(director/writer: John McCauley; screenwriter: Jerry Golding; cinematographers: Richard Gibb/Irvin Goodnoff; editor: Sandy Glieberman; music: Miles Goodman; cast: Sam Chew Jr. (Dr. Tom Parkinson), Elisabeth Chauvet (Ann Bradley), Colonel Stroud (Dan Priest), Ronald Gold (Captain Delaney), Tony Ballen (Sheriff Gates), Ancel Cook (Sam the janitor), Tipp McClure (Plumber), Gary Van Ormand (Woodley), Darwin Jostin (Palmer), Celia Kaye (woman in bathtub), Richard Lockmiller (Deputy), Dan Balantine (Hawkins, pilot), Matt Knox (Pilot), Al Dunlap (General Hinch); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: John McCauley; Boxoffice International Pictures; 1976)
“It’s a nature-runs-amok film that should put a smile on your face, maybe even for folks who freak out when looking at snakes.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
John McCauley (“Deadly Intruder”) is the co-writer with Jerry Golding of this B-film horror pic. He’s also the director and producer. It’s a snake-loving film about misbehaving snakes in the Mojave Desert of California who act out of character when they go on killing sprees together. After around fifty snakes kill and mutilate two boys on a desert camping trip and an old man gets snake bitten to death offscreen in the same area, the town sheriff (Tony Ballen) calls a respected zoology professor, a herpetologist from the University of California for help. Dr. Tom Parkinson (Sam Chew Jr.) is puzzled by the attacks after he investigates and decides to work for the sheriff after the college goes on a spring break until they can figure things out as to why the snakes have suddenly become so aggressive.
There are several more deadly snake attacks, including one at a farmstead where all of the following die: chickens, a dog, horses, a teen putting a muffler in his Chevy Nova and the kid’s parents. The snakes also cause the place to go up in flames. There’s also one snake attack while a lady is taking a bath (Celia Kaye) and a plumber is working on fixing the water heater that’s infested with snakes.
Thereby Tom is hired to work for the sheriff’s department with an attractive feminist spouting freelance female photographer, Ann Bradley (Elisabeth Chauvet).
Suspicious of a secretive military fort in the area, Tom meets with the guarded, villainous and unfriendly commander, Colonel Stroud (Dan Priest), and finds out through a helicopter pilot (Dan Balantine) flying Tom over the area that the colonel buried in an abandoned mine shaft a few weeks ago a leaking military container. It turns out the depraved colonel buried biological nerve gas, which caused the nest of snakes in the mine shaft to be affected and attack the people in the area.
The film has a number of things or scenes causing unintentional laughter, such as when the medical officer is asked if he’s sure the corpse died of venomous snake bites, and he replies he surely didn’t die of the flu. Also after the leads are attacked in their camping tents by snakes and saved by a soldier spraying the tent with a machine gun, Tom, for no sane reason, suddenly takes Ann to Las Vegas to dine and live it up for a night. The scene was preposterous and made no sense, but it was such goofiness that made me enjoy the film.
It’s a nature-runs-amok film that should put a smile on your face, maybe even for folks who freak out when looking at snakes.
REVIEWED ON 7/16/2023 GRADE: B