HERP-TYPE MOVIE REVIEWS
At the bottom of the page you will find reviews of dragon movies.
Written by John O. Hollister
Updated November 5, 2008.
I figured it was time to have a site dedicated to reviews of herp-related movies. I haven't seen them all but have seen enough to keep me busy for a while writing them up. I'll review mainly movies which are available on DVD. Since I have many years of working with reptiles, the reviews will be from a different viewpoint from normal reviews.
Please, if you have any suggestions for more movies, send me an email.
CAVEAT: Most films of the creature genre do not aspire to greatness nor are they strong on logic nor do they realistically portray animals. It matters not if they are reptiles or rabbits, bees or birds - the films all take great liberties with reality. A few of them are actually good films but they are the exception. Most of them are best watched with friends when you have had a few drinks and are in a jovial mood.
V indicates made for video or direct to video. TV indicates made for TV.
Anaconda: 1997 Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, John Voight, Eric Stolz, Owen Wilson. PG13
A group from National Geographic are sent to do a documentary a remote native tribe, The People of The Mist. During a storm they pull from the river Voight, a professional snake hunter whose boat has broken down. The giant anaconda starts pursuing them The deranged Voight (just what is his accent supposed to be?) convinces them to chase the snake instead of the Indians. The carnage begins.
The anaconda is barely passable and seems to vary in size. The acting is wooden. The story is marginal and there is no plot. Any information given on anacondas is erroneous. This movie is borderline "stinker" and gets a 3.5/10 from me.
Black Cobra (Woman): 1976 (Original title: Eva Nera) Jack Palance, Laura Gemser, Gabriele Tinti. R
This is an Italian made movie, filmed in Hong Kong.
Palance is Judas, a rich reclusive inheritor with a fondness for snakes. His brother Jules talks him into going to a night club to see Eva (Gemser), an exotic woman who dances with a python. It follows that Judas is smitten with her and sets her up with an apartment and a bank account. The plot and story, if they exist, are incidental. This is basically 70's soft porn - rather tame by today's standards. There are more naked women than snakes and more snakes than story. 2.2/10
Black Snake Moan Despite the title this movie has nothing to do with reptiles in any way whatsoever.
Boa: 2002 Dean Cain, Elizabeth Lackey, Mark Sheppard. R
This was originally released as "New Alcatraz" but I guess they figured the DVD would sell or rent better if it had a reptile in the name.
It is the start of the new millenium and a secret super-prison is being built in Antarctica to hide and house the world's most dangerous criminals. During construction of a new segment to the prison an unexpected and large chamber is opened and a prehistoric giant snake is awakened. Coincidentally professors Robert and Jessica Trenton both espouse the theory that such prehistoric reptiles exist in Antarctica which, we are told, was tropical climate 20,000,000 years ago.
I have no idea how this giant snake suvived in a frozen nitrogen filled chamber for 20,000,000 years nor how it came out so full of energy and speed. There are other questions but if I got into them it would ruin what little plot and surprise this movie has to offer. I also noticed that Dean Cain has a very high pitched voice; was he like this as superman? 2.8/10.
Boa vs Python: 2004 (V) David Hewlett, Jaine Bergman, Kirk B.R. woller, Adam Kendrick, Angel Boris. R
Hmm, the plot? OK, A wrestling promoter also does high-dollar hunts, imports a giant (80-100 ft.) Reticulate Python. It gets loose. It eats a lot of people. It rapidly moves from NJ to the Philadelphia area where it enters the water system, eats a few more. The FBI, for some reason, is on the case. They contact a research herpetologist who has a huge "Scarlet Queen Boa" which feeds exclusively on snakes and is the only boa to lay eggs. The FBI appropriates the boa to track down the retic. The boa is on the hunt, the FBI is trailing the boa, a group of dumbass hunters is tracking the retic, yadda yadda.
The boa and the retic fight, the boa lays eggs, the hunters go after the retic, the feds go after the hunters, the hunters get eaten, the retic gets - Well, let's not ruin the movie for you.
The animatronic snakes seem to be similar to the one in "Anaconda" i.e. not very good. I give it 2.9/10 because the marine biologist enlisted by the FBI is cute.
Crocodile: 2000 (V). Mark McLauchlin, Caitlin Martin, Chris Solari, Sommer Knight, D. W. Reiser, Julie Mintz. R.
A Tobe Hooper film.
