Cult of the Cobra (1955)

Directed by Francis D. Lyon [Other horror films: Castle of Evil (1966)]

Cult of the Cobra is a film I’ve known about for a while, and I was lucky enough to notice that TCM was playing it, and given that I’ve never seen it airing on television before, I knew it was one I had to watch. As it is, Cult of the Cobra can be somewhat entertaining, but it’s also a bit on the slow side, and perhaps not as interesting as I would have hoped.

I do think the basic plot is good, though. Six American soldiers in some nondescript Asian country witness a ritual that wasn’t for their eyes, and after being found out (one of the soldiers, who was a bit intoxicated, tried taking a picture of the ritual), have a curse placed on them, and one-by-one, they’ll be killed by snakes. It’s a nice little plot and the set-up was solid, but when the soldiers get back to the USA, things become mildly more middling.

There’s also a mysterious woman who gets involved with one of the soldiers, and is she perhaps a woman who can turn into a snake (or even better, a snake who can pretend to be a woman)? In that way, portions of this feel a bit like Cat People. I probably enjoyed it a bit more than Cat People, if only because cobras are more slithery than cats, but it’s the same basic idea. There is a solid silhouette sequence here toward the end, but there’s nothing near as good as the pool scene from Val Lewton’s classic.

Faith Domergue (It Came from Beneath the Sea, The House of Seven Corpses, This Island Earth, and So Evil, My Sister) was okay as the mysterious, potentially snaky woman. She didn’t have a ton of personality, but I guess that was somewhat the point. Of the six soldiers (William Reynolds, Jack Kelly, Marshall Thompson, David Janssen, James Dobson, and Richard Long), only three, being Richard Long (House on Haunted Hill), David Janssen (Moon of the Wolf), and Marshall Thompson (Fiend Without a Face), made anything close to a lasting impression. Kathleen Hughes has one solid scene, but most of the time, her character was forgettable.

Obviously, Cult of the Cobra isn’t without some charm, and I sort of like aspects of the film, but it does drag for a not-inconsiderate portion of the middle section, and given that so few of the kills are great, this one, while competent, may not end up being that memorable, which is not only mildly damning, but also rather disappointing.


Author: Jiggy's Horror Corner

Fan of the horror genre, writer of mini-reviews, and lover of slashers.

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