Cult of the Cobra
Starring: Faith Domergue, Richard Long, Marshall Thompson, Kathleen Hughes
DIR: Francis D. Lyon
Warning: Spoilers are here. Also Warning for disrespectful 1950s American GIs who are stupid and so pretty much are going to get what they have coming....
Scene 01: Our opening, just before our title, is of a wall carving of exotic design. It is of a Hindu goddess flanked by tall and menacing cobras. On either side are oil candles flickering shadows over it.
Commentary: A good title screen for the movie, but the music is overblown. As for most 1950s movies, it is bombastic with lots of loud horn blares. Something more subdued, chilling and with more of an Indian (India, not Native American) flavor would have been better. Unfortunately as well, this is the shot over which the actor list and production personnel's names appear so we hold on it for a length of time, and during the entire shot, the background is waving around inducing motion sickness in those who are vulnerable to such things....
We also get a bit of poetry with our opening and during this, our movie takes a bit of that more subdued tact that I mentioned and adds a little exotic mystery to the score, which is much better than the action-horn music of a minute ago.
Scene 02: We open on a panning shot of a street in Asia... Calcutta, probably, but since it's a backlot it's hard to tell. Our American GIs of the warning above are snapping pictures of their tour of duty.
We have an interesting mixture of people here - so it's a cosmopolitan place, at least for 1945, when this is set. You have more Far East Asian women, co-mingling with white men in ruddy makeup, a ruddy looking stall owner who appears more Arabian, white women dressed in the Indian sari with a face vail to alluringly hide their smiles....
Commentary: Anyway, one of our photographer GIs is Nick, who despite being cute and with a nice smile turns out to be a bit of a jerk. Dismissive of the stall owners' wares to their face, sexist (which also isn't unusual for the 50s when this was made so we can't judge the time too harshly - but he's so LOUD about it), and as we'll see later possessing a breathtaking sense of American Entitlement (again, sign of the times and one of our nation's basic traits) and about as smart as a box of hammers.
I have no doubt that my watching this from 2011 will impact my view of these characters, but honestly, this dumbass' actions makes it really difficult not to take the revenge seeker, religious zealots' side in all of this. Onward though....
Scene 03: One of our soldiers notes a snake charmer playing his pungi. The soldiers ask for a repeat performance, but the charmer states it is too soon. The snake is in a foul mood if he's disturbed too often. The soldiers harangue to see the snake for their cameras.
The charmer pulls the snake out of the basket to hold by its head for their cameras for $2 American dollars. One of our characters, apropo of nothing, asks if anyone else has heard the tale of snakes being changed into people, allowing our charmer to give them a SHIFTY-LOOK-OF-SUSPICIOUS-RECOGNITION (yes, he does so in capital letters).
The soldiers joke, but Paul insists that it isn't so wild (uh, yes it is). He reminds the rest of the professor they'd met who had told them tales of the secret cults of snake worshippers in these parts (which somehow translates into snakes who can shapeshift into people not being 'such a wild tale'... okay).
Paul shares the tales of the Lamia, people who could shapeshift from human to snake and back again. The soldiers josh with him, and he concedes their funny stories, unless their true... though why he would think so, we aren't given a clue (HAH, a rhyme).
As this conversation is going on, snake charmer continues to broadcast suspicious behavior at them, but they're too busy talking to each other to notice.
Paul states that if the tales of the Lamia are true, he'd give anything to witness it. At this the charmer springs to his feet and tells the GIs that if they're serious, they could have their opportunity.
There is skepticism of this claim, but the charmer tells the GIs that he is a Lamia himself. A member of the Cult of the Cobra (title shout out). The charmer/Lamia admits to being in desperate need of money and therefore willing to take a great risk. He offers to sneak them into a meeting of the Cult that night where they will see a snake who is also a woman for $100 US.
