October 15th, 2013

Coat of Arms

Don't tread on Stanley!

VII A.S. Directed by William Grefe. Written by William Grefe, Gary Crutcher. Starring Chris Robinson {Tim Ochopee}, Alex Rocco {Thomkins}, Steve Alaimo {Crail Denning}, Susan Carroll {Susie Thomkins}, Mark Harris {Bob Wilson}, Rey Baumel {Sidney Calvin}, Paul Avery {Psycho Simpson}, Marcia Knight {Gloria Calvin, as Marcie Knight), Gary Crutcher {Dr. Everett}, Mel Pape {Guard}, Milton 'Butterball' Smith {Stage Manager}, Pamela Talus {Girl Friend}, William Marquez {Wachula, as Bill Marquez}, Charles Kaufman {Nightclub Drunk}, Frank Weed {Rattlesnake Milker}. Genre: Horror, Thriller.

Throughout the ages, the serpent has been both venerated and feared, equated with 'evil' and divinity, making a potent totem as well. A lesson can be taken from the serpent, with a select few already inherently exhibiting these traits. Stealthy and deadly, they will only strike to defend themselves, their nest, or to feed. I Am reminded of a sign spotted once upon a constitutional which reads:

"Snakes may be found in this area. They are important members of the natural community. They will not attack, but if disturbed or cornered, they will defend themselves. Give them distance and respect."

Vietnam Veteran Tim Ochopee is a misanthropic Seminole Indian living in the everglades, and just wants to be left alone with his friends - a legion of snakes, whom he pretty much considers his family. He makes a modest living supplying the local clinic with venom for antidotes. He returns home to find that his father had been killed in an accident, later to be revealed that it was actually a couple of these rotten poachers who did it, boasted about during a fight, which Stanley amusingly puts an 'end' to.

Even when members of his tribe attempt to convince him to return to the village to preserve the declining occupants; and even when visited by a couple other vets who offer him quite a bit of money to poach snake hides, he understandably refuses, not to mention that His best buddy is a rattle snake by the name of Stanley.

One day Tim brings Stanley a mate he names Hazel, even acquiring two makeshift beds for them*, complete with dinner - two nice fat mice for their repast. Unfortunately, those two rotten poachers enlist the help of a boozing pill-popping psychotic hippie aptly named "Psycho Simpson", who unconscionably destroys the matrimonial arrangement inclusive of newborn 'squiggles' with the butt of his rifle. Upon the discovery of this travesty, Stanley and Tim see an instant end to him - right in the jugular! Then he quite literally goes up the river. Sadly, they are given a respectful resting place in the side yard. Tim realizes that the source of his troubles derive from the boss poacher, and takes care of him good, while taking his nubile daughter back to the house, which results in a bit of solipsism.

Don't tread on Stanley!

Notable scenes include the justified punishments dished out via "Lex Serpentis", as it were, from a stripper gone wrong incorporating biting the heads off of snakes as a gimmick with her formerly sultry routine {she and her greasy husband are bitten to death in their beds}, to the boss of the poaching ring meeting his demise in the pool, but probably the most remarkable vengeance occurred as a two-fold revenge - death by quicksand upon his father's murderers with Stanley slithering by to make sure they go under while Tim oversees.

Eventually, Tim goes a bit mad in the end, taking out some of his frustrations even on some of the snakes, who concludes as a recipient of his own beloved creatures.

Also enjoyable are the vistas of natural environment replete through the movie, which Tim enjoys going about to and fro from his cabin through the river and swamps, interacting with the various inhabitants therein.

The film exemplifies the 7th Satanic Statement with perhaps a slight modification of "...more often worse than those who walk on all fours or slither on their bellies...", as well as the 5th. A thrill for ophiophiles and ophiophobes alike. ∞

* It is interesting how some people project humanimal values onto other species, like many do with felines, though a cordial friendship can be established, from one animal to another, so long as it does not lapse into a sort of neurotic fetishism.

Personally, along with a select few other predatory beasts, I have always felt a camaraderie with serpents, and have preserved a few as familiars, with their company being an enriching experience and reflection of certain traits. Indeed, much can be divulged by what 'pets' are kept, as that with archetypes.