Monday, 21 October 2013

The Reptile (1966)


A spurious reason involving a snake-tribe from Borneo is given to account for the fact that there is a Human-Reptile living in a stately home in the English countryside, but it’s not really worth going in to.  Actually, that’s about it!  A few unfortunate folk get bitten, and shortly after, they froth at the mouth and then die (at varying speeds depending on who the character is!), including Private James Frazer (John Laurie) from Dad’s Army!  No explanation is given as to why the Reptile is so bitey; it doesn’t seem to want to poison, trap and then eat its prey; or even collect them as a trophy; it just bites and lets its victim wander off to die.

It’s all rather silly, and even though I saw it yesterday, I can’t remember much of what happens, because actually, not much happens.  In the same style as Dracula: Prince of Darkness and Rasputin: The Mad Monk, The Reptile and The Plague of the Zombies were filmed back to back using some of the same sets, the graveyard in particular was very familiar; and indeed Michael Ripper, who was a policeman in POZ is Tom the friendly landlord of the local pub.  In fact he is the best thing in this; it’s a bit of a shame his role is only a peripheral character.  Jacqueline Pearce also pops up from POZ as the daughter of the mysterious Dr Franklin (Noel Willman).  Actually, Willman was also pretty good, weirdly creeping up behind folk, and almost gliding around with his big black cloak on!

However, none of this manages to raise the movie above what it is; a hammy Hammer production with a daft plot, bad make up and huge swathes of nothing happening. I implied that Christopher Lee was the only thing worth watching Rasputin for; The Reptile is what happens if you have a naff film and don’t have Lee to rescue it!  But, well, you know, that’s just, like, er, my opinion, man.