Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stanley (1972)

Stanley (1972)
Director: William Grefe
Starring: Chris Robinson, Alex Rocco, Steve Alaimo
Format: DVD

Plot: A young Seminole Indian uses his rattlesnake to take revenge on all those he believes have wronged him.

Florida regional B-movie maker William Grefe is best known for helming some of the worst films of all time, like Death Curse of Tartu and Sting of Death. Given that reputation I went into this - a lesser-known nature revenge flick - with extremely low expectations and came out pleasantly surprised.

Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't a great movie. In fact, the first two-thirds are for the most part pretty boring, as we meet ex-Vietnam Vet and Seminole Indian Tim (Robinson), who has shunned society to live in the Everglades with his pet rattlesnakes (including the titular Stanley). We also meet local crime boss Thomkins (Alex Rocco from THE GODFATHER), his slutty daughter, a variety of Thomkins' henchmen and assorted other locals. When Tim finds out that Thomkins' men killed his father he gets revenge on them, but things don't really pick up pace until another henchman slaughters some of Tim's scaly friends.

Once Tim goes into full-on revenge mode Stanley becomes good fun to watch, full of zany, weird action as only the 70s could provide. Unintentional humor abounds. Among the highlights are Tim explaining about the death of his "family" to a stripclub bouncer, Thomkins diving into a pool full of snakes, the way a henchman named Psycho keeps saying "Yeah Mutha!", and the wacky ending. There's plenty that'll have you shaking your head with a wry, confused smile on your face.

Part Willard (man uses animals to get revenge), part Billy Jack (Native American fights back against evil white men) and part Copperhead (killer snakes), Stanley is worth watching if you're in the mood for an offbeat 70s b-movie.

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