The Venom Interviews | Movie Review

Authored by Robert Wedderburn

The Venom Interviews | Movie Review

Venomous rattlesnake

Crotalus sp.

The present-day media continues to portray snakes, especially those large or venomous as terrifying creatures. The Venom Interviews sets out to debunk these widespread notions and provide the audience with accurate information about these highly misunderstood creatures and the amazing people who dedicate their lives to studying them.

The Venom Interviews

Ray Morgan, the director and filmmaker behind this incredible documentary sets off in his fancy sports car across much of the United States of America to interview some of the most reputable names in herpetology and herpetoculture. The film includes interviews with internationally renowned experts in the field from other parts of the globe. The Venom Interviews is an essential reference for anyone who is an avid reptile enthusiast or works with these exceptional creatures. The documentary provides some of the best accounts of working with highly venomous snakes and snakebite treatments of any documentary made to date.

Venom Lethal Dose killing 50%

LD50 Study Graphic Courtesy of Ray Morgan

The film’s narrative is well-constructed and keeps the audience captivated. This is a lengthy documentary with a runtime of just under two hours. After watching the film you will feel like you have just been on a crash course on Venomous Reptiles and Snakebites. No matter how much you know about snakes, there is a lot of great information and solid advice making this film an extremely useful resource for doctors, veterinarians and professionals who encounter snakebites on a regular basis. The tone of the film remains calm and collected and there is no use of sensationalism or exaggerated facts and opinions, which is very refreshing to see. The cinematography in the film is straightforward but effective as the film is really about the interviewees as the name would suggest.

Venom milking

Carl Barden in Action

The film starts off by finding the common interests that ignited this passion shared by many herpers (reptile enthusiasts) and how important it is to educate future generations about these creatures if we are to debunk old myths and see snakes for what they really are. Amazingly most of these experts’ passion was sparked by two common interests, plastic dinosaurs and finding their first snakes as children. The film gets into detail about how snakes act in captive environments compared to natural environments. Snake expert Terry Phillip explains the main traits and characteristics that make keeping certain venomous snakes in captivity more dangerous than others. Jim Harrison from the Kentucky Reptile Zoo and Carl Barden from Medtoxin Venom Laboratories provide insightful views on working at venom laboratories and explain the dangerous work that they do to in order to provide venom that is used for medical research and to manufacture antivenom.

My favorite interview was of Leslie Bower. I found it both entertaining and insightful.

She explained many aspects of snakebite treatment including the need for private keepers to make sure they have their own stockpile of antivenom when keeping exotic venomous species. Having a clear emergency protocol and early administration of antivenom will hugely improve the patient’s chance of survival and reduce the complications caused by envenomation.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this film for anyone with a passion for reptiles. I found it insightful and informative. A must watch for all aspiring herpetologists.