Black Cobra Woman Film Details
Overview: Eva comes to Hong Kong. Seeing Eva perform with a snake, Judas gets interested in her. He showers her with gifts. She moves in with him and his snakes. Things get grim.
Tagline: How much snake can one woman take…
Review: This slithering pit of serpents tells the story of a beautiful young female snake dancer, Eva, who falls in with two wealthy brothers whilst working in Hong Kong. The older brother, Judas, is an amateur herpetologist with his own collection of deadly vipers, adders and mambas; the younger, Jules, carries with him some resentment at having to work running the family business for five more years before he can get his hands on his inheritance. Judas adds Eva to his collection, setting her up with her own room, car and bank account, but things get complicated when Jules starts using his brother’s snakes for his own deadly purposes. This early (1976) D’Amato thriller throws his usual jaundiced glance at the predicament of a woman in a man’s world and, like the previous year’s Emanuelle e Françoise le sorelline, it shows a woman going to extreme lengths to revenge herself on the man who does her and her female companions wrong. In the previous film, Emanuelle had wrought revenge on the man whose abuse drove her sister to suicide; here, Eva seeks redress when one of Jules’ victims is her female lover; the revenge is lurid and horrific, as Jules is tricked into going to a remote island whereby a cobra is inserted into his anus and left so that it has no option than to eat its way out (this is apparently an old custom of the Island Eva was born on, called “putting the devil into a man to set him free”!). Yet Eva’s revenge does her little good, and she ends up rejected by Judas and committing suicide like a modern day Cleopatra. D’Amato’s film shows him stepping onto the path which was eventually to lead him down the route from softcore to hardcore porn and he loses few opportunities to show his actresses in various states of undress and erotic clinch. But he also ensures that his women are treated sympathetically – Eva’s relationship with her girlfriend is seen as a refuge from a male world which is exploitative, abusive and tainted by the idea of ownership and patronage. Eva is given a considerable back-story, which details her being left and orphan, taught by a guardian to dance with snakes and being prostituted to men when she was still in her teens. She chooses Judas’ patronage in order to escape the poisonous relationship she is having with a jealous Chinese businessman. The irony is that for all her attempts to escape from the world of male power, she can only help her girlfriend by her own patronage (using the money Judas has given her) and her revenge on Jules does nothing to free her from the cycle of violence which is as involving and inescapable as Ouroboros, the famous serpent which swallows its tail. In some ways, the film is a twisted contemporary spin on Biblical myth, with the traitor Judas at the top of the patriarchal tree and the temptress Eve the struggling victim of male power. Eva Nera isn’t a perfect film; there are major plot-holes and there’s rather too much erotic filler. D’Amato’s cinematography is nevertheless immaculate; Gemser and Palance give their usual turns, which will delight their admirers, and the Hong Kong locations are well used. It does add weight to the idea that D’Amato was using his exploitation film-making put on screen valid visions of a female against a world of power, corruption and dominance in which the cards are stacked against her and in which, if she turns into a snake to fight the snakes, she is caught in a deadly, venomous trap.
Duration: 98 min
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