith among others. Tangerine Dream did a track on this movie, as well!
The cast is peppered with Canadians, including Angus MacInnes & Al Waxman doing a cross between Joseph Larch and George Costanza. Funny thing about MacInnes, he has been in countless movies (he was Gold Leader for Christ sakes) but he'll always be Jean LaRose from Strange Brew to me.
|I live for this shit, man!
You know what's weird? This movie was filmed in 1981, the same year Reed did Venom with Klaus Kinski about another venomous snake. Who else can say that? I wonder if he was even sober enough at the time to tell the difference. Ollie, why you kiss your niece?
So bottom line, if you ever see an old movie that says “Directed by William Fruet” on it -- watch it! It may not be the best, but you'll never be bored.