Night of the Cobra Woman

September 10, 2013 at 12:03 am (4 Heads, Night of the Cobra Woman) (, , , , , )

Night of the Cobra Woman – 1972 – United States/Philippines

Night of the Cobra Woman is an American and Filipino co-production by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. It stars the spunky Joy Bang (also in Messiah of Evil) in her only leading role.

In the flashback opening set during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, two nurses are gathering herbs in the jungle. One is bitten by a mythical breed of cobra and transforms into a snake-woman. The other is raped and shot by a soldier. In the present, an American student is studying snake venom in Manila. As her boyfriend (apparently named “Duff”) helps conduct research, he is poisoned by the magic cobra and enters a sexual vampiric symbiosis with the snake-woman. To maintain their eternal youth, the pair must constantly find new victims for the snake-woman to screw. The remainder of the flick is hard to follow, but eventually the snake-woman changes completely into a snake, and Duff becomes her sacred keeper.

That summary is bewildering because Night of the Cobra Woman is mostly incomprehensible. Duff and the snake-woman’s relationship is ambiguous. The rituals required to prolong their youth seem be the core of the film’s conflict, but they are never clearly explained. Also, there is supposedly only one magic cobra, but dozens appear on several occasions. And can anyone say why Duff keeps a pet falcon, or why he thinks it is an eagle?

In any case, Night of the Cobra Woman’s premise is somewhat compelling, as the snake-woman must ball more and more dudes to steal their youth. The images of young men turning old and withered are horrifying, and it is repulsive to watch the snake-woman peel off sheets of her dry wrinkled skin after sex. Plus, the plot’s utter lack of logic at least makes it unpredictable.

Night of the Cobra Woman’s sloppy cheapness recalls other Filipino horror of the era, of which only Eddie Romero’s Blood Island trilogy (Brides of Blood, Mad Doctor of Blood Island, and Beast of Blood) really stands out. There is not much reason to see it, except as a slithering double feature with Isle of the Snake People (1971).

Rating: 4/10 Shrunken Heads. Some animals were harmed in the making of this film. There is a snake and falcon fight, a cock fight, and a snake is chopped apart with a machete.

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