Hammer Studios was very busy during the 60’s and 70’s as we have covered before, and as you can tell by my rash of reviews of their films lately. As I have previously stated other than the classic monster films they dipped into a wide variety of horror and science fiction elements. One of those came out in 1966. It was called The Reptile. Filmed back to back with Plague of the Zombies The Reptile is not as bloody as a typical Hammer film, and not as “Erotic” as some from this era. The Reptile is more of a slow burn horror suspense film that met with a great amount of critical praise upon its release.
The Reptile takes place in a small village where Harry and Valerie Spalding have just moved to. Harry’s brother passed away and left him his home. Although anxious to start there life there they notice hardly any of the townspeople talk to them, or even look at then for that matter. The only person who talks to them at first is Tom. He lets them know it’s not them, it’s the fact that people in the town keep dying. The local Dr says “The Black Death” is the cause. The local Dr, Franklyn lives next to Harry with his daughter and a mute servant. He blames The Black Death for everything.
As this Black Death is responsible for the death of Harry’s brother he decides to start investigating further. He decides to invite the town lunatic over for dinner to discuss it. Because who better then to help lead an investigation then a man nicknamed Mad Peter. Peter basically tells them to get out before they die, then runs off into the night. He does come back after he runs away. He comes back to die. He’s convulsing, foaming at the mouth, and his skin has a black tint to it. Obviously this is the work of the Black Death.
Harry decides to take his investigation to the next level and dig up Mad Peters body, as well as his brothers so he can examine their corpses. He finds, on both, a bite mark in the neck similar to what you would find from a snake or reptile if you will. Obviously the Black Death is being caused by something evil, and Harry along with Tom must try to find it and stop it.
Scream Factory has just added this one to there ever growing collection of Hammer Blu-ray titles and like the others they have done an amazing job with the transfer. The video and audio are fantastic. There really is nothing I can ever say bad about the work Scream Factory does. They have the transfer process on these old films down to a sweet science. Apart from looking and sounding amazing the film boast an impressive amount of special features as well.
· Presented In Two Aspect Ratios – 1.66:1 And 1.85:1
· NEW Audio Commentary By Film Historians Steve Haberman, Constantine Nasr And Ted Newsom
· NEW Interview With 1st Assistant Director William P. Cartlidge
· The Serpent's Tale – The Making Of The Reptile
· World Of Hammer – Wicked Women
· Theatrical Trailers
· TV Spot
· Still Galleries
As I stated not bloody like many other Hammer films from this time, but still a really fun story. The cast does a great job and the film moves along at a fast pace. Fans of old school horror will definitely get a kick out of this one. Pick it up for a fun enjoyable evening movie.
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars