In the year 2006 horror cinema was alive and well with many films hitting theaters as well as video rental shelves, and all styles of horror were covered from slashers to horror comedies and of course the horror action thriller had its fair share of releases. I mean hell, even I released my shot on video film The Sadness that year! And one film that was released that year had a whirlwind of online press, a catchy name, a big name star attached and was an animal run amok action, thriller horror film, and I am sure you guessed that I am talking about Snakes Of A Plane! And back when the film was released in 2006 comic company WildStorm that was a branch off DC Comics who is owned by Warner Brothers who owns New Line Cinema released a two issue mini series based on the film and that’s what we will be reviewing here for this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update. So if you are ready to take the frightful flight of your life that not only has Samuel L. Jackson on board but also a whole lot of snakes, so stock up on anti-venom and let’s take to the skies of Horror Comics.
Lets first take a look at the Snakes that took over a plane and killed numerous passengers that was in their site. The Snakes are of many breeds that include King Cobras, Rattlesnakes, Pit Vipers, Coral Snakes, Pythons among other snake species and are in high numbers on the plane. The Snakes are very sneaky and can hide in small areas as well as use said small areas to travel around and target their prey as they attack not only singly but also at times attack in packs making them even more dangerous. The snakes are made to be super aggressive by pheromones and this makes them act as if anyone in their sight is really the enemy and drives them mad. The Snakes have many different ways of dealing death with many of them having venomous bites that can leave people dead in a matter of minutes to hours while others will squeeze and devour those foolish humans that could not escape. The snakes are just animals that have been made to be aggressive and because they are just living creatures they can be killed by any normal means such as being shot, burned with fire, cut and stabbed by a knife and even smashed. And because they are just creatures does mean they are not as deadly as some of the killers and creatures we have chatted about on a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update, but with that said they still are very deadly and can make those poor souls stuck with them on a plane meet the Reaper.
So now that we have talked about the killer snakes from the film and their death dealing ways its time that we talk about the film they are from. As always I will be taking the films plot from out friends at IMDB and I then will write about the films production as well as my thoughts on the film. So if you are ready lets take a Plane trip with some very dangerous snakes.
Snakes On A Plane (2006)
“While practicing motocross in Hawaii, Sean Jones witnesses the brutal murder of an important American prosecutor by the powerful mobster Eddie Kim. FBI agent Neville Flynn persuades him to testify against Eddie in Los Angeles. They board the red-eye Flight 121 of Pacific Air, occupying the entire first-class section. However, Eddie dispatches hundred of different species of snakes airborne with a time-operated device in the luggage to release the snakes into the flight with the intent of crashing the plane. Neville and the passengers must struggle with the snakes to survive.”
At University of Pittsburgh back in 1992 an administrator by the name of David Dalessandro was working on a film script that he called “Venom” that was originally about a brown tree snake loose on a plane before becoming more about tons of snakes loose on a plane that caused issues for the passengers. He shopped the film around for years and its rumored that by 1995 over 30 Studios rejected the script! In 1999 he finally found a producer at Paramount took interest in the script and New Line Cinema took over the production, that’s right the studio called The House That Freddy Built was now involved in “Venom”. When originally looking for a director Ronny Yu was on tap and from early on actor Samuel L. Jackson signed to be a lead in the film because he loved these type of films as a kid and thought the title was great that was changed to “Snakes On A Plane” after a brief time of it going to be called “Pacific Air Flight 121” and Jackson was not having it and made New Line change it back to the title that was getting tons of internet buzz. The film brought on David R. Ellis to direct with John Gutierrez and John Heffernan coming in to touch up the script. The casting of Samuel L. Jackson also attracted a few more names that fans knew including Julianna Margulies, Nathan Phillips, Sunny Mabrey, Kenan Thompson, Rachel Blanchard, Lin Shaye, David Koechner, Tom Butler and Kevin McNulty to name a few and the buzz from bloggers made New Line Cinema think they had something very big on their hands even ordering days of reshoots in order to turn the film from PG-13 to rated R thinking that they were giving the online world what they wanted. The film opened on August 18, 2006 and was the # 1 film for that weekend but quickly dropped and under performed at the US Box Office only doing $34,020,814.00 on a budget of $33 million for New Line Cinema and causing it to be one of their biggest misses for a Cult Thriller Action Horror Film in some time. While the film did ok with critics and fans the film just did not draw at the theater and it was over all a bomb with it really building a cult following once on Home Media. This was an example of a Hollywood studio trusting the online community and it backfiring. On a side note it’s said that at a screening of the film in Arizona someone let two rattlesnakes loose, lucky for moviegoers no one was bitten or hurt. The film was the # 93 grossing film of the year and did beat out such other Horror films as The Decent, The Wicker Man, Stay Alive, The Black Dahlia, Pulse, An American Haunting, Black Christmas, See No Evil, Slither, The Return, Turistas, BloodRayne, Basic Instinct 2, Hard Candy and Night Of The Living Dead 3-D showing that while it was not a hit, it still beat out some great Horror Titles.
