Did you know that even the most feared snakes strike when a person enters their domain, causing the creature to feel threatened? The gleaming, writhing bodies and big eyes without eyelids are enough to send shivers down your spine or dry your throat, so it’s no surprise that slithering serpents have been depicted as villains in popular culture. Despite people’s aversion to snakes and their fear of them, the snake house is one of the most popular attractions at the zoo. Snakes, as much as they are despised, are mysterious and fascinating, enticing people to them.
Ragnarok: Released in 2013
The first movie on the list is “Ragnarok”, which is a Norwegian fantasy adventure film about the legendary story of Ragnarok in Norse Mythology. The film was directed by Mikkel BraenneSendemose.
Archeologist Sigurd had been researching the ancient Norse people called the ‘Vikings’, primarily centered around the Oseberg Viking Ship, but his work halted after all the physical shreds of evidence were exhausted and no one was ready to fund his ambitious fieldwork. A breakthrough came in his research when his co-worker, Allan, brought a stone tablet from Finnmark, containing a code interpreted as a map to a remote island in a lake that they supposed might have exclusive relics or treasures.
The group consisting of Sigurd and his kids Ragnhild and Brage, Allan, his field partner Elisabeth, and guide Leif reached the area between Norway and Russia, which displayed many warnings against entering the restricted site. They found the lake surrounding a small island known as the ”Eye of Odin”. On reaching the island, they arrived at a huge cave where they found Viking helmets and other vital objects. Brage found an interesting ovoid thing and kept it inside his rucksack for the future.
Soon, Leif showed his true colors by taking all the historically essential objects at gunpoint and leaving the group stranded in the cave. But while paddling back across the lake, he was killed by an unseen creature. Sigurd and Allan found mass graves and realized that the stone tablet was, in reality, a warning against a sea serpent that appeared out of the water.
Meanwhile, the interesting ovoid object appeared to be an egg from which a baby serpent was born. Elisabeth captured it in an old metal box, but its squeals alerted the adult serpent, trying to rescue the baby by hauling the bunker into the lake. From that moment onwards, the snakes kept on attacking them to save the baby serpent from their clutches.
”Ragnarok” is an excellent family adventure movie, which once again proves that human beings have interfered in the animal kingdom for ages, attacking and killing them. Still, animals only retaliate when they feel threatened.
Anaconda: Released in 1997
Even though the critics gave negative feedback, ”Anaconda” was a great box-office success and has become a cult classic. This 1997 blockbuster is directed by Luis Llosa and stars Jennifer Lopez. The film follows a documentary film crew in the Amazon rainforest captured by a snake hunter, hunting for the legendary green anaconda.
A film crew sailing down the Amazon River intends to shoot a documentary film on the long-lost, Amazonian tribe of the Shirishamas under the direction of Terri Flores. Eventually, they are joined by the stranded snake hunter Paul Serone, who promised the crew to lead them to the tribe. None of the crew is comfortable around Serone, but he managed to save anthropologist Cale’s life, making the crew grateful to him.
But shortly, he takes control of the boat and reveals his true intentions of capturing a live giant green anaconda of record-breaking length, that he has been tracking for some time. Soon, the boat skipper Mateo got lost and was slaughtered by the anaconda. That night, the anaconda attacked again and devoured the sound engineer Gary Dixon. The boat gets stuck at a waterfall the next day, while the anaconda returns and attacks the narrator Westridge. As the snake attacked the cameraman Danny, director Terri shot the snake in the head, but a second and more enormous anaconda was ready to attack the crew.
The film gives you slithering thrills and chills, as the anaconda introduces itself to the silver screen for the first time. In reality, too, the anaconda is non-venomous and spends its life in or around water. The anaconda usually attacks and coils around the prey, just as shown in the film. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the anaconda probably has been subject to extreme size exaggerations. No wonder Serone was after the snake, even risking his own life.
Conan The Barbarian: Released in 1982
Who can forget the iconic fight scene between Conan the Barbarian and a giant snake in the Tower of Serpents? In the year 1982, the creation of such animal effects was quite something. This 1982 epic sword and sorcery film developed a deep relation with snakes, as the leading antagonist, Thulsa Doom, was himself the leader and priest of the ancient cult of snake-worshippers.
The evil Thulsa Doom massacred the Cimmerians, as Conan’s father and mother were both killed, and he was taken as a slave along withthe other orphaned children. Conan became a well-built muscular man on reaching adulthood as he was trained to be a gladiator. After winning innumerable fights, he was finally set free. Soon, Conan befriended Subotai, a Hyrkanian thief and archer, and met Valeria, a female brigand, before raiding the Tower of the Serpent to steal jewels and other valuables. Guarding the valuables of the tower was a giant serpent, the pet of Thulsa Doom, who attacked Conan. After tremendous effort and Subotai’s help, Conan managed to kill the enormous serpent.
