Venom (1982)

Film details


Thriller. In London, Louise and Dave are the maid and chauffeur of a wealthy American couple named Hopkins. But Louise and Dave are secretly part of a kidnapping gang who plan to hold the couple's son, Philip (who suffers from asthma), for ransom while he is left at home in the charge of his grandfather. The plan goes awry when Philip leaves the house to collect his latest exotic pet from a shop. A mix-up at the pet shop means that he brings home not a harmless African grass snake but a Black Mamba, the deadliest shake in the world, which was intended for toxicologist Dr Marion Stowe. When Dr Stowe realises there has been a mistake, she alert the police so they can contact the unwitting owner of the aggressive, poisonous reptile. At the Hopkins's house, one of the kidnappers is bitten by the snake as it escapes to roam the house. When a policeman arrives on the doorstep (to warn them about the snake mix-up), Dave fears the kidnap plot has been rumbled and resorts to gun violence. This leads to the police force mounting a major hostage situation, with the kidnappers holed up in the house, and with irrascible Scot Commander William Bulloch overseeing the negotiation. It becomes evident that the snake is on the loose in the house and everyone inside is in danger. Bulloch and Dr Stowe do what they can to help, but this only leads to further complications involving a million pounds in mixed currency, a dismembered digit, a suggestion for how to comatose the snake and the uncovering of a secret back entrance to the building. Some more snake attacks bring the situation to a close.

Cast & Credits

Latest from the BFI

  • Latest from the BFI

    Latest news, features and opinion.

More information

Films, TV and people

  • Films, TV and people

    Film lists and highlights from BFI Player.

More information

Sight & Sound magazine

  • Sight & Sound magazine

    Reviews, interviews and features from the international film magazine.

More information

Back to the top