John Gilling shot this supernatural thriller after wrapping Plague of the Zombies, using that film's locale and even some of the same sets. Noel Willman stars as the mysterious Dr. Franklyn, a reclusive nobleman with a bea... more »utiful daughter (Jacqueline Pearce) he keeps hidden away--and for good reason. His daughter carries a curse, the result of his forays into forbidden knowledge in the Far East, and transforms into an uncontrollable, snakelike creature who preys upon the local villagers. Gilling's spooky, mist-enshrouded countryside and foreboding interior atmosphere is undercut somewhat by Pearce's unconvincing makeup, but her freakish appearance is still startling and the gruesome corpses she leaves in her wake are genuinely unsettling. The film has been remastered from the original 35mm negatives in the Hammer vaults and letterboxed to its original aspect ratio. --Sean Axmaker« less
"I have a thing for Horror, especially for the 60's, 70's stuff. This here is a truely great one, one of the best Hammer films I've ever seen. It's like a much better version of "The Golem" which exposes similar themes. A man moves with his wife to the village where his Brother lived and died ( he died mysteriously ). They inherit his House and soon enough, People start dying. The Townsfolk is scared and bullies the couple, exept for the Barkeeper, who is trying to help them solve the mystery. Could it be that Dr. Franklin has a secret? And who is that creepy servant in his house? And why does he do anything to keep his Daughter at Home?
Everything you want is there : Moors, Spooky Graveyards, A really cool looking Creature ( It would be way cooler if it wasn't on the Box ). The Acting by everybody is great, nobody hams it up here, which is a good thing. Especially Jacqueline Pearce, I wonder what she's doing now. Her performance shines all around she really makes you feel for her. Hail Jacqueline! Her performance alone makes this movie worth watching. Her performance would make "Grim" worth watching. One Thing most Monster Movies try but horribly fail is to make us feel for the Monster. This movie doesn't try and I nearly cried at The Reptile's final words. The "Mad Peter" Character was funny, his line "I don't take part in some things that people take so serious these days, for example..." is hiliarous.If you're in the Mood for some good ol'fashion Horror, check out the Reptile, it's perfect stuff. Sure there are a lot of plot holes and the suspense doesn't always hold up but still, this is one great movie and shouldn't be forgotten."
Beatiful minor hammer has compensations
coperalcrap | 03/17/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"so it doesn't have lee, cushing or morrel. But, it has beautiful photography, skillful direction, fine characterisation and classy supporting actors inhabiting those charasters, John Laurie and Michael Ripper put in some of their best work on film. It also has a very good score, sorry, composers name excapes me at the moment but its very subtle compared to the usual james Bernards rising chords (don't get me wrong though, i like them too). Make up for once is excellent, good comparing with that in the gorgon which is not so good. The victims die in convincing and fairly horrible fashion, and even the creature itself is better than usual for hammer. A quiet classic for hammer fans and fans of movies that achieve alot on a small budget and little time"
Overlooked Hammer delight
Deborah MacGillivray | US & UK | 10/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hammer was a class act. They gave us great films, with lush attention to settings, costumes and location shooting. They gave you incisive writing, witty dialog (well, most of the time) and they are unsurpassed for creating atmosphere. They made screen legends out of Lee and Cushing, and brought old horror tells into vivid color, with plenty of sexy-babes around to please the lads. For some reason, The Reptile, one of their better efforts works, tends to go unnoticed or dismissed. Could it be because of the "creature" was a mere female instead of the tall dashing Lee?
Well, now that time has passed, people can rediscover this classy Hammer tale. The Reptile (like the old grade C class The Alligator People) rather lets the cat out of the bag as soon as the title is flashed. However, stick with the tale and enjoy Hammer's gorgeous lensing, and excellent location work. Directed by John Gilling (who directed Lee in Hammer's Pirated of Blood River and a pairing of Lee and Cushing in The Gorgon - two other overlook great films) and written by Anthony Hinds, who pens such other stylish Hammer classics (The Brides of Dracula, the Curse of the Werewolf, Kiss of the Vampire), The Reptile is a moody film. Ray Barrett and Jennifer Daniel play Harry George Spalding and his wife Valerie, a young couple who inherits the husband's cottage in Cornwall, England after his uncle's mysterious death. Michael Ripper, the perpetual also ran of Horror, does a fine character role as the tavern owner who helps them. No sooner than they unpack, they learn a serial killer has been murdering villagers and likely killed Harry's uncle. The film suffers from the obvious, we know there is a Reptile, so the impact is blunted from the start.
Shot back-to-back with the Plague of the Zombies, if you are familiar with one film, and watch the other, you will recognize the same village for the shoot. It builds suspense in an understated fashion, creating really spooky atmosphere. I think this leisurely pace causing some to dismiss this worthwhile film, while those with a more discerning taste will enjoy the non-hysterical approach."
Hits all the right notes for a Hammer horror
www.DavidLRattigan.com | United Kingdom | 07/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An original premise, great atmosphere, good cast - this has all the elements we've come to expect from a Hammer gothic horror. There are no stars, but the cast is excellent anyway, especially Noel Willman, Jacqueline Pearce and Hammer veteran Michael Ripper, in one of his finest roles.
