The Killer Snakes/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
In the 70s, The Shaw Brothers Studios were known mostly for their great martial arts films but they also delved into various other genres. The Killer Snakes was the Shaws' take on the "nature strikes back" sci fi-horror subgenre. Director Chih-Hung Kwei also injects the film with elements of Sexploitation, making this a really offbeat, shocking work of cinema.
Chi Hung (Kwok Leung Gan) is a poor young man who lives in a shack inside Hong Kong. Through flashbacks we see that Chi Hung has severe emotional problems due to abuse as a child. He is also sexually perverted and is obsessed with sadomaschism towards women, which also stems from his childhood. He fantasizes about whipping them and tying them up. Chi Hung is still abused by everyone around him who regard him as a wimp. Only Xhijuan, a young girl who runs a local stand has feelings for him.
One night, a small snake finds his way into Chi Hung's shack after escaping from a nearby snake shop. The snake's gallbladder has been removed and it has a large wound. Feeling pity for the snake and a need for a friend, Chi Hung sews up the snake's wound and adopts it as his pet. He names it Xiubong. Soon after, Chi Hung finds several more snakes have arrived looking for help. Chi Hung has made a strange mental connection with the creatures.
With some new found self confidence, Chi Hung asks Xijuan out on a date, and she accepts. In a fun bit of self reference, Chi Hung goes to the local theater where the Shaw Brothers films are playing. Chi Hung waits for Xhijuan at the theater, but she never arrives. Filled with anger, Chi Hung goes to Xhijuan's stand and has a fit, breaking it into pieces. The next day, Xhijuan finds out her stand has been wrecked. She then can't make her rent payments so she gets a job as a prostitute. Meanwhile, Chi Hung gets a new job, but is robbed of his money by some local thugs. Tired of being beaten up and disrespected, he finally breaks down and uses his snakes as his weapons to get back at everyone who does him wrong. He also uses them as his own sexual tools to get himself off.
This is one slimy, slithering Shaw Brothers exploitation flick that Grindhouse fans will definitely want to see!! It is filled with very nasty scenes, including extremely vile S & M sequences, and actual live snakes being killed. The cinematography is excellent in the movie and features many nighttime scenes, giving the film a creepy atmosphere. The lead actor in the movie, Kwok Leung Gan is great and I sort of saw him as a Chinese version of the unassuming Norman Bates type character (from Psycho) sans the split female personality & dress.
Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. A Massachusetts native, he is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life. He is currently majoring in Communications and Interactive Media Design.