Curse 2: The Bite (1988)
WRITERS: Susan Zelouf & Federico Prosperi
DIRECTOR: Fred Goodwin
STARRING: Jill Schoelen as Lisa Snipes
J. Eddie Peck as Clark Newman
Jamie Farr as Harry Morton
Bo Svenson as The Sheriff
QUICK CUT: The aftermath of the events at the Gardner farm come home to roost, as the space goo infects more water and more people...wait, what? This has nothing to do with the first movie? At all? Then what's this about? A radioactive snake bites a guy and turns his arm into a snake? What does that have to do with a meteor from space poisoning the water supply?? How is this a sequel? Sigh.
Clark Newman - Our poor, put upon main character. He and his girlfriend are travelling across the Southern states from California, and on the way, he gets bitten by a snake. He's good with a rifle, bad with gas station attendants, and a bit of a goober.
Lisa Snipes - Clark's girlfriend, and she's mostly along for the ride, and to serve as motivation and victim. She really doesn't like snakes, and this movie isn't going to change her mind.
Harry Morton - A travelling salesman who knows way too much about snakes than I'm comfortable with. He's always looking out for a quick buck, but he has a good heart, and helps the kids out when they're in a bit of a jam.
The Sheriff - Another law enforcement figure who doesn't get a name in the movie. He's pretty typical for this sort of movie. He's a bit of a dick and too in love with his own authority. Give the man a badge, and he'll find you a criminal.
THE GUTS: Yes, this movie is Curse 2, but it has nothing, and I mean nothing, to do with the first movie. There's not even a token attempt at referencing the first one to at least give it a nod. There is zero connection between them. At best, you could maybe say it has people being driven by forced beyond their control to hurt people, but that is a really weak connection.
After the credits, the first shot of the film is zooming along the beach, or dessert, as the movie tells us this is a nuclear test facility in Arizona. Two guys in bunny suits are setting up for a kegger, and trying to grab the camera with a pair of tongs.
They scoop up the snake as the sun goes down, and the movie goes on to something completely different. We never see these guys again. Or the snake. Or anything. At most, we hear about the test facility some more, but other than that, this scene may as well have been in the first movie, for all it has to do with anything.
But back in the real movie, we get to see the thrilling exploits of a guy and his girl getting directions! Can we go back to the snake kegger? That looked more fun. Oh hey, and look in the car! It's Jill Schoelen from our very first review, Popcorn! Is she our first return player that's not in a sequel? Triskelions, get on it!
The redneck stereotype gas station attendant gives them some directions, but Clark sees a better way on the map. He still gets warned off from going there, what with us knowing it's a nuclear test site and has raging snake parties. Frankly, you would think "Don't go that way, or you'll end up sterile and with a third nipple" might be a good warning if you don't want people driving thay way. I mean, it's gotta be better than just saying not to go that way. Am I right?
I love that the credits roll over these really cool pics of fences, with warning signs, and snakes intertwined through the chain links. That's a really cool visual, and suits the movie.
Anyways, the trip gets cut short when their Jeep gets a flat right over what looks like a rattlesnake. Boyfriend gets out to fix the tire, and Jill tells us a story which no one cares about. Including her boyfriend. Unless this story involves a guy killing people in crazily elaborate ways during a movie marathon, neither do I.
Lisa wanders away from the car and Clark notices a snake creeping up on her so he puts a bullet through it and gives us our first death. Nah, just kidding. Good shot, though.
While they're distracted, the snakecam climbs into the jeep and finds a nice spot to hide away until the plot needs to advance further. Please be soon.
They apparently get the tire fixed and are back on their way, with Lisa singing her new song, Possessor, and no one is noticing the river of snakes covering the road ahead of them. Clark might have noticed if he ever kept his eyes on the road, and not the girl.
Not until he hits the snakes and they start flying from the tires, which is a visual that cracks me up, does the boyfriend even ask what that is in the road. Because it's not like there's a long stretch of absolutely straight highway he's on and could have seen them a mile back.
And it just can't be wise to stick your head and arms out the windows to look at the snakes on the road being kicked up by your car. I'd even be rolling up the windows for fear of that one in a thousand shot of one landing in my lap.
