Rattlers (1976)

rattlers poster 1976 movie review
2.0 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 2/10
Visuals: 2/10

Schlock-y type movie

Poor acting, bad story, rough visuals

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Rattlers

Studio:  Boxoffice International Pictures

Genre(s): Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s): April 23, 1976

MPAA Rating: PG

rattlers snake bite rattlesnake

Go shoot some snakes doing some snake stuff…we’ll use it in the movie

Tragedy strikes in the desert as two boys are killed by what appears to be rattlesnakes.  College herpetologist Dr. Tom Parkinson (Sam Chew) is called in and assigned freelancer Ann Bradley (Elisabeth Chauvet) as his photographer to investigate the deaths and more reports of savage snake deaths.  The path of death seems to stem from a secretive desert army base and stopping the swarming killer snakes before it is too late might be impossible.

Directed by John McCauley (who also developed the story with Jerry Golding), Rattlers is a low-budget horror man-vs-nature B-movie.  The movie received poor reviews and was also featured on Cinematic Titanic.

I have a real soft spot for man-vs-nature movies.  There are really good movies like Jaws, but there is something about bad movies like Frogs and even Rattlers that make them almost just as entertaining.  While Frogs has some star power behind it, Rattlers is the weakest of the weak.

rattlers killed by snakes

He’s been…Rattled!!!

The movie is short, but despite the running time of less than an hour and a half, the movie feels really long.  The plot plods and stumbles as scenes feel drawn out and built up for anticlimactic events.  It sometimes feels like a TV show with characters being “developed” that don’t appear again after a scene while other character gain importance.  The movie switches gears about halfway through the story to introduce the idea of chemically enhanced or enraged snakes complete with a maniacal general who is willing to do anything to keep his secret…this sounds dramatic, but the movie manages to make it as dull as possible.

The acting is quite poor.  Sam Chew seems to just read his lines and it is especially clunky when he has to give scientific information about snakes.  Elisabeth Chauvet is supposed to represent the liberated woman who can take on the hard issues…but still just seems to be the woman who screams through most of the movie.  They build up as a women’s lib type character and then smack her down by having her not really do much except hook up with the Sam Chew character.  I particularly like the classic over the top Dan Priest who plays the typical untrustworthy military man.

rattlers dan priest army burns documents

I’m going for full Anti-American cliche right here…

The movie feels like it really needs to increase the snakes since the film is called Rattlers.  There are some cutaways of stock footage of rattlesnakes for “snake strike” scenes, but largely you see one or two snakes dumped on the characters.  There is a bathtub scene where snakes of course make their ways through the pipes to kill a woman, and there also is a very unimpressive gunfight and explosion to end the threat of the “rattlers”…it pretty much is par for the course.

Rattlers is a bad movie, but it at least is kind of fun and short.  The movie can often be found in multi-movie packs (that is where I got mine), but also can be found streaming in different locations.  There are a lot of better movies of this type and instead of watching Rattlers, you should probably seek one of them out…even Day of the Animals has more fun.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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