Cult of the Cobra (1955) - full transcript

While stationed in Asia, six American G.I.'s witness the secret ritual of Lamians (worshipers of women who can change into serpents). When discovered by the cult, the High Lamian Priest vows that "the Cobra Goddess will avenge herself". Once back in the United States, a mysterious woman enters into their lives and accidents begin to happen. The shadow of a cobra is seen just before each death.

Let's get a move on, Tom.

We can get this sort
of thing on postcards.

Let's shoot something worth taking home.

Hey, what's your hurry?

We've got the rest of the day, haven't we?

- Not if we wanna take
pictures, we haven't.

We'll lose the-

- Hey, hey, would that
be worth taking home?

She must've read your thoughts.

Hey, Tom, what about this for Julia?

I'll choose my own presents.

- I just asked your
opinion, I'm buying it.

You know, you two guys slay me.

Julia this, Julia that.

Wouldn't you both be better off

with a girl apiece, right here,

rather than half a girl in New York?

Oh, but what a half!

How's that for a picture?

Hi there, we're just gonna take a picture.

Yeah, how about a repeat?

Not so soon.

He doesn't like it.

- Do those cobras ever
bite any of you guys?

Yes, it often happens.

Is it a painful death?

Slow and horrible.

- Pretty risky business,
playing flute for a snake.

- It was my father's
trade and his father's.

The cobra has a fascination.

It's like looking death in the face.

Let's see the snake.


How about a picture of you holding him?

I would do it for $2.

Give him the money, will you?

Okay, here you are.

Hey, Nick, it looks just like you.

Well, why not?

My Uncle Pudgy was always known

as the black snake of the family.

I come from a long line
of snakes in the grass.

Hey, have you guys ever heard of snakes

being changed into people?

- No, but I heard
vice versa.

It's not so funny.

You remember Dr. Sindar.


He told me a weird story once

about a secret society
that worships snakes.

What did he call them?


What's so weird about that?

They insisted the Lamians believe

that men and women could
be changed into snakes

and back again.

They do?

Must've been powerful medicine

you and the doctor were
drinking that night.

- Hey, now, that'd be a
picture worth taking home,

man into snake.

Hey, what about snake into woman?

- Wonder what
they do for an encore.

Sure, it's funny, unless it's true.

And if it is, I'd give anything to see it.

Anything, sergeant?

If the sergeant means what he
says about giving anything,

he might find the chance he's looking for.

Because what you have heard is true.

You mean this can really happen?

For us?


For you?

Who knows.

Ah, he's nuts.

Have you ever seen this?

- I am a Lamian, a member
of the cult of the cobra.

- Hey, Nick, maybe he's your
Uncle Pudgy's long lost cousin.

Knock it off, you guys.

Go ahead, tell us about it.

I have a great need of money.

And for a great need, an old
man will take a great risk.

Get to the point.

This very night there is a meeting.

For $100 of your money, I will show you

she who is a snake and yet, a woman.

Now you know he's nuts.

And 100 bucks?

Do we look that crazy?

- Wait a minute, what
if he's on the level?

No outsiders have ever seen this ritual.

I'll bet no one else ever has either.

The secret meeting is at nine o'clock.

I will get you past the temple guards

at great risk to myself.

We'd be the first outsiders, huh?

Listen, you knuckleheads,

I think this really might be worth seeing.

That's over 15 bucks apiece.

Yeah, but what a snapshot.

Snake into woman.

No pictures, it is dangerous enough.

Yeah, he's right.

Eight o'clock tonight at the Cafe Bristol.

And $10 now, please.

How do we know you'll be there?

You do not know.

Another risk.

How about it, huh?

It's okay with me.

All right with me, give him the $10.

- At least give us your
name for the 10 bucks.

I am Daru.

Daru, I'm the banker.

Remember, no cameras.

You said that before.

The Cafe Bristol.

Eight o'clock, gentlemen.

- Come on, let's go.
- We'll see you there.

Hey, you want another?

Me too.

Oh, no, no, no, you've had enough.

You wanna be able to see

what's gonna happen tonight, don't you?

My last pass.

- You don't really believe that
old guy's nonsense, do you?

- Well, I don't know whether
I believe him or not,

but if I didn't think it were possible,

I wouldn't be so anxious to go.

- Hey, Professor, what do
you got up your sleeve?

- Well, it isn't just
the cult of the cobra.

You know, for thousands of years,

people have believed in metamorphosis.

Met her where?

Did you get her address?

All right, you can laugh if you want to.

