Night of the Serpent (1969) Luke Askew, Luigi Pistilli, Magda Konopka, Chelo Alonso, Guglielmo Spoletini, Franco Balducci Movie Review

Night of the Serpent (1969)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Luke Askew in Night of the Serpent (1969)

Slow Hand Luke

Lieutenant 'The Snake' Hernandez (Luigi Pistilli), commander of a garrison in a small village, joins a group of townsmen with the intention of robbing orphan Manuel (Luciano Casamonica) of his inheritance following the accidental murder of the boy's father. Luke (Luke Askew), having become an alcoholic following a traumatic event in his part, is chosen by revolutionary Pancho (Benito Stefanelli) to be the pawn of the conspirators and kill the boy. The question is can he bring himself to do so?

"Night of the Serpent" has everything; there is a double intriguing story involving not just a group of people trying to get their hands on an inheritance but also the troubled Luke and a past which has lead him down a path of alcoholism. We also have a variety of characters from those which appear almost foolish whilst others which come across as despicable and manipulative making for an oddball bunch of misfit thieves. And we have plenty of style from your classic close ups of characters eyes to the heavy use of shadow when it comes to interior shots. This is a movie which definitely ticks a lot of boxes with Luke Askew doing a pretty decent job of getting across his character whilst saying very few words.

The trouble with "Night of the Serpent" is that it simply tries too hard to turn a decent story into a master piece with one scene after another ending up painfully laborious. It means that all the mystery, the inner turmoil, the caring feelings of a pretty senorita and so on which make up the movie end up becoming uninteresting as director Giulio Petroni is too focused on style over substance. That is not the only issue as there are numerous scenes which are not only filler but they end up laborious filler because again these scenes are all about the style rather than taking us from one part of the story to another.

What this all boils down to is that if you can look past the style and filler there is a lot to like in "Night of the Serpent" but it is a big ask as all that style ends up forced and laborious, dominating the movie to the point it ends up hard work.