“The Cobra Goddess will avenge herself. One by one you will die!!”
No no, she’s not talking about you guys. You, please, keep reading…
The Metzingers over at the SILVER SCENES blog is holding their Universal Pictures blogathon. When I think of Universal Pictures, the first thing that comes to mind are those great monsters of the 1930’s and 40’s. I’m going to weigh in on two of them: “Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman” and this one here.
Call me crazy, call me silly, but I didn’t think “CULT OF THE COBRA” was half-bad. I enjoyed the film. No, it doesn’t have the likes of John Ashley or William Campbell in it, but it does have a plethora of good-looking, solid tv-actors. ( Hey, I even saw David Janssen smile in this! ) Look what director Francis D. Lyon has to work with: bodacious hunks of the 1950’s:
Richard Long – “The Big Valley”; Marshall Thompson – “Daktari”; Jack Kelly – “Maverick”; David Janssen – “The Fugitive” and William Reynolds – “The F.B.I.”
and all contemporaries of my dad. He should have considered being a movie star.
This all wouldn’t come together without the right actress to play the head cobra.
Doesn’t she look right for the part? Faith Domergue is cast as the cobra who turns into a woman. Or is that a woman who turns into a cobra? Whichever way the rattle shakes, somebody is going to get bitten. Sssssssss! The movie doesn’t have time to explain the hows and whys Domergue is imbued with this power of transformation, nor should you need it. I mean, who needs explanations when there is suspension of disbelief. And boy, does that suspension work overtime. Domergue does have a different kind of look than the average horror babe.
THE PLOT: ( Well…I have to call it something )
A couple of Airforce men spend a thoughtful last day of their leave, scoring some tickets to
watch a snake-y religious ceremony unfit for Western eyes. I’m guessing the budget was too low to depict a house of ill-repute. Of course you can’t take us anywhere, so like the
proverbial bull in a china shop, the soldiers disrupt the sacred ceremony. Before you can shout “THERE ARE MUTHA *&#!!#@!* SNAKES ON THIS MUTHA *#!@%! PLANE!” our U.S. servicemen are chased through the fake set of the Casbah by an angry mob of snake-worshippers. ( Uhhhh…you don’t want to see THEM pissed! ) A curse is laid upon these Infidels ( that’d be us ) that follows them back to the States and their un-enlisted lives. Anyone can outrun a Mummy but it’s tough to outrun a cobra that slithers up behind you.
AND THEN WHAT HAPPENS: ( C’mon…you know you want to know )
Pay no attention to howling dogs, whinnying horses or shrieking cats who react when Domergue crosses their paths; their animal instincts are only infinitely more honed than mankind’s by eons of evolution. Alright alright, so the movie’s low budget prevents us from seeing how the cobra goes from crayons-to-perfume and we do it without Jack Pierce’s mastery. But I accept and believe her shadow on the wall changes from the female form divine to a handpuppet snake. One minute we have the snake’s p.o.v.:
…And the next minute, Faith Domergue is standing uncomfortably close to you staring you down with ‘…eyes, like a cobra’s eyes’:
Too close for comfort, but he doesn’t know that, yet…
That’s no one-armed man he sees. It’s the cobra woman sitting in the back seat of Janssen’s cab. That the cabbie would pick up a cobra woman before he’d pick up a person of color is political commentary best left for my FaceBook page. Suffice it to say, if she’s in the backseat of your cab…you only have moments to live:
This is going down like “And Then There Were None.” But Domergue is conflicted. ( NOW she’s conflicted? Oy! ) She has already killed three of Marshall Thompson’s buddies.
Ha! Doesn’t it look like Marshall’s suggesting Faith’s next victim? Oh loooook…
She now has developed
a taste for him, feelings for him. And he for her. Some pal!
Look, I don’t want to spoil the ending for you. But you’ve seen classic films. You’ve seen schlock before…so you know what’s going to happen. Lets just say that a snake doesn’t have nine lives.
