The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

SPASMS (1984) *

I just got into a car accident and have been suffering from back spasms lately so what better time to watch a movie called Spasms. 


Turns out that the movie isn’t about chronic neck, shoulder and back pain, but rather a Big Fucking Snake that menaces out of work actors in Canada.  Too bad the budget was so low that the filmmakers couldn’t afford to show us the damned thing until the very end. 


Anyway, this Big Fucking Snake eats a bunch of natives so Big Snake Hunter Oliver (“Anything for a bottle of booze”) Reed is called in to investigate.  Reed has lunch with Peter (“I’ll travel to Canada and be in your little killer snake movie if it will keep me in Panama Red for the next month”) Fonda and tells him that after being bitten by the BFS, he’s developed a psychic link with the rampaging reptile.  That means every time the BFS kills somebody, Reed goes all schizo like someone told him they forgot to put ice cold Schlitz in his trailer.  After the snake woofs down a few more people, the duo finally decide to team up and kill it.  There’s also a subplot about a secret order of priests sending some fat slob to track down the snake because it’s supposedly evil incarnate or some such shit


Okay, so what do we got here?  A slumming English actor with a telepathic link to a giant snake.  I’ve believed weirder shit in movies before (Remember the vengeful shark from Jaws the Revenge?), but this movie just plain sucks. 


Would you be surprised to learn that we hardly ever see the Big Fucking Snake?  Supposedly the production ran out of money.  I’m guessing that all the important dough went to filling Reed’s flask and paying for Fonda’s doobage.  So to cover up for the fact that they couldn’t pay for the snake, director William (Funeral Home) Fruet does a lot of those blue-tinted Snake Cam POV numbers and instructs Fonda to wave a rake at the cameraman occasionally so it looks as if he’s fending off a giant snake.  When we finally do get a chance to see the snake (more than an hour into the movie), it looks like the python was made out of Paper Mache. 


A telling thing about Spasms is that Peter Fonda keeps his sunglasses on for about ¾ of the movie’s total running time.  You know they say that the eyes are the windows to the soul and apparently Peter Fonda’s soul is thoroughly ashamed of itself.  Either that or he didn’t have any Visine handy to cover up his rampant Mary Jane use that undoubtedly made filming this turd bearable for him. 


You know it’s funny; I have vivid memories of seeing the video box for this movie way back in the 80’s in the video store section of my local Rite Aid.  (May it rest in ever loving peace.)  The cover consisted of two images:  a chick screaming in the shower and the face of a bumpy, bloated corpse.  It always freaked me out as a kid and scared me so bad that I was too chicken to rent it.  Looking back, if I HAD rented Spasms back in the day, the film probably wouldn’t have done much to scare little seven-year-old Mitchie.  The video box on the other hand was the stuff of nightmares. 


The box art deserved an award for Truth in Advertising as the only memorable parts of the film are featured on the video box.  The part where the hot naked chick’s shower is interrupted by the hungry snake is priceless (it bursts through the glass door) and the scene where the guy’s face became engorged with venom filled cysts was a hoot.  Other than that, this flick is the pits.


Reed spent most of this movie drunk and Fonda spent most of it high, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do likewise.  I myself am on some fairly respectable physician-prescribed muscle relaxers, which made most of this lame-ass bore somewhat easy to stomach.  It did not help to ease the pain of the godawful Tangerine Dream score though. 


Do yourself a favor and just grab the video box of Spasms and stare at it for 85 minutes.  It’ll be a Hell of a lot more entertaining then actually watching the film itself. 

AKA:  Death Bite.
Tags: horror, s

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