Spring break and a group of friends get together on a houseboat on Lake Sobek. From the boat registration it is in Arizona. The comedic characters are a couple of "bubbas" who are killed off early. The teen romance is unnecessary. The movie starts offf slowly and never really gets up a head of steam. This is another C grade "disappearing teens" movie. The crocodile is apparently a Nile croc released nearly a century before by a local. I'm not sure why it is laying eggs if it is the only croc in the lake. CGI or animatronic, the croc isn't all that good but then, neither is the movie. Don't even ask why there is an alligator farm in the desert. Lots of bad language from the teens; apparently this takes the place of writing good dialogue. About the closest to suspense I encountered was wondering when Princess, the cute little dog, was going to be eaten. I didn't worry about the teens; each time one was eaten I felt it was for the betterment of society. 2.3/10.
Dinocroc: 2004 Costas Mandylor, Charles Napier, Jane Longenecker, Matt Borlenghi, Joanne Pacula, Bruce Weitz. This is a Roger Corman film. For some reason the movie has only 2 channel sound. R
I had no expectations for this movie and was surprised to find it watchable. At the opening are newspaper headlines and articles about the fifty foot prehistoric crocodile which was found in N. Africa a few years back. Then it moves to a genetic research facility which specializes in developing rapid growth hormones. Apparently there are two critters living in the same enclosure which are growing at a rapid rate until one of them kills the other. Then the resident idiot scientist walks into the cage and is killed. The surviving animal escapes into a preserve and begins the carnage.
Mandylor is an Australian croc expert (hunter?) hired by the research facility to get rid of the title reptile. Napier is the local sheriff, Longenecker his daughter who is also the animal control officer, Borlenghi is her love interest whose younger brother has a run-in with dinocroc. This is not your standard one-dimensional "reptile on a rampage" film. It has at least two dimensions to it and has a bit of humor. While not a great movie it is a cut above most movies of this genre in writing, plot, direction and acting. I give it 3.8/10.
Fer-de-Lance: 1972 (TV). David Janssen, Hope Lange, Ivan Dixon, Jason Evers, Robert Ito.
The submarine Fer-de-lance, in Tierra del Fuego, is taking on an international scientific team. We also have some female Navy officers on board, part of the Sea Lab project. One of the hands, while on liberty, buys several Fer-de-lance snakes since they have the same name as the ship. It is the roomiest sub ever filmed. Soon after the sub submerges the snakes (actually baby boas) escape. Soon two crewmen are found unconscious and others on watch start passing out. The sub goes into an uncontrolled dive to 1,060 feet down and hits the bottom. They are stuck there. 44 min. into the movie, time to scene jump and FF. The basic premise is very weak, contrived and so is the movie. 1:25 into the movie they blast the sub loose. No sense in spoiling the movie for you; it sufficiently spoils itself. 3.0/10.
Frogs: 1972 Sam Elliot, Ray Milland, Lynn Borden, Joan Van Ark. PG
Sam plays Pickett Smith, a free-lance photographer doing an article on pollution. The movie opens with him taking pictures of various swamp critters - alligators, cottonmouths, Tokay geckos. His canoe is swamped by a brother and sister heading to an island owned by their grandfather (Milland) for a family reunion/birthday celebration and Sam is taken along so he can dry out.
Grandfather Milland is anti-nature and has, for many years, been shooting, poisoning and otherwise trying to get rid of all those intrusive, irritating animals. The animals choose this weekend to exact retribution.
We are never told where this takes place, but it is obviously somewhere in the deep south. All the animals are real - no CGI or animatronics here. Many of the animals are those which could be found in the area but some, such as the tegus, tokay geckos and tarantulas may add to the story but detract from the accuracy. We aren't sure what caused the first death. The second is caused by the Tegus. The next is snakebite, then alligators, than another snake bite, then an alligator snapper. All of it seems to be controlled by the toads.
It isn't the worst I've watched. It is one of the earlier movies to focus on damages to the ecology and its possible effects. 4.2/10.
The Giant Gila Monster: 1959, b/w. Don Sullivan, Fred Graham, Lisa Simone, Shug Fisher. "approved"
A giant Gila Monster shows up in a small town in west Texas and terrorizes cars and trains and munches on the occupants. Rock and Roll hot-rodders and the mechanic save the day. I'm not sure if this is available on DVD but is on VHS. I give it 2/10.
