Human Cobras / L'uomo più velenoso del cobra (1971)

1.5 out of 5

When amoral tough guy George Ardisson’s brother is murdered at a rugby match, the quest to find the killer leads he and his brother’s fiancée, Erika Blanc, to Kenya where businessman and big game hunter Alberto de Mendoza seems to the prime suspect. However, things don’t turn out to be all that simple as somebody is following the pair around and murdering anyone who might be of any help, including the dead brother’s mistress Janine Succubus Reynaud.

Black Emanuelle and Three Supermen in Tokyo director Bitto Albertini’s giallo/crime thriller plays more like a cheap Eurospy caper for most of its running time. Indeed, Ardisson was a popular leading man in spy movies, westerns, Viking epics and peplum throughout the 60s (he also played Zorro in three films) and hence much time is devoted to seeing him get involved in punch-ups with anyone who gets in his way. The film does pick up in the last reel – but by then it’s too little too late.

Stelvio Cipriani provides a mostly bongo-led score, which recycles portions of his own The Frightened Woman soundtrack and at one point cheekily rips off the bass line from Iron Butterfly’s ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’. It comes across as being rushed out on a production line, as indeed does the rest of the film.

Hollow, uninvolving, and singularly lacking in visual flair, Human Cobras serves as a reminder that sometimes these movies are obscure for good reason.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics