B Movie Night- Stanley

The disturbingly dull story of one man’s unhealthy relationship with his snake.

(A real snake, not what you were thinking. You people disgust me.)

Traumatised Vietnam vet Tim is back in the swamps after suffering two years of “The white man telling the red man to kill the yellow man.”* He avoids his old tribe, preferring to live in a shack with just the snakes he catches- to be milked for their venom- for company. He’s taken to talking to them, and treating them as pets or friends. Particularly the eponymous Stanley, a rattler ‘married’ to another snake and about to be a father.

Suffering from terrible headaches, the cause of which is never explained, Tim wanders around behaving bizarrely and building up to a confrontation with the animal skin trader/poacher responsible for his father’s death. He has increasingly deranged conversations with Stanley, builds a crib for the baby snakes and provides snakes for an aging stripper to use in her show

When Tim does snap, it’s not just the snake skin belt selling rustler who suffers, but his lackeys and the stripper and her husband, as well. They’re all despatched, obviously, by snake bite, Stanley killing a drugged up psycho who has killed the snake’s wife and kids. Then there’s even more dullness as Tim kidnaps the poacher’s hot daughter to be his swamp-Eve, only to have the snakes turn on him when he tries to have them kill her.

It’s possible the film had something to say about man’s appalling attitude to nature and cruelty to animals, but, if it did, it’s terribly undercut by the way some of the snake co-stars are killed on screen (I’m quite certain they took a shotgun to one of the rattlers, because this isn’t a film that could afford prosthetics that convincing). I’d say you shouldn’t watch this film if you’re sensitive about that sort of thing. In fact, I’d go so far as to say you just shouldn’t watch this film, sensitive or not.

Another film from the Gorehouse Greats collection.

*The only good line of the movie, and I’m sure that they stole it from Mohammed Ali.


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