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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Rattlers (1976)




These seventies animals attack movies are such a good time. Here we get a nest of deadly rattlesnakes driven mad by the dumping of nerve gas into their underground home. The action starts off quickly with a couple of annoying kids stumbling onto the snakes which leads to our hero, Professor Tom, to be called in to consult. He is an expert on rattlers, so he was the logical choice. Though given how his cobra gets loose and almost kills a colleague I’m going to call his credentials into question. After some more deaths he is summoned back and assigned a photographer named Anne who seems more interested in women’s lib then taking pictures. The rest of the movie is some thrilling discussion or women’s rights, Anne giving in to Professor Tom’s charms, a military coverup, and finally some inexplicable homicide.

This is another gem from my Mill Creek sets. Rattlers is clearly a low budget affair slapped together by some want to be filmmakers. For most involved this is one of two or three credits and those that did have careers were mostly bit players elsewhere. That doesn’t mean they did a bad job here… but they did. The movie has pacing issues starting off with a bang and then getting bogged down with too much inane dialogue and needless plot development of characters that don’t matter. They take the time to introduce Professor Tom’s colleague and put him in danger instead of explaining the goings on between the eventual bad guy, who suddenly goes on a shooting spree, and his victim. This movie is all over the place and is hard to follow. There is also a sequence where they are in the desert, then dancing in Vegas while waiting to pick up important papers, then back in a tent sleeping with no explanation or transitional scenes. The filmmakers really didn’t know how to shoot or edit a movie.

Let us mansplain this to you little lady...
The cast delivers their lines, but without a lot of emotion. They never seem scared, angry, or in love. Even when they say they are scared, angry, and in love. The acting is on par with the direction and editing, which isn’t good. We also never get to see any snake bite or the aftermath of one. We don’t even get a body, which was a real bummer. I need to see something interesting in my animal attacks flick, especially animals attacking. Stock footage of rattlesnakes with an occasional snake on the ground next to an actor isn’t going to cut it.

I’m clearly not a huge fan of Rattlers. Still it does have a certain charm that comes from it being a drive-in movie of questionable quality made by regional filmmakers. Though it isn’t nearly as goofy as something like Track of the Moon Beast, which hurts it overall. Maybe they tried too hard to make a good movie while making a bad one? Regardless I have to say that this is one that I can only recommend to the cinematic completists that need to see all the animal attacks or drive-in flicks regardless of how painful it might be. Sadly, I’m one of those, but for you lucky others I recommend passing on this one.


© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer

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