Alligator (1980) Robert Forster, Robin Riker, Michael V. Gazzo, Dean Jagger, Sydney Lassick, Jack Carter, Perry Lang, Henry Silva - movie review on The Movie Scene

Alligator (1980)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Alligator (1980)

A Sewer Legend

Detective David Madison (Robert Forster) finds himself down as the sewer works not once but twice when not only human limbs are found but also a dead dog which the owner is shocked by as it was more than twice the size when it went missing just a month earlier. After heading down in to the sewer network with young cop Kelly (Perry Lang) they come across a giant alligator which 12 years ago had been a pet until the father flushed the baby gator down the toilet. Now it has grown to a gigantic size, surviving on lab animals which had been experiment on with a growth hormone which had been dumped down their by a shady pet shop owner.

"Alligator" is the sort of creature feature they should still be making rather than coming up with those which pitch one mutant monster against another. And the simple reason is the power of urban legend as whilst some might say it could never happen, with all the pets which have been flushed down toilets over the years you never know, maybe just maybe a beastie with a dangerous side has managed to survive in the sewer system. On top of that "Alligator" features the good old, unreliable animatronic monster and whilst yes CGI makes these creatures move in a more believable manner there is something simply entertaining from watching this animatronic monster lumber along.

Michael V. Gazzo and Robert Forster in Alligator (1980)

Heck, I am just old and find myself preferring older movies these days, but beyond the whole alligator in a sewer storyline we do have some mutant fun as well with the whole laboratory things where someone has been testing a growth hormone on stolen dogs and it is the dumped lab dogs which the alligator has been feeding on. The thing is that whilst we have this giant alligator which is longer than a car it isn't so large that it ends up ridiculous. In fact that clunky nature of the animatronic alligator makes all the more believable as it it is struggling to move due to its large size.

But what "Alligator" also has this wonderful blend of suspense, comedy and horror. As such there is almost an eclectic side to the movie as in one scene we get jokes about David's thinning hairline, we then have a child at a pirate themed birthday party walking the plan over the pool and yes we know the gator is in there. We also have Henry Silva playing it as a big game hunter who is arrogant and believes he is a woman charmer. It means that you are never entirely sure what a scene will deliver be it laughs, suspense or a lot of fake blood.

What this all boils down to is that "Alligator" is the sort of movie they don't make anymore but for me I would love it if they did. Everything which is right about this movie comes from almost being wrong be it the dodgy animatronic alligator or the tangents it goes off on when it comes to some of the humour.


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