But the changing of a man into an animal

is part of the folklore of many countries.

- Hey, maybe the professor
can change that monkey

into a beautiful blonde.

- That's a great idea.
- All right.

Now, wait a minute, wait
a minute, wait a minute.

What about the Chinese corporal

who swears he saw a
tiger change into a man?

Too much rice wine.

- All right, then the
werewolf stories in Germany

or the vampires in Transylvania?

- Hey, Paul, how come you
know so much about all this?

He comes from a long line of bats.

Hey, here's old faithful.

Okay, guys.

Well, here goes nothing.

Yeah, 100 bucks' worth.

The ceremony you are about to see

recreates the first time the cobra goddess

came to the aid of the Lamian people.

Now, remember all I have told you.

Again, I caution you, you
must not be discovered.

- Yeah, but if they do discover
us, what'll they try to do?

Kill us?

The word try is unnecessary.

They will kill you.

They'll have to catch me first.

They will do so.

For hundreds of years,

there have been those in every generation

who have the power to change
from humans into snakes.

These are used as the instruments
of the cult's vengeance.

- Either this guy is
crazy and I don't like it,

or he's telling the
truth and I like it less.

- I'm glad we're
going back to the States.

It is not too late to change your minds.

No, I'll go along.

Don't forget the password.

Where's Nick?

Stop him.

- Rico, grab him!
- Yeah!

The cobra goddess will avenge herself!

One by one, you will die!

Let's get out of here!


They'll kill you.

They'll follow you to.

Come on, let's go!

Come on, Carl!

Come on, Carl!
- Hurry up!


Step on it, Tom.

Boy, that was close.

Hey, where's Nick?

He had a head start on us.

Let's go back and get him.

We can't leave him.
- Hey, what's that?


Wake up, Nick!

How is he?

He's still alive.

Hey, what's that?

It looks like a snakebite.

Who's got a knife?


Get him in the jeep.

We gotta get him to the hospital fast.

Let's get out of here.

- What I don't understand is
why you picked up that basket.

I wanted it as a souvenir.

With the cobra?

- I didn't want the
snake, I wanted the woman.

Oh, brother, were you gone!

I must've been off my rocker.

I grabbed that basket, started running,

kept going till I blacked out.

We did some running ourselves.

Yeah, we sure did.

I'm sorry, fellas.


- Hey, you're still
shipping out with us tomorrow.

They tell me.

I got a bunk, pretty nurse
and all the trimmings

while you ride in the bucket seats.

Pretty rough.

Doc tells me you saved my life.

We'll split a Purple Heart.

- Those guys at the temple
sure blew their tops.

Well, they got a right to be sore.

Let's just hope this is the end of it.

- Paul figures we're all
gonna get it in our sleep.

I must've been real drunk.

- Well, you're all right
now, and that's what counts.

- Getting plenty of rest is
another thing that counts.

Sorry, boys, you'll have to leave him now.

All right, ma'am.

Don't let him give you any trouble, now.

We'll check with you in the morning.

- See you later, Nick.
- Thanks for coming over.

Good night, Nick.

So long.

How am I doing?


By tomorrow morning, you can
get up and pitch in on KP duty.

Uh-uh, thanks anyway, Lieutenant,
but I'm leaving tomorrow.

Going home.

Yes, I know.

Good night, Corporal.

Good night, ma'am.

I don't understand, sir.

You said yourself that Corporal Hommel

was well enough to ship out with us today.

Medicine isn't foolproof, Sergeant.

There are no guarantees.

But last night, Nick was alive and well.

I'm sorry, Sergeant.

But how?

Neurotoxic venom affecting the nerves

caused a paralysis of the heart.

- But you said the poison
had been neutralized.

Well, take it easy, Paul.

You're just going over the same ground.

You're scheduled to take
off in five minutes.

Yes, sir.

Thank you, sir.

Goodbye, Captain.

I'm sorry, Sergeant.

Goodbye and good luck.

Goodbye, Sergeant.

That whole gang was very close.

Steve, I'm just as upset as he is,

and you might as well know why.

Last night, the boy's
temperature was down,

the infection was under control.

Most of the venom was
drawn out of that kid

before he was brought in,
and we took it from there.

And this morning at 6:30, he was dead.

How do you figure it?

When I examined the body this morning,

it was loaded with venom, cobra venom.

The patient had been
reinfected, understand?

You mean he was bitten again?

- Yes, and that's what's
been driving me crazy.

Only a snake with a brain

could've got into that room last night

and singled out that same kid.

