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Snakes in Movies
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Snakes in
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Snakes in Movies
The Kings of Summer (2013)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
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This is the kind of use of snakes in a movie that makes me want to scream and throw things at the filmmakers and the writer who state a few realistic facts about snakes and then throw in absurd snake folklore, unbelievable snake behavior, use a perfectly harmless species that is represented as a bloodthirsty venomous killer, and then have someone kill a live snake on screen just for the audience's entertainment. Normally I give the special effects people the benefit of the doubt, since they have so many convincing ways to fake an actual snake killing or de-capitation, but this time it seemed too real to be fake. I hope I'm wrong. Nevertheless, I recommend that you boycott this movie because of the snake scene.

Other than that, it's not bad. It's a teen coming of age movie with a bunch of witty wisecracking teens and their disfunctional parents. A couple of 15-year-old buddies (Joe and Patrick) who are fed up by their parents, run away from home and a very weird boy named Biaggio joins them. (He's the most fun character in the movie.) They all build a shack in the woods where they live off berries and roasted chickens bought at Boston Market. It's their little Garden of Eden, so you know a snake will show up eventially to get them thrown out. In this movie Eden there are two snakes - a teenage girl and a real snake. On one of his foraging journeys, Patrick finds a snake skin. Later he tells the others that it was from a Copperhead. He also cautions them not to throw food away because it will attract mice and the mice will attract snakes. So far so good, all that is believable.

After Kelly, the girl Joe likes, visits the shack and falls for Patrick, we see Joe looking sad and depressed and then we see a brief shot of a gopher snake. Joe has a fit and kicks everybody out of the shack and tries to survive on his own. He runs out of roast chicken money so he kills, skins, and cooks a rabbit. He's sitting at a table at night, just about to eat the cooked rabbit, when a gopher snake shows up and crawls under his table and up to him where it stays in a threatening posture. Joe is terrified and doesn't move and then he falls asleep with the snake still sitting there in front of him. This is so unbelievable that I thought the whole scene was going to be a dream sequence or a fantasy, but then the next morning we see Joe wake up when Kelly and Joe's father open the shack door when they come to bring him home and the snake is still there. The snake turns around and crawls up to Kelly's feet and Joe screams for everybody not to move. Kelly panics and falls down so Joe jumps on her to protect her. Then Biaggio shows up with a machete. He stares down the snake in silence for what seems to be an entire minute. We expect that he'll be the snake-killing hero, but before he can hack the snake, it bites him on the leg. Then Joe grabs the machete, steps on the snake's neck, and cuts off its head. Then things get completely absurd. Joe tells his father, in the middle of a snake bite emergency, to go bury the snake's head and body in two separate holes "the venom will attract other snakes" he says, spouting some kind of incredibly false folklore, and his father goes out and does it! A kid might be dying but he goes and buries the snake before taking care of him! Finally they put the shovel down and drag Biaggio to the hospital. We see a nasty bite on his leg on the way. He survives, but I couldn't bother to care any more. At the very end in a nature montage we see another gopher snake again crawling in the woods.

Snakes are also alluded to in other scenes: In a very funny scene, the father complains to a Chinese delivery guy that the wantons are too big to eat unless he unhinges his jaw like an anaconda. He asks him if he should just stuff them into his belly and lay in the sun for two months. And when the boys are talking about snakes being attracted to mice around the cabin, Biaggio claims that the word for snake in Italian means "the demon's c*ck." Nobody believes him, because he always says such strange things.

As I said earlier, the snakes shown were all harmless gopher snakes. During the de-capitation scene we can see a slight spray of blood onto the machete. That's how I figure that they used a real snake. A fake or a pre-killed snake wouldn't likely still bleed. We also see a line of gore on the ground next to the snake's head which seems to indicate that they had already killed another snake before the one we see. There's no telling how many snakes they killed to get the shot they wanted. Whoever provided the animals for the shoot should be ashamed. And no, there was no Humane Society monitoring disclaimer at the end.