Say, I wonder what would happen if it were a bunch of Waves or WACs who witnessed the ceremony, and the snake was George Nader, Keith Andes, Rex Reason or Jeff Morrow slithering across the set? Preferably in 3-D.
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Join me for another Universal film, my entry: “FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN.” But if you’re done with my silly-ness, you’ve got some great topics covered in Silver Scenes’ blogathon. Just click on this banner. But be careful that it doesn’t turn into a snake!
( H O M E )
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Yeah. I can see Rex Reason as the snake in your imaginary film. Although, his brother Rhodes is a slightly better actor and just as good looking. You are to blame for the thoughts I’ll be having the rest of the day!
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Paddy…you are a true aficionado. I was absolutely thinking about Rhodes Reason when wrote down his brother Rex. As I looked at Rex’s picture I thought to myself “I thought he was cuter than this.” Ack! As for your thoughts, Mmmmmmm…I’ll proudly take full responsibility for them. 😉
I must admit that Cult of the Cobra is one of the few Universal classics I have not yet seen…but boy, does it sound good! Ssssss…..it would be worth watching it just to see David Janssen smile. Now that’s a rarity. Thanks for sharing such an entertaining post for the blogathon!
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Well whaddya waitin’ for? You MUST put “CULT OF THE COBRA” on your “must-see classic list.” Holiday season will soon be upon us. Cocktail parties will soon be afoot. In case there’s a lull in the conversation, you can bring up THIS gem and be the talk of the party. Of course, HOW they will talk about you is another story. Thanks for including my blog in your blogathon. And I hope you’ll consider submitting an entry for the Star-Director Blogathon I’ll be having in January. Would love to add your blog to the list. Thank you again.
Now…to scare myself this Halloween weekend reading these entries. It’ll be a lot safer than going out into the night.
If only they had added Charles Drake and Ephraim Zimbalist, Jr. to the cast…. then I would be in cobra heaven!
Great and hilarious review, T. I MUST go through my stack of Ollie Halloween movies to find this one now. Thanks for cluing me in!
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Why HELLO…’Mystic’-cal friend. Fancy meeting you here in the low brow section of the blogosphere. I absolutely love this kind of schlock and I’m glad it amused you. Charles Drake and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Drat! Now why didn’t I think of them. They were perfect leading man-types for 1950’s sci-fi films. In fact, Charles Drake WAS the second male lead in “IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE.” But…where DO you go once you’ve kissed Bette Davis and worked with Joan Crawford. Thanks for stopping by Wendy! 🙂
…and let me help you with your Ollie collection!
I felt “justified” in a sense, CIneMaven, to here you lock “schlock” horror films, for next to NOIR and think it’s my favorite genre. I just saw Cult of the Cobra a few months back on “Svengoolie” – I had never seen it before, so it was a real treat. Thanks for paying some homage to it. Now with regard to “:Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman” the Festival of New WInes scene is my favorite too – especially when the singer upsets Talbot with the line, “…for life is short, but death is loooong…” I always find that comical in a weird way. Keep doing what you’re doing!
Hi Anonymous ~ yes schlocky horror and film noir are my favorite genres. I hadn’t seen “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man” in a long time and forgot a lot of it. I was taken aback when Larry Talbot had his outburst. When he was so high strung as to bust up that party I thought “That’s no way to win friends and find out information.” Thanks for the encouragement.
Hmmm….I suspect your most entertaining post was more interesting than the actual film!
LOL Marsha! I’m glad you enjoyed my post. Give “Cult of the Cobra” a shot. Add something wild and crazy under your belt. Thanks for reading.
Well, it doesn’t sound half-bad to me… at least amusing this film must have been. And what about the animal instincts that are always taken for granted by the leads? Oh my!
Don’t forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! 🙂
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Haaaa!! You know, it doesn’t sound half bad to me either Lê. Thanks for giving “the cobra” the once-over. L0L!