This review is for the body chomping Alligator movie from 1980
Tagline – “It lives 50 feet beneath the city. It’s 36 feet long. It weighs 2,000 pounds…And it’s about to break out!“
Who’s our hero today?
Before he was the awesome Max Cherry bondsman, Robert Forster played David Madison.
Had I seen this one on VHS back in the day?
I really thought I had seen it going in but no. I couldn’t remember jack shit! Recall seeing the VHS cassette tape on the shelves but I must’ve not of actually rented it. So this was as fresh as fun down the sewers gets.
Quick plot run down.
When a teenage girl brings home a baby alligator as her new pet. Dad isn’t impressed and flushes it down the toilet! Managing to survive in the city’s sewer system living on rats and discarded dog carcasses from a local laboratory. Where scientists were doing illegal tests on an experimental growth hormone. With the chemicals still inside as he chomps away, this can only have one outcome! A giant mutation as the baby alligator grows to 36 foot long monster with bulletproof armor like scales. Now it needs more food. Human food!
Does the hero have a day job?
David Madison is a wise but weary Chicago cop with a haunted past that left his partner killed and David a little traumatised. Still he fearlessly soldiers on.
What’s our heroes special skills?
He uses his anger of male pattern baldness to his advantage. Gives him extra alligator fighting skills. Well I think that what’s happened. Went the same way for my human self some years back. I took up alligator wrestling. Got it out of my system!
Heroes weapon of choice?
His sidearm is his trusty Smith & Wesson Model 37.
Heroes drink of choice?
We don’t see it but I’m sure David swigs back Gatorade by the bucket load! Sports fuel for performance athletes it says on the tin?
Does hero have a sidekick?
He has one for a little while! After getting saddled with the annoying as hell blond rookie cop Kelly (Perry Lang) you just pray to the king of the reptiles that he gets munched up by a giant Alligator. Please, pretty please.
Hot girl? Damsel in distress or ass kicker?
Reptile specialist Marisa Kendall (Robin Riker) services are required. As with most people at the beginning of the film she doesn’t believe our David’s ginormous alligator story. Skip forward to the middle and these two are playing tonsil tennis and chasing down a blood soaked path.
Who’s the main baddie?
The dinosaur like alligator with an insatiable appetite for humans is affectionately known as Ramon. In a twist which is implied but never realised by the cast. Is the fact that the teenage girl who’s little pet took a fairground ride around the toilet bowl and through the U-bend is actually herpetologist Marisa Kendall. Daa daa dauuuur!
Baddies special skills?
Ramon can break his way through concrete. He’s impervious to machine gun fire and loves to lounge around in swimming pools. Has a sweet tooth for young tender pirates walking the plank!
Psycho baddies rating out of ten? 9/10
He’s pretty sneaky for his size and can stealth his way close to you and then… SNAP! He loses a point for looking adorable when he runs down the street though.
Heroes balls of steel and anger ratings out of ten? 8/10
Suffering extreme bouts of PTSD from losing his hair, I mean losing his partner! David still runs into any given dangerous situation.
Surely it features a training montage scene?
Not really. We do get to see baby Ramon down the sewers start his journey but it would of been good to see him working out down there. Doing chin ups on the grates, arm curls with discard tin cans. Then eating cockroaches and progressing onto rats before getting a taste for human flesh.
Does it feature an impossible mission?
Hey it giant alligator down the sewers how impossible is that? Sewer Gators just an urban legend? Or you could just ask Leatherhead and see if he thinks it’s all just a myth? Good luck with that……
Will I be needing to pause the video player? AKA are there any boobies?
Almost but not quite. David does know how to complement a lady.
“You’re the countries leading herpetologist. You have a wonderful mind. A doctors degree and …. beautiful tits”
Implied but no action shots this time round. Sorry ladies and gentlemen. Hopefully next time.
Any good totally random surprise scenes?
Yes! Well for me. I didn’t have a clue Henry Silva was in this. He turns up as Colonel Brock. A one man army and big game hunter. Random scene goes to him buying three black youth’s beer in exchange for help flushing out the beast. They’re happy to play along with this crazy white dude until it’s time to make a runner.
Films body count? Low/Medium/High?
A high medium I’d say. Over ten.
Best death scene?
The party scene is wild and stupid and a cop sliding out of car window right in front of ole chompy is silly. But as it’s a rip off from Jaws 2 (1978) I’ll add this one here. When a reporter called Kemp (Bart Braverman), who looks like a sleazy version of the wonderful Carl Sagan I must add, goes off hunting down the sewers for a story. The reptilian eye opens and you know this reporters days are numbered. As he’s eaten alive he takes pictures of the beasts munching teeth.
Best funny scene?
Henry Silva doing animal mating noises. Hilarious.
Explosion ratio? Low/Medium/High?
We get three pretty good ones. A police car, a boat and then one mega blast.
How many stuntmen probably really died making this film?
Not sure if they were killed or not but there is a chaotic boat scene with people flying out of as the boat races off at speed. I’d be surprised if no one wasn’t hurt.
Any cool car chases?
We get a boat chase and of course people running for their lives through a sewer system chased by an hungry alligator.
Sewage worker – “We found a big toe once, never found the rest of him! Had a funeral and everything.”
David Madison – “It must of been a small casket?“
Any other familiar faces and actors pop up?
Surprisingly there’s quite a few. How about Michael V. Gazzo who plays David’s superior Chief Clark. Always screaming in his New Jersey accent. He’d played Frankie Pentangeli in The Godfather Part II (1974) and played Harvey Keitel’s Dad in the excellent Fingers (1978) among other things.
In what turned out to be his last film, Dean Jagger plays some mad old screaming rich guy called Slade. Luckily he won’t be remembered for that role but will be remembered for classic films like Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Twelve O’Clock High (1949) and this great noir to name a few Private Hell 36 (1954)
And in a blink and you’d miss him, even with his size! The tower height of Mike Mazurki can be seen as the gate-keeping guard at the Slade’s mansion.
TAGLINE – At first, no one believed. But now, no one will ever forget!
Directed by Lewis Teague who’d made the Stephen King novel adaptation of the killer St Bernard dog Cujo (1983) and The Jewel of the Nile (1985) Navy Seals (1990) and head popping Rutger Hauer sci-fi Wedlock (1991).
Alligator was written by screenwriter and director John Sayles. He’s worked on films like The Howling (1981) The Brother from Another Planet (1984) and Lone Star (1996) to name a few.
Sounds like from what I’ve read. Very similar in way the production had troubles with Jaws, Ramon had his own temper tantrums as a malfunctioning animatronic alligator.
Bryan Cranston was a special-effects assistant on this film, in charge of making and rigging “the alligator guts” for the film’s finale.
A strong medium stank of coagulated milk protein.
IMDB score rating – 6/10
Wolfman ACTION & FUN rating – 7.5/10
Wolfman over all film rating – 6/10
Robert Forster is way too good for this film and it really stands out. The ever professional. He plays the part straight as everything else is chaotic and a tad cheap around him. Henry Silva is pure gold in his small part. He steals the scenes every time he appears. All in all the film isn’t that great but there’s lots of fun to be had. Where some the acting is a bit on the rubbish side, Robert and Ramon the gator do their best. So run out and grab a bottle of toxic Gatorade and some growth hormone injected popcorn. And sit down for some b-movie chomping creature feature fun that is, Alligator.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the films if you want. However, most important, have fun with the movies.
Keep it filmy…. Mikey Wolf.