For more than 20 years, Linda Blair’s split-pea shower of satanic barf in The Exorcist has been the alpha and omega of cinematic puke scenes. Giddily, we report that the torch has been passed. In Anaconda, the reptile regurgitates nothing less than Oscar winner Jon Voight. And the climactic upchucking of Voight’s nasty character has a deeper importance, raising the bar of another, much more hallowed B-movie tradition: the back-from-the-dead villain.
Though super-resilient maniacs paved the way for the Halloween and Friday the 13th series, the device is not just for sequels. Whether it’s Glenn Close springing from the bathtub at the end of Fatal Attraction, or Kathy Bates coming back for seconds after being bludgeoned by James Caan in Misery, some bad guys — and gals — just never say die. ”I call it the Bogeyman Syndrome,” says Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson, who made sure that his grim-reaper-costumed killer wasn’t offed for good the first time around. Says Anaconda executive producer Susan Ruskin: ”People expect the bad guy to come back to life by now. They’re almost disappointed if the villain doesn’t pop back up.”
Anaconda goes even one better: After Voight’s hammy villain is snacked upon and projectile-vomited by the 40-foot snake, he winks sadistically at Jennifer Lopez, the damsel he’s been distressing throughout the movie. Laughs Ruskin: ”We knew immediately it would be the film’s money shot. People just scream. It’s a real crowd-pleaser.” And a tough one to one-up at that.