The Reptile is a sturdy if somewhat underwhelming tread through gothic conventions from Hammer Film Productions. It has suffered (one might argue with good reason) in its comparison with the film it was shot back to back with The Plague of the Zombies (1966). While Plague has slowly but steadily risen to the status of cult classic (for some it is Hammer’s best film) its weaker sibling The Reptile has slithered along and struggled to raise its head into the sunlight. This was director John Gilling’s sixth bite at the Hammer cherry - in addition to this he had helmed The Shadow of the Cat (1961), The Pirates of Blood River (1962), The Scarlet Blade (1963), The Brigand of Kandahar (1965) and the aforementioned zombie classic. On this occasion his direction lacks passion and style, and this is partly due to a screenplay by Anthony Hinds that hampers any real opportunities for vision and inspiration. The Reptile suffers from a number of structural faults, most of which arise out of an attempt by Hinds to create a mystery. The problem is that the mystery isn’t all that mysterious.