Directed by David Hillenbrand [Other horror films: Survival Island (2002), Game Box 1.0 (2004), Transylmania (2009), Grave Secrets (2013)] & Scott Hillenbrand [Other horror films: Survival Island (2002), Game Box 1.0 (2004), Transylmania (2009)]
This straight-to-video movie featuring one snakey boi is about what you would expect. It’s certainly silly and ridiculous at times, but it still feels like a much, much better film than many of the newer-age Syfy snake films. King Cobra’s not as good as Silent Predators, and hell, I might even like Python (2000) a little more, but this still has charm.
And Pat Morita, to be sure.
King Cobra’s plot is about what you’d expect also, what with some drama between Casey Fallo’s and Scott Hillenbrand’s characters (one wants to move to the city, the other is okay with small-town life), only to be interrupted by the introduction of a 30-foot terror (or the snake, in other words). Fallo and Hillenbrand are both okay here (and on a small side-note, both of them appeared in Piñata: Survival Island a handful of years later, partly, I imagine, because Hillenbrand directed both this and Survival Island), but neither one is much in the way of memorable or inspired.
Pat Morita was more exciting here, but unfortunately, he never used any kung-fu against the 30-foot boi (that pleasure instead went to Hillenbrand’s character). Morita was still somewhat fun, though not quite as much fun as I’d have hoped. It was actually more a surprise to see Courtney Gains (Children of the Corn’s Malachi) at the beginning, and throughout, Hoyt Axton (Gremlins) appears as the town mayor, making his final appearance before his death.
If the feature characters had been Axton, Gains, and Morita, I’d probably have found the movie more memorable, but alas, that wasn’t to be. Regardless, it’s not as if there are many kills or special effects here that are overly noteworthy. I sort of like the design of the snake (without CGI, it seems more honest), but it doesn’t look that great, and none of the kills are gory whatsoever.
All things said, you get from King Cobra exactly what you’d think, which is a bit underwhelming. The finale is decently fun (and that dream near the end was fantastically amusing), but it’s not a movie that’s something I’d consistently go back to. Shame that two tanks of sleeping gas wasn’t enough to keep down the scaly boi, though, so I’m hoping for a sequel.
This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one.