Eva Nera / Black Cobra (1976)

Laura Gemser as a snake dancer and kept woman. Jack Palance as a naive businessman with a passion for snakes. Gabriele Tinti as a sleazy, sadist. All appear in Joe D’Amato’s very twisted, very dark Euro-sex-thriller Eva Nera set in Hong Kong.

The plot is straightforward enough–Palance becomes infatuated with Gemser after seeing her dance at a club and proposes that she live with him and his large collection of poisonous snakes on a no-strings-attached basis. After moving in, Gemser finds little to like about the somewhat creepy Palance and takes on a lesbian lover. Tinti reveals that when is not managing Palance’s business affairs, he prefers acting the voyeur and letting poisonous snakes loose to bite women. Tinti goes too far when his antics result in the death of Gemser’s lover. Gemser plots her revenge.

The film is unabashedly sleazy–expect lots of gratuitous nudity and violence. However, boring it is not. Palance is simply demented in this one (watch for the scene where he coos over his snakes all the while wearing a too good to be true Mr. Rogers-style sweater). Gemser’s character is surprisingly independent and strong–she’s no pushover. Tinti’s death, which I won’t spoil, is particularly inspired. If you can track it down and have a taste for over-the-top 70s Italian exploitation, check it out.

Here’s the trailer.

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