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Snakes in Movies
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Snakes in Movies
 
The Blade Master [aka Cave Dwellers; Ator: The Invincible] (1984)
 
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
 
"Warrior, Magician, Hero, Thief. They called him .... The Blade Master."


This is a sword and sorcery action/fantasy movie directed by the notorious Joe Damato, a sequel to his "Ator: The Fighting Eagle." It was shot in two weeks without a script so it's not of the hightest quality. In fact, it's so bad that Mystery Science Theater 3000 made a version titled "Cave Dwellers" with their usual sarcastic comments. And it has one of the most brutal snake pit scenes I've ever seen in a movie. We never see any of the violence, only some of its aftermath, but we are led to believe that innocent people are sacrificed to a snake god by feeding them to an insatiably hungry monster snake that lives in the pit.

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Ator is a greased-up shirtless muscleman with long hair and short shorts. His job in this movie is to help the father of a beautiful woman named Mila, who wears a hubcap around her chest. The father, a scientist named Akronos, has developed some kind of powerful weapon so he's being threatened by a villain with a wicked Fu Manchu moustache named Zor. On the way to Akronos, Mila, Ator, and his sidekick Thong encounter cannibals and then some villagers who are forced to make sacrifices to the Kongs, who worship a snake god. The villagers trick Ator and his gang then sell them out to Zor who double-crosses the villagers and burns down their village. People never learn not to make deals with bad guys.

Ator and Mila are taken to the Kung castle to be offered as a sacrifice so Zor can pay off his dept to the Kong high priest. Zor also gives him an additional five nubile maidens just for fun, because they're the tastiest kind of maidens. When everyone first enters the snake pit foyer we see a shirtless guy in a turban holding a large snake that he tosses down into the pit to warm up the others and get the party started. The high priest makes a long speech to the snake god asking it to help them conquer their enemies, then the fun begins.

One by one men throw the nubile maidens through a hole in the floor down into a room full of skulls and bones and snakes, including one giant monster snake The girls disappear but we don't see where they go until finally we see only the legs of the fifth one getting pulled around a corner where there must be something very big and very hungry. The other snakes in the room don't seem to do anything except crawl around the skulls. All the while we hear lots of hissing and rattling sound effects along with some nubile maiden screaming, and we hear loud growling sounds that tell us there's something monsterous in the pit.

Just after Mila is tossed down, Thong sneaks in and cuts Ator loose. Ator grabs a sword and defeats everybody in the room, then he jumps down into the pit and starts hacking away at the snakes. Finally we see the giant monster snake come out of its hiding place. You'd think that after eating five nubile maidens and other assorted human appetizers the snake would be satisfied, but no, it wants more. It attacks Ator and the two duke it out. We can barely see the snake or the action because it's so dark, but what we do see of the monster snake and the sound effects we hear are some of the worst I've ever experienced. MST 3000 calls the snake a sock puppet made out of velour, and I don't even think that's an exaggeration - it's exactly what it looks like. It does have two giant fangs, of course, because all movie monster snakes are required to have them. How else would we know they're dangerous snakes?

After Ator kills the snake and saves Mila and her hubcap, they all go to a castle where Ator makes a hang glider and bombs Zor's army. The movie ends with Ator riding away from a nuclear bomb explosion. They made it up as they went in just two weeks. What more did you expect?

Besides the fake giant sock puppet snake, we see quite a few live snakes in the pit. Most of them appear to be pythons and boa constrictors.