REPOST: Stanley (1972)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to Mill Creek Month! As you know, we love those Mill Creek sets, so we’re doing an entire month of these films. The first set we’re getting into is B-Movie Blast, which has — as is par for the course with these bricks of films — a real mashup of movie mayhem. We originally reviewed this movie on November 23, 2020 as part of our William Gréfe week.

Tim Ochopee (Chris Robinson, who would write, direct and star in 1975’s The Intruder) is a war damaged Seminole just back from Vietnam that wants to live out the rest of his life in the Everglades with his snake Stanley. He didn’t count on Richard Thomkins (Alex Rocco), a maker of leather goods with mob ties, killing his father. Now, all the snakes that Tim has lived with will be the death of everyone who has done him wrong.

Only Grefe could take a ripoff of Willard and somehow make it more disturbing than you’d expect. Yes, this is a movie packed with snakes doing all manner of damage to people and people doing just as horrible things to them, including an exotic dancer playing a geek and biting the head off one on stage as she dances seductively with blood all over her bare chest.

Of course, Tim has to kill everyone in the way and kidnap Thomkin’s daughter Susie (Susan Caroll), but any hope of true love kind of goes the way that you’d expect in a Florida regional horror film that doesn’t stop with just stealing from one film and moves into being a reptile-obsessed Billy Jack.

That said — for a movie so much about protecting snakes, the actual snakes in this movie were defanged and some had their mouths sewn shut. There’s enough human on snake violence in this that you’d expect that it was made in Italy. Grefe still owns the wallet that they made out of the skin of the main snake that played Stanley, which is pretty weird when you dwell on it as much as I have.

Gary Crutcher wanted to do a sequel called Stanley in Miami, but it didn’t happen. He wrote this on two days under the influence of amphetamines, which is the most Florida thing you can say about a movie that is the most Sunshine State movie I’ve seen.

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