Green Snake: 1993 Ma Cheng-miu, Maggie Cheung, Man Cheuk Chiu
OK, I'll admit it: I was a bit confused, particulary in the beginning. Had I been raised in China I'm sure it would have been easier to understand. It is in Chinese languages only, English subtitles. The story is based on ancient Chinese legend. Unrated
Skipping the opening scene, which I can't figure out, the movie is basically about the 1,000 years old White Snake and her sister the 500 years old Green Snake who take on human form. White Snake entices a student, Hsui-Xien. They get married, she gets pregnant. Meanwhile a Taoist priest is after the snake sisters to rid the world of them. White Snake wants to stay human, Green Snake takes things less seriously. They fly, the monks fly. The Snake Sisters and the monks have supernatural powers. There really isn't much of snakes in this movie, but Green Snake slithers nicely.
The sisters are pretty, the special effects are pretty good, the photography is decent, the story is interesting. Overeall I'll give it a 6.0/10. As a herp movie it gets only 2.5.
Hell Comes to Frogtown 1987: Roddy Piper, William Smith, Sandahl Bergman, Rory Calhoun. R
This post-apocalyptic movie is not strictly a reptile movie but the "bad guys" are mutant frogs. Never mind that they can talk and the female frogs have breasts. This is the first starring role for pro wrestler Roddy Piper. It is actually a fun movie. It will never be nominated for any awards in ANY category but has some good humor in it.
The basic plot is that, in the post-apocalypse, most men are sterile. Roddy posesses awesome potency and is placed under the control of the women. He and a couple of militant women are sent to retrieve several young women who have been taken prisoner by the frogs. Roddy is kept under control by having a "chastity belt" attached to him which will explode if he gets a certain distance from the controlling unit. Roddy's job is to impregnate the fertile young women. I give it 4.5/10
Again, while this will never be thought of as a good movie, it is a fun one to watch, particularly if you are in the mood for some well done stupidity. I can guarantee a few laughs.
Jurassic Park: 1993 Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Richard Attenborough, Jeff Goldblum, Samuel L. Jackson, Stephen Furst. Directed by Steven Spielberg. PG-13.
We have all probably seen it. The Rich guy figures a way to clone dinosaurs using DNA extracted from from mosquitos encased in amber and combining it with frog DNA. All are supposed to be females but they fail to take into account the ability of some frogs to change sex. The dinos reproduce, get loose, cause havoc, eat a few people, wreck a few vehicles. I give it 7.5/10. Don't bother with the sequals unless you just have to see them all. Jurassic Park 2, both on book and film, was very poorly done, a total ripoff.
Jurassic Park II: I don't want to watch this one again to review it. Sufficeth to say it isn't very good.
Jurassic Park III: 2001 Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nicolo, Michael Jeter. PG-13.
A man takes his stepson on a ride on a parachute towed behind a boat so he can see the critters on Isla Sorna, the second island with dinosaurs on it. The boat crew disappears, the boat crashes, they cut the rope and land on the island. Wm. H. Macy is the boy's father, Tea Leoni his former wife. They plot to kidnap Neill and take him to the island to help find their son. Leoni screams a lot and does all the wrong things. The plot is weak, and so are the characters. The CGI dinos are very good, which is to be expected from ILM, but they are not sufficient to carry the film. 5/10.
Killer Snakes This is a four movie set, two discs, one movie each side. It consists of the movies Snake People, Snake Woman, Fer-de-Lance and Black Cobra, all of which are reviewed seperately on this page. It can be bought for $7-$14 including shipping off the internet. There are no subtitles on any of the movies.
King Cobra: 1999 (V) Pat Morita, Scott Hillenbrand, Casey Fallo, Hoyt Axton, Courtney Gains, special appearance by Erik Estrada as the swishy owner of a micro-brewery. PG-13.
An accident in the lab results in the escape of a genetically altered mutated "African" King Cobra/Eastern Diamondback. The first we see of it is a shed skin which appears to be around thirty feet long. It kills a redneck and a couple horny teenagers. Then Hashimoto the herpetologist is called in. Opening shots of Pat Morita in his lab have his assistant milking a snake - closeups are of a rattlesnake, distance shots show her holding a boa. The Herpetologist refers to the African King Cobra, Ophiophagus hannah, which we all know is the name for the Asian king cobra.
Next we see a king cobra with rattles killing again. The local beerfest is cancelled and the rednecks go ahuntin' and adyin'. The female sheriff, the young doctor and the herpetologist go on the hunt to save the day. Standard B-movie fare. 2.9/10.
