austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

But when you talk about destruction

The Reptile is another of my TCM Movies Watched During WiiFit Exercises. It's an early 60s Hammer Studios production. I'm not well-versed in the Hammer Studios product except by reputation, really, and if asked to describe the movie knowing nothing more than where it came from I'd probably have guessed it was eighty minutes of stiffly British people in a tiny town telling the newcomer to leave, but not why, followed by about ten minutes of the monster attacking the newcomer, who survives just barely. In this case, I'd have been about right.

I did overlook the closing fire which destroys the manor house in which the dread secrets of the monster are being kept, but maybe that's to be assumed anyway. The titular Reptile is a human who gets all snakey certain times of the year and goes around killing the neighbors, or at least anyone who wanders too close. I admit being disappointed with this; the movie only bothers with one fighting-the-monster scene, of course tucked at the end, and while there's good efforts to raise the sense of suspense and tension, there's a long time without seeing the actual Reptile on screen.

But maybe that's for the best. The Reptile is meant to be a snake-ified human, and the costume for it is ... ah. Well. They do a very good job at giving the actor scaled skin and suggesting a lot of snake features. But the eyes are horribly bugged out. I grant this has precedent in real-world animals, and it even worked for Rango, but in this case it just turns what would otherwise be a pretty good Reptile into a weird-looking head with eyes bugged way out of proportion. Maybe that's what kept the monster off-stage for so long, an awareness that the look is more distracting than menacing, but it seems like the eye problem could have been fixed in costume design.

Anyway. Decent movie, but, not much to really savor. Even the notorious Hammer Gore-And-Blood effects are muted; victims look plausibly like they've been horribly poisoned, but it's ugly rather than scary. Could do better.

Trivia: The US government adopted QWERTY as its standard keyboard and ordered 850,000 new typewriters at the outset of World War II. Source: The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting, Darren Wershler-Henry.

Currently Reading: V-2, Walter Dornberger.

PS: In Case Of Sudden Failure Of Planet Earth, my longest piece yet. Warning: equations.


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