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Snakes in Movies
 
Devil Woman (Evil Snake Girl) (1970)
 
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Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
 
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This is a movie made in the Phillipines that's part revenge story and part martial arts movie. There is little to recommend about it except that it's full of snakes. Before finding it on Amazon free streaming, I first watched this on an ancient VHS copy part of a series of "Sexy Shockers" although there is nothing remotely sexy about this movie or shocking either, except maybe the picture quality and the awful dubbed English dialogue. It's some of the most hilarious dubbing I have ever heard, with the words pronounced correctly but with the intonations, the pacing, and the inflections almost consistenly wrong throughout the movie.

At the beginning of the movie, a man's wife gives birth to what he calls a "monster" baby, named Manda. There's no explanation why it happened, but we see some snakes in the room where she is born, and I expect that it's somehow related to Phillipine folklore about snake women or devil women or maybe it's just a genre of movies that is popular in the country similar to the snake woman movies of India. As Manda grows up we learn that she has the ability to control snakes. We see a close-up of her eyes looking strange and we hear some weird music as she waves one hand. Then we hear a stacatto hissing sound and see snakes either coming or leaving under her control. She reminds me of a traffic cop for snakes.

Since Manda's birth, many people in her village have been killed by snakebite. A wise man convinces people that the devil is behind the deaths because snakes are controlled by the devil after dark. As a girl, Manda always wears a scarf on her head. When young kids gang up on her and try to force her to take off her scarf, a boy reaches under it and is bitten by venomous snakes. This convinces the villagers that she is a snake devil. They become an angry mob that kills her parents and burns down their house, but not before her mother has sent Manda away safely. The tragedy turns Manda into a revenge-hungry monster.

Years later Manda returns to the village as a grown up woman, intending to kill everyone who was involved with the deaths of her parents. At the same time, a gang of bandits is terrorizing the village and a Kung Fu master from China named Shu has arrived. Manda threatens the bandits with snakes to force them to help her kill the villagers. They are very happy to help her, since killing and raping are their favorite things to do. The bandits all hide out in a large cave where Manda sits on a throne coverred with snakes. Meanwhile, Kung Fu Master Shu romances a young girl who is loved by one of the bandit leaders. The bandit leader keeps sending men to fight him, but Shu always wins. Shu tells Manda that her snakes have killed too many people. Then he proceeds to kill lots of bandits.

Manda encocunters one of her childhood friends who remembers her fondly, but since she's become a monster Manda can't return his affection. That makes her feel sorry for herself and that makes her finally remove her head covering all the way. We see for the first time that Manda's head is covered with snakes like Medusa. Later, during the climactic fight scene, she uncovers her Medusa head and fights Shu with her snakes. She makes snakes fly through the air at him, but Shu evades them all, jumping around, chopping them up with his hands, and killing them with darts that he throws into their heads. We see that even though Manda has the power to disappear and reappear at will, she is still no match for Shu's martial arts. She finally falls off a cliff and is consumed by flames.

Many of the snakes we see are real live snakes, including cobras and pythons. We also see some large stuffed fake snakes, and some dead snakes animated with wires to look like they're alive. Her Medusa head appears to be made of a combination of rubber snakes, dead snakes, and a few live snakes that are somehow stuck onto the snake wig. I'd hate to be the person responsible for maintaining that costume for the duration of the shoot.

This movie is followed by a sequel Bruka Queen of Evil (1973.) Manda returns in the sequel, but with a new device to let her go around in public with hair instead of a pile of snakes on her head.
Devil Woman