Komodo: 1999 (V) Jill Hennessy, Billy Burke, Kevin Zegers, Paul Gleason. PG-13.
This movie was supposedly sited on Emerald Isle, NC. Emerald Isle is built up and does not have any oil drilling or refineries on it. However, it helps to blame somone and nobody likes oil companies except shareholders. Note that what few license plates were evident were from Georgia. However it seems that filming was done in Queensland, Australia (or at least most of it.)
The premise is that some Komodo eggs were dumped there 19 years ago, got irradiated, glow and hatch out. The lizards survived and grew, undetected. Then a young boy is out expoloring, finds a small monitor but can't catch it. Forward a bit and we find the boy traumatized and under the care of his psychiatrist Jill Hennessy. It seems his parents are no longer among the living. Hennessy takes the boy and his aunt back to the island in hopes that it will shake loose some memories.
Now that the star of the movie is on the scene the mayhem can begin, no matter how belatedly. The animatronic Komodo Dragons aren't too bad but the rest of the movie is. I paid $4.98 for this movie and feel abused. If you can buy or rent for a buck, go for it; otherwise, don't waste your money. I give it 2.7/10
Lake Placid: 1999 Bill Paxton, Briget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson, Betty White. R.
Livestock and people are disappearing around a lake in Maine. Then a biologist diving in the lake is bitten in half. Fish and Game is called in, Briget Fonda is sent up from the Museum of Natural History, Oliver Platt, a crocodile nut, arrives in his croc skin helicoptor and the fun begins. The local sheriff wants it dead, the other locals want it alive, USFWS shows up and don't really know what they want. Betty White is hilarious in this movie.
If you don't worry too much about how a Pacific crocodile made it to a lake in Maine and has survived to attain great size, this is a fun movie. The animatronic crocs (or are they CGI?) are well done. This movie has a good cast, good writing, good direction, good photography. I give it a 7.5/10
Lake Placid 2: 2007. John Schneider, Sarah Lafleur, Sam McMurray, Chad Collins, Cloris Leachman. Unrated.
Once in a rare while a sequal comes along which surpasses the original. This is not one of those times. There is no suspense as there was in the original. The cast is weak, the story is weak, the dialogue is weak. Stumps of linbs gushing blood, some young women topless - these do not make up for the deficits. Never mind that the original crocs' babies have been growing in the lake for ten years but nobody seems to know a thing about them. 3.1/10.
Mega Snake: 2007 (tv) Michael Shanks, Siri Baruc, John T. Woods, Matthew Atherton, Nick Harvey.R
This movie is somewhat derivative of Gremlins. two young boys go to a snake handler church with their folks and Dad is killed by a snake. Forward 20 years or so and we have two men, one likes snakes and the other is scared of them. The one who likes snakes wanders into a Kitawa Indian shop where he sees a Unteka, the great snake which preyed on the native Indians - keep it in the jar in water and never feed it. So the Indian sells it to bubba redneck who proceeds to break the jar. The snake grows amazingly fast on a cat and some chickens, then starts on the larger meals. The rest is predictable.
If you can't figure out where in Bubbaland it was filmed, it is because it was filmed in Sofia, Bulgaria. However, it doesn't feel like Sofia.
I haven't heard of any of the actors in it but for the most part their performances are passable.The snake isn't great but I've seen worse. It isn't as bad as I feared but will never be a classic. 3.5/10.
Primeval: 2007. Dominic Purcell, Brooke Langton, Orlando Jones, Jurgen Prochnow. Gideon Emery. R.
Based on actual events, this movie centers around a massive crocodile (given the name Gustave by the natives) which has been reported to have killed hundreds of humans. Two reporters (Purcell and Langton), a cameraman (Bloom) and a crocodile expert (Emery) are sent by a news service to photograph and capture the crocodile.
Unfortunately, the political situation in Burundi is given more time than the croc. The croc is VERY athletic, actually able to jump, and it moves extremely fast and isn't averse to moving inland away from water. The croc takes a licking but keeps on ticking.
Given that the croc isn't all that good and much of the movie is political, I give it a 3.5/10 overall, 1.5/10 as a reptile movie.
Python: 2000 (TV). Robert Englund, Casper van Dien, Frayne Rosanoff, Wil Wheaton. R.
