Thursday, October 11, 2007


(1980) **1/2

Following the success of JAWS in the 1970s it seems like you couldn’t walk into a local movie theater without tripping over the latest animal-out-of-control flick. With the addition of a (very slight) environmental message, Alligator is more of the same.

Alligator begins in 1968 as young Marisa Kendall and her family are on vacation in Florida. While watching an alligator show the handler trips and the alligator bites his leg off. Apparently impressed by this, Marisa’s father buys her a baby alligator as a souvenir. She names him Ramon. Returning to Chicago Marisa’s father becomes pissed off for some reason and flushes Ramon down the toilet.

Fast-forward 12 years to 1980 and Ramon looks like this,

As dismembered body parts begin showing up in the Chicago sewers, the mayor worries that there’s a serial killer on the loose. Homicide detective, David Madison is brought in on the case. Like every cop in every 1980s movie, Detective Madison has a HISTORY. Years earlier his partner was killed while they were investigating a robbery. As a result Detective Madison is kind of the black sheep of the force. He lives by his own rules and his chief constantly yells at him and smokes cigars. Oddly enough, the chief is a white guy. Soon after he’s introduced, Madison decides to go tromping around the sewers looking for clues. Only one young whippersnapper agrees to go with him (remember, Madison has a history). It doesn’t matter what the whippersnapper’s name is (think random red-shirt guy that beams down on a planet with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy). Yep, you guessed it; whippersnapper is eaten like Ms. Pacman eats a power-pellet. Madison’s bad reputation continues.

This isn’t Madison’s partner, but I knew you’d stop reading if I didn’t include more pictures.

So as you probably surmised, the alligator is Ramon. Why is Ramon so freakishly huge? It turns out that a local scientist, trying to perfect growth hormones using puppies as test subjects, has been tossing the dead puppies into the sewer (see, this movie has a “message”). Ramon, the luckiest alligator in the world, has had a steady supply of puppy meat for years. Realizing what he’s up against, Madison seeks the aid of local alligator expert, who is coincidentally Marisa, the chick from the beginning of the movie all growed up. Initially they don’t get along, but pretty soon Madison bangs her.

Finally convincing the mayor that a huge alligator is responsible for all the unexplained killings, the mayor brings in this guy, a stereotypical game hunter (seriously who dresses like this?).

In the end, of course, Madison and Marisa end up figuring out how to kill Ramon, but not before we’re treated to a lot of this kind of thing,

Alligator was exactly what I wanted it to be; a silly JAWS rip-off full of semi-okay fx and lots of animal chomping. Was it a masterpiece? Of course not silly, but it was a fun little predictable diversion. Recommended for larks.

I assure you that nothing nearly as exciting as this poster would have you believe occurred in this movie.


DCD said...

So the message is don't throw your dead, experimental puppies in the sewer?

JPX said...

Nah that's okay. The message is don't flush alligators down your toilet (unless you have a septic tank I suppose).

JPX said...

Stay away from sewers, Jordan!

Jordan said...

That poster's AMAZING!