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British horror month continues with Venom. Huzzah!

Ten-year-old hotel heir and little bah-stahd Phillip (Lance Holcomb) really likes animals, so much that he has a tiny zoo in the bedroom of his swank London townhouse. When his type A sanitary napkin of a mother (the Stanislavsky-trained Cornelia Sharpe) heads for Rome for a week to get her check signed by Phillip’s absent father, the babysitting grandfather (Sterling Hayden, continuing his Hemingway impression from The Long Goodbye) lets the asthmatic Phillip out to go to the pet store. However, instead of picking up a harmless African house snake, he accidentally gets a black mamba. In a minor inconvenience, this was the day the bumbling but ambitious chauffeur (Oliver Reed) and the slutty maid (Susan George) along with the maid’s charming ex-boyfriend the terrorist (Klaus Kinski) had planned to kidnap Phillip. Instead, everyone gets to go to a lock-in at the townhouse with the snake. What fun!

For a disaster horror movie with a snake, Venom is very enjoyable. Reed and Kinski do not turn to antimatter and cause the universe to implode by acting in the name room together, even when Kinski bitchslaps Reed. The deaths by snake are gratifying as hell, and the supporting cast (Sarah Miles, Nicol Williamson, Michael Gough) are excellent. Honestly, with all the macho acting going on, we didn’t really need the snake to be entertained, but it played a nice guest starring role, and the POV “snake cam” shots are trippy. Kinski’s death scene is way over the top, and Reed is bitten in the back of a Volkswagen. I had been led to believe this was a bad movie. Whoever said that should be bitchslapped with a snake! The only thing wrong with this movie is that I was able to call the twists before they were revealed. Take a drink every time Oliver Reed says bah-stahd and savor the schadenfreude and suspense of Venom!

By the way, just today I read an article which said scientists have decided that components of black mamba venom may be the painkiller of the future, only it won’t get you high like morphine, thereby removing the best reason to even get injured. Stay safe out there!

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