After some derision toward the Lamia, the guys finally decide to take the offer. After all, putting aside the claims of shapeshifting, this will be a ritual meeting that no outsiders have ever witnessed.
Commentary: You're right that this scene seems to be running long, but the dialog isn't badly done (except for the obvious disrespect of some of our men toward the native religion and a little overacting by our snake charmer). The camera is changing our viewpoint of the scene, so that does help it not drag so like some of the scenes in 'Anatomy of a Psycho' for instance.
So, Lamia stresses that no cameras be brought as they'll all be at terrible risk.... Uh-huh.
Scene 04: That evening, our crew is in the base canteen getting a healthy buzz on. Paul is explicating his half-belief that there is a possibility that metamorphisis is possible, based on how many cultures share the tale of man becoming animal. He accepts the others' good natured ribbing.
A guide comes to pick up the group... six American men... trying to sneak into a super secret and deadly Cult... This should end well.
Scene 05: We join our group in disguise as they enter the quite-impressively-large-for-being-a-sec
Commentary: By the way, I think your brilliant disguises of a cloak and hood is less effective when you're all clearly wearing westerner socks and shoes, instead of sandals. Also, and this is just a thought, I might have done the whole warning-about-being-killed-if-discovered-s
Scene 06: Within the temple, our horn-blare music makes its return. So does the plaque carving, but we also see a snake charmer's basket on a stage, waiting.
Our cult-traitor and our six GIs take their places... our white guys' faces not very hidden by those shallow cloak hoods their sporting. But since half of the members of this Indian cult also look white, no one notices.
As our ceremony gets started, one of our GIs notices that Nick is missing. Nick is the camera enthusiast, so this bids ill for how this evening will go.
Our ceremony consists of the typical bane of B-Movies, the Half-Assed Interpretive Dance sequence.
Commentary: Unsurprisingly, I find myself involved in the struggle between the two male dancers as they re-enact a battle, in which they end up lying on the floor, nearly spooning. Unshockingly, I find the whole dance sequence going on too long....
While the ceremony carries onward, Nick has managed to seperate himself from the group, his Anglo face (along with the other actors, actually) clearly seen but our 'guards' don't notice.
From the basket on stage, a woman in a body stocking 'slithers' across the floor as the Cobra Goddess makes her entrance to save her people. Nick reveals here that he's brought along a forbidden camera.
Commentary: Being the 1950s, the camera is as large as a destroyer with a flash cube the size of a hand and the intensity of a flare. I assure you this will not stop Nick from flashing pictures. And everything that will happen can now be laid directly at his feet... which the movie will take pains not to do.
Having 'bitten' her people's attacker, the woman in bodysuit slithers back up the stairs and into her basket. This is where Nick snaps his effing picture, whose flash strobes the entire room. He's immediately grabbed as pandemonium starts to sweep through the worshippers at this intrusion.
Nick breaks away momentarily and goes to the basket with the woman, only for a cobra snake to rise out of it as his back is turned. He avoids getting bit by slamming the lid on the reptile.
In the meantime, his comrades are now forced to fight for their lives as well, as fist fighting breaks out. The high priest whose one of those "Oh, that Guy!", stripped of his Ming the Merciless headdress, warns that the Cobra Goddess will avenge them for this disruption of her ritual... and he's clearly not even close to Asian from anywhere.
Our 'heroes' make it out of the Temple of Snakey Doom, carrying the Cobra-in-Basket, which Nick felt he needed to steal. No telling what he was going to do if the dancer-woman was still in the basket.
The guide, stupidly trying to defend them instead of joining the crowd in going after them, gets himself bloodlessly stabbed to death. In the meantime, Nick cuts off their pursuers by lighting the curtains on fire, trapping the worshippers in a now burning building (apparently - no one seems all that interested in finding another way out).
Scene 07: Outside, our heroes jump into their American Army Jeep, which they apparently arrived in without raising any suspicions at all. Carl nearly gets himself kacked as the worshippers who weren't standing near the burning curtains and yelling at the fire have managed to get out hot on our bad guys... I mean our heroes'... trail.
