Ever had that vehement urge to watch a movie where a radioactive snake bites a guy’s hand, causing the hand to morph into a murderous snake? Well then you’re in luck because thanks to Fred Goodwin we have such a movie: Curse 2: The Bite. Now I must warn those of you who suffer from ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes, because this film has a fuck ton of snakes in it. Not just regular snakes— vicious, mutated, lethal snakes that snarl and have their own POV!
Curse 2: The Bite is the second instalment of a tetralogy which happens to be my favourite of the series and quite frankly deserves more recognition mainly due to the fabulous work from special effects expert Screaming Mad George. He has a distinguished and slimy approach to his impressive work that shines in many great horror films such as Society and Bride of Re-Animator. He’s also responsible for that unforgettable cockroach death scene in Nightmare on Elm Street 4.
Curse 2: The Bite follows a couple Clark (J. Eddie Peck), who looks like Michael from The Lost Boys, and Lisa, (Popcorn’s lead scream queen Jill Shoelen), as they drive through a desolate Arizona road when their car breaks down. While Lisa is crouching in the desert to take a pee, Clark shoots an approaching snake presumably going for her snatch, however another snake slithers its way into their car unnoticed. As they drive away, they run over a heap of snakes in the middle of the road. This might be one of the most disturbing shots in the movie, it’s so gross.
Once they pull into a seedy motel parking lot, Clark gets his hand bit by the sneaky snake and now the curse has initiated its impending doom. Harry (Jamie Farr from M*A*S*H), a travelling salesman, is also staying at the motel and has a convenient specialty in snake venom vaccines. Unbeknownst to everyone, he administers the wrong antiviral. Oops! The next day the effects of the bite commence with a headache, and then violent outbursts followed by nausea. His symptoms then begin to mutate further and Clark gains impeccable strength, a new sex drive, and an attitude. One of the most ridiculous scenes is when his infected snake hand, which at this point is poorly bandaged and begins to take control of his mind, fondles Lisa while she’s driving. That’s one horny trouser snake! Then the first kill occurs when they get pulled over by the local deputies who are convinced he’s a drug addict and because he refuses to remove the bandage from his hand.
During all this, Harry the hero, upon realizing he gave Clark the wrong vaccine is looking for him with the aid of his fellow trucker friends so he can administer the proper antidote so he doesn’t get sued or worse, imprisoned for manslaughter. When Clark and Lisa finally reach a hospital, we get to see our first glimpse of the morphing snake hand and the visionary skills of Screaming Mad George. After a second kill, Clark amputates his arm because he can’t cope with being a murderer.
With a missing hand, Clark winds up in a house of Swedish lord worshippers to self-medicate, through the lord. Just when he thought it was all over, you guessed it, it’s not over until the regrown snake hand has sung with a fiery vengeance oozing with even more Mad George slime! The remaining 15 minutes of the film is filled with astonishingly foul special effects including an eyeball popping out, a ripped elongated tongue, an egg sack being vomited that spews out a bunch of baby snakes, more giant snakes being barfed out, and did I mention earlier in the film we also get a mutated snake dog!
I used to be overly disturbed by the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when River Phoenix falls in the pit of snakes but I now see that Jill Schoelen got it way worse! Curse 2: The Bite is kind of like a messed-up Spider-Man horror story in the realm of The Fly but with snakes. What this movie has taught me is that if you need to pee while driving through Arizona, hold it in until you’re in a snake-free zone!