Snakes On A Plane was one of those films that when released I was so annoyed with as all my friends would go around in bad Samuel L. Jackson impersonations talking about “Being Sick Of Mother F’N Snakes On This Mother F’N Plane” and it made me want to stay clear of seeing the film at the theater, so I was one of those who did not watch on the big screen. And to be honest it was one that it took me a very long time to get around to watching as it was not high on my radar of must see films, and while it would be on at friends houses during hanging out I never did truly sit down and pay attention to it, that was until 2021 when I made myself sit down and watch it on DVD that I truly got to soak the film in. And after watching the film I found it to be a fun silly rides that was filled with your normal style disaster movie characters, lots of CGI snakes attacking and was a more modern day animal runs amok film set on a plane that gave the film a Closter phobic feel. I think Samuel Jackson is great in his role as FBI Agent Neville Flynn and plays the role pretty normal for almost the whole film and does not yell and scream his lines until the end and seeing Julianna Margulies as flight attendant Claire Miller was cool as well as seeing here in a fright flick again after the 2002 film Ghost Ship. But while I found it to be a good watch I also did have some issues with the film as the CGI Snakes look terrible and in most shots ruin the scene with how bad they standout, and the cussing comes into play at the very tail end of the film and feels tacked on by New Line Cinema to get the R rating and to play up on people wanting to hear Samuel L. Jackson drop the F-Bomb. Plus we have the films bad guy Eddie Kim who beats a man to death with a baseball bat and then also is the mastermind of releasing the snakes on a plane that kills man gets his justice off screen. I would also say I can see why it dropped so hard after opening weekend in theaters as the hype train that was around the film built it up so big in the eyes of viewers who were a little underwhelmed once seeing the film and that letdown word of mouth helped it tank. New Line Cinema use to be a great company for Horror Films and they use to take some chances under the run of Bob Shaye, but now under the watch of AT&T they are a shell of what they are in the world of Horror with only The Conjuring universe being the bright star. Over all Snakes On A Plane is a silly movie with a silly title that was very fitting for the time of Horror at the cinema.
Now that we have talked about The Snakes on the plane and the film about them being on said plane I think its time we get to the two issue comic mini series that is about it all. And once more proves that any and all Horror Movies or even films with Horror elements can and should be turned into a comic book. I would like to think Game Swap Kettering for having these comics in stock and would like to also remind you that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready lets see if we can survive these killer snakes.
