Monday, June 13, 2016

Matinee Monday - The Reptile (1966)

     I really love cheesy horror films, so I had to check out The Reptile (1966) which appeared on TCM last week.  It's a Hammer production, so that will tell you what kind of film we are talking about.  I recognized a couple faces, but generally was not familiar with any of the actors.  While not well known to me, they did a good job with the material.  But frankly, any time there is an old horror film on television, I'm there.  The fact that it is a Hammer production is also very intriguing.  I love their horror films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing such as Dracula and The Mummy.

     The Reptile is a Victorian set film.  A couple moves into the house of the husband's brother after he had died.  Shady things are going on in the community.  People are dying all over the place.  The townspeople call it 'the plague', but what is really going on?
     Turns out there is a crazy reptile woman running around town killing people by biting their necks - vampire style.  This seemed like a total disconnect and the monster was the most confusing part of this movie.  Apparently a girl had been transformed by some obscure cult's Svengali.  At night, she becomes a reptile killing machine.  Her preacher father who had been researching the cult tries to destroy her to free his daughter from the curse.  
     And it just keeps getting grosser when she sheds her skin every so often and needs to be near a bubbling sulfur pool to stay warm.  Creepy and gross.  And frankly, I'm sure I don't have to point out that the costume really takes a person right out of the picture.  Prior to the appearance of the monster, this could be a scary film.  After her appearance, it's almost laughable.  Apparently the costume was made using the impression of real snakeskin, but I have to agree with the actress who played the poor reptile woman.  She hated it and refused to wear creature makeup in all subsequent work.
     Spoiler alert - The ending totally confused me.  Basically the house burned down with the reptile girl and her father inside.  Did they get out?  Did they burn?  The film never really made it clear.  They weren't trapped or incapacitated, so they could have got out of the house.  I think they were trying to say they both died in the fire, but to me, it was left open enough for a sequel.  A sequel I hope they never made.
     FYI - It's a fortune to buy it if you don't have Blu-ray.  The Reptile is fun for one view, but I'm not sure I would purchase it unless I was a Hammer Films addict.

1 comment:

Mim said...

I love Hammer films - but I can see how that costume could ruin the scariness.


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