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Snakes in Movies

Snake Pits in Movies

This is an alphabetical list of movies with snake pits in them, taken from the main Snakes in Movies List.

My dictionary defines a snake pit as "a pit containing poisonous snakes." A pit being a large hole in the ground. (Unfortunately my dictionary is not smart enough to know that snakes are venomous, not poisonous.) Snake pits used for killing may never have existed. They might just be a thing of fiction. After all, they are impractical and dangerous - you have to dig the pit, find the snakes, somebody has to get into the pit to take care of the snakes, and then someone has to pull out the dead bodies without being killed. Nevertheless snake pits show up occasionally in the movies and on TV.

This is a list of movies I've found that include pits or other places full of dangerous snakes that someone finds themself in, facing the peril of getting killed by the snakes. Sometimes they are put in the place full of snakes with the intention of killing them, but not always. This list also includes people who accidentally find themselves in an enclosed place full of deadly snakes, such as the underground abandoned mine in True Grit.

I have only found a few examples of actual human-made snake pits in movies (Gunga Din, 1939, is the earliest) so I'm expanding this list to include similar situations in which an enclosed place - a room, a dungeon, a temple, a jail cell, a field, etc. is filled with venomous snakes. It's all the same idea - an area is full of venomous snakes and someone is forced to come into contact with the snakes. (It's a trope similar throwing someone into a pool full of hungry sharks, or throwing someone into a lions den, or any of the many "wild animals run amok" horror movies where someone is devoured by rats or slugs or insects or some other group of animals.) Often in movies a single venomous snake is used to hurt someone, sometimes by locking them in somewhere with the snake, and I don't see why you couldn't have a snake pit with only one snake in it, but this list only shows places with more than one venomous snake.

Keep in mind that in the movies venomous snakes are often portrayed by harmless snakes for reasons of safety.
See the Snakes Used As Weapons in Movies list to see many other ways snakes have been used to harm someone in the movies.

Dante Alighieri, in his 14th century "Divine Comedy" imagined a giant snake pit in Hell where thieves were tortured by snakes. There's a nice illustration of this snake pit by Gustave Doré (1832-1883) titled "The Thieves Tortured by Serpents".

My theory is that the idea of a snake pit comes from snake dens. Some snakes, including venomous species such as rattlesnakes, gather together in large groups to spend the winter in refuges (dens) under the ground or in cracks in rock outcrops. When temperatures begin to warm up the snakes come out and lie on the ground and the rocks to warm themselves up. In some areas you see find thousands of snakes all lying together in depressions or "pits" in the ground where they overwinter, such as the garter snake den you can see below that I photographed in Canada.

Red-sided Gartersnake Den    Red-sided Gartersnakes in Den

You can see more pictures and read a description of the snake scenes by following the title link.

Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching a film.

Shortcut to Movie Title

Angel of Vengeance (War Cat) (1987)

A woman who was abducted and abused by a group of crazy psdudo-military survivalists gets revenge on the group's leader by throwing him into a pit full of rattlesnakes that was made by one of his men.
Angel of Vengeance Screenshot
The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)  

Two men try to kill him, then hide in a pit, so Cable throws rattlesnakes into the pit to force them out.
Ballad of Cable Hogue
Black Samurai (1977)

A mobster cult leader called The Warlock throws people into a jail cell full of killer snakes to get rid of them.
Black Samurai
The Blade Master [aka Cave Dwellers; Ator: The Invincible] (1984)

Nubile maidens are thrown into a snake pit as human sacrifices to be devoured by a giant monster snake.
Calamity of Snakes (1982)

Construction workers dig a pit that (somehow) ends up full of snakes. The developer orders all of them killed, which sets off an epic battle between an army of snakes and the occupants of the finished building.
Calamity of Snakes Screenshot
The Craft (1996)  

A high school witch conjures up thousands of snakes and puts them in the path of a girl who has had terrifying hallucinations of snakes, in order to torment her.