With that little incident behind them, they stop to get some gas, and probably clean their shorts, at the least friendliest gas station ever. It seems inviting enough, what with having gas pumps and a sign that says they'll fix flat tires. But the door comes equipped with a hole to stick a shotgun through and aim at the customers. I bet they don't get a lot of return business. But when the guy charges 200 bucks to fix your flat, he probably doesn't need it.
As the tire is getting fixed, the attendant and Clark talk about the snakes, the nuclear testing, and the rising costs of tea, as well as the attendant's dead dog Rover, which died from a snakebite. Or maybe not so dead, since Clark hears a whimpering noise when he goes to use the toilet, and goes to investigate.
While that's going on, Lisa is getting changed and being watched by the snakecam, for the benefit of all us pervs in the audience. I mean, all you pervs! Cough.
The attendant catches Clark lurking around, and gets rid of them, before going back to his dog, and we see it's some hideous mutant snake dog monster freak. Or possibly just the result of too much inbreeding within the line. Either way, the snakedog lunges at its owner and eats his face off, ending his days of charging too much to fix a flat.
Eventually, the couple stop at a hotel, and when Clark is getting their birds out of the Jeep, finally the plot decides to kick in and bite him in the hand. Having the snake in the car being played entirely by a POV cam is the safe way to play it to be sure, but Sssssss spoiled me for real interaction.
The moment someone says he was bitten by a snake, the entire town comes running. Kids from the swingset, mothers, nearby people, a guy who was shaving even comes out to have a look. I live in a small town, and I know that something like that would be a big event but...oh hold on, someone just stubbed their toe down the street, I gotta check this out!!
Jamie Farr, just after he got his section eight out of the 4077th, is fortunately an expert on snake bites and administers some anti-venom, and does some diagnosing. The hotel clerk is hilariously over the top with how much he hates bites and needles. I love it. Also, I notice the movie is so cheap it can't even show the injection. They cut their corners a lot on this movie.
It's important to note that Harry Morton isn't an actual doctor, he just happens to know a lot about snakes, and carry anti-venom around with him. I guess it's a Boy Scout thing.
The next day, Clark is cleaning the car to get rid of the snake, but it's unfortunately moved on to their hotel room, where Lisa finds it in their bed, and manages to kill it dead with her guitar. This mercifully kills both the snake and her attempts at a musical career.
We find out the hotel hires hilarious employees everywhere, as a cleaning lady discovers the bloody snake corpse in the bed and comes barreling out of the room screaming her head off. Doctor Klinger and Georgie the clerk investigate, but even though the snake is dead, the clerk still keeps well back.
Morgan pegs the snake for a bushmaster, and wonders what it's doing there, since the area is all wrong. He makes the dramatic leap to it must be a mutant. Or maybe not so dramatic of a leap, depending on close this town is to that Yellow Sands facility. Still, it seems like a stretch.
Lisa and Clark continue their journey to Macguffinville, Nevada or wherever, and on the way they discuss a man who ate his own wife out of jealousy. Clark says he would kill himself before ever hurting Lisa. And this is what we call foreshadowing.
Now that Harry's seen the snake responsible, he's no longer sure if his anti-venom will do the trick, and his lawyer advises him he better do something, because he could face charges of dispensing medicine without a license. That's just for starters, too.
We get treated to far too much time with wacky characters in trucks talking with Harry over the CB as he tries to use the earliest known form of crowd sourcing to try and finds the kids before Clark dies and sues. There's the big woman who's sweet on Harry, the big beefy guy (Named Beef!) with more braincells than teeth, and *ahem* Death Wish.
The truckers are all far too wacky for their own good, and the movie uses them way too much, when it could be killing things.
Those kids they're looking for stop at a bar to get some R&R in, and Clark's pretty grumpy what with his hand becoming more bandaged up with each passing scene. Guys hitting on his hot girlfriend probably doesn't help matters any. She skips off to dance with one of them, leaving bandage boy to suck down some beer.
A handy musical cue tells us things are about to get ugly as Clark watches the dancing and groping of his girlfriend. He's apprently had too much to drink, as he backhands Lisa when she returns from dancing. At least that's something carried over from the first movie.
Oh, and there's a weird bit where he smacks a fly into his beer and drinks it down. I don't care if he's becoming a snake, that still doesn't make sense.
Clark stumbles into the men's room, where he starts gagging and choking, and all I gotta say is, that's what you get for swallowing flies, you moron.
