Clark (J. Eddie Peck) and his girlfriend, Lisa (Jill Schoelen), are vacationing in New Mexico. It’s a romantic getaway, except for all of the snakes. Clark manages to save Lisa from one snake through the use of his trusty rifle but then he himself gets bitten once they go to a motel. Luckily, traveling salesman Harry Morton (Jamie Farr!) has a suitcase that’s full of anti-snake venom antidotes. Unfortunately, the one that Harry gave to Clark doesn’t do much good because not only does the bite on Clark’s arm get worse but it starts to turn into a snake! In fact, his entire body is full of snakes, just trying to slither out! It’s a vacation from Hell as Lisa tries to find a cure for Clark, Clark tries to control his serpent-like instincts, and Harry tries to find the young couple so that they don’t sue him.
This is an unrelated sequel to a film called The Curse. In fact, it’s probable that this film was just called The Bite until the first Curse did slightly better at the box office than anyone expected. The two films share not a single character or plot point in common. There’s not really even a curse in this so-called sequel! Clark’s problems are all due to the snake being radioactive. (Once again, science is to blame.) It’s a typically cheesy, low-budget 80s horror film but it does have a few things to recommend it. The special effects range between being enjoyably cheap and effectively gross. Jamie Farr is entertaining as Harry Morton and seems to be happy to not be playing Klinger again. The truckers that Harry enlists to help him search for Lisa and Clark are all colorful characters and they are a little more interesting than the usual horror movie canon fodder. Bo Svenson also has a good cameo as the sheriff.
Best of all, the film features one the greatest scream queens of the late 80s and early 90s, Jill Schoelen. Schoelen is best remembered for her role in The Stepfather but she actually appeared in several horror movies between 1987 and 1993. As she was in almost all of her roles, Jill Schoelen is both sexy and believable in The Bite. She had a talent for making even the worse dialogue sound natural and that was a talent that The Bite gave her many chances to display.
The Bite is hardly a great film but, by the standards of late 80s cable fare, it’s undeniably entertaining.