The Craft
Creature with the Blue Hand (1967)

An evil psychiatric doctor fills a room with snakes to scare a woman and force her to do what he wants.
Creature with the Blue Hand
Dante's Inferno [L'inferno] (1911)

In Dante's version of Hell, thieves are punished in a giant pit full of nasty, biting snakes.
The Day The Earth Froze (Sampo) 1959

A wicked witch has a snake pit into which she throws troublemakers.

Enter the Devil (1972) 

Torch-carrying cult members throw people into a pit full of rattlesnakes in the desert to get rid of them.
Enter the Devil
Exodus: Gods & Kings (2014)

The Pharaoh Ramses has a pit full of pet snakes.
Exodus Screenshot
Gunga Din (1939)  

Indian cultists torture a British soldier by threatening to throw him into a snake pit.
gunga din
Hercules Against the Barbarians (1964)

Mongol soldiers lure Hercules into a pit with a big snake and try to kill him with an arrow. He wrestles the snake then kills it with the arrow.
Herculese Screenshot
Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)  

The Ark of the Covenant is stored in an underground temple that is basically a gigantic pit full of snakes left there to guard the Ark.
Indiana Jones
The Lost City (2022)

A man and woman are tied up in the middle of the floor of a temple that is covered with snakes.

The Lost City
Natural Born Killers (1994)  

A Navajo man is murdered, so he gets revenge by using magic to fill a field full of rattlesnakes that bite his murderers.
Natural Born Killers
Nightmare Alley (2021)

A carnival sideshow features a wild man in a pit full of snakes who bites the head off a live chicken.
NIghtmare Alley Screenshot
Snake Eyes (2021)

A Ninja candidate must lower himself into a large underground chamber through a hole in the ceiling to face three giant ancient snakes that will determine if he is pure of heart. If he isn't, they eat him. If he is, they crawl away.
The Snake Girl (1974) 

An evil woman throws her adopted sister into a snake pit to die by snake bite, but instead she mates with a snake and gives birth to Snake Girl, who grows up in the snake pit and has a head full of snakes instead of hair.
The Snake Girl
The Snake Pit (1948)

There are no snakes in this movie, but there is a snake pit - one filled with people with mental illness. Sometimes the title is enough...
Soldier (1998) 

A supersoldier is left for dead on a garbage dump planet that's also filled with dangerous snakes. He throws an enemy soldier into a huge pit filled with snakes to kill him.
Strange New World (1975)

On post-apocalyptic Earth, snakes roam around the former site of a zoo, and the zoo inhabitants use a pit full of snakes to throw convicted criminals into as capital punishment.
The Tender Warrior (1971)

A poacher in a Georgia swamp digs a pit and covers it with vegetation then puts a rattlesnake in it to make a trap to hurt a young boy who keeps releasing the animals he traps.
Tender Warrior Screenshot
Thomasine & Bushrod (1974)

A U.S. Marshall tortures an outlaw by hanging him over a snake pit full of rattlesnakes. When he refuses to talk, he cuts the rope to drop him into the pit.
The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (Die Schlangengrube und das Pendel) (1967)

A woman in a ball gown is forced to stand above a pit full of snakes on a wooden beam that is slowly moving into a wall. When the beam disappears there will be nothing left for her to stand on and she will fall into the snake pit.
The Trial of Billy Jack (1974) 

Billy Jack goes on a vision quest and finds a lot of snakes lying around on the ground in a cave that he must get past to continue his journey.
The Trial of Billy Jack
True Grit (1969) 

A girl falls into an abandoned mine full of rattlesnakes and is rescued by a one-eyed U.S. Marshall who shoots the snakes.
True Grit
True Grit (2010) 

A girl falls into an abandoned mine full of rattlesnakes and one bites her. She is rescued by a one-eyed U.S. Marshall who shoots the snakes.
True Grit
Virgin Sacrifice (Fury of the Jungle) (1959)

Snakes are put into a pit that is hidden with branches in order to kill whoever falls into it.
3 Idiots

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