They're able to race away successfully with only an indeterminate amount of fatalities, including their guide, on their consciences. Don't worry, none of them will seem to lose any sleep over it (least of all, Nick -- but that's a deserved thing, as we'll see).
Scene 08: Our men discover that Nick isn't in the jeep. He had a headstart and apparently went running through the alleyways with the snake basket.
The Jeep's headlights find him, lying on the ground, the basket lying at his side. A woman, covered from head to toe in a not-body-stocking way, flees the scene as the Jeep screeches to a halt.
Nick is lying unconscious.
One of our men (I know, I know, I should spend some time trying to match the actors with their characters) goes after the fleeing woman, but she "hides" by briefly bending behind some bale of something of other. She's then able to stand up so the light can dramatically light up her face, while soldier guy doesn't bother looking behind himself and can't see the movement from his peripheral vision.
Commentary: As we know, horror movie/tv show people never have peripheral vision. Also, unshockingly, the Indian Hindu Cobra Goddess woman is entirely Caucasian. I can almost spin this as her taking on the aspect of those she will be hunting down for vengeance in order to help her get close to them... if only the movie had been more careful in casting/disguising the other Caucasians in all of the scenes up to now.
She takes off running, which our GI catches and goes after her, but she quickly is able to slip away being more familiar with the nooks and crannies of the city than he.
Scene 09: Back with Nick, our men discover a wound on his neck which looks very much like a snake bite, with venom dripping from the wound. Our chaser-guy uses a knife to cut the wound and sucks at the venom... off screen... it is on Nick's neck after all and y'know... can't show that.
Our guys rush Nick to the Jeep after a prolonged look into the empty basket... obviously Paul and chaser/sucker guy (I think this is Tom, but whoever) are freaked out.
Scene 10: Back in the infirmary Nick is recovering from his neck wound. He's unable to remember exactly what happened. He receives the deserved joshing at trying to run away with a basket containing a cobra, but he states he wanted the woman inside... laughs all around at Nick's expense.
Commentary: None of them mention that their guide was sworded to death because of Nick's stupidity. None of them mention that they burned down someone's temple. There is some mention that they all could have been killed, but it's treated in a joking manner... these, ladies and gentelmen, are our heroes.
There is some mention by Paul, in brief passing, that the cult members had a right to be sore at them. But since all of our men are scheduled to leave for stateside the following day, they figure that what's done is done. The nurse arrives to tell them that visiting hours are over for the night and our group leaves Nick to his recuperation.
Scene 11: Outside, there is a thunderstorm and the nurse lowers the window a bit.
Commentary: Which does nothing to stop the rain from coming in so...? And, like all movie/tv windows, there are no window screens to keep out the bugs.
The nurse assures Nick that he's recovering nicely and then leaves, turning out the lights so he can get some sleep.
Outside coming through the underbrush, a ... uh... let's be generous and call it a cobra rather than a rubber snake bobs and weaves unconvincingly toward Nick's window.
We get snake point of view as the reptile makes its way toward the unsuspecting Nick.
Nick wakes up just in time to see the cobra at his side (which we see through a snake POV still, which was a good choice) and screams as the POV lunges at him....
Scene 12: The next day Paul is in a state over Nick's unexpected death. The doctor on duty reports that neurotoxins stopped his heart overnight. Paul tries to insist that he had told them all that the toxin had been neutralized when they came in last night, but everyone figures that medicine is never 100% and sometimes bad things happen to patients that had seemed to be stable. The base commander reminds Paul that he's due to catch a transport home.
After Paul in out of the way, the Doctor reports to the base commander that he's just as upset as Paul. He tells him that something mysterious happened overnight. Most of the venom had been removed from Nick (via cutting across the wound and a single, short neck suck) and he'd been well on the way to recovery. That morning, the doctor found he'd been loaded with cobra venom with evidence of having been bitten again. Surely, not a random event.
Commentary: The doctor makes a random leap to expressing that "only a snake with a brain could have targeted the same man", rather than a more likely scenario that someone released the snake into the room and then was able to retrieve it afterward. The base commander gives a skeptical look, but keeps from telling the doctor that the heat must be getting to him.
Scene 13: Aboard the transport plane, our remaining five friends are returning to stateside. Paul is trying to convince his fellows that they've had a curse placed on them, but the others aren't interested in hearing his wacky beliefs. After four years overseas, they're going home and just want to leave anything they saw in Asia back in Asia.
In order to change the subject, Rico starts to take bets on which a woman named Julia will kiss first, Paul or Tom. She's been mentioned before, and it seems that the friends have an ongoing, but friendly rivalry for her affection.
There is banter back and forth about their futures, but Paul can't get into the swing of things....
Scene 14: Sometime later, in New York, Paul is out with Julia. They stop in at a bowling alley that Rico now owns, given to him by his father. Dialog lets us know that Paul and Julia have decided to get engaged. They've come so that Julia can break the news to Tom, who hangs out at Rico's.
Julia breaks the news to Tom, while Paul and Rico get caught up at the register. Tom is obviously upset by the news, but after a bit of a bitter dig at Paul's salary, sucks it up.
We find out that Paul and Tom had been rooming together while they were both dating Julia, but obviously now, Paul will be moving out. In the meantime, Julia - a dancer - is off for a tryout out of town, looking for her big break.
Paul, wanting to keep the friendships between he and Julia and Tom intact offers dinner to Tom for the next evening, which is accepted.
Scene 15: That night, Tom is awoken by the dog whining and scratching at the apartment door. He finds the animal in his little beddy, shivering and whining.
Suddenly from outside comes the scream of a woman... several actually. They're emanating from the apartment across the hallway....
Scene 16: Tom breaks in through the front door and searches the apartment. In the bedroom, he finds a woman petrified against the wall. He explains that he heard her screaming and she reports that a man was there in the dark 'tearing at me'. Tom does a search of the apartment, but finds nothing. It's certainly possible that the woman was in danger, however, as again windows are left open with no screens, providing easy access for anyone.
Tom is ready to do the sensible thing and call the police, but the woman insists that he not.
Commentary: It's taking some time for introductions, so let's skip forward a bit so I can tell you her name is Lisa Moya....
So Lisa asks Tom to stay for just a little bit, as she's still quite shaken by the attack on her. She also tells him that she's very new to New York and finds it too big and too cold. He smiles and tells her that she's already met one friendly man... one who lives right next door if she needs anything....
Since Lisa is the woman from the alley in India (though with a body type nothing like the woman who had slithered into the basket), I don't think it's a major spoiler at this point in the story to tell you she's the shape-shifting cobra woman. That way I don't have to tap dance around the "secret" that isn't one.
So, he is nearly instantly smitten with Lisa and invites her out later that morning to show her the sights of New York. She's resistant at first, but finally agrees.
Scene 17: Later that day, Tom and Lisa are sitting in front of a backdrop of a bustling New York street at a hot dog vendor's. Lisa tells him she's never had hot dogs before.
Commentary: I dreaded that we were about to have a montage... but they avoided it with a jump cut to that night, so we can breathe a sigh of relief.
Scene 18: Back at the apartment that evening, Tom has obviously fallen hard for the *cough*exotic*cough* Lisa Moya. He sneaks a kiss from her, but there isn't much feeling on her end of things.
