Plot: Since an accident left her crippled, Mrs. Crawford (Stephanie Mihm) has become reclusive and quite bitter toward the world, especially toward her own daughter, Betty (Rachel Grubb). While Betty has been dutiful caretaker and looked after her needs, Mrs. Crawford resents her because she was directly responsible for the accident and by her turn, her current situation. She even begrudges her daughter’s attempts to have a social life and constantly berates her choice in men, much to Betty’s displeasure. Although she continues to see Henry (Daniel Sjervan) despite her mother’s nagging, the stress of the situation has worn down Betty to no end. Mrs. Crawford’s doldrums perk up when a mysterious package arrives and though she isn’t the intended recipient, she decides to open it regardless. Inside is what appears to be a relic of some kind, an amulet with a unique design. When she discovers the amulet is more than meets the eye, how will Mrs. Crawford wield this mysterious power?
Entertainment Value: Queen of Snakes is hilarious and often surreal, a strange tribute to some of the cult classics of the past. As with other Christopher Mihm productions, this one is stylized to harken back to the old school genre movies, complete with some of the more colorful, offbeat tropes. In other words, the stilted dialogue and odd performances are intentional, an approach that does confuse some viewers, especially those who aren’t familiar with the kind of movies that served as inspiration. The narrative is simple and keeps things on a narrow path, focusing on the mother/daughter dynamic and some supernatural touches. The movie is driven by the characters however, with the total dysfunction between Betty and her mother as the main element, a dynamic that never ceases to be awkward and outlandish. Queen of Snakes is bizarre from the start and while the emphasis on dialogue might throw some audiences off, I was loving this one right from the jump. I can see why it might rub some viewers the wrong way, with the simple, dialogue driven approach and limited locations, but this is never dull and rolls out memorable moments often. The movie also runs under 70 minutes and stays on a tight narrative path the entire run, so the pace is on point and Queen of Snakes is a brisk ride. I had immense fun with this one and while the throwback approach might tweak some folks, this earns our highest recommendation.
No nakedness. There are some light romantic elements, but when Henry gives a woman a pearl necklace, it is an actual pearl necklace. Betty’s love is wholesome, so the lack of sleaze makes sense here. No real blood either, but again that goes hand in hand with the retro approach taken. There are some light horror elements centered around the snake creature, but the violence is tame and never graphic whatsoever. I love the look of the snake creature however, as it reminded me of Hammer’s The Reptile, while the other assorted visual effects are hokey, but suited to the material. The dialogue is where Queen of Snakes shines however, with a constant stream of awkward, stilted, and hilarious exchanges that always entertained. I love how characters vocalize even the most mundane, obvious elements of conversation, especially in the banter between Betty and Mrs. Crawford. The performances amplify the awkward vibes, somehow both wooden and wildly over the top in nature, combining for an experience when even the most basic interactions are memorable. Yes, mother. As you might be able to pick up on by now, I found this to be an offbeat, strange movie and while it doesn’t often go down the insane path, it is always odd. The dialogue and performances are borderline unsettling and yet always hilarious, so it is an unusual picture.
Overall Insanity: 7/10