Snakes! Be they on a plane or in your shower, they can be pretty scary. Sssssss (that’s seven S’s by the way) uses your fear of snakes to serve up a scary tale of a mad scientist playing god. The film, however, runs a bit long in the fang and never properly expands characters enough to make you care for them. Sssssss is being released on Blu-ray from Scream Factory with a couple new special features that should delight fans, but will it be enough to justify a purchase? Read on to see…
RUN-TIME: 99 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1973
RELEASE DATE: Apr 26, 2016
Strother Martin (Cool Hand Luke) and Dirk Benedict (Battlestar Galactica) star in this eerie tale of a respected snake expert who masks a frightening desire to transmute a man into a king cobra. Realizing that his new lab assistant, David (Benedict), is the perfect specimen, the demented doctor begins administering injections of “immunization serum.” Soon, David begins experiencing strange side effects: his skin is shedding while his body shape is changing. But before he realizes the horrible truth, the metamorphosis from human to serpent has begun. This thriller, directed by Bernard L. Kowalski (Attack of the Giant Leeches), also stars Heather Menzies (Piranha) and Reb Brown (Howling II and TV’s Captain America).
Sssssss slithery tale is about Dr. Carl Stoner’s quest to make the perfect species (the body of a snake, the mind of a man!) to survive the extinction of mankind that no one thinks is going to happen except for him. He’s got a few screws loose in the ol’ noggin. Dr. Carl Stoner requests the assistance of David Blake, who will be the one to get injected with a mystery serum that will eventually turn him into a snake. This isn’t the first time Dr. Stoner tried, with his previous effort being a big failure.
Sssssss takes some time away from the snake mayhem to introduce us to Stoner’s daughter, Kristina, who instantly falls in love with David. The film tries to develop their relationship, but, besides a hilariously censored skinny dipping scene and a trip to the carnival, they never truly connect enough to make you care for them being together. This lack of emotion hurts the end when David’s human life is on the line and Kristina is racing to save him.
The best part of Sssssss to me was the beginning where we see the different species of snakes and which ones are venomous and which ones aren’t. This stuff interested me the most -probably because the film used real snakes – but the film quickly shifts away from that to a slower and rather boring story of David slowly, ever so slowly transforming into a snake. Why Dr. Stoner thinks a snake is the best option for mankind to turn into, we may never know as the ending comes up suddenly and falls flat. Nothing is resolved and we are left with a lot of questions. Instead of maybe wasting time on editing out nudity, they perhaps should have edited out the unnecessary fluff to tighten up the story.
Scream Factory surprised me in that it offered up two new interviews with stars Dirk Benedict and Heather Menzies, The interview with Dirk Benedict runs roughly 17-minutes and provides plenty of fun stories in the making of the movie. One story, in particular, involving Strother Martin and his trouser snake is hilarious. The interview with Heather Menzies runs roughly 15 minutes, with her reminiscing about the shooting and dealing with live snakes. Rounding out the features are some trailers, radio spots and a photo gallery.
The video and audio for Sssssss comes across mostly pristine and clear. Audio has no issues whatsoever. There are a few scenes where the film is blurry, but that is most likely a fault of the cameraman and not the footage itself. The increase in clarity does make those nudity edits look terrible, though.
• NEW My Reptilian Past – An Interview With Actor Dirk Benedict
• NEW The Herpetologist’s Daughter – An Interview With Heather Menzies
• Photo Gallery
• Theatrical Trailers
• Radio Spots
Sssssss slithers its way on Blu-ray from Scream Factory, with a package that will please the fans of the flick. As for the movie, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was hoping, but I do think horror freaks should give it a watch at least once. What better way than with this Scream Factory Blu-ray.