Gorehouse Greats: Stanley (1972)

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 got into was B-Movie Blast, which has — as is par for the course with these bricks of films — a crazy gaggle of films. We originally reviewed this movie on November 23, 2020, as part of our William Gréfe week, then again on February 1, 2020, for the B-Movie Blast set.

Well, it’s back again — with a new, second take — as it’s also part of Mill Creek’s Gorehouse Greats 12-Pack.

Does it deserve two takes? Nope. But we are celluloid masochists. And this movie supports animal abuse to get a movie made. You’ve been warned.

If you wanted to know what writer, director, and star Christopher Robinson did before his vanity run for box office gold with The Intruder (1975), welcome to the pre-Jaws when-animals-attack mayhem that is Stanley. Did you see Rattlers in 1976? Okay, so this is the first snake movie. (No, not the Scorpio killer from Dirty Harry (1971), that’s Andrew Robinson; not related.)

Robinson is Tim Ochopee, an f-up Seminole war vet back from Vietnam who wants to just be left alone with his best friend, the snake Stanley, in Everglades seclusion. Not if Richard Thomkins (Alex Rocco; who excels at character actor dickdom), an expert tanner (a maker of leather goods) who is “mobbed up” and kills Tim’s pop.

Remember Willard (1971). Yeah, it’s like that. Only with a pet snake instead of a rat.

Yep. William Grefe seen the box office gold of Willard and decided the world needed a guy with an ESP link to his pet snakes — led by Stanley the snake instead of Ben and Socrates. But it’s a Grefe flick: Sandra Locke didn’t bite the head off a rat and let the blood run down her fleshy breasts. But a stripper dancing on stage does that with a snake, here. And Bruce Davison didn’t kidnap his lady love: Tim kidnaps Rocco’s daughter Susie to to that end.

While this movie piles on the violence, the horrors the snakes endured was worse. So much for a Florida regional horror shot-on-the-fly in the Everglades outside of the eyes of Hollywood execs and PETA. Grefe had snakes defanged. He had the mouths sewn shot on others. When you hear this — even though it is snakes, still — you end up hating Grefe and never watch another one of his films. Ever. Again. Which is why I am not a rabid a Grefe fan as others are. It gets worse: Grefe had Stanley, the lead snake, killed. Then made it into a wallet.

Fuck you, Grefe. You deserved to have a bottom-of-the-barrel career of shit movies than never rose out of Z-moviedom. I can’t believe you got a box set retrospective. Animal killer.

There was talk of a sequel, Stanley in Miami. It never happened, thank god, as the lives of snakes were saved. Sorry, you just don’t mistreat and kill animals for the sake of a friggin’ movie. And a sucky-ass one at that. I can’t recommend this. Find your own freebie streaming links or online store DVDs and Blus.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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