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Rattlers (1976)

PG | | Horror | 23 April 1976 (USA)
A herpetologist investigating a series of fatal rattlesnake attacks discovers that the creatures have been infected by a mysterious nerve gas disposed of in the desert by the military.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Chew Jr. ...
Dr. Tom Parkinson (as Sam Chew)
Elisabeth Chauvet ...
Ann Bradley
Colonel Stroud
Ronald Gold ...
Captain Delaney (as Ron Gold)
Al Dunlap ...
General Hinch
Dan Balentine ...
Pilot Hawkins
Gary Van Ormand ...
Woodley (as Gary Van Orman)
Darwin Joston ...
Palmer (as Darwin Jostin)
Cary J. Pitts ...
Sergeant (as Cary Pitts)
Eric Lawson ...
Tony Ballen ...
Sheriff Gates
Richard Lockmiller ...
Jo Jordan ...
Scott McCartor ...
Rick (as Scott McCarter)
Tipp McClure ...


A large number of chemically altered rattlesnakes become fearsome killers in this TV chiller. The tale is set in the Mojave Desert and centers upon Sam Parkinson, a noted herpetologist, who has come to investigate a series of strange deaths that began with two dead children found near their parents' campsites. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What a horrible way to die! See more »




PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 April 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Killer-Schlangen  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The glider pilot says there were dozens of snakes surrounding his plane, that forced him to dive in his cockpit and close it up. He says he was rescued by the tow plane that showed up to tow him to safety. How did the tow pilot hook up the glider without the snakes attacking him? See more »


Featured in Celluloid Bloodbath: More Prevues from Hell (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Rattle and ho-hum
29 April 2011 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

When a couple of kids vacationing with their family in the desert are discovered deceased without apparent cause, an eminent herpetologist (Chew) is recruited to assist baffled police. Assigned a freelance photographer (Chauvet) to document evidence, covert enquiries lead the pair to discover that a secret military testing site might be responsible for the apparent aggressiveness of the local rattlesnake population. Sounds more exciting than it is, unfortunately.

Talky, clichéd time-filler at best, with little in the way of suspense or action; "Rattlers" may not rattle any pacemakers for shock value, and at times tends to look more like a glorified reptile lecture, than a motion picture. Sam Chew is tepid as the tertiary scientist reluctantly seconded to the Mojave desert to provide authorities with a professional opinion on the cause of two suspicious deaths. Chew does a realistic job of looking totally ambivalent about his task, whether it's the dialogue or the method he employs that's driving that motivation is unclear. His offhand approach is flawless, and his male chauvinist streak is neatly contrasted by his tenacious and equally independent tent buddy (Chauvet) who adds some dimension to the acting.

Little attempt is made to have the rattlesnakes realistically interact with the cast, either through props or stunts, and thus, the audience is treated to limited action, totally bereft of thrills or suspense. Even the scene in which Kaye is bathing, while a rogue rattlesnake stalks her, affects no suspense or shock value, despite the elaborate set-up and staging. But the most peculiar feature of the film, is the scene in which, amid all the simmering tension, the two leads digress to Las Vega$ for a night of fun and frivolity on the roulette tables. Like an intermission, no segway or explanation – just a random sojourn to the casino capital for a brief repose, and then it's back to the hard core snake facts and the job at hand.

Earnest in its attempt, there are some dedicated performances in the supporting ranks (Gold, Jostin and a brief but 'memorable' appearance by Kaye who was once a Hollywood most-promising-newcomer in the mid sixties) but this is a snake-movie, not a political thriller, and more action was desperately needed to combat the often soporific and somnolent narrative.

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