It's almost as if...

Well, it's absurd but

as if he were meant to go that way.

Listen, you guys.

When even the doctors

can't explain Nick's death, it figures.

First, the high priest
puts a curse on all of us.

Then, right away, the next
night, Nick is bitten by a cobra.

Look, Paul, we're going home.

After four years, we're going home.

So can the misery, will you?

I second that.

Think of something pleasant.

Think of Julia.

Hey, I'll make book.

When we reach New York,
who will Julia kiss first,

Tom or Paul?

I'll take Tom.

How much?

Hey, knock it off, will you, Rico?

Can't a guy make a living?

You know, that's what worries me.

After I go through my separation
pay, how am I gonna live?

Ah, Air Force doesn't look so bad now,

now that you're gonna be a civilian, huh?

I'm not worried.

Tom will be a big wheel, have
an office on Fifth Avenue.

He'll give us all jobs.

Yeah, well, not me, because I'm all set.

Last letter from the old man,

he wants me to take
over his bowling alley.

You can look for the big red neon sign

in Charles Street in the
Village, Rico's Bowling Alley.

You mean we can all bowl for free?

Any time you're broke, buddy.

Look out, Rico.

You're giving him a lifetime pass.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Able.

Oh, Paul, it sounds so wonderful.

I know I like it.

And in a couple of weeks,
it'll be permanent.

Well, let's beard the lion in his den.

I dread telling Tom.

Let me do it.

No, honey, it's up to me.

It's the only decent way.

Hey, not bad.


Hi, Tom.

I'm thirsty, how about buying me a drink?

Sure, I'll buy more than a drink.

How about dinner tomorrow?

Hello, Paul.

Hi, Rico.

How's business?

Not bad, considering.

Tom, I've made up my mind.


I'm going to marry Paul.

I'm sorry.

I couldn't really make up my mind

until I saw you both again.

Now that I have, I...

It's just so right with Paul.

I'm so happy with him.

Will you keep on working?

Yes, I'm in the show.

We open in Philadelphia, couple of days.

Yeah, you'll have to work.

Paul will be a research
assistant all his life,

60 bucks a week.

Tom, don't.

Paul and I both love you and
want you to stay our friend.

Sure, I'm sorry.

- I don't expect you not
to be angry and hurt.

Well, congratulations.

We'd better get back or your
husband will get jealous.

Hey, Rico, Paul and Julia
are gonna get hitched.

Well, great.

Congratulations, Paul.

Yeah, thanks, Rico, thanks.

Well, congratulations, old man.

Thanks, Tom.

- Guess I better start looking
for a new roommate, huh?

- Well, I wouldn't trade
you for anybody but Julia.

You won't have to until I get back.

How long are you gonna be gone?

Two weeks.

It's the out of town tryout,
and it's quite a break for me.

Besides, we need the money.


- I've got a few bucks
if you ever run short.

You know we feel the same way, Tom.

- There isn't anything
we wouldn't do for you.

Okay, roommate, I'll see you later.

No, tomorrow.

Tonight, I have to take Julia

and a couple of the kids to Philadelphia.

Then I've got some work at
the museum in the morning.

So, how about dinner tomorrow night, huh?

Sure, fine.

- Tom, I'm sorry things didn't
work out the way you wanted.

Oh, I can take care of myself.

- I suppose it's none of
my business, but you-

No, not anymore.

You sound like I feel.

What gives you the willies tonight?

I'll make us some hot milk,

then maybe we both can get some sleep.

Are you all right?

I heard your screams.

A man.

He tore at me, I couldn't see him.

Maybe he got out through the patio.

There's no one out there.

Looks like he made a clean getaway.

What are you doing?

He may still be in the neighborhood.

I'll call the police.

No, don't.

I don't want any fuss, please.

It's the only sensible thing to do.

I don't want it.

Well, all right, whatever you wish.

Good night, then.

I'm sure everything's all right.

I'm right across the
hall in case you need me.

Please, don't go.

Let me fix you a cup of coffee.

No, thanks.

I'll take a cigarette.

I'm sorry, I haven't any.

Here, here, take it easy.

Nothing to be afraid of now.

- You have no idea how
frightening it is to wake up and-

Well, it's all over now.

It was horrible.

I just moved in today

and tomorrow, I'll have
to look for a new place.

You shouldn't have to.

This is usually a very quiet neighborhood.

I wouldn't know.

I've only been in New York a week.

- Well, I admit, you didn't
get the best introduction

to our city.

It's a strange city.

It so big and so cold and so unfriendly.

Well, I'm friendly.

Yes, I know.

And I'm very grateful.

I'm not frightened now.

You can go if you want to.

I've got an idea.

Let me show you New York tomorrow.

You'll forget all this.

You'll see, it'll do you good.

No, I don't think so.

Why not?

Have you got something else to do?

- No, but it's very nice of
you, but I'll be all right.

It's not nice of me, I'd like to.

You are very kind but we're strangers.

After tomorrow, we won't be.

Oh, come on, let's make it tomorrow.

Or should I say in about six hours?

Don't you have to go to work?

Yes, I have a job as an artist.

An artist?

I should've guessed.

You have very gentle hands.

Well, I'm not that much of an artist.

It's commercial art, advertising.

My time is my own, usually.

Unfortunately, so is mine.

Well, then, that makes it easy.

How about tomorrow?

All right, it might be fun.

Good, I'll see you at 10.

And don't forget, I'm
right across the hall

in case you need me.

That's very reassuring.

I feel much better now.

Good night, Mr. Markel.

Call me Tom.

How'd you know my last name?

Well, it's on the mailbox.

And you're?

My name is Lisa Moya.

Good night, Lisa.

Don't forget, 10 o'clock.


Your hot clogs, mister.



Ever have one of these before?

No, I haven't.

Just right, thank you.

Those will be right up, mister.

- You know, you look even
better in the daytime.

You said that before.

Yeah, well, let's see now.

We've been on the Staten Island Ferry,

we've climbed the Statue of Liberty.

I've shown you Wall Street,
the Fulton Fish Market.

How do you like it so far?

It's fabulous.

I don't think a hot dog stand suits you.

No, you'd look better over cocktails.

Well, that'll come later.

We've got to take a ride on the subway,

and we've got to go up
the Empire State Building.

Sure you're not tired?


Well, drink up.

We got a lot to do.

You lead the way.

You cannot lose me now.

It was a lovely day.

And you're right about the city.

I liked it very much.

It loved you.

I'm glad you moved in across the hall.

So am I.

- Does that mean that you
not only like New York

but I'm okay, too?

Yes, you're okay too.

Prove it.

I can't figure you out.

It's getting late, Tom.

Before you go in,

I'd like you to meet
my roommate, Paul Able.

All right, just for a minute.

Paul's engaged.

I'd still like to meet him.

- Hey, I thought
we were gonna have dinner.

I got a better offer.

This is Paul Able, Lisa Moya.

How do you do?


She just moved in across the hall.

Well, that's a break.

- Funny, he certainly has
been acting strange lately.

I wonder what's bothering him.

A dog?

What kind of a dog?

Well, just a dog.

He's usually very friendly.

Would you like a drink?

I don't drink.

Tom, how about you?

Yeah, thanks.

Well, I see you, and I see Paul.

Who are the others?

Well, that's Nick.

He was killed just before we came home.


That's Rico.

He runs Rico's Bowling Alley.

I'll have to take you there sometime.

I don't bowl.

I know, or drink, or smoke.

And from the sample, I'm
not sure you even kiss.

I think you're making fun of me now.

I don't mean to.

Who's this one?

That's Carl.

He's a lady's man.

Like you?

Even more so.

And that's Pete.

Here's your drink, Tom.

Oh, thanks.

What about Pete?

Oh, he's just a nice guy.

That's Julia.

She and Paul are going to be married.

She's very pretty.

Where is she?

She's in Philadelphia.

She's opening in a new play.

- You ought to meet
her when she gets back.

- Well, if you two will excuse
me, I have to hit the hay.

Got a big day tomorrow.

I'll be along in a minute, Professor.

Very nice meeting you, Lisa.

Good night, Paul.

It's late, I think I'd better go too.


Well, what'd you think of Paul?

I think he's very nice.

So are you.

When will I see you?

What about tomorrow night?

- I'm sorry, I have an
appointment tomorrow night.

The next night?

Well, what about Sunday?

Carl is having a party.

All right, Sunday night.


Good night.

Good night, see you Sunday.

- I just wanted to make
sure you're all right.

No mysterious strangers?

No unwanted guests?

Everything is fine.

- Are you sure you don't
want me to look around?

I'm sure.

Good night.

Good night.

Well, what'd you think?

I'd say you're doing fine.

Looks like you found something there.

- I never cottoned to a
girl so fast in my life.

Or do you think it's a rebound?

You'll have to answer that.

She's a lot of fun.

Strange though.

