Calamity of Snakes (Reptilian Slaughter Horror Comedy)


Well, well, well…it looks like my big buddy Stephen Biro released another decent movie. Praise Allah. In another case of broken clocks telling the right time twice a day, Unearthed Films unleashes Calamity of Snakes. This truly obscure 1983 Hong Kong disasterpiece has languished on the likes of cheap Brentwood DVD sets for far too long. As we speak, Unearthed has finally given the devil his due and given it a fair shake as far as presentations are concerned. At a luxury apartment development in Taiwan, a large nest of snakes is discovered around the foundation. Much to the chagrin of the lead architect, the foreman and his crew viciously crush the snakes with their mechanical equipment. From this point, it’s on as the snakes take their revenge. From this point, reality is completely abandoned and we truly enter the space between genius and madness.


What can I say except this thing is nuts! You’ve got snakes appearing out of nowhere. Snakes attempting to fly. A boa constrictor somehow masters Kung Fu and engages one of the protagonists in a fight. There really is nothing like this in this world or any other. I can’t make a comparison to any other film of recent memory. The good thing is that it’s also a lot of fun. Now, with all this praise comes a very considerate warning as well as a condemnation of sorts. Points from my score are deducted for the almost gleeful approach to real-life abuse and slaughter of our reptilian brothers, who sadly give their lives to the production of this stupid movie. I am not a vegetarian and I probably sound hypocritical, but at the very least the killing of animals in Cannibal Holocaust was an aesthetic and artistic decision made to blur the line between reality and fantasy. Calamity of Snakes is a goofball bizarro-world attempt to make a silly horror film with no artistic intent to speak of. It just feels needlessly cruel. Snake slaughter aside, it’s well worth watching if you can overlook some of the dicier aspects. Hey Biro, any chance of some more of these cool HK obscurities? How about a composite cut of Her Vengeance or the truly vile The Beasts? Keep ’em coming and I’ll be glad to eat more crow.


Written by David, Comptroller of Your Last Scrap of Existence

Calamity of Snakes (2023, Blu-ray, DVD)
William Chang Kee
4.5 / 5