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Forget Star Wars on September 21st -- "Sssssss!" is coming to DVD on Sept 7th

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#1 of 51 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted July 10 2004 - 03:34 AM

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Yes, the true home video event of the year. The story of David (Dirk Benedict), a poor college student who takes a job with the evil mad scientist and snake handler, Dr. Stoner (Strother Martin). Dr. Stoner's previous assistant, Tim McGraw, has gone missing and Dr. Stoner needs a new victim...er...assistant.

Dr. Stoner gives David injections to immunize him from snake venom, but these injections are actually a diabolical serum concocted to turn men into snakes! Why turn men into snakes? Why not! Soon, Dirk is sprouting scales and turning green - something that begins to concern his girlfriend.

The action builds to a shattering emotional climax -- see Dirk Benedict turn into a snake! See Dirk Benedict bite Dr. Stoner! See his girlfriend shriek in terror! See the mongoose get out of his cage and eat Dirk Benedict! See the amazing end credit roll!

Here are some rave reviews:

"Dirk Benedict was SO cute at 20!"
-- Glen in OC, Amazon.com

"The movie to see of 1973!"
-- Ben in Snake Hole, Iowa, imdb.com

"I must admit [Strother Martin] is rather enjoyable to watch as a kindly, softspoken, insane, murderous herpetologist trying to save the human race by turning men into cobras."
-- Roderick in North Carolina, imdb.com

-- Buzz Vinard, imdb.com

#2 of 51 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 10 2004 - 04:07 AM

WoW! Well....uhm....I can see why Star Wars will easily be forgotten come September 21st.


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#3 of 51 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted July 10 2004 - 04:56 AM

Confirmed DVD Special Features Include: Protective Plastic DVD Case Case can be Opened and Closed Transparent Plastic Sleeve protects the Full-Color Cover Art Case can be used as a Drink Coaster DVD can be used as a back-up Drink Coaster Title of movie printed on the DVD DVD is Playable on DVD Players Bonus Features Include "FBI Warning" and "Menu Screen" DVD includes revolutionary "Play" and "Stop" Feature Rumoured DVD Special Features: Set Top Game: "Find Universal Studios' Dignity" Featurettes: "G-Rated Skinny Dipping", "Why Turning Men into Cobras will Save the World", "How to Piss Off a Mongoose", "How to Sell a Deformed Lab Experiment to the Circus" 14 Hrs. of Stock Snake and Mongoose Footage Audio Commentary by Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and Nag Interview with the Wachowski Bros.

#4 of 51 OFFLINE   Chris Moe

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Posted July 10 2004 - 05:05 AM

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#5 of 51 OFFLINE   Elias A.

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Posted July 10 2004 - 06:39 AM

Awesome! I remember seeing this piece o' shite on TV in the 70's. Even as a nine-year old, I thought it was pretty weak. It's one of those movies that leaves you wondering "Why?" As in, why would anyone spend the $10 it took to shoot this movie? Or, why did I just waste 2 hours of my life watching this turd? As I recall, it was produced by David Brown and Richard Zanuck, who also produced some little-known B-movies called "The Sting" and "Jaws". Needless to say, those movies pale in comparison to "Sssssss!" That's "Sssssss!", with seven S's. Not to be confused with "Ssss!" or "SSSSSS!" or even "Sssssssssssssssss!!!" And certainly not "Ssssssssh*t!"

#6 of 51 OFFLINE   EricSchulz



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Posted July 10 2004 - 07:49 AM

this is the funniest thread in the forum...

#7 of 51 OFFLINE   Kevin M

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Posted July 10 2004 - 08:02 AM

You know who the producer of the DVD is don't you?

It's this guy...Posted Image
-Kevin M.

There's a human tendency to resent anyone who disagrees with our pleasures.  The less mature interpret that as a personal attack on themselves.
- Roger Ebert

#8 of 51 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted July 10 2004 - 08:41 AM

STAR WARS? I say "Hisssssss".