Not like the usual girl.

Thank you.

Pete's coming over now for a nightcap.

How about joining us?

No, thanks, but I gotta close up.

- Okay, be at my place
Sunday night, nine o'clock.

You bet.

Do Paul and Tom know?


Hey, you want me to bring anything?

Just a case of beer or two or three.

I'll bring a case of beer.

Hey, I'll put it in my car
tonight so I don't forget.

Okay, good night, Rico.

Good night, fellas.

Good night, Rico.

- I'm sorry to come
back so late, Mr. Nardi,

but I saw your light still on.

Well, you really scared me.

- There's no reason to
be scared, Mr. Nardi.

When I came earlier, you were out.

Do you think you could spare
a little donation again,

same as always?

Sure, Mrs. Weber.

Glad to do it.

Thank you very much.

Good night.

Good night.

You know, it just doesn't make sense.

A guy goes through the
whole war without a scratch

and then ends up like this.

Well, at least it was quick.

First Nick, then Rico.

If I believed all those things

we saw in that Lamian temple, I think I-

You know, I can still hear

that old snake charmer screaming.

What's his name?



"One by one," he said.

Snap out of it, you're talking nonsense.

- Well, I guess I'll call
the party off Sunday night.

No, I wouldn't do that.

I think it might do us
good to see each other.

That's right.

It's okay with me.

See you Sunday night.

Okay, Carl.

So long.

Bye, Carl.

Whoa, whoa!

What's the trouble, fella?

What's the trouble here?

- You must have had some
premonition about that.

You knew that horse was
gonna rear, didn't you?

I've always been afraid of horses.

That particular horse was afraid of you.

Well, this is where I leave you.

I've got to work late
tonight, so don't wait up.

I may be a little late myself.

Thanks, Pete.

Real nice party, huh?

I'm glad Carl got us together.

This is the first time
I've felt relaxed since-

Yeah, yeah, it helped me forget.

- It looks as if Carl were
trying to help himself, mostly.

She's a beautiful girl.

Reminds me of someone.

That's odd, I've got the same feeling.

Hey, what's the matter with you?

Let's get some air, Lisa.

Why couldn't you have
moved in next door to me?

Tom gets all the breaks.

- You have many pictures
of very beautiful girls.

They don't compare to you, honey.

Oh, really?

Tom, what do you think you're doing?

Easy, Carl.

Lisa, get your coat, we're leaving.

I don't get it, what did I do?

Lisa, are you ready?

Now, take it easy, Tom.

It isn't worth it.

It's worth it to me.

Come on, Lisa, let's go.

What's gotten into him?

- I don't know, I've never
seen him act like this before.

I'm sure she's no good for him.

Come on, Carl.

Bridge Hotel, that's on Ninth.

You look wonderful.

I feel wonderful, excited and happy.

And what about you?

What's all this about Tom?

Well, it's about his new girl, Lisa.

I want you to talk to him about her.


Oh, no.

Well, honey, you're the only one

who can talk any sense into him.

That's ridiculous.

He'll tell me it's none of my business.

But it is.

There's something about her,
something I can't explain.

That I'm afraid of her.

It has to do with Rico's death.

But that was an accident.

I'm not so sure.


Why do you say that?

Well, it started overseas.

It was our last pass,

and we spent it like a bunch of tourists.

We got mixed up with a snake cultist

who got us into a religious meeting.

A cult that believed human beings

could be changed into snakes.

That's a religion?

- They're as serious
about it as we are about ours.

You don't believe it, do you?

But they do.

What we saw there was pretty ugly.

It ended in the snake cultist's death

and Nick's being bitten by a cobra.

The next night, he was dead.

The priest put a curse on all of us.

One by one, he said, we'd die.

That's frightening.

And you think Tom's girl has
something to do with this?

That's the whole point, I do.

Oh, Paul, you used to be sensible.

This is so incredible.

Julia, meet her.

Meet this girl.

And I feel certain that
you'll sense something.

Something strange.

It was a nice evening, Tom.

Thank you.

Well, let's not end it.

Won't you come in for just a moment?

I'd like to talk to you.

All right.

I'll fix you a drink.

I don't drink, thank you, not for me.

Oh, yes, I remember.

Well, I need one.

What's the matter?

Don't you like her?

Here, eat your troubles away, huh?

Paul forgot to fill the
trays, there's no ice.

Get some from my apartment.

Oh, never mind.

No, go ahead, you said you needed it.

All right, thanks.

I'll just be a second.

Well, that didn't take long.

