Sssssss (1973)

SSSSSSS (1973)
Article #847 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-10-2003
Posting Date: 12-7-2003
Directed by Bernard Kowalski
Featuring Strother Martin, Dirk Benedict, Heather Menzies

A sssssinisssster sssscientissst transssforms hisssss asssssisssstant into a sssssnake.

Title check: Aha, one of the few movie titles to conssssissst of one letter (okay, I’ll ssssstop), though just calling it ‘S’ wouldn’t have been safisfiying. Now let’s apply the same technique to several other one letter titles. M would have become MMMMMMMM, which sounds quity yummy, but would not have given a good sense of the movie, and Z would have become Zzzzzzz, which quite frankly sounds boring (I haven’t seen that one, so I can’t say one way or the other). At any rate, I never encourage a movie to title itself in such a way that it invites people to hiss at it.

The basic idea is good old-fashioned mad scientist fodder, and the make up is quite good. The movie is like a cross between STANLEY, THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE, PSYCHO (the shower scene, anyway) and a teen sex comedy. It’s the script that really is the downfall here; the dialogue is very bad throughout, there are way too many characters with tiny brain capacity (a stupid college professor, a stupid jock, his bimbo girlfriend, and two stupid cops are way too many for a movie that isn’t supposed to be a comedy). Some of the scenes are incredibly clumsy; a skinny-dipping sequence has the worst use ever of masking-the-naughty-bit foliage; I guess they just didn’t want to lose that PG rating, which might also account for the fact that the hallucination sequence looks more like an easy-listening music video. The ending relies on the most incredible conjunction of coincidences I’ve encountered in a movie in some time. You might want to save this one for when you’re really in the right mood for it.


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