Venomous is one of Fred Olen Rays more routine efforts. The film feels like it has been hatched as a bizarre conceptual crossbreed of a plague outbreak thriller a la Outbreak (1995) or The Patriot (1998) and a mid-1990s Natures Revenge film along the lines of Arachnophobia (1990) or Ticks (1993) with various bugs/critters loose in a small town. The script slings together as many of the cliches from these two genres as possible the inevitable military conspiracy to cover up the release of the virus; the highly qualified medical specialist who has opted to return to life as a small-town GP; the local authorities failing to take the menace seriously. In terms of credible science, the film has barely even done a surface reading of matters there is the superbly nonsensical moment where the scientists decide to find an antidote for humans by harvesting the antibodies that protect the snakes from being infected by the virus.
Fred Olen Ray offers up all the outbreak and military takeover cliches on a low budget. He throws in vehicle action sequences and car explosions seemingly at random. There is an especially ludicrous scene where a military helicopter pursues and shoots up two victims as they flee in a car, only for the driver of the car to respond by opening the trunk, retrieving a rocket launcher and shooting the helicopter down, as though a rocket launcher were the most natural form of personal protection to be carrying with one at all times. The climax is borrowed directly from Outbreak with the heroes struggling to free themselves and stop an oncoming plane from dropping a bomb on the town with an absurd twist added where the heroes have to also deal with a horde of rattlers that get loose at the same time.
Fred Olen Ray frequently peppers his films with references to other genre films. In this case, there are several references to other viral outbreak films theres a General Arthur Manchek, who was one of the characters from The Andromeda Strain (1971); there is also Directive 7-12 from The Andromeda Strain, which was the presidential order to include a nuclear device beneath the facility to be detonated in case of a containment breach; the virus is nicknamed The Satan Bug after the biowarfare theft thriller The Satan Bug (1965); while the town is named Santa Mira, the fictional location for Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
Fred Olen Ray has made a lengthy list of genre films. These include:- The Brain Leeches (1977), The Alien Dead/It Fell from the Sky (1980), Scalps (1983), Biohazard (1984), The Adventures of Taura: Prison Ship Star Slammer (1985), The Tomb (1985), The Phantom Empire (1986), Cyclone (1987), Beverly Hills Vamp (1988), Deep Space (1988), Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988), Warlords (1989), Alienator (1990), Bad Girls from Mars (1990), Spirits (1990), Haunting Fear (1991), Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991), Wizards of the Demon Sword (1991), Evil Toons (1992), Little Devils (1993), Dinosaur Island (1994), Mind Twister (1994), Possessed By the Night (1994), Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfolds (1995), Cyber Zone/Droid Gunner (1995), Invisible Mom (1995), Star Hunter (1995), Night Shade (1996), Passionate Revenge/Friend of the Family II/Hell Hath No Fury (1996), Hybrid (1997), Little Miss Magic/Kidwitch (1997), Billy Frankenstein (1998), Dear Santa/My Dad Santa (1998), Illicit Dreams 2 (1998), Invisible Dad (1998), Active Stealth (1999), Fugitive Mind (1999), Invisible Mom 2 (1999), The Kid with X-Ray Eyes (1999), Prophet (1999), Critical Mass (2000), Sideshow (2000), Kept (2001), Stranded (2001), Thirteen Erotic Ghosts (2002), Final Examination (2003), Bikini-a-Go-Go/Curse of the Erotic Tiki (2004), Genie in a String Bikini (2004), Haunting Desire (2004), Teenage Cavegirl (2004), Glass Trap (2005), Tomb of the Werewolf (2005), Bikini Girls from a Lost Planet (2006), Bikini Pirates (2006), Ghost in a Teeny Bikini (2006), Bewitched Housewives (2007), The Girl With Sex-Ray Eyes (2007), Nuclear Hurricane (2007), Super Ninja Bikini Babes (2007), Polar Opposites (2008), Solar Flare (2008), Tarzeena, Queen of Kong Island (2008), Voodoo Dollz (2008), Dire Wolf (2009), Silent Venom (2009), Bikini Frankenstein (2010), Bikini Jones and the Temple of Eros (2010), Housewives from Another World (2010), Turbulent Skies (2010), Twilight Vamps (2010), Lady Chatterlys Ghost (2011), Little Witches (2011), Rewind Time Machine (2011), Super Shark (2011), Dirty Blondes from Beyond (2012), Abner the Invisible Dog (2013), After Midnight (2014), Unwanted Guest (2016), Stage Fright (2017) and The Twin (2017).