HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Alpha
Walking Tall
Blockers
Tongan Ninja
Black '47
Godfather Part II, The
Await Further Instructions
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
In Order of Disappearance
Charlotte's Web
Meg, The
Christmas Blood
Equalizer 2, The
1985
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
   
 
Newest Articles
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
   
 
  Spasms Come Hither And SlitherBuy this film here.
Year: 1983
Director: William Fruet
Stars: Peter Fonda, Oliver Reed, Kerrie Keane, Al Waxman, Miguel Fernandes, Marilyn Lightstone, Angus MacInnes, Laurie Brown, Gerard Parkes, William Needles, Denis Simpson, Patrick Brymer, George Bloomfield, Al Maini, Denise Ferguson, John Bayliss
Genre: Horror
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: On this isolated tropical island in the Pacific the natives are performing one of their most sacred rituals which involves invoking the spirit of a snake god, but they are being observed from the jungle by a hunter and his team. As the ceremony builds to a frenzy, the creature appears and begins chasing them around the site, attacking some of the tribesmen but it is being lured into a trap: nets fall on it and capture the beast, which is what the hunter wanted all along. He has been instructed by his boss Jason Kincaid (Oliver Reed) to bring it back to the campus of the university where he works...

Doesn't that sound like a great idea? Maybe not, as you can see from the first five minutes where this was going even if you couldn't see the actual snake very well, director William Fruet opting to keep his villain hidden apart from the odd quick shot. This might have been down to the production's coyness, it might have been a lack of faith in their mechanical snake puppet, or it could just as easily have been down to the fact that they ran out of money before shooting was complete, hence the rather brief running time and over-reliance on the snakecam footage where we were given a point of view shot of the reptile as it slithered at speed through the scenery.

In that regard it resembled The Evil Dead's roaming spirits, though that was as far as the comparisons went: Sam Raimi's horror pointed forward to the future of shockers, while Spasms was resolutely backwards-looking, essentially a fifties B-movie dressed up with eighties gore. Those makeup effects were designed by the legendary Dick Smith, but mostly relied on the commonly seen bladder effects of this era, as what happens when the snake bites you is not spasms (why it's called that is a mystery) but full on bloating up and practically melting. Which might have indicated what was on offer was a bunch of fun, trashy scenes, though as it played what you mostly had was silly, yet taking itself far too seriously.

It was drawn from a novel entitled Death Bite by Michael Maryk and Brent Monahan, which was your basic wild animal on the loose chiller, though here the screenwriters saw fit to add in a snake-worshipping cult to the mix to explain why Al Waxman is trying to capture the trophy to bring back to a mysterious Reverend and his congregation, though this is a subplot which goes nowhere fast. Wait a minute - Al Waxman?! That's right, this wasn't an American production at all, and his presence made it clear this was one of those Canadian efforts mimicking those from south of the border to make it a more enticing proposition to potential audiences. There had to be imported stars, naturally, and along with Reed Peter Fonda showed up as a scientist investigating ESP.

What does ESP have to do with snakes, you may ask, the explanation being Kincaid was bitten by the monster on an earlier trip, and as the venom didn't kill him (just gave him a pronounced limp) it instead gave him a psychic link to its brain, which explains why Kincaid describes it as some guardian for the gates of Hell. Fonda's Dr Tom Brasilian is called in for research, though to no one's surprise once the serpent is delivered it is set loose by Al's meddling and begins picking off supporting cast members such as a dormitory of students (one of whom supplies gratuitous nudity). To be fair, these attack setpieces are at least energetically handled, it's the oh so grave business in between which sinks the mood, and no wonder when you see Ollie hooked up to Peter's brain scanner so he can stare horrified into space as he "sees" through the creature's eyes, a scene of unintentional camp this could have done with more of. It's an awfuly convoluted way to set a giant snake on people. Music by Eric N. Robertson with a Tangerine Dream theme.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1283 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

William Fruet  (1933 - )

Canadian director of low-budget horror and thrillers. Best known for the 1976 revenge shocker Death Weekend, Search and Destroy, Spasms with Oliver Reed and the voyeuristic thriller Bedroom Eyes. Has mostly worked in TV since the mid-80s, on shows like Friday the 13th and Poltergeist: The Legacy.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
   

 

Last Updated: