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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Forgotten Horror Gems Vol. 5 - The Cult of the Cobra (1955)

This week's movie review is definitely something different.  Let me start by talking about the movie itself though.  

Cult of the Cobra (1955) tells the story of a group of G.I.'s on their last day of liberty before becoming civilians again.  They're somewhere in Asia, spending the day like tourists when they approach a man who is playing the flute for a cobra.  Soon, he's agreed to take them to see a mysterious ceremony where a woman will turn into a snake, but they have to go undercover and can't take any pictures.  

You see where this is going, right?  Anyway, mayhem ensues and the G.I.'s make it back to base safely, but not before being cursed.  The high priest tells them each will die at the hands of the snake goddess.

Once back in the States, they start falling victim, one by one.

Now, the girls did something different this time so I have to run a disclaimer of sorts.  You see, many of the films we've been watching are very old.  Part of the fun of watching these is seeing all the places where society has changed.  

For instance, in one of our all-time favorite family movies, Tarantula, there are multiple comments made about the fact that one of our heroes, Steve, is a woman in a man's world.  The lines come off as sexist today, but the way that we choose to look at them is to laugh at the fact they're being made at all.  the men making them look like idiots when you see them through today's eyes.

"There you go!  Give women the vote and you end up with lady scientists!"

A line like that may set some people on edge, but it makes us laugh out of the sheer absurdity of hearing it.  The movie is over sixty years old and times were different.  I'm not going to hate the movie because it's got a piece of dialogue that wouldn't pass today's muster.

Here's a better example.  Let's say the president is making a speech about puppies and all of a sudden, he goes off on a rant about porn stars and confidentiality agreements.  I'm not going to suddenly hate puppies just because part of a speech about them went off the rails.

So when viewing these films, we are usually on the lookout for cultural faux pas and sometimes have been known to keep a tally.  Lately, since we've seen so many films from the 1930's - 1960's, it's kind of become a game for us, especially when the movie isn't that good in the end.  

Enter the girls' new calculator:    

The Old Movie Rubric - Cult of the Cobra

1. Yes it had a cult:  +1

2. No, it did not use live animals as props:  0

3. Yes, it had a cobra although fake, still... it had more than one so bonus points:  +2

4. It had a legitimate plot:  +2

5. It had a helpless token female character:  +1

6. It did not have an actual native playing a native character:  0

7. It had decent acting:  +1

8. It did not have a dumb joke at the expense of the foreign or elderly:  0

9. The story actually progressed:  +1

10. It did not have an educational short in the middle:  -2

11. It did not have an expert in some ridiculous field:  0

12. It did not have any sexist jokes:  0

13. The music was not repetitive:  +1

14. It did have a strange dance sequence:  +2

15. It did not feature an emperor, princess or God:  0

16. It featured obviously white people playing natives:  +2

17. It had a love story:  +1

Final Grade:  12

Now, you may say to yourself, "Those ratings seem very arbitrary."

You would be right.

You may also ask yourself, "What is the range of the scale?"   

I asked them and they said, "We don't know.  It's just a 12."

They also informed me that the criteria could change at any time and therefore this rating system is going to be very subjective and useless to most readers.  However, if you feel like checking out The Cult of the Cobra (1955), rest comfortably in the knowledge that it is a 12.

Personally, I didn't much care for it.  The effects were BEYOND cheap with only one half-assed transformation at the end.  The acting was okay, the plot started out promising but went bad fast and... well... I obviously was looking for more than this had to offer on almost every level.  

Your mileage may vary though.  After all... it's a 12.

You can find the full movie on YouTube right here if you are so inclined. 

See you next week!

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