Isle of the Snake People

September 24, 2014 at 1:55 am (6 Heads, Isle of the Snake People) (, , , , , , , )

Isle of the Snake People – 1971 – Mexico/United States

A military captain visits a remote island colony. His mission is to reform the corrupt police department, but he is sidetracked by disturbing reports of the natives’ sacrificial rituals. With help from a roguish male police officer and a prudish female suffragist, the captain discovers a cannibalistic voodoo cult. There is also a rather stupid and out-of-place romance subplot.

Isle of the Snake People’s poor understanding of voodoo is offensive but evocative. Women dance sexily with snakes. A cretinous dwarf chortles maniacally. The dead are raised as zombie slaves. Sexual symbolism is rampant as women fellate phallic snakes, or the serpents slither around their crotches. In an especially disturbing bit, a man’s lover is revived as a zombie and necrophilia is implied. And why are the voodoo practitioners cannibals? It’s all pretty silly.

Along with The Fear Chamber (1968), House of Evil (1968), and The Incredible Invasion (1971), Isle of the Snake People is one of the last four films featuring Boris Karloff before his death. All four were shot primarily in Mexico and co-written and co-directed by Jack Hill. Karloff looks weary, but he manages to be both kindly and sinister as a scientist experimenting with psychic phenomenon.

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. Animals were definitely harmed in the making of this picture. They cut off a chicken’s head!

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