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Cobra Woman

USA 1944
produced by
George Waggner for Universal
directed by Robert Siodmak
starring Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Sabu, Edgar Barrier, Mary Nash, Lois Collier, Samuel S. Hinds, Moroni Olsen, Lon Chaney jr, Fritz Leiber
story by Scott Darling, screenplay by Gene Lewis, Richard Brooks, music by Edward Ward, make up by Jack Pierce, special effects by John P. Fulton

Maria Montez & Jon Hall

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Some island paradise: Ramu (Jon Hall) is about to be married to lovely Tollea (Maria Montez), when on the evening before their wedding, Tollea disappears. Soon, Ramu finds out that Tollea was actually a foundling from Cobra Island, and that her people have obviously come to take her back. So it's off to Cobra Island for Ramu and his juvenile sidekick Kado (Sabu) to get Tollea back.

On Cobra Island they learn from the Queen Mother that the island is ruled by Tollea's evil twin sister Naja (also Maria Montez), who is the high priestess of the island, but the title high priestess rightfully belongs to Tollea. Ramu and Kado eventually promise to help the Queen Mother to make Tollea high priestess, but before long, they both are captured and about to be sacrificed while the Queen Mother is killed by high priest Martok (Edgar Barrier), Naja's lover and partner in crime ... only Tollea remains elusive of Naja's and Martok's henchmen.

Finally, Tollea enters the palace and comes face to face with her twin sister, but when Naja desperately tries to kill Tollea, she stumbles and falls of the balcony to her death. Tollea then dons Naja's robes and enters the sacrificial ceremony where Ramu and Kado are about to be killed as Naja. Martok sees through her charade though and forces her to take the test of the cobra - which esssentially means she has to dance in front of a giant cobra without being bitten -, but by that time, Ramu and Kado have already been freed by a chimp (really), and Kado simply kills the cobra with a blowpipe. With the dreaded King Cobra gone, the populace of Cobra Island rises against its opressors and soon enough, Martok gets his just desserts, Tollea is installed as the new high priestess, and Ramu, on his way home, realizes he has lost his one true love to her people ... until he notices she has hidden in his boat as a stowaway ...

Lon Chaney jr can be seen as a mute brute who fights for the Queen Mother's cause.


A childish, escapist little fantasy pic shot in beautiful technicolor ... and of course, it's silly as hell (see above synopsis), but if you're still in touch with your inner child, you might as well love this naive, over-the-top, camp silly little picture for all that it is including its (many) shortcomings.

One of Kenneth Anger's favourite films by the way, if this means anything to you.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD