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Tuesday 11 October 2011

Burl reviews Spasms! (1983)

Hi, it’s Burl here with another animal attack movie review! I don’t have a special love of animal attack movies, despite what you might think, but I suppose it’s pretty clear that I have nothing against them either!

Ha ha, this one is called Spasms, although I’m not sure why! It’s true that when the monster snake in this movie bites you, you start spasming, but you also do many other things at the same time, including but not limited to screaming, crying, flying around, bloating, bubbling, bleeding and bursting! Probably at some point you also poo your pants, but I can’t be completely sure about that! Anyway, I guess they couldn’t have called the movie Poops, probably because of some laws against vulgarity!

The big snake is captured in what is meant to be New Guinea, I believe, but looks more like what it actually was: some cliffs near Toronto, Canada! Ha ha! At the request of big game hunter Oliver "Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype" Reed, who has a psychic link to it, the creature is brought back to what is actually supposed to be Toronto and put into the care of none other than Peter Fonda! Well, Fonda loses it pretty quickly due to the efforts of Al Waxman, a slimeball who is working for a bunch of snake cult people led by a bearded slaphead! Eventually there’s a big cage wrestling match, and ultimately the snake gets machine gunned to death!

Like Blue City, this movie is choppy and badly edited, but less because of poor direction than because they apparently just ran out of money before they could finish filming it! Even if they hadn’t gone broke though, I’m pretty sure it still wouldn’t be one of the all-time great horror movies! Oliver Reed is good in it, in his way, and there are a few times he hisses like a snake – because of his psychical link-up, I guess! The other actors don’t always seem quite sure how to respond to him! Also, there’s a scene between Reed and his fetching adult niece that suggests a bit of an incestual link-up between the two of them, but I’m pretty sure that was just a little touch of improv from old Oliver! Ha ha, it’s pretty hilarious!

The best thing about the movie is the great special effects! Not so much of the snake, which we hardly get to see and which looks kind of stiff and rubbery, but of what happens to his victims, particularly Al Waxman! As soon as the snake puts a biting on him, he bulges up and breaks open, and of course spasms around quite a bit too! Ha ha, it’s pretty gross! But it’s an impressive effect, and goes to show that an old pro like Dick Smith, who also did the makeup in such fine pictures as The Exorcist and Taxi Driver, can really bring something special to even the dangdest of movies!

I’ve been pretty hard on Spasms here, I guess, but you know, it’s not as bad as all that! It’s nicely shot by that portly old pro Mark Irwin; and it has some really entertaining bits, such as when the snake busts out of his box and immediately makes his way to a sorority house and puts a biting on a nude co-ed in the shower! Ha ha, that’s a snake who knows what’s expected of him! I give Spasms two snake point-of-view shots, which is a pretty good number but a lot less than the movie itself gives! Ha ha!

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