Synopsis

Harry Spalding and his wife Valerie inherit a cottage in a small country village after his brother mysteriously dies. The locals are unfriendly and his neighbor Dr. Franklyn (a doctor of theology) suggests they leave. They decide to stay only to find that a mysterious evil plagues the community.

Director

John Gilling

Cast

Noel Willman
as Dr. Franklyn
Jennifer Daniel
as Valerie Spalding
Ray Barrett
as Harry George Spalding
Jacqueline Pearce
as Anna Franklyn
Michael Ripper
as Tom Bailey
John Laurie
as Mad Peter
Marne Maitland
as The Malay

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by The_Void 8 /10

Excellent little Hammer yarn!

The Reptile is famous for the fact that it utilises the same sets as the brilliant 'Plague of the Zombies', and as such; you would expect the rest of the film not to be up to Hammer's usual standards. This couldn't be further from the truth! While this may not be Hammer's best work, all the things that us fans have come to expect from this great studio are present, along with a few other little surprises. The film follows a man and his wife who move to a small village to live in the cottage that the man's brother left him. The brother died in mysterious circumstances...and our hero makes it his business to find out why. This plot is good enough, but it's the other one that really sparks the interest. The film introduces a brand new monster - the Snake Woman! Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster etc are all fine; but we've seen them all before. I have a lot of respect for this film just due to the fact that it's got something different on offer. The Snake Woman is an unfortunate victim of a curse...and she stalks the local population on the moors at night.

The film features a lot of suspense, and it pretty much runs throughout the entire run time. We are always on tender hooks to uncover the mystery behind the mystifying Snake Woman, and this is helped by the way that the plot continues to deal out cards, without telling the audience exactly what is going on until the end. The only real problem with the film is that the mythology never really explained in any great detail...the film, having a new monster at it's centre, would have benefited greatly from delving a little more into how she came about. This film is notable for Hammer fans because of the fact that the studio's favourite co-star, Michael Ripper, has got himself a starring role! This actor has done so much for Hammer films, and it's good to see him in a larger role for a change. The film benefits from the traditional Hammer style, including both lavish sets and a sense of goodwill that runs throughout. The film's climax is really good, as it provides an answer to both the plots running during the film, and even manages a little poetic justice! On the whole - don't miss this one. It may not be Hammer's best - or most famous - but I'm already looking forward to seeing it again!

Reviewed by BaronBl00d 7 /10

A Win One for the Ripper!

Ray Barrett and Jennifer Daniel inherit a small cottage in Cornwall. Barrett's brother died under mysterious circumstances, and the new couple soon see that people are not very friendly in the country. John Gilling made this the same time he directed Plague of the Zombies. And although that would be the superior of the two films, The Reptile is nonetheless another Hammer horror picture that captures a moody atmosphere filled with distrust and secrets, a talented acting troupe(particularly with regard to the character actors like John Laurie and Michael Ripper), an effective, thought-provoking(though highly implausible) script, good, solid direction, and some of the most credible settings and costumes about. Noel Willman plays a doctor of theology with a daughter that somehow have been involved with a cult of snake people or worshipers or something like that. He has a manservant who treats him as an inferior, played rather deftly by Marne Maitland. The film opens with one of those great Hammer openings as Barret's brother(Played by none other than Harold Pinter) - note in hand - comes running into this palatial English house - only to be attacked with what looks like a human snake. OK, the make-up isn't much to talk about, and if the movie wasn't called The Reptile and snakes were not mentioned - I might have thought it was a human mole too. But special effects or their lack of aside, Gilling does a fine job bringing this material to the screen and creating tense scenes as we see this couple slowly find out the truth. The biggest joy for me to behold was the presence of Michael Ripper again giving one of his solid, earthy performances as an inn keeper who decides to buck the village trend and cooperate with the new couple by telling them what he knows. Ripper has a much bigger role than many of his Hammer films allowed, and I thought he did a superb job creating a caring, frightened man trying to make a go of things in the country. In fact all of the performers give nice, solid performances. I heartily recommend The Reptile if you are a fan of Hammer and its horror film formula. This one keeps the formula in tact and works - really despite an absurd story that Gilling and company manage to pull off in spite of itself.

Reviewed by bensonmum2 8 /10

A real gem in Hammer's catalog

A young couple, Harry and Valerie Spalding, inherit and move into a small cottage previously owned by the husband's now deceased brother, Charles. Charles' death is something of a mystery, but none of the locals in the small Cornish village want to discuss it or any of the other deaths they've seen. Harry has seen some strange things in his time and believes that these deaths are similar to the cobra bite victims he saw in India. But a cobra in Cornwall - it's not possible. The couple meets their standoffish and odd neighbor, Dr. Franklyn, and his charming, but strange daughter, Anna. The Franklyn's are hiding a secret, but is it a secret capable of killing Charles and others in the community? Is there a giant, snake-like creature hiding in the Franklyn's house?

Of all the wonderful movies that Hammer made, I'm of the opinion that The Reptile is one of the most often overlooked gems in the catalog. It's a really nice movie that doesn't seem to get near the attention I feel it deserves. Good acting from a rather small cast (with a big, meaty role for Hammer regular Michael Ripper), nice pacing, solid direction, and that Hammer "look" (for lack of a better word) that I always enjoy. But what really sets The Reptile apart is the atmosphere. There's a real sense of fear and mystery about the whole movie. It's as creepy and suspense filled as anything Hammer ever made. And I just love the whole notion of a snake-cult putting a curse on Franklyn and his daughter. It's a unique, original idea for a movie. Sure, there have been other snake-to-man movies, but none that I've seen are as well done as this one. Finally, I've read complaints about the make-up effects. Personally, I think they're fine given the relative modest budget Hammer put-up for the movie. The snake appliances may not look as real as one might have hoped for, but at least they're not some weightless CGI nonsense. Just go with it and have fun.

Read more IMDb reviews