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Stanley (1972)
Movie Review by The Undertaker

Stanley (1972) This is one of the better killer snake films around due to the realism and storyline of the whole mess. It's at times sad and makes you feel badly for the hero/villain. Stanley you see is the name of a rattlesnake. He's the pet and friend of Seminole Indian Tim who lives deep in the swamp, caring for his snakes and fighting off poachers who come by to harass him. The movie reminds me of Ben and Willard very much, rats here replaced with snakes. Tim is a very troubled young man, who has had problems coping with mankind in general since coming home from Vietnam. He has very bad headaches from time to time and prefers the company of his snakes to people. Even members of his local tribe can't seem to get him to come around, he's got a big thing against folks, especially those that kill or injure animals. Tim's relationship with his snake is bizarre to say the least. He carries him around his neck most of the time. He rides with Tim in the truck and Tim speaks to him like it's his best buddy, which in reality I guess it is. The dinner scene really gets weird, as Tim has a place set at the table for Stanley and Stanley's snake wife Hazel. He's eatin' corn while the snakes have mice from a jar. He even lectures the snakes on how they should become vegetarians and not eat or kill other animals while the snakes scarf down those mice. Fuckin' Weird! Tim is basically harmless though until the poachers, which also killed his father, start messing with him. He gets into a fight with 2 of 'em and his snake friend actually saves his ass by biting the ass of his enemy. Later, he and Stanley trap the two in quicksand to die. Tim has even made a 'lil crib for Stanley's new born snake babies. Tragically though, a 3rd junky poacher sobers up long enough to find Tim's home, break in, and kill Hazel and the kids. Tim and Stanley kill off this asshole with a snakebite to the face. Tim has also been supplying a local stripper with snakes for her act. She's got a new act though in which she bites off a snakes head like a geek, which Tim doesn't know about until he stumbles in after the traumatic day he's had. He's pissed to say the least, and gives her and her hubby a nice snake blanket while they sleep. Tim by film's end has lost touch with reality all together and feels Stanley is the only 'person' he can relate to. He kills off the boss of the poachers and kidnaps the hot, jailbait daughter. She hates her Dad and doesn't seem to mind being taken and later bedding down with her Indian outlaw. That is until she realizes he's got more problems than Michael Jackson and deadlier pets. Still, she's ready to give up the ass. Later, she wants to leave, Tim say no. Tim gets pissed and wants Stanley to kill her, but he won't bite. Tim loses it then, feeling betrayed by his best friend, he almost crushes the snake with a chair but stops. In a tear filled climax, Stanley finally puts the bite on Tim, maybe more out of mercy than hate, as it's obvious Tim ain't right for our world. Of course, maybe Stanley took a look at that 'lil hottie Tim brought home and decided he wanted a new owner and friend. Stanley slithers back to where rattlesnakes belong as Tim's house burns down with him dying, hoping to finally find his place. This flick will weird you out. Tim isn't really a killer or villain, just an over-zealous snake lover scarred by war and mankind in general. The scenes in this movie are just plain weird, the dialogs between Tim and Stanley are both funny and sad. Tim's victims are mostly deserving and that's the hard part when watching this movie. You feel twisted for cheering for someone so obviously scarred, but those poachers needed killin'. Stanely is an over looked gem and one of the best snake-horror films to me.
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