The opening scene has several inconsistencies in logic and the film goes downhill from there. Basically a 129 ft. snake which spews stomach acid causes a plane crash, lives through it, starts dissolving people. This is, up to now, the worst herp-related movie I've seen. I give it 1.8/10.
I wish I could tell you more but I shut it off after 25 minutes and feel that was 20 minutes too long.
Rattlers: 1976 (TV). Nobody who was associated with this movie has been heard of again.PG
I saw this when it first appeared and am NOT going to watch it again to review it. Mutated rattlers which do not look mutated but can do some pretty amazing things, such as biting through Jeep tires while the vehicles are racing by. That's about all I remember except that it stinks. It rates somewhere between 1 and 3.
The Relic: 1997. Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, Linda Hunt, James Whitmore. Directed by Peter Hyams. R
A shipment of crates is loaded on a ship in South America slated for delivery to the Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The Ship is found in Lake Michican by the Coast Guard with everyone on board dead. The crates are delivered to the museum; one of them is empty. People start dying. An analysis of blood found shows components from several different types of animals including a beetle and a Hemidactylid gecko. Postmortems of bodies shows that their hypotalamuses (hypothalami?) are missing. More people die; nonetheless the big party scheduled to take place in the museum that night goes on. The reason that this review is here is that the monster seems to be a giant gecko. 5.0/10
The Reptile: 1966 Noel Willman, Jennifer Daniel, Ray Barrett, Jacquelin Pearce. Unrated.
A Hammer film, from the folks who gave us lots of vampires (including Christopher Lee), Ursula Andress and Raquel Welch.
Upon the death of his brother, Harry Spaulding, an army captain, and his wife Valerie move to the boondocks of Cornwall to take possession of the cottage willed to them by the brother. They are treated with suspicion by all the locals but the bartender of the local inn. They soon discover that there are other suspicious deaths in the area and soon decide that the deaths appear to be caused by a venomous reptile. The meancing Dr. Franklyn tries to get them to sell out to him and move from the area. The Doctor's Daughter Anna asks them for help. Soon they discover the truth of what has been happening.
There really isn't much of The Reptile in this movie but it does eventually appear and the reason for its existence is made known. This is, as with many Hammer films, on the upper end of the B grade. It is decently written, filmed and acted. It starts off a bit slowly but picks up steam at the end. 5.8/10.
Slither: 2006 Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker. R.
This isn't really a herp movie even though the artwork shows a snake. However, it is a pretty good B movie of the type from the 50's. An alien worm takes over the mind of Grant Grant (Rooker) who immediately has a great hunger for meat of any type. The worm spreads to others who are under the control of the main worm infesting Grant. Grant proceeds to morph and urges the others to come to him. It is up to Fillion and Banks to save the day. I'll give this 5.5/10, not bad for the genre.
Snake Island: 2002 William Katt, Wayne Crawford, Kate Connor, Russel Savadier, Dawn Matthews. If you have wondered where Katt's career has gone, look no farther. R.
Made in South Africa.
A mixed bag of tourists are on a boat heading up a river in Africa to the Snake Island Hunting Lodge. William Katt is a writer researching a book on snakes. His previous book was a sensationalistic book on sharks. They arrive at Snake Island and the boat breaks down and a plethora of snakes appear. The presence of all the snakes doesn't stop the group from partying outside at night but then any good critter movie requires a lack of awareness and/or stupidity on the parts of the people.
The snakes are all real which means the usual mixed bag of venomous and non-venomous, and not all are from the continent in which the film is situated. Most of the characters are rather unlikable. Most of the situations of their demise are rather contrived. I'll give this one 2.9/10.
Snakeman: 2005 aka The Snake King. Stephen Baldwin, Jayne Heitmeyer, Larry Day, Gary Hudson. TV RSnake People: 1971 (original title: La Muerte Viviente) Boris Karloff, Julissa, Carlos East. Unrated.
An archeological group finds a stone coffin in a river in the Amazon and takes it back to the museum. The remains inside are identified as someone who lived for several hundred years. It is believed to have belonged to an Amazonian tribe called the Snakemen. An expedition is sent to find them and their source of long life. Baldwin is flying the helicopter and crashes it. They find the missing tribe and troubles ensue.
I am ambivalent on this movie. The acting was passable, the photography was decent. The story was predictable. The snakes were not really there. I'll give it a 4.5/10
This movie was released two years after Karloff's death. It might well have been the last movie he made. I hope he didn't have to see it.
