The movie for this week is a reminder that Sunday Night Slashers is just a name for this feature… A name I enjoy for the horror genre as slashers are for me m absolute favorite sub-genre, but not every movie is going to be a slasher. Today we’ve got a creature feature focusing on a giant animal, in this case of course the south American snake species the green anaconda.
To give the movie context for the size it actually refers to a 40 foot (or there-abouts, there are claims of it having grown since then although a shed skin, which is used to make this claim, is no accurate way to measure a snake – as the skin stretches as it molts and slithers out of it) individual. To put the size in to context with reality, the heaviest snake ever recorded was indeed an anaconda weighing 227 Kg, although it was just over 27 and a half feet long. The longest snake ever recorded was supposedly an almost 33 foot long reticulated python whilst the longest actually verified live snake was possibly as much as 5 feet shorter than that. However none of them were even close to as monstrous in all aspects (physical and behavioral) as the beast shown in this movie, so the anaconda in here is certainly a very sensationalized one!
I remember watching this film when it was still a new movie and thinking to myself, wow… This snake looks so real! I’d hate to come across a snake as big as that. Now I have to say that I’ve seen projects done in people’s bed rooms or in their college course which could come close to rivaling the quality of that CGI work. When ever you see the snake moving around at insane speeds or coming after the people in the movie it’s a fairly poor quality CGI model by today’s standards. For close up shots they used a physical effects model which again for the day was brilliant, and for today is clearly a model snake.
I’m not going to judge the film by the quality of the effects though… I’m not even going to judge it on the quality of the hair cuts! At the end of the day this is a movie from back in 1997 and for that time it did incredibly well, with some parts even being filmed on location in Brazil which helped to add a bit of authenticity to an incredibly tall tale…
And I’m not just talking about the size of the snake!
The story itself has a lot of out there characters and people who more than likely wouldn’t be in the position they are put in to whilst also telling the story in a way which is just incredibly unbelievable… which just gets worse once snake hunter Paul, played by Jon Voight, performs some very unlikely first aid in response to a ridiculous medical emergency.
Speaking of Jon Voight, he plays his role as the bad guy very well. He’s got charisma coming out of his ears, plays as being a nice guy when it suits him and above all looks absolutely crazy from start to finish. Why anyone in this film would trust this man is beyond me! However that’s what makes his performance so memorable – it’s very over the top, as any self respecting villain in the 90’s rightly should be! Having already been in the entertainment industry for almost 40 years prior to this film he was already at the time an accomplished actor, and probably the most experienced on set along with Jonathan Hyde a few years worth of service behind him. You can tell that both are quite old school actors as they play their parts quite over the top, as is often typical of stage actors and both are really memorable.
Funnily enough Jon Voight actually received some Stinkers awards and Razzies nominations as worst actor for that year which I can absolutely see out of context… but in the context of the film I think the over the top crazy he portrays kind of works! I definitely agree with worst supporting actor nominations for the anaconda! That thing is so bad – why did they have people voicing it? The sounds which come out of that snake are absolutely absurd. Even if you know nothing of snakes, it’s pretty common knowledge that the most you’ll get out of a snake is a hiss or tail rattle right?
They’re joined however by a big names cast, although at that time they weren’t all the household names they are today – at least not for their acting work. Anaconda counts amongst the first few movies for Owen Wilson, Ice Cube and Jennifer Lopez. I feel like these being earlier films for them actually adds to the movie as a horror film. I think horror is a genre which plays well in to the hands of poor acting or amateurish performances – its a fairly common theme for the genre and its something which these 3 bring to the screen (either on purpose or not, I’m not so sure). This isn’t a bad thing though, I can appreciate the value of an amateur performance and have to say that Ice Cube as Danny Rich is one of my favorite performances in the film.
We even catch a glimpse of Danny Trejo which just leaves you wishing that he’d been in it all the time!
I’m not really sure how this film gets 2 stars from me, but I kept watching it from start to finish and I guess it gave me a bit of nostalgia joy! If you’re not an 80’s or 90’s kid I don’t think you’re going to get much out of this movie to be honest because that nostalgia hit which saves it for me won’t be there!