SSSSSSS (1973) Reviews and overview

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‘Once this motion picture sinks its fangs into you, you’ll never be the same.’ 
Sssssss – aka Sssssnake – is a 1973 American science fiction horror film directed by Bernard L. Kowalski (Attack of the Giant Leeches; Night of the Blood Beast) from a screenplay by Hal Dresner and Daniel C. Striepeke. The unique makeup effects were created by John Chambers and Nick Marcellino.


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The movie stars Strother Martin (The Brotherhood of Satan), Dirk Benedict, Heather Menzies (Piranha) and Reb Brown.


David, a college student, is looking for a job. He is hired by Doctor Stoner as a lab assistant for his research and experiments on snakes. David also begins to fall for Stoner’s young daughter, Kristina.

However, the good doctor has secretly brewed up a serum that can transform any man into a King Cobra snake – and he plans to use it on David…

“If you’re one of the many thousands of people who harbor a morbid fear of snakes, you’re likely to find Sssssss getting under your skin in spite of itself. Conversely, if you’re part of the rather smaller club that considers snakes beautiful and fascinating, then there’s a good chance you’ll be too thrilled at the prospect of getting to see so many different species in action…” Scott Ashlin, 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

“Sci-fi completists will want to track down this film, as it’s a safe bet for a rainy night with food and friends by your side. But unless you’re especially eager to throw out insults and jokes, don’t be like me and expect Sssssss to deliver on the cheese factor. It’s strictly a serious-minded and altogether classy picture.” Jonathan Persinek, CineBomb



“With a rather silly premise which includes a totally oblivious victim/leading man, Sssssss still has enough ingredients to please B movie fans. Strother Martin gives another meaty performance as a determined nutcase who talks to his array of pet snakes, sinisterly employing them to get rid of his enemies, including a dumb bullying jock (Reb Brown) and a sleazy rival professor (Richard B. Shull).” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In



“Toned down, without the final fireworks, the picture would have emerged as a real sleeper for thriller fans, who should catch it anyway. It’s certainly original. Mr. Martin does well, so does young Dirk Benedict, but the best are Jack Ging as a sheriff and Heather Menzies, a perfectly charming daughter. As for those snakes—Ooooooo.” Howard Thompson, The New York Times, August 2, 1973

” …it’s not a bad movie, it’s a frustrating one. A mad scientist turning folks into snakes and getting revenge on those who wronged him is an awesome idea. The gradual snake-turning effects are pretty decent for the time, and I loved how Benedict started showing snake-like instincts before he physically began changing.” Brian W. Collins, Horror Movie a Day


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“What sets Sssssss apart from run-of-the mill drive-in fodder is John Chamber’s remarkable makeup.  Chambers of course is best known for his work on Planet of the Apes. In Sssssss, the prosthetic appliances and optical effects never appear shoddy. It makes the whole film work.” Monster Minions

“It’s a terribly insipid movie. The Snakeman scenes are only a few minutes of screen time and hardly the stuff of horror legend. I cannot overstate the inevitable let down you’re setting yourself up for when reviewing movies that affected you as a child. It’s best just to let these things remain what they were to you.” Kindertrauma


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