Snakes Of A Plane # 1 **
Released in 2006 Cover Price $2.99 WildStorm # 1 of 2
Sean Jones is riding his dirt bike around Hawaii when he witnesses the murder of a Prosecutor from LA at the hands of feared and violent gangster Eddie Kim who ends the mans life with a baseball bat, and Sean is able to escape just in time as Kim and his men spot him leaving and track him down thanks to DNA he left behind on a energy drink can. Eddie Kim wants Sean dead and sends two very dangerous goons to his apartment to put a bullet in his brain, but lucky for Sean also in his apartment is F.B.I Agent Neville Flynn who makes out the hired killers and talks Sean into going to LA in order to testify against Kim to send the crime lord to prison for life. The plane is flight 121 and crewmembers aboard are Tiffany, Ken, Grace and Claire who is on her last flight as she is leaving to become a lawyer. The pilots on this plane are Captain McKeon and Rick and its also filled with some odd passengers like rapper Three Gs and his bodyguards Troy and Big Leroy, socialite Mercedes and her pet dog Mary-Kate, Young kids Curtis and Tommy, Chen a kick boxer, mother Maria and her infant baby daughter Isabella and a handful of more and for all of them they now have to ride coach as first class is now taken over by the F.B.I as Sean is escorted by Agent Neville and Agent John Sanders on the flight and that area gives them also a phone in order to contact to Special Agent Hank Harris who is working the Kim case. As the passengers get the news of their seating class change they are also all given leis and welcomed aboard. During the flight a clock counts down and once at zero tons of angry venomous snakes are let loose from boxes in the luggage hold! A young couple having sex in the bathroom are the first humans to die from the snakes bite and then the Captain while fixing a issue in the belly of the plane falls victim, the snakes even kill a poor cat who was in the hold! When Rick finds that Captain he calls for the help of Agents Neville and Sanders and they all think he has past from a heart attack. As Rick takes over the flight all hell breaks loose as the Snakes come out to play their deadly game both in the cockpit as well as the rest of the plane!
The first issue of Snakes On A Plane is a very quick read and sticks pretty well to the film its based on making some changes mostly in the way of flow, and by that I mean it moves at a very faster pace and lands us pretty much in the middle of the films plot in just one issue. They speed up the boarding of the plane and cut much of the interactions that the passengers have with each other as well as even the moments of friendship that the crew have with one another, and we also skip much of the moments of Sean and Agent Neville starting up a friendship and talking about surfing and such, plus they get to the snake attacks and invasion of the plane way faster. The major downside to this speed up approach is that I feel they make Claire feel less special and they also don’t quite capture the scary moments of the turbulence and death of the Captain that well. But they do a better job really showing and speaking about just how much of a scumbag Eddie Kim is as he enjoys dealing death and they even talk about how he in the past feed an eyewitness against him to pigs. I also like that Agent Harris is talking about being in a bidding war against a kid for a Billy Idol velvet painting, I would totally buy a Billy Idol velvet paiting. Now that I am writing this I feel that almost all the characters are not flushed out and that hurts the reader to get a bound with any of them, and while the film didn’t do a great job of doing so the comic does even less. Agent Neville Flynn is a guy who is good at his job and wants to bring down Eddie Kim and will do what it takes to protect the states star witness. Sean Jones is a young guy who likes dirt biking and surfing and is caught up in this murder case and is not fully ready for all this danger, but wants to do the right thing has a price is on his head. The snakes are really mad and are dealing out death to anyone in site and by the end are all over the plane ready to attack. None of the other characters really stand out and are hard to talk about. The cover for this comic is very fitting for WildStorm Comics circa 2006 and is eye-catching if you liked the film and the interior art done by Gordon Purcell and is pretty good stuff as he does a good job of capturing the likeness of the actors with out being to specific on their looks. Over all a good issue that was a fun read and as I have stated while the story and characters are condensed I still very much enjoyed the comic, so lets see what issue two is like.
