Tim likes snakes He lives all alone in the Everglades like a hermit and looks after a few dozen snakes that he keeps around the house. Stanley is the name of his favorite rattle snake that he takes into town. Timmy does all this in honor of his father, an animal-loving Indian who got killed by poachers. A big textile giant wants to hire Tim for his knowledge of the animals' brooding places in the Everglades, but naturally this strokes with his believes. This film is commonly known as "Willard" with snakes instead of rats, which is 100% true, but that doesn't mean it isn't a worthwhile film for fans of 70's animal horror. The Everglades setting is phenomenal and I particularly loved the atmospheric opening sequences with footage of the swamps guided by a typically 70's song. Particularly the first half hour is tense and sinister, but then the film becomes exaggeratedly slow-paced, overlong and ridiculous. There's an extended sequence where Tim sets the table for himself and his two favorite snakes, Stanley and his spouse Hazel. The snakes' plates contain a mouse trapped underneath a drinking glass that gets removed after saying prayers. It's a pretty bonkers sight to behold. Snake-boy goes completely berserk when a psychopathic poacher, sent by the belt-maker, kills Hazel and her offspring. There's also a bizarre and redundant sub plot about Tim delivering snakes to an exotic dancer for her act, but when her pimp forces her to bite off the snake's head on stage, she suddenly becomes an enemy as well. Albeit imaginative, this sub plot could easily have been cut. "Stanley" was directed by the outcast horror director William Grefe, whom I strangely admirer. He made quite a number of oddball horror flicks in the sixties and seventies, including the hilariously inept jellyfish monster mash "Sting of Death" and the experimental shark adventure "Mako: Jaws of Death". "Stanley" is arguably Grefe's best accomplishment, but still just a mediocre and overall tedious exploitation film.
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