Give me SSSSSSS! Posted Image

#9 of 51 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted July 10 2004 - 09:02 AM

What I would *really* like to see come September 21 is a 2-disc, anamorphic widescreen, SE of Spaceballs: The Movie! Now *that* might give the Star Wars Trilogy a run for its money! (But probably not ...)

#10 of 51 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H


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Posted July 10 2004 - 09:16 AM

I had the same reaction with a movie called Empire of the Ants. People are herded into this thing that looks like a phone booth, and a cloud of gas emitted by a giant ant puts them under the mental control of the ants. From the time I saw that on, that become a stock line for when friends, family or associates are acting in a strange way or making statements that aren't in line with how they usually think. "What, did the big ant breathe on you?" Especially fun if the person in question doesn't know what the hell you're talking about.

#11 of 51 OFFLINE   Mark Cappelletty

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Posted July 10 2004 - 09:30 AM

Uh, I'm getting this one. The day it comes out. No, really. Like Kingdom of the Spiders, this slice of '70's cheese holds a dear place in my heart.

#12 of 51 OFFLINE   JeffMc


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Posted July 10 2004 - 10:24 AM

Yep, a must purchase. Hope they fixed that skinny-dipping scene which had fake leaves superimposed over the nudity on the previous VHS edition. Fun little movie - and remember what the poster said: "Don't say it, Hiss it!".

#13 of 51 OFFLINE   Brian W.

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Posted July 10 2004 - 10:57 AM

I'll probably buy this, too. I remember it rather fondly from a mid-seventies TV showing. All I can really recall is the scene where the doctor was peeling the skin off Dirk Benedict's back.

#14 of 51 OFFLINE   Larry Sutliff

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Posted July 10 2004 - 11:11 AM

It used to be fun to listen to the local Channel 17 announcer say "Tonight's film is SSSSSSS!". I'll probably pick this one up, at least for the nostalgia value, if nothing else.

#15 of 51 OFFLINE   Gary->dee



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Posted July 10 2004 - 11:16 AM

Man I haven't seen this in a loooong time. And it will probably stay that way until I see it on TV again. Posted Image

#16 of 51 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted July 10 2004 - 11:29 AM

"It used to be fun to listen to the local Channel 17 announcer say 'Tonight's film is SSSSSSS!'." Same thing with American Movie Classics. In all seriousness, can you believe someone actually made a movie called "Sssssss!"? I can just imagine the conversation between the director and some random guy on a bus... GUY ON BUS What do you do for a living? DIRECTOR I'm a film director. GUY ON BUS Oh, really! I have a cousin who is a screenwriter. So what are you working on? DIRECTOR Sssssss! GUY ON BUS Excuse me? DIRECTOR Sssssss! You know, the sound a snake makes? GUY ON BUS ... DIRECTOR You know...Sssssssssss! GUY ON BUS Uh huh. DIRECTOR We were going to call it Ssssssnake, but Universal thought Sssssss would be better. GUY ON BUS What's it about? DIRECTOR It's about a guy who meets a girl, falls in love -- GUY ON BUS -- Uh huh -- DIRECTOR -- and then he gets turned into a snake and eaten by a mongoose. GUY ON BUS (pulls "stop" chain) Lemme off here, Charlie. CHARLIE THE BUS DRIVER This isn't your stop. GUY ON BUS I know, I'll take the next one...

#17 of 51 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted July 10 2004 - 12:05 PM

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The Reluctant Hero (interview with Dirk Benedict)

by Mark Phillips


Dirk Benedict decided it was time to let his then three-year-old son in on the secret. "My oldest boy was wild over reptiles," says Benedict. "He was fascinated by them, specifically snakes. He even had a pet boa. So, one day I said to him, 'You know your Dad... he once was... I mean... he was a... he... I... oh, here!'" Benedict then inserted a video of Sssssss, the 1973 chiller about a young man transformed into a king cobra -- a role played by... Daddy!

"My son flipped," Benedict laughs. "He loved it. He's nine now but he still loves reptiles. To this day, he's so proud that his Dad turned into a snake."

