Yee-ikes. Inspired by an earlier thread about snake movies, I found and rented a ratty old copy of "Spasms," starring Peter Fonda, Oliver Reed, and a deadweight plastic snake prop.
From the box cover: "SPASMS is a shocking thriller with suspense and terror that is (sic) heightened by some of the most advance techniques in the field of cinematic special effects."
This means make-up effects slightly worse than those seen in, say, "The Beast Within," involving endless use of squibs and air-bladders like those Rob Bottin made us so sick of by the end of "The Howling," and the aforementioned snake prop swinging back and forth on a wire. Separate actions by this amazing technological marvel: moving its eye and opening its jaw. Ooooooooh. Aaaaaaaah. Oh, yeah, and they had a steady-cam. Well, garsh. Give this fillum an Oscar.
"Shocking?" "Thriller?" "Suspense?" "TERROR?" People with snake phobias would be blowing raspberries at this turdchunk. Some bit players allow themselves to be slung around pretty badly by stagehands during snake attacks; that's as close as this thing gets to being technically impressive. Well, that, and the obligatory shower scene. The scariest moment is a sudden cut to a close-up of Oliver Reed sweating profusely with his wattles puffed out. Gyah! Beyond that, dead bore.
The plot manages to go absolutely nowhere for ninety-two minutes, with the annoying Fonda and oddly-dressed, giggle-provoking Reed disappearing for large chunks of the time, only to turn up again like bad pennies. The plot in a nutshell: Reed was bit by the snake when it killed his brother; years later, the snake is captured and Reed has Fonda bring it to a university where Fonda is to study the psychic bond Reed and the snake now share for flaky reasons which are discussed over the course of one minute. (ESP, it turns out, is a viral infection.) Naturally, the giant snake escapes, thanks to the efforts of a snake-worshipping "Reverend" who disappears without a trace long before the movie ends, but also long after he's no longer contributing to the plot. The Reverend means nothing in the end, and neither does the "psychic bond;" these are just (lame) excuses to get the snake to the US and let it run free. Then stuff just happens. Stupid, stupid, stupid stuff. Oh, and the snake can make light bulbs blow up and fires spontaneously generate all of a sudden! But aside from that, and the make-ups effects produced by its venom, it's pretty useless, it's not Satan or anything. After boring us to tears, it simply sets up a rendezvous with Reed and they have their little faceoff. You already know how the rest of the movie by heart, all the way to the final freeze-frame.
Oh, yeah, and I saw "Desperate Measures" on TNT last night. You know, Michael Keaton doesn't deserve to lose his career over this and "Multipicity" and even "Jack Frost." He did the best he could with what he was handed. That said, I haven't seen a more wasteful, pointless, dumb chunk of crap come out of Hollywood's bunghole. One person with a functioning brain cell would've stopped Keaton--and this movie--dead in their tracks at any given point, and the final five seconds are so preposterous as to make an "Ernest" movie seem like freaking Shakespare. Buy the video; wipe your butt with it. Hey, it makes ME feel better!