This is a Voodoo movie, filmed in Mexico, except for Karloff's scenes which are filmed in California. On the island of Korbai Karloff is the scientist behind it all. There is a deranged midget with funky eyeglasses, a zoned out woman who dances with a boa constrictor, a new chief of police who can't act for squat, his Lieutenant who is mainly interested in chasing women, a pretty young temperance worker (who is written as Karloff's niece) and a host of utterly forgettable characters.
There isn't much of a story or plot. The acting and directing are bad, even for a fledgeling Mexican film industry. The Mexican actors are dubbed. It is now 35 minutes into the film and I've jumped to the next scene. Ok, jumped another scene, then some FF. Now we are at the ceremony where Karloff is about to sacrifice his niece. I can take no more. Fortunately it is the end. 2.0/10.
The Snake Woman: 1961 Susan Travers, John McCarthy, Geoffrey Denton, Elsie Wagstaff. B/W Unrated but probably PG
This movie is, so far as I can find, available only in a 4 move set, "Killer Snakes." It deserves to be cleaned up and preserved.
In a small town in England the scientist/herpetologist is treating his wife with snake venoms to keep her from total dementia. She gives birth to a daughter who is "different" and the mother dies shortly after childbirth with two puncture wounds in her arm. The "witchy" housekeeper tries to kill the child but the doctor saves it and leaves it with another household to be raised. The housekeeper arouses the townspeople who smash all the snake cages, kill a bunch of snakes, burn down the house (with the scientist inside.) We then jump forward twenty years to Scotland Yard, where a young inspector is being sent to the same small town to investigate mysterious deaths which have been occuring for nearly twenty years. The inspector meets up with a pretty young woman who is entranced by the very bad music from his flute. More deaths, some suspense.
The quality of the picture and sound wasn't the best but I doubt the AFI will bother to digitally enhance this film. Even so, it is worth watching. I give it a 4.0/10 mostly for originality and for not being "over the top" as so many creature movies are.
Snakes on a Plane: 2006 Samuel L. Jackson, Juliannna Marguiles, Nathan Phillips. R.
Basic plot is that Jackson is a federal agent who is taking Phillips back to the mainland from Hawaii as a federal witness. The bad guys decide to get rid of them by putting a bunch of venomous snakes on the plane and releasing them over the Pacific.
I respect Samuel Jackson as an actor and can't figure out why he did this movie; he doesn't need the money. There are just so many stupidities and errors in this movie that it isn't worth listing them all, but I'll list a few. First Jackson takes over the entire first class section of a 757 for himself and his witness. Second the bad guys have ample time to import a bunch of venomous snakes into Hawaii (never mind the strictness of the laws against bringing snakes into Hawaii), then have time to get them onto the plane. There are hundreds of snakes. Most are CGI and the few real ones are harmless colubrids. The arboreal viper in the bathroom might be real, hard to tell.
Anyway, this movie stinks badly. I give it a 2.4/10, mainly for the photography. I guess this is what happens when you let geeks on the internet re-write snakes on a plane.
Sssssss: 1973 Strother Martin, Dirk Benedict, Heather Menzies, Richard B. Shull, Tim O'Connor, Jack Ging. PG
Strother Martin is a herpetologist of some renown who works primarily with venomous species. Heather is his daughter and primary assistant. Martin's other assistant has "disappeared" so he heads to the local university to recruit another assistant - Dirk Benedict. In the beginning Martin seems reasonably normal but soon we see that he might be a bit off. He begins a sieries of injections to Benedict, telling him it will protect him in case of snakebite. A few events happen to flesh out the story, including the inevitable affair between Dirk and Heather.
I was rather impressed with Strother's ease around the snakes. It makes me wonder if he could be a herper.
All the snakes are real and, for the most part, correctly identified. Most of the information given on the snakes is reasonably accurate. While the movie moves a bit slowly, at least it moves. And, while the movie wouldn't exist except for the snakes, in this movie the snakes aren't the baddies. There isn't a lot of horror or suspense but it is a watchable movie. 5/10
Tremors: 1990. Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross, Finn Carter, Reba McEntire, Robert Jayne. PG-13
They may or may not be reptiles. Think of them as giant sand boas with a bit of crocodile in them.
