Reviewed by The Foywonder
Staring Danielle De Luca, Jim Saviano, Ashika Gogna, Piya Tolani, Ryan Ford, David Alan Graf
Directed by Lewis Schoenbrun
Queen Cobra (or as the opening credits bill it: Queen Cobra: Snakes on a College Campus) is an extremely rudimentary creature feature – both plot wise and production value wise – that reminded me very much of some of the lesser ultra low budget, regionally-produced monster movies I used to watch in my early youth when they aired in blocks on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings but with little of the camp value that gave many of those old films their charm. This movie is just a bargain basement, somewhat old fashioned, monster movie; a harmless piece of z-grade filmmaking that barely rises above being homemade schlock. Queen Cobra is the kind of cheapie I could easily imagine Larry Buchanan having made forty some odd years ago.
Fittingly enough, Queen Cobra even runs a mere seventy minutes in length. I’ve often criticized other b-movies saying they would have been better off if they only ran about 65-70 minutes much like many a creature feature of old. Truth be told, the filmmakers could have probably shaved off another 10-15 minutes. I find myself in the strange position of feeling the urge to go easy on both the movie and its makers for their low rent effort even though there really isn’t much about Queen Cobra that’s worth recommending.
Part-time college professor and full-time mad scientist Dr. Hall has been messing with the genetics of a pair of irradiated, acid-spitting, king cobras named Homer and Marge. The ultimate plan is to create snake people for the US government (Our taxes dollars at work!), but deep down he’s got a serious mad scientist complex of the Bela Lugosi in Bride of the Monster variety going on. I’m talking about the kind of mad scientist complex where, when confronted by his monstrous creation run amok, says to it, “You forget, my child, the human mind is far superior to that of your race, especially when I’m your creator – your god.” He’s that kind of old fashioned mad scientist.
This is also the kind of schlocky movie where a half-naked, blindfolded woman unknowingly receiving a sensual massage from a snake woman will upon finally removing her blindfold to see she’s being straddled by a scaly, fang-faced monster proceed to scream “Who are you?” instead of “What are you?” That just struck me as the wrong line of dialogue for that scenario.
When a government agent informs him that they’re shutting down the project, Dr. Hall, like all proactive mad scientists, decides to put his project into fast forward and to hell with the consequences even if it involves murdering a student to acquire a DNA blood sample. But the experiment doesn’t go quite as planned; the male king cobra kills Dr. Hall’s obnoxious son forcing the mad doctor to stab it to death with his trusty scalpel. Unfortunately, he does so right in front of the other cobra and she’s none to happy witnessing her mate’s death. First, Marge breaks out of her cage; then she inexplicably transforms into a homicidal humanoid snake woman bent on avenging Homer’s death.
Given the incredibly low budget that allowed for only a skeleton crew cast, the use of rubber cobra puppetry, and let’s not forget all that public domain music, the physical appearance of the monstrous “queen cobra” is actually fairly impressive: a combination of costuming, make-up appliances, a scaly fanged mask, and even some body paint. That’s not to say it isn’t also comically cheap-looking; the face is an obvious mask, the clawed hands are obvious monster gloves that expose her non-mutant wrists, and it appeared they even left a hole in the costume for the monster actress’ belly button ring to remain exposed. I give them props for the costume even though the costume looks like a series of props.
Though the “queen cobra” can spit venom in a manner akin to a Satan-possessed Linda Blair spewing pea soup, this monster’s primary means by which to kill her victims is to violently massage their necks until they die a bloody pulp. For all the splatter, the monster attacks are pretty weak and that alone seals the movie’s fate.
The bulk of the movie has the “queen cobra” quite literally (and quite comically) sashaying like a runway model about from place to place killing anyone who gets in her way until she finally gets her claws on Dr. Hall. This process will involve a whole heck of a lot of walking about empty hallways, more so than that seen in every Quarterflash music video combined.
Potential victims along the way include Dr. Hall’s student lab assistant lovebirds, Courtney and Jack, who are almost as hot and horny for one another as they are hot and horny to see The Cure live in concert, Dr. Hall’s much younger wife and her handyman lover who are scheming to steal her husband’s research secrets and leave him in the dust, the government agent who has come that night to collect all the doc’s research materials, and a random assortment of slow-witted security guards. Stabs at humor along the way prove to be as flat as the various characters’ personalities.
Eventually things will make their way back to Dr. Hall’s home. How the snake woman knew his address is anyone’s guess. The movie then culminates with a most anti-climactic ending in the sense that it really didn’t have an ending – it just ended. Much like this review now will.
1 1/2 out of 5
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