The guy Lisa was dancing with comes back itching for a fight after seeing Lisa get smacked around, and grabs Clark's bandaged hand. Since he's so against violence, he uses Clark's hand to put out his cigarette.
In retaliation, Clark breaks the guy's wrist, and runs off, to be yelled at by Lisa for awhile back at the hotel. And that bit about never hurting her has already come back to bite him in the hand. He doesn't take it for long as he rushes outside to whine about his hand, or something.
Next, it's back to Harry's quest for the bitten man, as he's hooked up with one of the truckers. And I mean that literally. They're packed into her sleeper cab, post who knows what, and I don't want to.
As Lisa drives them along to their next stop, which will likely be their last one together, we keep seeing her spread her legs while she drives. Just as I'm wondering why the movie keeps showing this, Clark sticks his bandaged hand over. While we never see anything, well the implication is surely there, isn't it?
This movie is the poster child for unsafe driving, as it adds that as another infraction, and Lisa's eyes start fluttering closed as she gets sucked up in the moment of passion.
Wait what happened? Where are we?! Somehow, along the way, they find a barn to jump into and have dirty, dirty sex on the cold, hard ground. I can't help thinking it would serve them right to get bitten by another snake at this moment. Even with the fondling, that came out of nowhere!
Next we're suddenly back in the car after random barn sex, and Lisa wakes up and notices her birds are missing. I so hope Clark ate them. That would just be too funny. But no, he just let them go.
She reaches back to check on the cage, and her hand comes back covered in ooze, which she recognises from her snakey encounter earlier, and despite having bashed its head in herself, she's somehow convinced the snake has been in the car this whole time.
You know, it never is explained where the birds went. Why would Clark just let them go? Did he really eat them? Did his hand? Why didn't we see it? If there was a scene of his hand going wild and attacking the birds, that would've elevated the movie, in my eyes.
Apparently their yelling in the car was against the law, and the cops show up to pull them over. Or they were speeding. It's never made terribly clear outside of them getting asked what's the hurry.
The sheriff gets curious about the arm, and asks Clark to take off the bandage and show it to them. What, does he expect Clark to have contraband strapped to his hand in an incredibly small, skin tight place? Well, I've heard stranger smuggling scams, I guess.
They force Clark to open up the back of the car, since he senses drugs. There isn't any, so that goes to show how good instincts are. Clark very reluctantly complies with Lisa's urgings, and opens up the back.
Sheriff Broken Nose finds Clark's rifle and looks mighty pleased with himself. I guess he's a gun collector. He confiscates it, saying Clark doesn't have a permit to have it in their state. Even if that's legally accurate, he's still being a dick.
With no drugs to find, and still feeling like being a dick, the sheriff handcuffs Clark and hauls him off. All because he wouldn't show him the arm. Because it's clearly being used for drug smuggling. Whatever.
On the way to the station, Clark is in the back of the car freaking out, while the sheriff is filling air time until things get bad enough with Clark that they actually stop to advance the plot. And the sheriff goes to take a whiz.
Clark agrees to show the deputy his arm, and he gets uncuffed. He's about to do so, as the arm shoots up and plunges itself into the deputy's throat, all the way up to the end of the bandages. Insert your own deep throat jokes here.
On top of somehow being able to shove his hand down someone's throat almost up to the elbow, Clark somehow manages to pull out the guy's heart. I don't think anatomy works that way.
After bonking the sheriff on the head, Clark walks all the way back to his Jeep, which is still sitting where he left it, with Lisa still inside it. She couldn't go to a hotel somewhere? She doesn't really question why they let him go either, or the fact that he apparently walked five miles back on his own. Why would she just sit there? Wouldn't she follow to the station? Or go her own way?
Lois takes Clark straight to a nearby hospital, where he's looked after by Doctor Martyr...er, Marder. She gives him some medicine, and cuts off the bandages to get a look at his hand.
Once she gets a good look at the snakehand terror, she starts recording her findings, and has surmised that the snakebite has somehow transferred the DNA of the snake into Clark's arm, and is forcing itself to take over his arm. If you say so, doc.
In what is easily one of the freakier scenes we've ever encountered on this site, as the doctor takes a blood sample, we get to see Clark's hand up close, and part of it pulls back, revealing a snake eye looking around. Ewww.
