Oh, the Calamity!

Susie…Sarah…I once read that names which begin with the letter ‘S’ are the names of SNAKES! Sssss! Ssssss!


A construction crew working on a brand new luxury apartment building stumbles upon a large nest full of hundreds of poisonous snakes. The ruthless owner of the complex orders the snakes killed, despite the frantic, prophetic warnings of his psychic wife. The crew savagely slaughters the snakes with shovels, rocks, and an earth mover. The camera catches every gruesome moment of this and never once looks away. This scene goes on forever and I found it quite difficult to sit through.

Next up we meet the leader of the construction crew, a good natured chap who claims he isn’t against religion, he just feels one shouldn’t be too involved in it. He kills some of the running time romancing his bosses daughter, and the two kids take in a street vendor who offers to kill and slice apart poisonous snakes so that they can drink the blood, which he promises will make them feel very good and healthy. We are then treated to more snake slaughter and extended, pukeworthy shots of people happily guzzling down snake blood.

The remaining snakes band together and seek revenge (!) by slaying a couple while they screw. The construction crew responds by spraying the snakes with poison. This only angers the snakes and they retaliate by killing off a few more potential renters. The land owner then instructs his crew to kill the snakes with the aide of several bloodthirsty mongooses! This is yet another torturous scene of animal cruelty that goes on forever and punishes the audience with more shots of snakes being ripped apart for real.

But we’re not even close to finished yet! Still more snakes continue to flood into the apartment building, so leader of the construction crew seeks out a martial arts master and snake expert. We are introduced to this freak in a disturbing psychedelic sequence where he is covered with live snakes, pulls snakes out of his mouth, and actually lets a snake bite his tongue. This dude later shows up at the apartment building and has a massive Kung Fu battle to the death with the oversized and magically powered mutant leader of the snake army!

The evil snake and his minions are sent packing and everyone celebrates. We then settle into about three hours of bullshit before things eventually pick up again and the snakes return to kill the land owner’s weasel henchman in his car. The sinister serpents then snuff a few innocent old folks while they knit, and then launch a massive attack inside the apartment’s building’s conveniently located disco! The fire department is called in and the firefighters finally exterminate the snakes once and for all with fire extinguishers, axes, and fire! The final mayhem degenerates into an all out war between the firefighters and the mutant flying snake! Oh, the CALAMITY!

A few years ago I received an e-mail from a bimbo asking if I would be interested in reviewing a “fucked up movie” called CALAMITY OF SNAKES that a friend of a friend was distributing. I was assured that it would be a “really fun movie to watch while drunk or high.” I took the bimbo’s advice and got good and stoned before popping the widescreen anomorphic edition of director Chi “William” Chang’s “Calamity Of Snakes” that the good folks at Apprehensive Films released into my dvd player. To my delight I soon discovered that this is a truly brutal and bizarre 1983 Hong Kong horror film in the nasty tradition of the Mondo and “animals gone wild” subgenres of the 70′s.

What a fucked up movie indeed! It’s hard to me to fully endorse any flick where so many innocent animals are brutally killed on camera, but I have to admit this flick was very entertaining in a cheesy and sleazy sort of way. Despite being released in 1983, this flick has a distinct 70′s vibe, highlighted by the character’s clothing and the aforementioned disco destruction. My favorite part of the movie was the funky soundtrack, which also includes stolen cues from the clas-sick soundtracks to Bill Lustig’s “Maniac” & George Romero’s “Zombi.” If you’re going to steal, you might as well steal from the best! This is pure, take no prisoners exploitation, not for everyone and certainly not for the weak or easily offended. I wouldn’t rank this film with other animal rampage clas-sicks like “Kingdom Of The Spiders” or “Day Of The Animals,” but this is certainly worth a look a for fans of wacked out HK cinema.

Hats off to Apprehensive Films for this very nice dvd release of CALAMITY OF SNAKES that includes the uncut widescreen version of the film. The dvd also includes a crappy short film called “Ghouligula,” and trailers for other Apprehensive Films releases including “Centipede Horror,” Lucio Fulci’s “House By The Cemetery,” and “Naked Massacre.” Sleaze lovers should check out afcinema.net and grindhousedvds.com for more details on their upcoming releases.


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