Snakes Of A Plane # 2 *1/2
Released in 2006 Cover Price $2.99 WildStorm # 2 of 2
The Snakes are now biting passengers and panic is running wild, as Agent Neville armed with a stun gun rushes to coach to try and help people, he tells them to head toward the front of the plane and to try and use baggage to make a wall to keep the snakes in the coach area. During the madness many people are bitten and some die youngster Timmy and Big Leroy are bitten and Agent Sanders is bitten and dies! As the passengers build the wall of bags they are scared and at each others throats, as Rick is worried that the snakes could cause electric issues and cause the plane to crash and Agent Neville has the duty to called Agent Harris to inform him of the attack as well as the death of Sanders. While the bitten and wounded are treated Agent Neville and the others find what they can to use as weapons that include broken bottles, golf clubs and fire extinguisher and get ready to fight off the attacking snakes. Meanwhile in LA a plan is in the works to get snaked expert Dr. Price ready with some anti-venom for those bitten, but Agent Harris finds out that this will be way more hard as each snake has its own cure shot and the serum is harder to get for the snakes that are not from the US. All the passengers rush to first class and come up with the idea to use Mercedes phone camera and send the pictures of the snakes to Dr. Price via email, but as they work on this Rick is bitten by a snake while flying the plane causing it to start to go down! While Claire and Agent Neville try and get the plan back on track, Sean tries to help the people that are being knocked around and things get worse when a giant Python crashes down from a light and an old bitter passenger throws the dog Mary-Kate for the snake to eat, but also finds himself being killed by the massive snake. Once the plane is taken out of the nose dive Rick wakes up and takes over the flying as now Agent Neville has to go to the cargo hold and reseat the planes air and while down there he figures out that the snakes were brought aboard via flowers and as he fights of the snakes Agent Harris in LA finds the mane who used pheromones on the snakes to make them aggressive and also raids his anti-venom case as he is a snake from around the world collector. New gets to Agent Neville that they have the shots ready for them when they land, but things get bad again when Rick this time is dead from multiple snake bites and Agent Neville and bodyguard and video game player Troy have to try and land the plane at LAX! But before they do so Agent Neville has everyone buckle in and then shoots out a plane window that sucks out all the snakes and causes the landing to be even harder, but the pair do so! When they land Sean is attacked by a snake but is once more saved by Agent Neville and all the bitten are given their shots. In the end Agent Neville and Claire start a relationship, Sean is ready to help put Kim behind bars as well as hooks up with Tiffany and Sean and Neville end up going surfing.
The second issue continues to cut and cram as much of the movies plot into the pages of a comic book and to be honest the cuts in this second issue really does take away the Horror and Drama and just delivers a very water downed story with one dimensional characters that as a reader I could not connect with any of them as they had zero personality and even Agent Neville seemed very plan and paint by number like taking away the edge and coolness he had in the film. Many characters that meant something in the film are thrown away and have zero impact to the story like Maria and her baby as well as Grace who gives her life in order to save the baby from the snakes, this was a big moment in the film that is removed for this comic. The drama of some of the passengers freaking out on each other is also removed and so many characters are just wasted background bit players who could have been removed and it would not have affected this comic series. I feel that even the friendship between Agent Neville and Sean is none existent and the love that Neville and Claire build for each other also makes no sense in this mess of a comic. While I enjoyed this first one pretty well this second issue is not as good and for the most part skips around like a ball in a pinball machine. The snakes that are the creatures of death in this comic series also seems to be none factors over all as they are barely seen and used as the death venomous death machines they are in the film. And that really sucks as I would have liked to see more Snake mayhem in the comics as the comic has no blood and no major scares. And I wish that the creative team behind this comic took the adaptation a little more serious and delivered a better comic series then what we got. I also wish that WildStorm would have chosen to do more Horror Comics based on New Line Cinema Horror Films from 2005 and 2006 as we could have gotten ones based on such films as Final Destination series. The cover for this one is good and eye-catching and the interior art by J.R Klebs is good stuff and is fitting for the time of release comic art for DC and WildStorm comics. Over all I would say that Snakes On A Plane is a very lackluster Horror Comic adaptation that is a cool read for fans of the film who would like to see just how WildStorm could water down a films plot to fit into two issues. Check out the artwork bellow to see the style of Klebs used in the second issue.
Now that we have landed this Horror Comic plane and we found out that WildStorm just filled it with rubber and garden snakes I want to say that while I was not a big fan of this comic adaptation it does not mean you wont find the faster pace better then the films, so I would still say check it out if you are a fan of the film or just like comics based on films. But now that we are off the plane we will be leaving the snakes behind and will be taking a look at a classic comic character that got the DC treatment and that’s Peter Cannon aka Thunderbolt! So until next time read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update as we take a look at a classic hero.