There comes a time in any film writer’s life where you get hit with a major case of “ennui”. You feel stuck in a rut. Everything feels the same. What once made you wince in delightful pain is merely a tickle.
And then, miracle of miracles, you stumble on something entirely and utterly new (at least to you) and oh so satisfying. Such a film is Thunder of Gigantic Serpent.
The origins of this massively schizoid epic are a tad muddled. The original title is Daai se wong and it was directed by Godfrey Ho (at least according to IMDB but what do they know….) and its release date is 1988.
However the film’s credits and English poster credit the film to “Charles Lee”. It could be Ho, whose signature style is to cut and paste a film together from various sources for exportation, is using a pseudonym.
The bulk film also seems to have been filmed in 1980 and incorporates footage from another film released in 1984. Chances are Ho may have pieced this together by salvaging bits of a couple of failed productions.
That would explain the film being a celluloid equivalent to Sybil- It’s an epic monster movie, Asian snake horror film, R-rated shoot ’em up and feelgood kiddie movie – for girls to boot.
The film begins with the Caucasian villain shooting beer cans in his driveway. This character- which will never come in contact with the film’s protagonists orders his henchman to get “The Formula” which will allow him to control the world’s food supply.
Then, we are introduced to Ting-Ting, a bouncy little chinese girl with the most grating dubbed-over “adult trying to sound like a child” ever committed to film. A lonely child whose only friend is a snake which not only understands her, it responds by nodding its head.
Did someone change channels? We’re in a lab now.
“The Formula” looks like a clear plexiglass pet transport with electrodes built in. Lock in a frog, zap it and it become doggie sized. They’ll make a fortune in France!
But as terrorists burst upon the scene, the scientist flee into the woods where they are all shot – but not before losing the Formula/pet transport thingie.
This is where Ting-Ting, our little girl protagonist stumbles upon the box and decides to take it home as it would make a good home for Martha. Once the snake in in the box, Ting-Ting turns on “the pretty lights” which activates the thingamajig and Martha pops out of the box, now anaconda sized and screaming like a chimp.
The next day Martha scares off bullies and develops the kind of friendship with Ting-Ting that montages set to 80s synth music were made for.
Special ops are called in. These are guys who wear camouflage fatigues and vivid red berets with Harley-Davidson logos on them. There’s one white dude in this team who distinguishes himself from his colleagues because his hat is way bigger and his scenes are shot separately (just like, coincidentally, the bad guy with the beer cans).
For some reason (I zoned out- paying attention is really taxing at this point), the terrorists suspect Ting-Ting has the box. They try to get her but Martha protects her. So they try to capture Martha via some jury-rigged electric fence which causes the snake to become the behemoth we all came to see.
Oh, it gets better. Here’s another tease.
As it attacks the city, Ting-Ting keeps crying out her name. She’s so loud, I swear I could still hear her with the sound off.
After all is said and done, we go back to the white guys to wrap things up with them. The special ops guy, whose oversized beret looks like Papa Smurf’s hat get into a martial arts demonstration routine that ends with the bad guy shot point blank. The end.
Here is the complete feature. It’s in (painfully) dubbed English with Greek subtitles. Somehow, I suspect this film got released there as a consequence of the austerity measures imposed on them by European banks.
Pain Level: 9/10
Quality of Pain: Thunderous
Painjoyment™ Level: Off the scale!