Commentary: I like Faith as an actress, but I'm not sure what she was attempting with her accent that seems to come and go as the scenes do. She's speaking with a slight off diction, which makes sense for her character and was a clever choice, but I also think that there was an attempt at a slightly Indian tinge to her English as if this isn't her native tongue. This would also make a large amount of sense and help us understand why Tom finds her 'exotic', despite the fact she's so Caucasian, but it is horribly done when it is attempted. There is also the problem with the fact that she's mis-cast as the Indian Snake Woman. This would have been compensated for, I think, if they had cast properly for "India", especially in the alleyway scene. Then they could have had 'Lisa' show up as we've seen, only looking much more like Faith Domergue which would have given the impression (and could have been made explicit through dialog at some point) that she was showing up as a white woman as part of her shape-shifting disguise to get close to her victims.
There was a series of modestly budgeted remake movies a while back called the Creature Features collection, in which they took B-Movie titles and made new updated movies using those titles. One of them I have on DVD that I'll review one of these days (but not next, I have the next two movies picked out already) is "She Creature". Now, I bought that one quite a while before I picked up the 'Classic Sci-Fi Ultimate Collection', but watching our featured movie now, I would really like to see this one updated and remade as an updated, but 1950's inspired B-Pic.
Anyway, back to the actual story: Tom invites Lisa to his apartment to meet Paul. Since he's on her list, she's happy to do so.
Scene 19: When Tom comes in, Paul complains they were supposed to have dinner together, but those complaints end abruptly as he sees that Tom has Lisa with him. While Paul is very happy to meet her, the dog is much less so. He's on the doggy bed in the kitchen again, whining and shivering madly.
The dog gives a few barks, but doesn't come from the kitchen to greet Tom. Tom tells Paul that their pet has been acting strangely lately.
Commentary: Faith does some nice reaction-acting here. As the two men have the dialog, she looks on worriedly toward the kitchen, obviously realizing that the animal can sense her inhuman nature.
As Paul goes to fetch a drink for Tom (Lisa abstains), she finds a photo of the men who had desecrated her ritual in uniform from overseas. Nick is mentioned as having been killed before they got back (another nice look of recollection from Faith, but the music hammers it home too hard and wasn't needed). Paul helpfully names the other men, though unhelpfully doesn't provide last names. He does give Lisa two things she needs though: the locations of Paul (nice and close by, too) and Rico.
Another photo introduces Julia and Tom blabs on about her plans to marry Paul and we see Lisa's gears spin (and again, a musical sting is unnecessary here as Faith's thoughtful look isn't exactly subtle). Paul exits to sleep due to a big day at work the next morning, and Tom tells him he'll be right in.
Commentary: Yes, I know. But this is the 1950's and there are two single beds in their room and I'm not wandering into the slash-tastic-ness of it all... I WILL RESIST....
Tom tries to arrange another date with Lisa, but she puts him off until he mentions that one of his friends in the photo - Carl - is having a dinner party on Sunday. She readily agrees to his date proposal for then.
Scene 20: We jump into Lisa's apartment with her and she thoughtfully leans against her door in the dark. Already, she appears as if she might be torn about what to do with Tom.
She's on her way to her bedroom, when a knock comes at the door... it's Tom "making sure you're alright ... no mysterious strangers... want me to check the place out... am I starting to look pushy and stalker-ish..."? She assures him she's fine, bids goodnight and practically pushes him out with the door.
Scene 21: Finally, Tom returns to his own apartment and leaves her alone for the evening. Tom returns to Paul in their bedroom (NOT SLASHY... WILL NOT SEE UNINTENDED SLASH... it helps that they're both cramming their tall frames into those tiny, single beds) and asks about what he thinks of Lisa. Paul is supportive, 'natch, since it will smooth over the lingering pain of Julia choosing himself over Tom.
Tom also admits that he's never fallen so instantly for a girl before (nice of the movie to remember that he and Lisa have spent all of one day together). Tom is a decent sort, despite his pushiness and worries that maybe he's on a rebound from Julia, but Paul tells him that only he can answer that for himself.
Tom starts to undo his shirt and my mind starts to wander, but I'm rescued by Paul turning his back and bringing the blanket up practically over his head... so that cuts off my slashy thoughts, as Tom goes on about how unusual Lisa is (well, y'know, who wouldn't have wanted his mouth all over her after one day of sightseeing -- she's a weird one, alright).
Scene 22: In the meantime, Lisa has grabbed her coat and purse and is heading out into the night.
We follow her as she heads down a quiet block. A cat nearby growls and meows at her, glaring in her direction. It takes off in the opposite direction and she gives off a smug look.
Scene 23: At Rico's Bowling Alley, he is saying goodnight to Carl and Pete. Carl reminds him of his party, so that we can remember which face goes with which name. Blah, blah, banter.
Rico starts locking up the place for the night....
Scene 24: Out on the sidewalk, Lisa has found the bowling alley. She takes a quick look around and then runs off into the alley, where I expect her to spin into Wonder Woman, but no.
As Rico is tallying the sales receipts for the day, we've seen that a window has been left open. And though it has bars over it, the next thing we see is the pins at the end of one of the alleys shaking mysteriously.
One of them falls over, drawing Rico's attention. He goes to investigate. It's a little weird, but he gets back to what he's doing... which is loading up a case of beer from the bar to bring to Carl's on Sunday.
As Rico loads the case into the back seat of his car, a hand comes from off screen and taps him on the shoulder....
It isn't Lisa, but some old lady taking donations. Rico is a swell guy, so he gives her a buck... something that he clearly does regularly. You're so swell, Rico. I hope nothing serpenty happens to you.
Rico re-enters the bar... follow him, follow him...
We see the bar door, which he'd left ajar on his way in to turn off the last light shift slightly. He exits the bar and gets to his car....
Scene 25: And then he's driving through rear-projection streets, whistling a jaunty tune. Finally, we see hand-puppet shadow ... or possibly hooded cobra shadow....
Rico catches the movement in the rear view mirror and has a sudden look of shock....
He starts to turn and there's a sudden POV strike at him....
Scene 26: The car comes squealing around a corner, runs into a pole and flips over (for this era and this budget, this was a nice, surprising car stunt to have here).
The camera pulls back from the car wreck, which leaves Rico pinned and apparently dead.
Scene 27: Nearby, Lisa is walking down the street away from the wreck.
Commentary: As is so common amongst shapeshifters, her clothing is also affected by her metamorphic powers, right down to her jewelry and purse. And, I'm still having fun by imagining that Lisa spins into a serpent a la Diana Prince's transformation after they stopped having her wear her costume under her military uniform.
Scene 28: Shortly later, we're outside of a chapel at the funeral for Rico.
Our four survivors and Lisa chat about the tragedy. And, howsaboutthat?! Daru is actually mentioned! And, Pete seems to actually remember that he went to his death screaming! And, he seems to regret what they did at the Lamia temple!
There's talk about cancelling the get-together at Carl's, but Paul tells him it will do them all good to see each other. There is also talk of Daru's warning to them before Nick completely effed over the evening and got the cult guide killed, but Tom puts a stop to the 'crazy talk'. The fivesome (Ew! Not like that, you perv... actually that wouldn't b--..., never mind) break up to go their separate ways (with Tom having a death grip on Lisa's arm).
Scene 29: Paul, death-grip Tom and Lisa walk by a horse and buggy and Lisa looks worriedly at the horse. He rears up in a sudden panic, scaring her and startling the guys.
Paul notes to Lisa that she seemed to know that it was going to rear up, but Lisa states that she's always had a fear of horses. Paul says that particular horse seemed to be afraid of her. He says goodbye to Tom and her there, stating he has to work late that evening.
Commentary: This was a bit of a weird line of dialog. You'd think that it was leading to Paul being menaced at work, where he would either knowingly or unknowingly barely escape with his life and that this would lead him to be so unnerved, that his mind would dwell on Daru's warning. He'd suddenly wonder about Lisa's coming from nowhere and Rico's death and now his unnerving experience (well... if Faith had more of an exotic look about her, so she wasn't so entirely Caucasian anyway) and start to at least wonder....