Again the snakehand dives down another throat, and kills someone else, this time by tearing off Dr. Marder's jaw. The makeup looks a little weak, but it's almost disgusting enough that you're not really examining it that closely.
Finally, the subplot with Morton catches up with the movie as he once again comes face to face with Clark, and offers to save his life right this time. I think Clark is probably more interested in not being arrested right now.
He stumbles over the body of the doctor, and takes the whole murdering thing in stride, as he scoops up the scalpel and tries to back out of the room before anything untowards happens.
I like the way this scene plays out. They take the POV cam of the snakes from earlier, and its the only way we see this scene, from Clark's POV, and Jamie Farr playing right into the lens. It's really nice, and has a good sense of menace to it as he slowly backs away from the advancing lens, as well as being a callback to snakecams from earlier.
After doing unseen things to Morten, Clark runs off and stops at a nearby gas station, steals an axe, and ties his hand up in the bathroom, to try and emulate Ash removing his own evil hand. It doesn't go so well as the snakehand has a mind of its own and keeps squirming away. Like oh, a snake.
He bashes the snakehand into a mirror several times, which apparently knocks his hand out (I know it must have its own brain now somehow but that's still pretty ?! to me) and that allows him to start hacking it off at the wrist.
As he comes out, Clark is just in time to see the sheriff pull in with Lisa, and they check out the Jeep while he hides in a nearby truck.
The driver of the truck comes back and sees Clark hunched down as far as he can go, and he's actually a good religious sort. Rather than rat him out, he offers Clark help like God would want him to do.
Of course, as they're driving off, Clark is an idiot and peeks his head out the back window, so Lisa can see him. Smooth move, snakes for brains.
The sheriff agrees to let Lisa go, since he figures that will help him find Clark when he eventually tries to contact her. Then he can finally find out what they're messing around with. He still doesn't get it, does he?
Lisa gets the information on the truck driver, I presume from his license plate, that he lives somewhere in southern El Paso. Now...that's a pretty big area to just hope you stumble across a guy, at night, in a downpour. Even a small town would be a tough call. But a place like El Paso, Texas? That is the definition of needle and haystack.
For the sake of plot convenience, she stumbles right across the truck, and meets the kind family that took Clark in as they're eating dinner, and he's off resting. They insist Lisa and Clark stay the night and rest before journeying onward. It's a shame that such a nice family is clearly doomed.
Lisa goes upstairs and finds Clark in bed, where he explains that his hand became a murderous snake, and he cut it off. She takes it pretty well, really, and forgives him readily. She says they'll go to the police and they'll understand. Sure they will.
We jump back to the sheriff, and find out Harry is still alive, thanks to his ability to pass out when threatened by men with snakehands. They're in pursuit of Clark for what he's done, although how they have any idea where to go is beyond me. Maybe they're just driving around with lights and sirens on for funsies.
Meanwhile, the little girl sneaks upstairs once everyone is asleep so she can check out Clark's stump. She's got one of those light up toy swords and pokes at the bandages with it, to get a better look. Her sword is either sharper than it looks, or they did a crappy job bandaging it up, because she slices right through them, and this disgusting slough of stuff comes oozing out. It's followed by a giant snakehead as well. I guess it learned a few tricks from the Doctor, because this is a fightin' hand!
Fortunately, she starts screaming, and everyone wakes up, including papa preacher with a shotgun. Who's quite surprised to see a snake in his home. Especially attached to someone's arm.
The snake's tongue shoots across the room and wraps around the guy's throat and...you know what? I can buy radiation mutating snakes to make their DNA more infectious. Heck, I'm a Spider-Man fan. But the tongue of doom just pushes things too far for me. It looks like an electrical cord more than anything. Show me a snake that can really do something close to that, and we'll talk.
The snakehand lets go of the father, and he dies by bashing his skull on the wall as he stumbles backwards. Lisa makes like a tree and leaves, with snakeboy close behind her. The mother pokes her head up to check things out and all she gets is a facefull of snakespit for her troubles.
Lisa gets the car started and drives off, not realising her snake of a boyfriend has climbed up on top of the vehicle when she wasn't looking.
For some reason, she starts driving down a closed road, and the snake's tongue has wormed its way through the car's ventilation system to start trying to molest her. I guess it got a taste for it earlier when they were driving along before the random barn sex.