- This girl, Julia, were
you once in love with her?

Yes, I was once.

Why did you change?

Is it because she's gonna marry
Paul or because you met me?

No, it just happened.

- How can you be sure you're
not still in love with her?

- Because I'm sure of
how I feel about you.

How do you feel?

You don't have to drag it out of me.

I love you.

What I'm asking is, how do you know?

How can you be sure?

There's no real way of answering that.

Just something you feel inside.



- What you mean is, you have
to feel it from your heart

and not from your head?

Is that right?

That is so right.

I have to go now.

Can't you stay a little while?

No, Tom.

Feeling better, now, Corky, huh?



Lisa, you forgot your gloves.

Are you decent?


Okay, good night, see you later.

I'm taking Marian home, be right back.

Good night, Marian.

Good night, Carl.

I had a wonderful time.


I had a wonderful time, Pete.

I'm sure you did.

Carl always said you're a million laughs.


Well, hi.

Come on in.

I know it's late

but I wanted to apologize
for spoiling your party.

But you didn't.

You couldn't spoil anything, honey.

Hey, come on in.

You know, Tom's a fool.

Course, I can't blame him
for getting stuck on you.

- Now tell me, why did
you come back, really?

To see you.

Hey, that's swell.

Here, sit down.

Could I get you something?

A drink maybe?

Don't bother.

It's no bother.

All right.

I'll be right back.

Tom's okay.

I guess he's a little stuffy,

but I think it's from
living with Paul so long.


I've got a different attitude.

A beautiful girl and...



What happened?

Some guy just jumped.


It's Carl.

He's dead, don't look.

It's horrible, let's go.

Anyone here know this man?

Yeah, I do.

I was his roommate.


You better come with us.

Oh, hi.

Where have you been?

Gosh, it's past three o'clock.

I went for a walk.

My head ached, and I couldn't sleep.

I thought the air might
make me feel better.

And did it?

You do look a little pale.

What are you doing in my apartment?

Oh, I brought back your gloves.

You couldn't have been gone
more than a couple of minutes.

I went right out.

I wanted to think.

You've been walking all this time?

Now, look, don't do it again.

Let me know if you're going out.

Don't worry me like this.

I'm sorry I worried you.

- What were you
thinking about all this time?

Of you and of me.

How'd you make out?

I didn't come to any conclusions.

I'm so confused.

The feeling I have is so strange to me.

What do you mean?

I don't know how to tell you.

Well, try.

Do you know what it's like

to believe in something all your life

and then one day to suddenly
decide that maybe it's wrong?

No, it's never happened to me.

What is this that you believe in?

Look, I don't care about this
unless you wanna tell me.

Tom, it's so easy for you.

You know how you feel.

Don't you?

You've been in love before.

You'll have to forget about me.

You're being silly.

There are things I have to do.

What things?

Things I have no control over.

Look, if you're in trouble, tell me.

Let me help you.

What are these things that you believe in?

Tom, it's so difficult for me.

I can't stand the thought that
I may be the one to hurt you.

Of course you wouldn't hurt me.

- What I'm trying to say
to you is I love you.

Please, don't, not now.

But I don't understand.

You just said-

I know, but-

Look, this doesn't make any sense.

I've said all I can say.

But if you love me and I do love you,

then what's the problem?

Oh, Tom, if it could only be so simple.

Wait a minute, this doesn't,

I don't like games.

I want to know what this
is all about right now.

No, I've said everything that I can say.

Now, please go.

All right.

Good night.

You're angry.


And you're not going to take me

to Julia's opening tomorrow night?

Well, I'm not that angry.

Maybe by then, you'll
have straightened it out.

Good night.

Good night.

Okay, Tom, come and get it.

You sure must've come in late last night.


Sorry, I blew my top at the party.

Oh, forget it.

How's Lisa?

Lisa's fine, thanks.

Oh, that must be Julia.

We're going down for our
marriage license today.

Hello, darling.

How's my actress, hm?

A little nervous.

Hi, baby, want an egg?

No, just coffee, thanks.

There you are.

How are you, Tom?

Oh, fine, thanks.

Welcome back, how's the show?

You'll find out tonight.

You are coming to the opening, aren't you?

Oh, wouldn't miss it.

Don't forget you're all supposed to meet

in my dressing room before the show.

Try and make it about a quarter of eight.

Sure we won't make you nervous?

I'm counting on you all to be so gay,

I won't have time to be nervous.

You're bringing your girl?


I'm anxious to meet her.

Paul's told me a lot about her.

