Snake Woman (1961)

Article #556 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-22-2002
Posting date: 2-15-2003

A scientist uses snake venom on his wife to cure her mental illness, but when she dies giving childbirth, her daughter has reptilian qualities.

In many ways, this is pretty standard horror fare similar to CULT OF THE COBRA; however, unlike that movie, I found this one quite compelling and it held my attention throughout. Probably the main reason is that it pays attention to the interesting details of the situation; the detective sent to the scene of the murders is told by his boss to try to keep an open mind, so instead of an endless series of “That’s impossible; it just can’t happen” type of scenes, we end up with a character who is willing to give things a shot even when he is in doubt; I really like the scene where the local “witch” gets him to shoot three bullets into a voodoo doll in an attempt to break the curse. I also like the observation that the witch can’t kill the snake woman herself because she was its midwife, and helping to bring her into the world alive made her lose the power of death over her. It’s fantasy logic, to be sure, but it’s the kind of fantasy logic that adds color to these sorts of movies. It’s also helped by the fact that it doesn’t overstay its welcome; it runs a scant 68 minutes, which is pretty darn short for a movie made in the sixties. Not a great movie, but one where you can see that some people were approaching the ideas with a certain amount of creativity and a sense of fun.

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