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Spasms (1983) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

3 beersSending a scared coed flying through a bathroom door, the scaly giant-sized son of a bitch at the center of this monster flick really has it in for girls in shower stalls. Honestly, with crisp POV shots and attacking camera movements that show piercing bites on naked legs, the sequence in which Satan’s snake is unleashed upon a trio of young women is probably the single best moment in Spasms, a JAWS knock-off that – had it been handled a bit differently – should have made someone a bit of money.  Instead, Peter Fonda (Easy Rider) famously dismissed it as the worst thing he’s ever done.

There is a long believed myth sitting in the chest of Spasms, a B-grade monster flick that definitely needs a revalidation by most. It is NOT about how all actors are assholes, though. Peter Fonda and Oliver Reed might have been alcohol-fueled tyrants on the set of this flick but, no, that’s not this movie’s main attraction. As the populaces tell it, every seven years the island of Niraka Pintu becomes the home of a giant serpent and, courtesy of Dick Smith, this bitch of a serpent that Hell itself spit up looks all sorts of ready to snatch twisted souls and drag them back into the fiery depths.

Directed by William Fruet (House by the Lake, Trapped), this movie – when you strip it of its extra weight – is actually a damn good monster movie. There’s an engaging energy WHEN the monster attacks and the creature itself is all sorts of bizarre, thanks to the work of six men and one hydraulically controlled mega snake and an impressive attack sequence designed by Award winning makeup artist Dick Smith. who gives cinematic gore its grace and its face.

You see, these snake bites boil, they fester, and they eventually kill those not quick enough to get out of town.  It's pretty disgusting.

If only getting to those beautiful attack sequences wasn’t such a laborious bore. I mean, come on, you have a bloated Oliver Reed who has a direct psychic link to this massively slithering beast thanks to a bite that did not kill him and you have Peter Fonda as a fringe psychiatrist doing ESP experiments teaming up to bring a satanic snake from its home in the pacific islands to Canada for further study. What could possibly go wrong?

Turns out, quite a lot can go all Helter Skelter-like, especially when an unplanned group of Satan worshipers arrives to take the monster back to its island. There all isn't much humor to its shenanigans. 

Co-starring  Kerrie Keane (Incubus) as the only one with a level head, Al Waxman, Miguel Fernandes, and George Bloomfield as Reverend Thanner, Spasms, while not the greatest of giant serpent flicks, is pretty damn memorable in its roll-out of gore and blistering snakebites. All the thrashing and flailing about does lead to somewhere; it’s just not as focused as one would like considering the talent involved.

But this film’s failures have more to do with the crazy ideas from producers who didn’t know any better than to hire drug-dealers and other kinds of degenerates to work behind the scenes. Big mistake.  And in that way, the movie – which should have done well – quite simply became a stinker of a release. Too many chefs in one kitchen and too many people without any experience unsure of what to do with a pretty keyed-in script. Everyone, either in front of the camera or behind it, seemed hell-bent to bury what otherwise could and should have been an excellent horror entry into giant snake monster flicks.

This satanic snake bites hard. Blame Canada!  Spasms is now available on HD through Code Red.



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Film Details

Spasms (1983) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
90 mins
Director: William Fruet
Writer: Don Enright, William Fruet
Cast: Peter Fonda, Oliver Reed, Kerrie Keane
Genre: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline: the guardian of the gates of hell... the ultimate terror as it rips into your flesh.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I know what I'm doing."
Theatrical Distributor: Producers Distributing Corporation
Official Site: Release Date: May 11, 1984
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: February 27, 2018
Synopsis: A scientist on a Pacific island finds a new source of true evil – a deadly snake. It is captured and transported to the civilized world. Disaster strikes when the creature escapses onto the city streets to terrorize the community and wreak a frenzied trail of carnage and destruction.



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Spasms (1983) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Code Red DVD
Available on Blu-ray - February 27, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles: None
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The following is a message from Code Red: When the film elements were found for Spasms, there was a section of the film missing. Code Red had to insert ten minutes of standard definition video footage into the new HD master to be able to present the full-length film. That being said, Code Red’s handling of this movie is to be commended. Spasms is now on 1080p thanks to their new 2K scan of the original camera negatives. Framed in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and featuring a crisp DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 audio track, this tale of exploitation has never looked as crisp as it does here. The 1080p transfer is all sorts of saturated and pristine as Canada, a big snake, and an island come to life for its viewers. The leafy greens are impeccable; the film looks and sounds pretty solid. It is filled with fine grain textures as a few pops appear here and there. And just wait until the snake comes through the broken door of the bathroom! Overall, this is as satisfying brand new HD widescreen master from Code Red.




Special Features:

The blu-ray includes a Limited Edition Slipcover while supplies last.



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Spasms (1983) - Blu-ray Review