He has?


I'll get it.

Excuse me.


This is Paul Able.

Yes, Inspector.

Yes, I know Carl Turner.

He's a friend of mine.

Mr. Markel?

Yes, he's here.

Both of us?

But why?


Yes, we'll be right down.

That was the police.

Carl is dead.

Paul, what about you and Tom?

What about us?

- Well, if what Paul believes
is true about the curse.

Oh, for the love of Pete.

Well, what did you find out?

We checked the blood type.

It doesn't fit the deceased or Norton's.

Send Norton in.

Yes, sir.

Able and Markel are on their way over.

I'll send them in to you for
a blood test the first thing.

Yes, sir.

Come in, sit down.

This girl, this Marian
Sheehan backs your story.

Says you and she were the
last to see Turner alive.

She says he was in good spirits.

That's right.

- I asked you about this
China statue in the apartment.


- You sure you don't
remember when it was broken?

I told you, I don't know

whether it was or it
wasn't broken when I left.

All right, that's all for now.

You can go.

Good morning.

Oh, good morning.

You must be Julia.

I recognize you from your picture.

And you're Lisa.

That's right.

Where are Tom and Paul?

They generally have me in
for coffee in the morning.

They're at the police station.

Something awful happened.

Carl is dead.

Oh, that's terrible.

It's so sudden.

I'm just stunned.

That's a shame.

How did it happen?

- I don't know, I haven't
heard any of the details.

What are you reading?

Horrible, isn't it?

It's a cobra.

This whole book is about cobras
and the worship of cobras.

Is that what Paul is interested in?

Just lately.

He has a strange idea.

It all started with an experience he had

while he was in Asia.

Did Tom ever talk to you about it?


Paul believes that there are people

who can turn into snakes.

Did you ever hear of such a thing?

Paul feels that that's why
Rico and Nick are dead,

and probably Carl.

But those were accidents.

Paul doesn't believe it.

Doesn't he?

I've got the shirts.

That'll be 3.50.

Just a minute.

Okay, thanks a lot.

I have to leave.

I'll call Paul later.

I still don't understand

why you knocked Carl Turner down.

I don't understand myself.

I was mixed up, and I'd been drinking.

You ever knock him down before?


You ever been mixed up and drunk before?

Sure, I guess.

All right, what's the real reason?

What did you have against him?

I told you, I don't know.

He was dancing with my girl.

How long have you known this girl?

A few days.

- When you left Carl Turner,
was he in good spirits?

Sure he was.

Was he drunk?

No, not when we left.

Well, have you got any explanation

as to why he should fall off that terrace?

Yes, but it's a curious one.

A curious one, huh?

Well, we'll get to it.

Oh, you both say you recall
seeing this China statue

in Carl's apartment.

Do either of you remember if
it was broken before you left?


All right, gentlemen, you can both go.

I got nothing to hold you on.

Oh, what about that curious explanation?

- If you'll excuse me,
I have some work to do.

Well, when we were in the Air Force,

we had an experience at the
place we were stationed.

We sneaked into a religious ceremony

where they worship snakes, cobras.

Oh, Paul, not again.

- What's that got to
do with Turner's death?

Well, we were discovered there

and the high priest put a curse on us,

said we'd all die, one by one.

There were six of us.

Nick died the next night,

then Rico was killed in a
car wreck and now, Carl.

- You think this curse
is killing you all, huh?

- No, but someone acting
as the agent of the curse.

Got any ideas?

Yes, Lisa Moya.

You're crazy!

Now, Tom, listen to me, please.

This is tough to say,
but it's been on my mind.

It's been bothering me.

How can you bring Lisa into this?

What on earth have you got to go on?

Just a hunch,

the flimsiest kind of
circumstantial evidence.

She moved into the apartment next door

and then all these things began happening.

You can't convict someone

because she happens to
move into an apartment!

- I know I can't but I also
can't help the way I feel!

You've got to do better than that.

Oh, you bet you do.

- Look, Inspector, I know
this sounds ridiculous,

but give me a minute, will you?

And let me tell you the whole story?

Come in, Tom.

The door's open.

Oh, hello.

Are you looking for Tom?

He's in the other apartment.

No, I'm looking for you.

- Well, Tom and I are going
to leave in a few minutes.

Aren't you going to the play?

What are you doing?

Stop it!

I know how you got that.

No, you don't.

I do.

From a little statue in Carl's apartment.

You must be insane.

No, no, I finally figured it all out.

I remember the night Nick was killed.

