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BRITISH BLACK MAMBA THRILLER EXPLOITATION OF 'VENOM'

DVD Menu for the Snaky VENOM Year of Release: 1981
A sickly British rich kid and his grandfather are taken hostage in the family mansion: Earlier that day, the boy picked up the wrong snake from a pet shop — now a deadly Black Mamba slithers around, mostly inside the vents for a snake-eye viewpoint...

A clever enough device for a group of otherwise hardened, DESPERATE HOURS style characters to be terrified while cloistered in a doubly-dangerous setting, but it's a kidnapping story first, liken to an episode of a TV crime series with Nicol Williamson as the overly confident police captain outside, hindering the intensity lurking within the premises where Oliver Reed, as an edgy, violent yet initially reluctant/timid chauffeur and Sterling Hayden, as the family patriarch (having shared African snake tales with his grandson), are initially intriguing but ultimately somewhat wasted... 

DVD cover SCORE: ***1/2
And yet there's suspenseful enough direction by the usually uneven Piers Haggard, who, not surprisingly, worked mostly for British television until he deleted BEING THERE as Peter Sellers' swan song with the infamous (yet guiltily pleasurable) FIENDISH PLOT OF DR. FU MANCU... His cast of actor's actors outclass the story at-hand, who needed something either dramatically superior or downright campier...

Blu Ray Cover
These include main baddie Klaus Kinski; RYAN'S DAUGHTER Sarah Miles as a snake expert (the Richard Dreyfuss JAWS character); our last featured starlet (from BUSTING), Cornelia Sharpe...

And the PSYCHO Janet "Dies Sooner Than Expected seeming like the leading lady" Leigh character has STRAW DOGS and MANDINGO ingenue Susan George as the seemingly friendly nanny, violently suffering a Mamba bite that has educated cult audiences before and after VENOM  from Strother Martin in SSSSSSS to Daryl Hannah reading a Wikipedia article to a doomed Michael Madsen in KILL BILL. If only our formidable serpent was the main article here, especially with that killer title. 
Susan George and Oliver Reed in VENOM
Klaus Kinski, Oliver Reed, Sterling Hayden and Susan George in VENOM
Klaus Kinsi will tell Oliver Reed "when to breathe" in VENOM
Oliver Reed and Lance Holcomb in VENOM
The Blu Ray cover and the DVD Covers of VENOM
Sarah Miles and Katherine Wilkinson (looks like Amanda Knox) in VENOM
Very cute Katherine Wilkinson (playing Sarah Miles's daughter) in VENOM
FRENZY killer's mom Rita Webb (with Daniel) in VENOM
Strategically geographical England pic with Sterling Hayden in VENOM
Susan George is the Janet Leigh of VENOM
Oliver Reed as Dave the Driver in VENOM

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