The makeup and effects are memorable, even if the Reptile's occasionally shoddy appearance has caused a bit of mirth over the years."
Great Atmosphere In Highly Effective Hammer Horror
Simon Davis | 05/14/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In any discussion of this 1966 Hammer production mention almost always is made of the fact that this film was made almost along side Hammer's other big effort of that time "The Plague of the Zombies", using alot of the same sets and cast and employing the same director, John Gilling. "The Reptile", usually comes off the worse when the two are compared but I've always had a great fondness for this film which incorporates a very sinister premise with great photography and an extremely interesting and I might add quite, frightening central creature of the title. Hammer's seemingly favourite locale for their films, the moors of Cornwall, serves ideally as the backdrop for this tale of far eastern curses and underlying menace. The slow build up to what is really happpening also adds greatly to the tension as a number of red herrings are put in place to distract the viewer from finding out why things are happening. The eventual full appearance of the "reptile" of the title comes well into the running time and certainly comes off as one of Hammer's most effective horror creations."The Reptile", begins with the strange death of Charles Spalding a newish resident of a small Cornwall village. He is attacked by an unknown creature while in the home of the mysterious Dr. Franklyn. As his funeral is quickly conducted in the village graveyard we find out that he is not the first resident to die a horrible death in recent times. Charles' brother Harry (Ray Barrett) inherits all of his property including his small cottage on the edge of the moor and along with his wife Valerie (Jennifer Daniel) decides to travel down to Cornwall and set up residence there. Their arrival in the village however produces some strange reactions among the locals and only the local innkeeper Tom Bailey (Hammer veteran Michael Ripper), befriends the couple and tries to warn them of what might be in store for them in the village. Harry and Valerie make the acquaintance of "Mad Peter", the local eccentric who soon after dies a horrible death with the same symptons, always passed off simply as "heart failure", that Charles had. Each victim has the same strange wound on the neck and blackened face that seemingly comes from some fanged animal and spreads a strange poison throughout the body causing almost instant death. Harry suspects their very strange and inhospitable neighbour Dr. Franklyn is behind the mysterious deaths and his curiosity is further aroused when the doctor's heavily dominated daughter Anna (Jacqueline Pearce),is seemingly kept away from contact with others. The presense in the doctor's house of a mysterious man servant (Marne Maitland) who seems to have an unexplained hold over the household adds further to the Harry's suspicions about the doctor. After investigating Dr. Franklyn's house late at night for clues Harry is attacked and nearly dies from the same wound as the earlier victims. While Harry is recovering Valerie is lured to the house by a note from Anna asking for help. It is revealed that Dr. Franklyn is not the guilty party afterall as he is the one cursed by an ancient religious cult from South East Asia that worships snakes and has turned his daughter into a half woman, half reptile as punishment for him interfering in their secret society. Anna now awakens from her reptilian slumber and attacks Valerie in the house after she has already killed her father. However in the fight with her father a fire begins which destroys not only the house but Anna as well.John Gilling reveals a sure hand in his direction of "The Reptile", and wisely doesn't allow the audience to see clearly the creature in question till well into the film's running time. The film has a most suitable air of anticipation and uncertainity about it and about who actually is doing the murders. The whole scenerio of the secret snake worshipping cult taking revenge on outsiders by turning them into part reptiles is certainly an intriguing one and is well employed in this story set in Victorian England. Special effects wise the film may not be as spectacular as Gillings other effort "The Plague of the Zombies", however the reptile's makeup created by Hammer's resident makeup artist Roy Ashton is really first class for the time and makes for one of Hammer's more memorable creature creations. The vivid use of half light and strange far away music usually heard just before one of the horrific murders is eerily appropiate. Performances are all first rate with Ray Barrett who was not a regular Hammer productions regular a stand out in the pivotal role of Harry Spalding. Noel Willman as the supposedly sinister Dr. Franklyn is excellent and his character is one of the most interesting in the cast changing as it does from being the villian to being a man trying to save others from the curse that has wreaked his family. The always reliable Michael Ripper a veteran of countless Hammer Studio productions, for once is given a role of some substance as the innkeeper who helps Harry solve the mystery of who is committing the murders in the village. As with all Hammer efforts the strong period flavour is first rate and use of actual locations in the moors and in the stately but sinister looking mansion adds hugely to the horror element in the story. If Gothic horror of the old school is your forte then "The Reptile", is a perfect piece of viewing. Hammer studios had a way with bringing these types of stories to the big screen and this film in particular allows the viewer to guess for quite awhile about what actually is going to happen before revealing all. This 1960's type of horror story telling sadly is a definite thing of the past and stories like that of "The Reptile", would possibly appear too slow moving for most modern audiences. I however feel this is a most interesting horror tale enlivened but sincere performances by a professional cast. Enjoy Hammer's excursion into curses and secret religious intrigues in John Gilling's "The Reptile"."