Tuesday, October 7, 2008

HORROR EPICS: Alligator

ALLIGATOR (1980)
I remember seeing Alligator on TV when I was about nineteen and liking it, and a recent rental of the DVD confirmed that I still get a kick out of it ten years later. Older folks will probably remember the urban legends about oversized alligators residing in city sewers, and you might guess that this movie deals with that theme. Daddy gets pissed off at his daughter for some reason and flushes her pet gator down the toilet as punishment. The cute lil' fella survives down there by feeding on the discarded bodies of dogs used in genetics experiments, and grows to monstrous proportions. Problems occur when the guy in charge of dumping the dead animals becomes gator feed. Leave it to b-movie king and man's man Robert Forster (the token white guy in Jackie Brown), in the Roy Scheider role as troubled cop David Madison, to rid the city of this most troublesome menace. With the assistance of a cutie pie redhead reptile expert, Madison descends into the muck and takes on the gigantic carnivorous beast. There's something of a social/political message going on here courtesy of screenwriter John Sayles, but it's nothing that beats you over the head or distracts from the fun of watching that awesome overhead shot of the near forty-foot alligator walking the streets in search of prey. My one friend from Florida informed me upon her initial viewing that while the alligator in this movie would growl in loud monster-like fashion when attacking, this would not in fact be the case in real life. However, she did mention that the model used in this movie looked and moved convincingly, at least whenever it was actually on camera. Looking at the time in which this movie came out, it's obvious that this was inspired quite a bit by the Jaws franchise, but they were smart enough to blatantly rip off a scene from the lame sequel that nobody probably remembered in the first place, rather than overtly referencing the original box office smash. But honestly, ask yourself: could this movie possibly be a bad one? The answer is that if simply knowing what it's about sounds appealing to you even in the slightest, then there's no way it could be. If not, well, I guess your favorite movie is Sophie's Choice. Not really a horror movie per se, but since we sometimes like it when overgrown representatives of the animal kingdom attack people, it stays.

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