We'll sidewind again tonight with another cautionary cold-blooded creature feature steeped in vengeance and characters whose outrageousness is only surpassed by their butterfly collars.This movie reminds me of a certain nutbag character I worked with years ago who nightly pushed for me to ignore the safety of my then-family and purchase rattlesnakes,cobras,and vipers for whatever reason,citing his own house full o'venemous snakes while asking me to overlook the highly-publicized fang-driven death one of his hooded harbingers of horror had caused sometime earlier.I never was much of a snake guy,to be honest with you.I've owned a couple over the years,but we never got on too famously,and asking the likes of me to wrangle ornery pit vipers with hemotoxic venom is like dunking an injured Michael Moore in steak sauce and making him backstroke the Amazon River.Probably not the brightest idea ever thought. If you remade Willard(1971) and replaced the social ne'er-do-well caucasian with a shellshocked,paleface-hating native American who recently scrambled his grey matter like a hummingbird egg in Vietnam,then switched the rats for rattlers,you'd have cult director William Grefe's Stanley wrapped in your coils,a standard issue eco-thriller that got an assload of late night television mileage thereafter,and one of my favorites of the era.Grefe generously ladles on the exploitative ingredients like an apex sous chef with his roux-heavy Bechamel,substituting lunacy for believability(Chris Robinson is Seminole like C.Thomas Howell is black) at every taste,until the groovy broth belongs on the breakfast menu at Bedlam. "Keep your skin sheds outta my firewater,Stanley!" Enter Tim(Chris Robinson),a Seminole 'nam vet whose recurring migraines and disdain for Whitey have him living in a shack full o' snakes on an island in the Everglades swamps.He ekes out a meager existence milking venom from his expectant rattlesnake couple,Stanley and Hazel(She wears a floral headband),for research purposes at a local hospital(screenwriter Gary Crutcher has a cameo as a doctor),and supplies snakes for a washed-up-on-the-beach,over-the-hill stripper to incorporate in her dated burlesque act.When he does ride into town in his rickety pick up,he lets Stosh slither around freely on the bucketseat.His slipping grasp on reality becomes even more tentative due to an unscrupulous and cartoonish clothing don named Thomkins(Alex Rocco),who preens over his unimpressive physique in the mirror,constantly pumping one pound dumbbells from inside a robe stolen off the set of Maude,when he's not making creepily inappropriate comments to his own overdeveloped teenage daughter(who passes the time by fucking all of his hired help) by the pool.Thomkins,who had Tim's father whacked while his son was off fighting a war, sends off his comic book henchmen to poach snakes for a new line of snakeskin belts he has planned,but when the thugs try to lean on the indian for his cooperation,Tim and Stanley have other plans...Tim's stripper pal invites the karmic police when drunk on stage,she bites the head off of one of her hissing stage props,and the indian piles snakes upon her and her manager/husband while they lie asleep on the couch,effectively removing them from the equation forever. "Shnakesh?" You can always count on a good one liner when it's belched by the town drunk. Then,after Thomkins' boys run afoul of the Seminole while poaching snakes in the swamp,and Stanley bites one of them on the ass for his troubles,the businessman enlists the services of a freaked out,indian-hating hippie named Psycho(Yeaaaah,muthas!) to oversee the thugs' covert operation and ensure the indian's wrench is kept clear of Thomkin's lucrative illegal machinery.While the men are hunting snakes,another encounter with Tim and Stanley ends with both henchmen sinking in quicksand with the rattler watching from the bog surface.Meanwhile,Psycho,zooted on inhalants,wanders off into the swamp and stumbles upon Tim's shack,where he finds Hazel and her newborn rattlers resting in elaborate beds that the indian has built for them.Grooving on the violence,Psycho smashes the juvenile snakes with his gun butt(onscreen!)and blows the head off of their mother,to boot.Tim arrives in time for a sloppy punch up,and Stanley puts two fangs to Psycho's neck before the crazed bigot can force his owner's head under a humming outboard motor.Tim then fills Thomkins' pool with writhing snakes that he doesn't notice before diving in,sealing his own fate in screaming seventies slo-motion.Tim kidnaps Thomkins' daughter and takes her back to his shack for apparent rape and servitude-through-enslavement,which the girl seems to be alright with(!!),but when the indian's last marble bounces across the floor,and he starts rambling about hating humanity and the desire to be a snake instead,he orders Stosh to bite the hysterical honey,and when the snake refuses,Tim starts offing his own snakes in a completely bat-shit bananas boffo finale,setting his own shack on fire in the process,then being repeatedly bitten by his rattling pal as the girl escapes.Cue groovy,sombre,eco-friendly,hippie folk ballad and the end credits. Does this one even need a smart-assed caption?C'mon,look at it... Grefe,who has had a long,storied career helming such genre fare as Sting of Death,Mako:The Jaws of Death,Death Curse of Tartu,and Wild Rebels,is pretty proud of tonight's effort,and along with star Chris Robinson,who went on to act in several soap operas,has recently screened the movie publicly with q n' a and autograph sessions thrown in for attending genre nuts.Alex Rocco,who was in Florida to advertise his work in the yet-unreleased Godfather movie at the time,had an inborn fear of snakes,only agreeing to dive into the pool during filming if it was filled with rubber snakes.Grefe instead put live snakes in the water and filmed Rocco's hilarious mid-air reaction,which is a definite hoot for any lip-reading woprophiles that might be in attendance.An entertaining ride,to be sure,despite the on-screen killing of some snakes that might have a hypocritical org like PETA clucking,that you can pick up on special edition dvd,loaded with extras,thanks to BCI/Navarre.On the scale,two solid wops. Groove on that righteously reptilian psychedelic snake toss,maaaan.