We were driving in the jeep
when we saw Nick in the shadows.

There was a girl standing over him.

And I remember how you met
me outside the apartment

the night Carl was killed.

What are you saying?

- That you killed them and
would have killed us all.

But why?

Why should you think I'd
do a thing like that?

Why should I?

If you were a Lamian.

I don't know what you're talking about.

Oh, yes, you do.

Go away, please.

So you can kill me, too?

No, please.

Now that I'm sure,

now that I've seen that cut on your arm,

will you let the police do a blood test?

Of course, I will.

When Carl fell and the
crowd ran over to him,

I was standing by a fence with spikes.

I was pushed against it.

You can see.

Don't you believe me?

No, I don't.

I'm going to call the police.

No, Pete.

If I can prove that it wasn't I-

But you can't.

I can, I swear it.

I can show you where I was
when you were in service.

I have a passport with a date in it.

Yeah, but what about Rico?

You know that was an accident.

Where's the passport?

In my bedroom.


The windows are barred.

I can't possibly get out.

Please let me prove my story to you.

Then prove it.


Well, you look wonderful.

Thank you.

Darling, Julia told me about Carl.

I'm sorry, I think it's terrible.

You saw Julia?

For a few minutes this morning.

She told me that you had to
go to the police station.

Why did the police want to see you?

- Well, I knocked Carl down
last night, if you remember.

- Well, I remember, but
surely they don't think that-

They don't know what to think.

Well, didn't Paul explain?

Paul's explanation was worse.

Tom, what is Paul's explanation?

Oh, it's a long story.

Let's skip it, huh?

Look, I have a feeling

like you're avoiding something, why?

No, I just don't wanna talk about it.

- I can guess, from Paul's
attitude toward me at the party.

It's about me, isn't it?

All right, it's about you.

Paul feels I'm responsible in some way.

But how could he?

I don't know.

How about you?

Do you think that I could've-

I don't know what to think.

It'd be so much easier if
you'd be honest with me.

Look, I think all this is very unfair.

If I could talk to Paul, I
know I could explain it to him.

- You'll have a chance to talk
to Paul later at the theater.

I don't really care about Paul.

What I care about is you.

What do you wanna know?

- Well, just before we
got out of the Air Force.

It's such nonsense that,

and yet, I went through
a war with five guys.

In the space of a few short
weeks, three of them are dead.

Actually, I'm upset, and
I'm a little frightened.

Of me?

Of course not.

Tom, nothing can happen to you.

It just can't.

I hope you're right.

What I wanted to say is,

if anything did happen to you, I'd die.

Well, let's forget it, huh?

I want to.

Please believe in me.

I believe in you.

- Well, can't you show
me better than that?



I never would've believed it.

We did what you suggested.

Here's the autopsy report
on Turner and Nardi.

The coroner says,

"Death from asphyxiation
due to snake venom."

Venom from a large cobra.

Now, will you believe me?

- Oh, I can't buy your
story about metamorphosis.

They'd throw me off the force
and into a straitjacket.

But I will pick up the girl
and hold her for questioning.

That's all I ask, and let's hurry.

- Are you sure Paul
will be at the theater?

Oh, I'm sure he will.

No, no, no.

No, call the box office.

Hello, I'm Mr. Markel.

Ms. Julia Thompson is expecting us.

Just a minute.

I'll have to find her.

Has Mr. Able come in yet?

Mr. Able?

Could be.

So many people coming in and
out, it's hard to keep track.

They're not in there.

All right.




We've got to get a hold of
Tom at the theater right away.

You better go out front.

The show's about to start.

See you later.

Good luck.


Let's go.


Mr. Markel's out front.

Well, get him, it's important.

All right, just a minute.

Where is Paul?

- Oh, he's probably still
in Julia's dressing room.

We'll see him in the box.

Music's lovely.


Mr. Markel.

There's a phone call for you.

It's important.

Wonder who that can be?

I don't know.

Never had so much fuss.

Phone calls, visitors.

Here, you go ahead.

I'll be there in a minute.


Yeah, where are you?

I can't hear you.

Tom, listen to me.

Something terrible has happened.

We found Pete dead in Lisa's apartment.

I don't believe it.

- Snakebite, same as Nick,
same as Rico, same as Carl.

Yes, she's here with me.

She's out front.

Now, don't let her suspect anything,

but whatever you do, hold
her until we get there.

Yes, I understand.

Come on, let's go.

Call the coroner and stay here.


Stay where you are!

Tom, be careful!

Move over there, quick!