I have been a fan of the “animal attack” sub genre since I was a very young boy, I vividly remember staying up until the sun rose watching weekend b-movie marathons and being extra excited when it was going to be a buffet of animal attack flicks. From killer bees to bloodthirsty whales, the genre has a never-ending cast of potential species to choose from. I felt it was only natural that I start this on going look at the genre with the very first animal attack film I remember seeing as a child, the 1976 classic John McCauley (Deadly Intruder) Rattlers.
The movie revolves around a herpetologist that has been called in to investigate a series of vicious rattlesnake attacks and his photographer. Soon the duo discovers the military’s disposal of a top-secret nerve gas may be the root of the snakes strange behavior.
As a kid, I remember being terrified by this movie, not so much after revisiting it now as an adult. The movie begins as if it is going to at least try to stay in the realm of scientific possibility, but then quickly becomes increasingly far fetched and cheesy the longer it plays out. One of my biggest logic complaints is the fact the two insist on sleeping in a cloth tent on the dessert ground each night during their look into the snake attacks. If you knew you were in a hot bed for recent snake attacks, would you really want to sleep on the ground with only a thin layer of cloth separating you from the outside world?
After about the half way point the movie becomes insanely hilarious from the out of the blue trip to Vegas for an romantic date between the duo, to an solider bursting into a tent filled of snakes and spraying the floor with a machine gun magically not injuring either of the two people inside the tent with his blind barrage of bullets. Although it hasn’t aged well at all it is still a great choice for sharing some laughs with friends and reminiscing about the genre’s early roots.
To be fair the same scenes that gave me nightmares as a child did still cause me to grit my teeth, the most effective one involving a bathtub, which is all I will say. Another factor that held up for me personally were the scenes where they would describe the victim’s appearances as they investigated each of the bodies. Although you never personally see the bodies, you are given such detailed descriptions that you are forced into creating you own mental images.
If you dig the subgenre and do not mind 70s grade visuals and B movie acting than Rattlers remains a must see flick. This is one for the hardcore fans, casuals will quickly find themselves bored and overwhelmed by increasingly silly story progression and lack of basic logic. Overall, I had a fun time reliving this movie, and will likely dust if off once again a few years from now.
If you would like to view this movie for free online it can currently be streamed via our friends over at Bmovies.com by clicking here.