Web Guide: Snakes on a Plane

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It may not be Shakespeare, but you've got to give Snakes on a Plane one thing: It's honest.

As the online furor surrounding the film has raged, leading up to its Aug. 18 premiere— the movie studio recently announced it would not be screening the film for most critics, meaning web speculation will continue to surge until that Friday morning— a devout legion of Snakes fans have already made it the underdog movie sensation of the year.

Yet many people are still learning today about the film's unlikely origins on the web. It all started on a blog, with early rumors of a Snakes script which were posted on a forum run by screenwriter Josh Friedman. Then came the news that star Samuel L. Jackson had signed on to the project, and the even more surprising news that New Line Cinema had agreed to bring back the film's original title (after switching it to Pacific Flight 121). It was enough to send online movie fans, particularly those steeped in the subculture of horror films, scrambling to share the news with their friends that Snakes was not just a hilarious myth, but would in fact be slithering soon to theaters nationwide. The frenzy was fueled when New Line decided to reach out to its fans by making changes to the script based on their suggestions and supporting an online contest that would allow fans to vote for music to be included in the film.

The more New Line has embraced this online cult following — a comprehensive breakdown of the film's extensive fan universe can be found on its own, lengthy Wikipedia page — the more Snakes web sites have gone up. Here are a dozen sites that together give you a feeling for just how widespread Snakes on a Plane mania has become.

The blog that began it all

It was in August of 2005, more than year before Snakes would hit theaters, when a blog posting made be screenwriter Josh Friedman would give fans a first taste of what was in the works — and would give followers of this phenomenon a taste of what fans find irresistible about the concept. "It makes me giggle like the fat, lazy schoolgirl I am," he said. "If Sam Jackson thinks he's doing a movie called SNAKES ON A PLANE...you're doing a movie called SNAKES ON A PLANE."

Why fix it, if it isn't broken?

Adding fuel to the fire was this story from the entertainment web site Collider.com, which has been following the film's development. It quotes an interview with Samuel L. Jackson in which he confirms the title will be changed back from Pacific Flight 121 once again to Snakes on a Plane. Says Jackson, "That's the only reason I took the job: I read the title."

Snakes on a blog

Enter the bloggers. Not long after the project was announced, Snakes On A Blog was launched — a blog devoted solely to one fan's mission to attend the Hollywood premiere of the film. Complete with a petition that can be signed by visitors and speculation that Samuel L. Jackson may just win an Oscar for Snakes as payback for being snubbed in 1994 for Pulp Fiction, it also offers quick links to Snakes trailers, songs and, of course, fan poetry. One example: "Terror slithers on Silent foe, / miles above Earth / Snakes are on the plane."

Strike up the band

In response to the surge of online interest in the film, which included a considerable number of Snakes-related songs, both funny and serious, New Line announced a partnership with the website TagWorld.com to faciliatate a contest that would allow people to vote on their favorite Snakes song, and agreed to include the winner's music in the film. Winners have been announced, and the site also features a number of clips from the film.

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