Coming to HBO and to HBO Max tomorrow, Wednesday, December 9:
A conflicting story of attempted murder in an Appalachian Pentecostal snake handling community.
In October 1991, police were called to a home in the small town of Scottsboro AL and learned of a stranger-than-fiction dispute between a husband and wife. According to Darlene Summerford, her husband, Glenn, a snake-handling Pentecostal preacher, angry at her for a supposed affair, forced Darlene at gunpoint to stick her hand into a box of poisonous serpents, resulting in a dangerous bite. Glenn, a convicted felon who claimed to have found redemption through religion, accused Darlene of being suicidal and unhinged, and that she had actually attempted to kill him. The lurid incident, and the sensational he said/she said trial that followed, drew media attention to the Summerfords’ snake-handling congregation and their strange practices. Director Theo Love revisits the case in detail, drawing from the research of local historian and folklorist Dr Thomas Burton and featuring extensive re-enactments that attempt to capture the story in all of its Southern Gothic excesses. It’s a compelling tale, but the over-dependence on the latter give the project an unwelcome UNSOLVED MYSTERIES vibe at times that may turn off some viewers.