Then the next sudden death of a man who was at temple that night would really kick his imagination into overdrive as he tries to convince Tom and whoever (either Pete or Carl) that they're in danger. Instead, we cut to the party at Carl's and nothing is made of Paul having worked late... so that dialog actually had no point to the story, it was just a random line without purpose. Huh. I guess I've just seen too many horror movies.
Scene 30: So, Carl's party is elegant, the way that all 1950's parties were. Lisa is smiling and dancing with Carl as Tom and Paul are in a corner talking, drinking and smoking. Pete arrives with a fresh drink for Paul.
Pete points out that Carl seems to have taken a liking to the new girl, which immediately sets Tom to jealous frowning. Pete also mentions that Lisa looks familiar to him in some undefined way, which Paul finds funny, because he always feels the same way when he sees her. Tom plots their deaths... okay, maybe not, but he looks like he's barely restraining himself from yanking Carl's face from his skull (Which, I'm sure, is not at all possessive and off-putting over a girl he barely knows anything about. Let's be kind and blame it on the alcohol consumption).
Scene 31: In a nice bit framing, Carl and Lisa go out to the veranda, and we see Tom's dagger-glare follow them out. Carl laments that Lisa moved across the hall from Tom, instead of him and though it is said jokingly, it is also definitely flirty.
Lisa mentions all of the women's photos in his apartment, but Carl tells her that none of them compare to her. This is enough to put Tom into action and he delivers one of those awfully-choreographed and unconvincing punches to his friend's jaw. Carl asks what he did to bring that on as Pete and Paul try to calm Tom down.
He ignores all of them, demanding that Lisa get her coat so they can leave.
At first, it looks like she'll resist, but he grabs her arm and they're off (more grabbing the arm possessively thing... I'm starting to worry about my generally liking Tom... he's starting to look like a bad guy in cute guy's clothing).
We stay with Carl as he asks Paul about what has gotten into Tom. Paul here expresses that he doesn't like the changes in Tom recently and doesn't think that Lisa is any good for him (WHA? Since when?! The horse incident? Since he stayed in his own bed in the middle of the night? ... Damn it. I said I wasn't going to the slashy place).
Commentary: Yeah, see this transition in Paul's perception of Lisa is really awkwardly handled by the scripting. If only they'd followed up his 'working late' with the scene I described, this would make a lot more sense as Paul starts to become a bit paranoid over Rico's recent death, his strange experience and Daru's warnings. Instead, his mild antagonism seems to be coming out of left field here ... unless you read some possessiveness of his own toward Tom, which I'm refusing steadfastly to do.
Scene 32: Fade to a New York cityscape at night and jaunty, though generic music. (Is this library music, because I swear it's really familiar.)
We focus in on a cab, and I thought we'd see Lisa and Tom in the aftermath of his scene at the party, but no. Instead, we're with Paul who has joined Julia, apparently back from her audition in wherever it was... Philly or Pittsburgh....
Paul and Julia are happy to be together again, but the mood is darkened when Paul points out that there is something strange about Tom's new girl. He asks Julia to talk to him about her, but she wants to stay out of it. Paul admits to actually being afraid of Lisa, but can't explain his feelings.
Paul references Rico's death and then goes into the story about the temple incident.
Commentary: Now, in one way this does make sense... Paul was the more superstitious one, half believing already in the tales of the Lamia while in India. I'm just not convinced by his applying Lisa to the warning about vengeance on them by the Cult priest and Daru because of the way the script has him come around to this fear for all of the reasons I've already described. It's unfortunate that they missed an obvious scene to bring Paul around more smoothly.
Julia isn't ready to buy into Paul's fantastic idea that they've a curse placed on them. But he presses on her to meet Lisa and see if she doesn't sense something strange about her.
TBC with Part II