Val (Bacon) and Earl (Ward) are handymen working around Perfection, Nevada, population 14. The next character encountered is a gaduate student (Carter) monitoring seismographic equipment and she is getting some unusual readings. Gross and McEntire are the local survivalists. Animals and people start disappearing and, of course, the only telephone in town is out of order. The creatures show up fairly early in the movie, looking rather small. Later we find that one large one has several heads and necks (or maybe they are tentacles) in its mouth. The creatures live underground and can move through the soil quite rapidly. Ward and Bacon kill one but the seismologist tells them there are at least two or three more. Pretty much every theory of where they came from is tossed into the pot.
The movie moves along pretty well, has a good cast, good story decent suspense and surprise factors and a bit of humor. 6.5/10.
Venom: 1981 Klaus Kinski, Oliver Reed, Nicol Williamson, Sarah Miles, Linda George, Sterling Hayden. R.
This is one of the few herp movies I've seen which has an excellent cast as well as a good story. The premise is that a young boy in London is into herps and orders a house snake. When he gets the box home from the shop it transpires that he has recieved the wrong box and has instead gotten a black mamba. Meanwhile a plot is underway by the housekeeper (George) and international terrorists (Kinski and Reed) to kidnap the boy. The snake escapes and gets into the heating ducts. The rest is a very good, tense movie. It has none of the sensationalism associated with most herp movies. The mamba might almost be considered the hero of the movie. I give it 7/10
Venom: 2005 (V). Agnes Bruchner, Jonathan Jackson, Laura Ramsey, D.J. Cotrona, Meagan Good. R
This time, instead of scientists run amok, we have a voodoo woman and teenagers in the bayous of Louisiana. Lots of bad language from the kids. The voodoo woman crashes into the swamp, the mechanic jumps in to help her, opens her suitcase, becomes possessed by numerous souls and then starts to mutate. This, unfortunately, is NOT a reptiile related movie. If you like teen slasher type films, it isn't too bad. 3.7/10.
Venomous: 2002 (V). Treat Williams, Mary Page-keller, Hannes Jaenicke, Catherine Dent, Tony Denison. PG-13.
Terrorists break into a secret government laboratory, blow it up, snakes escape. Next we see a sweet dog bitten by a rattlesnake. Shortly after, the dog licks its loving owner. Shortly after the owner falls ill and starts bleeding from his nose; a cop finds him, rushes him to the hospital where he is treated by Treat as the doctor. It seems that it is a virus, not the venom, which is doing the damage. The military steps in to help control a possible epidemic (but mostly to cover their butts for past indescretions.)
They could have used kitty cats or bunny rabbits instead of snakes and called it "Virusnous" but it wouldn't have had the same impact as venomous snakes. The surprise ending is the standard one.
While this movie isn't as badly done as many it still lacks suspense, surprise and rationality. 3.2/10.
Dragon storm: 2003 (TV), Maxwell Caufield. John Rhys-Davies, Tony Amendola, Angel Boris, Woon Young Park. PG-13.
Meteorites pummel Carpathia in the year 1190 but these are not ordinary metorites - they contain dragons. King Fastrad (Rhys-Davies) becomes aware of the dragons when they destroy his castle. He makes a pact with a neighboring king to destroy the dragons. A hunter (Caufield) is enlisted to slay the greatest prey of his life. A group of six brave souls set out to do the deed.
This is a "made for TV" movie and it shows. The acting isn't all that great and the story is a bit weak and director Stephen Furst obviously needs seasoning. It is watchable and has some decent CGI in it. 4.1/10.
Dragon Wars (aka D-war): 2007 Jason Behr, Amanda Brooks, Robert Forster, Aimee Garcia. PG-13.
This movie is written, directed and produced by Koreans. It stars primarily American actors but the flashback scenes to earlier times, which give us the history, have all Koreans.
Many of the viewer reviews I've read have panned this movie but I'm not sure why. It is, apparently, based on Korean legend. The premise is that the Korean God Imoogi has returned after 500 years and must find THE girl who is destined to join with him and thus allow him to return to the heavens. Becky is that girl, identified by the birthmark tattoo of a dragon on her shoulder.
There appear to be two Imoogi, one good and one bad, which make it to Los Angeles where Sarah lives. Sarah and a reporter, Ethan, meet up and spend their time evading the Imoogi and the Burkai, who are also chasing Sarah.
The dragons and other creatures are well done CGI. I'm sure understanding of this movie would be aided by knowledge of Korean legends but the flashbacks to 500 years before help. These scenes are in Korean, subtitled.
While it isn't the best dragon movie I've seen, it isn't the worst either. The CGI were very good. this one rates around 5.5/10. The main weakness was in the story and somewhat with the acting. Perhaps a Korean director doesn't know how to get the most out of American actors.
Dragonheart: 1996 Dennis Quaid, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, Julie Christie, Dina Meyer. PG.
Quaid, a disillusioned dragonslaying night, teams up with the last dragon, Draco. They bilk small towns by staging dragon attacks and then Quaid arrives to "slay" the dragon.
In his Younger day Bowen (Quaid) was summoned by the Queen (Christie) and was asked to save the life of her son Einon (Thewlis) who was a student of Bowen's. Bowen called on Draco to give up a small slice of his heart to save the boy. Fast forward to Einon being an evil despot, which made Bowen feel betrayed. Bowen and Draco plot to do away with the evil king.
This is a pretty good movie and the dragon (Voiced by Sean Connery) is enjoyable. 7/10.
Dragon's World: A Fantasy Made Real: 2004. Made for TV, U.K. title: The Last Dragon. Paul Hilton, Katrine Bach, Alan Woodward. U.S. version narrated by Patrick StewartPG
This movie is presented as a scientific documentary but it is a science fiction documentary. Dr. Tanner (Hilton) is a scientist interested in dinosaurs. While examining the skull of a T. rex he starts developing some theories. Then, while exploring a cave in the Romanian mountains he finds several dead knights and the frozen remains of an unkown type of creature. He assembles a team to study it before it is shipped to a museum and more theories develop - such as "could dragons breath fire?" and "Could dragons fly?"
There are some very good CGI alternated with the scientific studies, as well as artwork of dragons in history. It is quite believeable. If you ever wanted more information on dragons, this film is for you. The history of dragons, the natural history of dragons, the various types of dragons and the physiology of dragons are all covered. 6.4/10.
Dragonslayer: 1981 Peter MacNicol, Ralph Richardson, Caitlin Clarke, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Albert Salmi. unrated.
A village leader has made a pact with a dragon whereby he sacrfices virgins to it so that the dragon will leave his village alone. An old wizard (Richardson) and his young apprentice (MacNicol) volunteer to kill the dragon and attempt to save the next virgin in line. The King's own daughter (Clarke), realizing she has been left out of each of the lotteries, volunteers herself to be the sacrifice. MacNicol is then forced into battling the dragon.
A somewhat predictable story but worth watching. There are some very good special effects, which got an academy award nomination. 6.5.3/10
Eragon: 2006 Edward Speelers, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, Robert Carlyle, John Malkovich, Rachel Weisz as the voice of Saphira the dragon PG
The evil King Galbatorix (Malkovich) was once a dragon rider who betrayed and slew most of his fellow riders in his quest for power.When a rider dies, his dragon dies. Eragon, an orphaned farm boy (Speelers,) comes in possession of a dragon egg which hatches to produce Saphira. He is then destined to be a dragon rider and is taken under the tutelage of Brom (Irons) who was once a dragon rider, whose dragon was slain. Galbatorix dispatches his minions to kill Eragon. Eragon, Saphira and Brom set off to find the Varden to form an alliance to do away with the evil king.
Overall not a bad movie, watchable by the whole family. 6/10.
Pete's Dragon: 1977 Helen Reddy, Mickey Rooney, Jim Dale, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters and Sean Marshall as Pete. G.
A Walt Disney film.
Pete is a nine year old orphan who escapes his nasty adoptive parents and flees with his cartoon dragon Elliott to Passamaquoddy, Maine. There he finds a place to live with Nora, the lighthouse keeper, and her father. His adoptive parents pursue him, an evil doctor pursues him for his dragon which lives in a cave by the sea.
This is a very nice movie good for the entire family. It has an excellent cast, good story, good direction. I give it 7/10.
Reign of Fire: 2002 Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, Izabella Scorupco, Gerard Butler. PG-13.
Construction on additions to the London Underground open a cavern which has kept a dragon sealed in. Bale, as a child, witnesses the occassion and the death of his mother by the dragon.
Fast forward 20-30 years to an England devestated by dragons, as has been much of the Earth. Enter McConaughey and a group of American dragon hunters. Interpersonal animosities ensue, a dragon is slain, an accord is reached. Then they set off to slay the main dragon and friendships develop.
Good cast, good photography, decent story, good dragons. 6.8/10