The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

SNAKE PEOPLE (1971) **

Before his death, Boris Karloff made four South of the Border horror quickies. This is one of them. (House of Evil, The Incredible Invasion and The Fear Chamber were the others.) He shot his scenes in LA with director Jack (The Swinging Cheerleaders) Hill while Juan Ibanez handled the Spanish cast. Karloff uses a cane and looks pretty weak but does what he can with the thin script and overcomes his Colonel Sanders get up. Unfortunately all the dozen or so Mexican actors aren’t nearly as much fun to watch as Karloff.

The plot has a voodoo cult who worships their evil god Damballah and use zombies to work in the cane fields. In the “surprise” ending Karloff is revealed to be Dhamballah. Yep it’s your standard issue low grade voodoo mishmash. Not only is there voodoo and zombies but also hints of cannibalism and necrophilia too, as well as a touch of telekinesis (Karloff’s female servant can start fires with her mind, 13 years before Drew Barrymore did it in Firestarter). There are also plenty of voodoo ceremonies, voodoo hula girls and a midget who cuts the heads off chickens and whips women.

That’s right folks; don’t check this one out expecting any half man half snake monsters. It’s only called “Snake People” because the PEOPLE use SNAKES in their voodoo rituals. (Snake Handlers would have been a more suitable title.)

One character says, “I don’t think the premise will hold.” I agree.

Ibanez does throw in some cool surrealistic camerawork during the voodoo rituals though. Not much of it makes a lot of sense (probably due to the fact that it was filmed in two different countries by two different directors in two different languages) but it’s worth a look if you wanna see a Master of Horror cash a check in his declining years.

The unbelieving police chief gets the best line: “Voodoo! Zombies! Cannibal women! This was done by a madman and I’ll get to the bottom of this!”

AKA: Isle of the Snake People. AKA: Isle of the Living Dead.
Tags: horror, karloff, s, zombie
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