By Scott Brown
Updated August 15, 2006 at 07:55 PM EDT

Since the dawn of human history, man has both feared the snake and sought to make cheesy movies about it. Also since the dawn of human history, man has sought to make arbitrary lists and argue about them online. These two deep-seated compulsions come together in IGN’s Top Ten Snake Movies, a celebration that begins with Dean Cain’s Boa. (Why are you snickering? All I said was “Dean Cain’s boa.” Hey, stop it!)

There’s a lot to squabble about here, including the definition of a “snake movie” (King Kong? Raiders? Boogie Nights?) and whether this is a list or just the Sci-Fi Network’s Wednesday evening programming grid (plus King Kong, Raiders, and Boogie Nights). And then, of course, there’s the obligatory inclusion of Snakes on a Plane, which is both the list’s raison d’etre and its Achilles heel — how can you put a movie no one’s seen on your Top 10 Snake Movie list? Aren’t you risking the derision of the snake-movie-ranking community?

Looking at this serpentine assemblage, it’s impossible to miss the impact of cheap-and-crappy CGI on the snake movie genre. Technology has allowed us to create ever-more-Byzantine snake-taculars: Boa vs. Python! Anaconda vs. Boa! Kramersnake vs. Kramersnake! (Snake divorce is really hard to computer-animate, FYI.) The most recent crop of snake-centric film is entirely the result of geeks at workstations, writing/animating on very little sleep and the subliminal influence of all those herbal Viagra come-ons.

And thank goodness for them, the snake-makers. They’ve kept a noble genre relevant. They are the real heroes, and will be rewarded with swift, near-painless deaths when the snakes take over.

Discussion questions: How would you like to be eaten by a snake? Also: Do the producers of <a href=”
“>Venom feel snubbed, having been slapped in the face with Dean Cain’s Boa? (What? What did I say?) Oh yeah, and what’s your favorite snake movie?