The Python DVD cover.
|Directed by||Richard Clabaugh|
|Produced by||Jeffery Beach
Thomas J. Niedermeyer Jr.
|Screenplay by||Daniel Knauf
|Story by||Phillip J. Roth|
Casper Van Dien
|Music by||Daniel J. Nielsen|
|Edited by||Christian McIntire|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|January 17, 1999|
Python is a 1999 made-for-TV horror movie directed by Richard Clabaugh. The film features several cult favorite actors, including William Zabka of The Karate Kid fame, Wil Wheaton, Casper Van Dien, Jenny McCarthy, Keith Coogan, Robert Englund, Dana Barron, David Bowe, and Sean Whalen.
The film concerns a genetically engineered snake, a python, that escapes and unleashes itself on a small town. It includes the classic final girl scenario evident in films like Friday the 13th. It was filmed in Los Angeles, California and Malibu, California.
The crew of a plane gets nervous when the cargo it is carrying starts making noises and shifting. When one of the crew opens the crate, the pilot hears screams from the back. Something attacks him, causing the plane to crash near a town called Ruby. The cargo survives the crash and begins attacking Ruby citizens, starting with a lesbian couple camping in the woods.
At a swimming hole the next day, John Cooper (Rosanoff), his girlfriend Kristin (Barron), his best friend Tommy (Wheaton) and Tommy's girlfriend Theresa (Mornell) find a pet Ball python belonging to one of the dead women, Lisa. Deputy Greg (Zabka) shows up, mentioning that Lisa is missing and takes the snake. Lisa's body is found, appearing to have been corroded by acids. Greg suspects John since he works at a plant that employs acids. Complicating things, Greg is also Kristin's ex-fiancée; she having left him when her first love came back to town.
Scientist Anton Rudolph (Englund) is talking with NSA Special Agent Parker (Van Dien), explaining that the cargo is an abnormally large reticulated python that has been genetically engineered in Southeast Asia, blending several species. In the words of Dr. Rudolph, it is, "a perfect killing machine, a 129 foot long all-terrain vehicle capable of speeds exceeding fifty miles an hour, with skin that can deflect an anti-tank round, enhanced night vision, and a voracious appetite for human flesh". The NSA team plans an assault against the snake, hoping to kill it discreetly before it eats more people.
The snake kills a real estate agent (Williamson) and beheads the agent's client (McCarthy). It leaves behind the client and the body of the other lesbian, Roberta Keeler. John enters as the snake leaves, furthering suspicion against him. The Sheriff shuts down his brother Brian's plant, furthering the tensions between him and Brian. As John leaves the plant he runs into Greg's car and his bike is damaged. They end up in a fist fight, mostly over Kristin, though they ultimately reconcile. When the body of the real estate agent is found with the same acid damage, the Sheriff orders John arrested. Kristin yells at Greg when they come to arrest John, but he says that he does not think John is the killer.
The NSA team and Rudolph arrive, telling the Sheriff a story about a psychotic rogue operative imprisoned in a military psychiatric unit who escaped and is committing the murders. He does not believe them, but goes back to the office and frees John. He, Kristin, Tommy, and Theresa plan to go on a trip the next morning.
The NSA set up base at a water treatment center. They use radar to find where the snake is likely to be, then have the police set up a perimeter to keep people out of the zone. Believing the snake to be sleeping, the team wastes most of its ammo on the snake's shed skin. Agent Parker realizes the snake set them up using its skin as a decoy. The snake arrives and kills the team; only Rudolph survives after keeping himself standing perfectly still in front of the creature.
Theresa's morning shower is interrupted by the snake. Though she is able to escape, the snake eats Tommy. Theresa drives away but the snake follows. It gets in front of her and rips the rear axle off, disabling the truck. She gets away again and hides in a crevice.
When Tommy and Theresa do not arrive to pick them up, John and Kristin go looking for them, finding the wrecked truck. Theresa tries to warn them as the snake comes to attack, but they cannot hear her. John and Kristin escape using Tommy and Theresa's bikes from the truck. They make it to the water treatment center, where Theresa later joins them, and find Rudolph in shock. The group realizes that they must do something about the snake or it will get to the town. They call Greg on the radio and fill him in on a plan they have devised.
They lure the snake into the water treatment plant by having it chase John through a shaft while they set a bomb near the entrance. Kristin drops a line down another shaft for John to escape. The other two escape through the regular door, where Greg is waiting to drive them to the other shaft. They pull John out and the python is unable to climb up the shaft. Trapped in the tunnel, the python returns to the doorway entrance. The group returns to the entrance to trigger the bomb, but it does not detonate. Rudolph says the snake must have torn out the antenna when it crashed into the bunker, so he leaves his pet snake with Kristin and runs back in to reset it. While Rudolph resets the charges, he is confronted by the snake, but is able to succeed in his task. The charges go off, killing Rudolph, and the other four are celebrating their success, but the Python emerges unscathed.
They flee in Greg's police car, and come up with a new plan to penetrate the snake's hide by luring the snake into a vat of acid at John's plating plant. Once there, John acts as the bait once again while Kristin uses a winch to push the snake's underbelly into one of the vats, causing the snake to be disemboweled and killed by the acid.
Six months later, Greg has been accepted into Quantico to be an FBI agent, the plant has been reopened as a bar/bike shop where the snake's skin is used as a sales tool, and John finds out that he and Kristin are soon to be parents.
- Frayne Rosanoff as John Cooper
- Robert Englund as Dr. Anton Rudolph
- Casper Van Dien as Special Agent Bart Parker
- William Zabka as Deputy Greg Larston
- Dana Barron as Kristin
- Sara Mornell as Theresa
- Wil Wheaton as Tommy
- Jenny McCarthy as Francesca Garibaldi
- Chris Owens as Brian Cooper
- Sean Whalen as Deputy Lewis Ross
- Gary Grubbs as Sheriff Griffin Wade
- Theo Pagones as Dootsen
- Scott Williamson as Kenny Summers
- David Bowe as Boone
- Keith Coogan as Lenny
- John Franklin as Floyd Fuller
- LoriDawn Messuri as Lisa Johnson
- Kathleen Randazzo as Roberta Keeler
- Frank Welker as the Python (voice)
Python received mixed reviews. Critics praised the ensemble cast, but criticized the special effects and plot. Others thought that it was an above-average television film with good special effects. However, despite the initial reception, it is now regarded as a cult classic, and has a dedicated fan base. Many people called it a rip-off of Anaconda (1997).
It had three sequels, the first being 2001's Boa about a giant prehistoric Boa Constrictor that is accidentally unleashed into a state-of-the-art prison in Antarctica during a mining operation.The prison staff, the inmates, and two paleontologists must band together to escape the prison or become the serpent's prey. The film was considered a critical failure. In 2002's Python 2, two carnivorous mutant pythons terrorize a Russian research complex and military base. The Russians and the Americans must work together to destroy the creatures and save themselves. Python II was a critical failure. Boa vs. Python was released in 2004, and is thought to be a cross over between Boa and Python. Boa vs Python was also a critical failure, and neither have the ensemble cast like Python did.
- Python synopsis from imdb.com