Clark falls onto the front of the car and presses his face against the glass, roaring and howling like some sort of cat, and not looking to great. His eyes are bulging, his jaw looks like it's about to snap off, and I don't think drool is supposed to be that colour.
One of his eyes plops off and slowly slides down the windshield in a puddle of ooze. The movie revels in showing this in closeup, and moving very slowly, as well as the dangling bits from Clark's eye socket.
His tongue starts to stretch out, and just as you're about to think that's going to become forked, and slithery, the movie goes the other way and that falls out too, right next to the eyeball. This movie just got real disgusting, real fast.
And it isn't done yet, as Clark then horfs up a clear sack filled with snakes.
Yes, you read that right. Clark just gave birth to snakes from his mouth. Let that sink in for a bit.
Oh yeah, and while all this is going on, Lisa's actually doing stuff, and manages to cut the tongue off from around her wrist.
The car slips and almost falls into a ditch, so Lisa finishes the job and climbs out of the car. She can't seem to get out of the ditch, so instead runs through a length of piping while being chased by snakeboy and lands straight in a pit of mud. The car was probably the better option, since she's just going deeper and deeper into bigger holes.
Clark, or what remains of him, leans out of the pipe and pukes up more little snakes, until he coughs up one last giant one, which must have been his intestine at some point, because there's no other place that thing could have come from.
I mean, these things have to come from somewhere. They must be converting his insides, right? And how come they're all different kinds of snakes? Shouldn't they be the same or pretty similar? ...What? The logic train left the station an hour ago? Fine.
Lisa starts stabbing at the snakes with a wooden pole, for all the good that will do her, until Clark grabs it and shoves it into his chest. Again, for whatever good that will do. It's a blunt instrument as far as I can tell.
She reaches out to comfort her boyfriend, and the movie has one last gross out, as Clark's head goes all Pez and folds back for no apparent reason. Other than being gross.
No wait, there was a point. After a bit, a giant, silly, rubbery snakehead puppet pushes its way out of Clark's chest and growls at the camera. Snakes don't growl, but whatever.
The look of the thing as it slithers off into the muck is that it looks like a bad snakehead puppet atop a human spine. If they had a better head, that could've been a cool image. As it is, not so much.
So the cops finally arrive because they somehow knew where to go, what with all the witnesses there to call them, and pull Lisa out with a rope. Wait, not before Clarkaconda can pop back up out of the muck like it thinks it's Jaws or something.
Harry actually gets the chance to save the day, as he fires off the fatal shotgun blast that kills the snake. Because it's not like there were a ton of cops standing around with guns of their own that could have done it? And likely better shots, to boot. A nice callback to Clark shooting the snake about to attack Lisa 90 minutes ago, though.
And would you believe it, that's right where the movie ends.
Video: Not that good. As can be seen in the screencaps, the quality on the disc isn't that hot, and the flat colour palettes often make things hard to see in the darker scenes, and detail gets eaten up in a number of scenes.
Audio: Nothing special in a 2.1 stereo mix.
Best Line: Georgie telling the maid not to be afraid of the snake, it's dead, after he had his own little freakout not more than minutes before.
First Kill: A snake buys it at 7:30 in, from a rifle blast to the face. Or more seriously, that would be the overcharging, gun toting, gas station attendant who buys it first when his snakedog eats him at about 18 minutes in.
Best Kill: I gotta say, I'm a sucker for Deputy Barney's death. You can't beat tearing a guy's heart out through his mouth. Although there's a number of good deaths to choose from.
Blood Type - A-: There's some good gore in this movie, and some decent makeup and creature effects for the time. And where they're not so good, you're too horrified by what happened, and the blood, that you don't look too hard at it. Could be better, could be bloodier, but what we got was pretty good.
Sex Appeal: There's nothing here, not even trouser snakes.
Movie Rating: This movie is cheesy, with bland acting, and nothing to really leap out and shine. The plot is okay, but still on the weak side, with a lot of leaps in logic. Two out of five plopping eyeballs.
Entertainment Rating: Oh, this is a fun movie to watch. The pacing isn't bad, although the CB stuff is overly long. Even so, it's cute and amusing enough that you don't mind TOO much, and they do lighten that tone a bit. The deaths are pretty good, the story for this sort of flick isn't half bad, and the plot holes are fun to laugh at. We'll give it three out of five severed evil hands.