The Snake King
Allan A Goldstein
Declan O’Brien & Allan A Goldstein
Ken M Badish & Boaz Davidson
“After believing that they have discovered the fountain of youth, a team of Anthropologists trek through the Amazon Rainforest to find the source. However the mission is put in jeopardy when they are hunted and captured by the fountain’s guardians, an Amazonian tribe known as the Snake People, and the multi-headed reptile deity they worship, Naga the Snake King.”
- Stephen Baldwin – Matt Ford
- Jayne Heitmeyer – Dr Susan Elters
- Larry Day – Dr Rick Gordon
- Gideon Rosa – Dahar
- Ross McCall – Timothy
- Gary Hudson – Dr John Simon
- Black Swarm – Jayne Heitmeyer
- Crocodile – Boaz Davidson
- Crocodile 2 – Boaz Davidson
- Larva – Ken M Badish, Boaz Davidson
- Mega Snake – Boaz Davidson
- Mosquito Man – Ken M Badish, Boaz Davidson
- Octopus – Boaz Davidson
- Octopus 2 – Boaz Davidson
- Rats – Boaz Davidson
- Shark in Venice – Stephen Baldwin
- Shark Man- Ken M Badish, Boaz Davidson
- Sharktopus – Declan O’Brien
- Spiders – Boaz Davidson
- Spider 2 – Boaz Davidson
Snake Man is a 2005 Sci Fi Pictures Original Film directed by Allan A. Goldstein (Death Wish V), and is the penultimate instalment of the ‘A New Breed of Predator’ series. Formerly known as The Snake King, this feature stars Jayne Heitmeyer (Black Swarm) as the expedition leader Dr Susan Elters alongside Stephen Baldwin (Shark in Venice) as jungle guide Matt Ford with Larry Day, Gideon Rosa, Ross McCall and Gary Hudson rounding off the supporting cast.
After believing that they have discovered the fountain of youth, a team of Anthropologists trek through the Amazon Rainforest to find the source. However the mission is put in jeopardy when they are hunted and captured by the fountain’s guardians, an Amazonian tribe known as the Snake People, and the multi-headed reptile deity they worship, Naga the Snake King.
The script, co-written by Declan O’Brien (Sharktopus director) and Goldstein himself, is based on a story by series creators Boaz Davidson and Ken Badish and is remarkably generic considering the otherwise high creative standard set by the other ANBOP films. Heavily influenced by Anaconda 2 (there’s even a spider monkey), the film is set primarily in a rainforest and during the day meaning that cinematographer Eric Moynier relies mainly on natural lighting throughout but does show off his talents in the Snake King’s cave scenes, succeeding at making them both atmospheric and engaging.
By far, Snake Man has the highest body count in the series but the majority of the kills don’t come via the Snake King. Instead the number of people killed by the Snake People, other tribes or Dr Simon’s soldiers far outmatches the death total of any of the titular creatures in the ANBOP films. Bizarrely enough it also has the least amount of gore with the majority of the kills being either bloodless or off-screen.
In terms of acting this film has Stephen Baldwin and so it contains the standardised Stephen Baldwin heroic protagonist, the cardboard cut-out that the audience is led to believe is a mysterious, womanising yet compassionate badass but never actually see any proof of it. Jayne Heitmeyer plays is today’s cliché female science bitch  that has been played out so many times before (Anaconda 3 & 4, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, Boa Vs Python – to name just a few), with her being neither the best nor the worst to take up the role.
Larry Day (Punisher: War Zone) plays the antagonistic Dr Rick Gordon very convincingly, making his cowardly, prejudice character at least semi-threatening especially in his tension-heavy scenes with Baldwin. Gideon Rosa plays Dahar the leader of the Snake People with serious gusto and is genuinely scary at several points. Ross McCall (Green Street 1 & 2) plays previous-expedition member turned jungle-loony Tim whilst Gary Hudson (Dancing Ninja) plays the overall villain Dr John Simon – neither are exceptional.
It must be mentioned that Naga the Snake King is technically a Hydra, a giant snake-like reptile with multiple heads, but the design for the heads is based on horned snakes which are more commonly found in deserts than rainforests. Despite these factual contradictions, Naga actually makes for an imposing and threatening creature mainly thanks to the great sound design. The Snake King sounds honestly quite scary; the multi-layered chorus caused by its multiple heads is almost reminiscent of a dragon. As with most giant snake movies, there is very little variation in the kills, all revolving around limbs bitten off or constricting victims to death. The best death of the film is awarded to Dr Simon who has his arms and legs ripped off by different Hydra heads before being left screaming on the ground. This unintentionally hilarious moment is soon ended when he is finally decapitated and killed by a final Hydra bite.
The CGI is absolutely abysmal; at its best the film resembles Mega Snake quality and at its worst Komodo Vs Cobra quality. In particular, the shots where people are lifted up and mauled by the snake are embarrassingly retro. They are filmed in front of a green screen (real actors in a studio interacting with CGI Hydra heads with a still image for a background) instead of filming camera movement on location and having the creature and the human be a CGI creation.
No different to the other Boulevard Entertainment home media releases, Snake Man’s DVD is of such terrible quality that it deserves its own paragraph. The front cover uses the same template image as Shark Man but edited to show an angry man with snake eyes and fangs with an equally angry snake around his neck. This image is then resized and used for both the DVD spine and the blurb, the text of which is only vaguely related to the events of Snake Man and actually describe a story genuinely featuring a man/snake hybrid. There is no image on the disc, just the film’s title on a white background and there is no menu screen beyond the file menu that can be found in even the cheapest of DVD burners. In the height of laziness, the single file which is the film is not even named merely dated with when it was burnt onto the disc. As per usual, there is only one special feature in the form of an alternate opening (the same footage played silently with the original title ‘Snake King’ text overlay) but with a few deleted or extended shots added too. These are tacked onto the end of the film that, along with plenty of grey cards and black screen, seriously bumps up the DVD length.
Special features notwithstanding, Snake Man is mercifully short at 84 minutes. There is nothing really of merit to mention. The direction, locations, music, editing and acting are all just so average and lacking flare. It can only take one performance to make a mediocre creature feature memorable but unless you happen to be a big Stephen Baldwin fan, there’s nothing to really entice you in. The film is bog standard and the release is hilariously terrible, making it ideal for collectionists but not so much for everybody else. I pity those who bought this film expecting to see a half man/ half snake hybrid because I can tell you from first-hand experience that the disappointment is crushing.
A science bitch is a recurrent trope or convention within creature features; they are universally identifiable as blonde, pretty, skinny, stubborn, courageous and doggedly-determined scientists with a complete disregard for the consequences of their actions and whose degree of intelligence will vary depending on what the plot requires. Science bitches are available in both male and female varieties and can be found all over the world but predominately originate from the US.