It was the first time Benedict had seen Sssssss since its release. Although a cult item today, the film (recently issued on video) originally tanked at the box office. Benedict traces one of its problems to its title. "The ad posters said, 'Don't say it... hiss it!' I thought that would start people going, 'I saw Sssssss last night!' In retrospect, people may have had trouble telling their friends [the title]."

The actor even personally encountered people who struggled to pronounce the unique title. "When the film came out, Strother Martin, bless his heart, and I went all over the county doing promotions and we found everyone had a problem with the title. They didn't want to hiss it. Instead, they would say, 'S, S, S, S, S, S, S.' We would go, 'No! It's not S, S, S, S, S, S, S! It's Sssssss! Hiss It!' But they felt silly doing that."

The Snake Man

Sssssss concerns a young man who befriends a crazed scientist (Martin). Believing that only reptiles will survive the inevitable nuclear holocaust, Martin speeds up the process by surreptitiously turning Benedict into a large snake. The film costarred Heather Menzies and Tim O'Connor, but it was the snake makeup that remains its centerpiece.

"The idea of turning into a reptile fascinated me. Other than that, my role was kind of... well, I don't want to say boring, but rather ordinary. I was playing the helpless victim. But I've always been interested in makeup. I had just come from New York when I got this job, so as a stage actor, I was used to doing my own makeup."

For Sssssss, he was in the capable hands of two veteran makeup men. "Dan Striepeke, who also came up with the film's story, had been head of makeup at 20th Century Fox," Benedict says. "Dan and John Chambers won an Academy Award for Planet of the Apes. So, it was exciting to work with them. Both Striepeke and Chambers were much more excited and proud of the snake makeup than they were of their Apes work. It's much more difficult to turn somebody into a snake!"

It was also much more time-consuming, but Benedict looked upon it as an adventure. "Four weeks before filming, they made a cast of my head and then built a snake-head to fit it, like a diver helmet. Then, I was completely shaved, and snake scales made of latex were applied all over my body.

"It took seven hours to apply the final snake makeup. It took four makeup artists, who then painted and textured the scales. And the early transformations, where I'm still half-human, took about four hours to apply. Those are the scenes where my head is a snake's, but I still have wisps of hair and my body is still human. It was a tedious but very interesting process.

"It was a fun film, and Strother was a joy to work with. Unfortunately, the movie was not a success. Universal had high hopes for it and they even had a couple of sequels in line, but it didn't make enough money."

Some of the most memorable Sssssss moments came when the actor was still half-human and writhing around like a snake. "The makeup gave me great support. The transformations became very believable. There's one scene where I fall down and I'm trying desperately to crawl across the floor. The makeup really got me into that moment, acting the way a snake would.

"There's another scene where I see my reflection in a window for the first time, and I see the transformation taking effect. I double up in pain because my intestines are changing. That was easy to play because the makeup was so realistic. I was thinking, 'Man, this is believable.' I loved the look. And I still love it when someone comes up to me and says, 'You're the guy they turned into a snake.'"


Rister Trivia:

Be sure to see Curse II: The Bite, in which a man is bitten on the arm by a radioactive rattlesnake, and his arm turns into a snake.

James Earl Jones turned into a snake in Conan the Barbarian, but he had the good sense to not transform next to a mongoose.

"I was thinking, man - this is believable!"
-Dirk Benedict

Green Smiley says "Sssssss!"


#18 of 51 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted July 10 2004 - 01:07 PM

"Face" pre-A-Team? Who wouldn't want to buy this? Posted Image

XBox Live: TheL1brarian (let's play Destiny on XB1)

#19 of 51 OFFLINE   Magnus T

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Posted July 10 2004 - 02:16 PM

Star Wars is coming out on September 21st?!?!?!
There is no spoon...
but there is a fork with a cork!

#20 of 51 OFFLINE   Gary->dee



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Posted July 10 2004 - 02:56 PM

I forgot that this was a Zanuck/Brown production. Good thing sharks don't make noise or else their next movie Jaws might have been called something different. Posted Image

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