The special effect supervisor, Nick Allder, created a 36-foot mechanical snake with a 2.5 ft body diameter, and the head of the snake was 2.5 ft long and 2 ft wide. The snake was controlled by steel cables and hydraulics and exerted a force between 3.5 and 9 tons. Two identical snakes were made, one for stationary shots and one for being decapitated by Conan.
Thulsa Doom not only had pet snakes, but he himself could transform into a giant snake anytime he wanted. When Conan, Subotai, and Valeria infiltrated the Temple of Set, Thulsa Doom magically transformed into a giant snake and slithered away. This onscreen transformation of Thulsa into the snake was the biggest challenge for the special effects team. The scene involved footage of body parts, live, and dummy snakes to complete the sequence.
Though the film received some mixed reviews from critics and audiences, the major positive feedback was due to its action, production design, and special effects. The film, even after being a huge box-office success, however, fell short of being acknowledged as a blockbuster.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Released in 2002
The next legendary serpent is none other than the fearsome and the monstrous ‘Basilisk’, also known as the ‘King of Serpents’. The Basilisk from ”Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” has the capability of reaching a gigantic size and living for thousands of years. It was born from a chicken egg, hatched by a toad, and is known for its venomous fangs.
We all know that Harry was constantly being prevented from returning to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by the house-elf, Dobby. Later, Harry and Ron reached the school by the flying car and crashed into the Whomping Willow. While in detention, Harry heard strange voices, and soon, the caretaker’s cat, Mrs. Norris, was found petrified beside a message, ”The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, enemies of the heir…. beware.” Professor McGonagall explained to the students that Salazar Slytherin, one of the founders of Hogwarts, had constructed the Chamber of Secrets, housing a monster to get rid of the Muggle-born students.
Soon, Hermione identified the monster as the Basilisk. The Basilisk could be as long as fifty feet in length, with dark green color and big yellow eyes. The eyes had the vicious stare that could kill someone instantly who looked directly into them. Anyone who looked indirectly would be petrified, like Hermione, who saw its glimpse through her hand mirror and was petrified. Slytherin’s Basilisk lived for around a thousand years as it was put to sleep using Parseltongue, which prevented it from aging. Only the Phoenix was not affected by the Basilisk’s gaze as it was immoral, and if the Basilisk’s eyes are damaged, it takes away the killing ability. We have seen the Phoenix help, Harry, in his battle with the Basilisk, and also, in the process, he blinded the monster to enable Harry to confront him directly.
While spiders were terrified of Basilisks and fled before them, the Basilisk was only scared of the crowing of the rooster.
Gods of Egypt: Released in 2016
The film ”Gods of Egypt” takes us to ancient Egypt, where the Egyptian Gods shared the earth with the humans. Though they used to bleed gold or get transformed into enormous creatures, they were as greedy and corrupt as human beings. Horus, the God of air, was about to be crowned as king by his father, Osiris, but his uncle, Set, killed Osiris, plucked Horus’s eyes, imprisoned him in a tomb, and seized the throne. The sculptures of snakes were everywhere, on telescopes, fountains, and even statues.
After a year, Bek, a young man, stole one of the eyes of Horus, but in the process, his girlfriend, Zaya, got killed. Bek took the stolen eye to Horus and promised to bring back his other eye too if he helped him rescue Zaya from the underworld. When Set learned that Horus had escaped, he sent Astarte and Anat after him. Astarte and Anat had a forked tongue like their pet snakes. When Horus and Bek were in the desert, Astarte and Anat were seen riding their pet snakes, sitting on a platform like a roller coaster.
The snakes were giant in size, with equally big and dangerous upper fangs, while one of them was white in color and the other black. By the way, the snakes also seemed to breathe fire, destroying everything in their way. Bek lured Anat’s white snake to chase him while Horus attacked from the back and forced them down the cliff. I don’t know if you will agree, but these snakes’ close-up resembled the ruthless T-Rex from “Jurassic Park”. Anyway, Astarte’s black snake was about to incinerate them, when Horus’s girlfriend Hathor, the Goddess of Love, appeared and hypnotized the snake. She pulled a spear from the snake’s mouth and convinced it to warm itself as the snake began to breathe fire on its own body and burned itself along with Astarte.
Thus, the movie has desperately proven the point that love is mightier than the sword.
Mojin – The Worm Valley: Released in 2018
Next on the list, there is a Chinese fantasy adventure film, ”Mojin: The Worm Valley”, a sequel to the 2014 film, ”Mojin: The Lost Legend,” and adapted from Zhang Muye’s best-selling fantasy book series ”Ghost Blows Out the Light.”
The story followed a curse by a Chinese princess on her protesters and their descendants, that they would not live past forty years and die a painful death. The cursed people had marks on their shoulders. The princess had left behind two things, the Dragon Bone Celestial Tome, which had eight lines written on it describing the location of the Mu Chen Orb, which could render the curse ineffective.
Hu Bayi, Shirley Young, Fatty Wang, and others decided to visit the Worm Valley in the hidden Dragon Mountains to retrieve the Orb and lift the curse, along with Professor Sun, who had solved the puzzle on the Tome. On reaching the Worm Valley, they were attacked by man-eating viper fishes, giant-sized lizards, a giant crab, and a swarm of flying poisonous creatures. The team members wanted to quit the dangerous mission, but Hu Bayi would not return unless the curse was lifted.
Their journey carried them to a garden where they found the Orb in the hands of a big statue. But before they could proceed, they were again attacked by monstrous scorpions. While fighting the monsters, Hu Bayi managed to retrieve the Orb from the hands of the statue. But instantly, the ground started shaking; all the bells began to ring; the monstrous scorpions fled from the spot, and the sun was covered with dark clouds.
As the group stood perplexed about the consequences, the mountain broke apart, and a giant serpent emerged from the rocks, growling furiously at the group. The group tried to escape, but the serpent was too fast for them as it blocked their way, surrounding the people. The shockwave threw the group in the air, and a huge crater was formed in the process.
Will the group survive this enraged serpent who had been safeguarding the Orb for over a thousand years and return safely with the Orb?
King Cobra: Released in 1999
The next film on the list is ”King Cobra”, released in 1999, directed and written by David Hillenbrand and Scott Hillenbrand. Dr. Burns was experimenting with snake venom to control aggressive behavior in animals, and for his experiments, he had produced a genetically hybrid snake from the African King Cobra and Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, when there was a fire explosion in his lab. This resulted in the escape of the 30ft long hybrid snake after it killed Dr. Burns’s daughter.
The snake, nicknamed Seth, was loose in the countryside for two years and was under the drug’s effect for aggressiveness. When the animals in the countryside were exhausted, he began hunting the residents of the small town of Filmore. A small boy who was unconscious was brought by his mother to Dr. Brad. Another dead body of an older adult was found near the jungle. When Dr. Brad conducted an autopsy on the dead body, he found that the death was caused by a huge snake.
They also found a 30 ft long snakeskin in the jungle, which stunned them, as they understood the severe threat they were about to face. Dr. Brad and Police Chief Jo Biddle went to visit the town Mayor Ed and requested him to cancel the upcoming town festival. But Ed refused to do so, as it would have an adverse effect on the town’s economy. Don’t all these things sound familiar? We have seen a similar series of events in ”Jaws”, haven’t we? Anyway, the ferocious snake continued its killing spree and forced the mayor to finally summon the herpetologist and hunter Nick Hashimoto and Dr. Burns. Dr. Burns immediately recognized that the snake must be Seth, created by him.
One of the good things about the movie is that the snake was created by animatronics and not CGI, which gave us a good impression of the monstrous animal, or else things would have been worse.
Python: Released in 2000
“Python” is a comedy horror television film directed by Richard Clabaugh. It leads us to a genetically engineered python that escapes and terrorizes a small town.
The pilot and crew of a plane became concerned when a strange noise started coming from the cargo of a military aircraft. Soon, some unseen creature attacked the staff and the pilot of the plane, as it crashed near a town called Ruby. The same animal attacked a couple, Lisa and Roberta, who were camping in the woods. Four citizens of the Ruby town, John Cooper, his girlfriend Kristin, best friend Tommy, and Tommy’s girlfriend Theresa, found Lisa’s pet Burmese python, which was taken away by Deputy Greg.
The acid had completely corroded Lisa’s body. Scientist Anton Rudolph explained to the NSA special agent that the creature that had been terrorizing the town was an abnormally large python that had been genetically engineered by combining several deadly species. Dr. Rudolph described it as a killing machine. The serpent was about 129 ft long, with a maximum speed of 50 miles per hour. The tough skin of the snake would be able to deflect an antitank round. In addition to these, the python had enhanced night vision and an extreme appetite for human flesh.
Oh! I almost forgot to add that this snake had the special ability to spit acid, and it can actually hear. The NSA team planned an extensive attack against the snake before it could slaughter more people. The NSA formed a base at a water treatment center and tried to track the snake down. When they found the snake, they started constantly firing, only to find that they had been firing on the snake’s shed skin. The python attacked them and killed everyone except Rudolph, who stood motionless in front of the creature.
The director had been asked why this snake spitted acid and could hear. According to him, he didn’t want to feature this serpent as a mere killing reptile but an actual monster with special abilities. So, the python was given the special attributes which the director wanted.
Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid – Released in 2004
This film is an adventure horror directed by Dwight H. Little and is the stand-alone sequel to the film ”Anaconda” released in 1997, as nothing in this movie is related to the 1997 movie, except the anaconda itself. This time, the story takes us into Borneo’s Southeast Asian tropical island in search of a sacred flower that brings longer and healthier life to humans.
A pharmaceutical firm Wexell-Hall in New York organizes a team of researchers consisting of Dr. Jack Byron, Gordon Mitchell, Sam Rogers, and others for an expedition in the jungles of Borneo, in search of a flower called PerrinniaImmortalis, commonly known as ”the blood orchid”. They believed that this flower is capable of bestowing longer and healthier life to human beings.
Under the guidance of Dr. Jack, the team had to go under a waterfall and swim through the river. Suddenly, a giant anaconda emerged from the water and swallowed Dr. Ben as the rest of the team managed to flee. Though their guide, Captain Bill, stated that it was the largest anaconda he had seen in his life and assured them that the snake should not feel hungry for weeks, the team decided to call off the expedition.
As they reached Bill’s friend, John Livingston, to borrow his boat, they found him dead and his boat destroyed. Soon they reached an empty village where they found a disemboweled anaconda and a pair of human legs hanging from the abdomen. The team concluded that the snakes were giant in size due to the influence of the orchids. The team wanted to return desperately except Jack, who wanted to continue with the expedition and reach the blood orchids.
The giant snakes were created by animatronics and CGI, giving them a pretty realistic appearance. After all, they are the authentic stars of the film.
Piranhaconda: Released in 2012
We have seen the giant anaconda, and we have also experienced the wrath of the piranhas. Now we are about to watch the genetic combination of them both, as the piranhaconda. It is big and nasty, with sharp, pointed teeth, ready to devour anyone that crosses its path.
We have seen so many different kinds of people wandering in the jungle, unaware of the existence of the ruthless, vicious creatures roaming around the place. A scientist with his team of researchers, crew members shooting for a film, and also a bunch of bad guys ready to rob the other guys and many more features here. In the beginning, the professor arrived at a beautiful lake located in the jungle of Hawaii and found many eggs scattered on the shore. As he happily packed one of the eggs, a giant monstrous snake emerged from the lake and devoured all the team members, sparing the professor as he escaped just in time.
Next, we were introduced to the cast and crew of a film that was busy shooting in the jungle. In the meantime, two women of the film crew had been attacked and engulfed by the giant serpent. The professor was about to take shelter in an abandoned mill when he was taken at gunpoint by a group of gangsters. The professor tried to explain to them that they could take his money, but the jungle was highly unsafe for all of them. However, they mocked him with his story and locked him up in the mill. Then arrived another group of researchers who were looking for a special kind of weed flower that would be useful for medicinal purposes. Every one of them was engulfed by the piranhaconda. I have grown tired now. Would you please make a murder count and inform us later?
The CGI is kind of OK, without any proper impact, but hey, you can enjoy two monsters in one within the budget. Consider it an amusing way of passing time.
Boa: Released in 2001
”Boa”, also known as ”New Alcatraz”, is a sci-fi action horror film directed by Philip Roth. A highly secured prison called ‘New Alcatraz’ had started functioning recently, located in the heart of Antarctica. A drilling operation released a giant, prehistoric boa constrictor from a large, hollow rock where it must have been preserved.
The snake managed to chew a hole through the ice and escaped into the prison. When the workers discovered the hole, a guard named Jenkins was placed until the engineers blocked the hole. Suddenly, Jenkins heard a strange hissing sound in the tunnel. When his supervisor, Sergent Quinn, sent him to investigate, he requested backup, and so Quinn sent engineers Peluso and Goodman.
But unfortunately, all three of them were attacked and killed. On hearing the horrifying screams of the engineers, a distress call was sent to the United States military. They sought the help of paleontologist Robert Trenton and his wife Jessica to assist the military team in their search to destroy the snake. When the rescue team arrived at the prison, they found the survivors led by security head Quinn and the prison warden Fred Riley. The military and the security personnel split up to find the snake while Robert, Jessica, and Fred remained in the control room.
But the snake went on a massive rampage, as the personnel was slaughtered one by one. Soon, Jessica and Robert also joined the quest to hunt the snake, but things got worse when a gas pipe ruptured and exploded, killing the remaining military and security members. After Jessica was seemingly killed, Robert convinced Fred to release the prisoners to help them escape. Will they be able to escape the wrath of this terrifying creature?
“Boa” is a suspenseful horror thriller with action-packed sequences, and what about the special effects? Well, it is better than a lot of monster movies we have seen before.
If ever you have to encounter a snake in your life, remember this classic dialogue from the movie ”Gods Must be Crazy II”- ”You don’t bother them, they don’t bother you”, though in that film it was applied to all wild animals, I think it is applicable here too.