From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Alligator

Pulitzer Prize Winning Film Critic Roger Ebert once said of Alligator that we should "flush this movie down the toilet to see if it also grows into something big and fearsome". 
Pulitzer Prize Winning Film Critic Roger Ebert is a dick who missed the point.
 Directed by Lewis Teague and starring the supremely cool Robert Forster this 1980 monster-in-the-sewer movie is one of the best of it's genre (admittedly it's not a huge genre but still...)


Whilst vacationing in Florida a young girl buys a baby alligator, which she calls Ramon, to take back home with her to Chicago.
 As you can imagine, Ramon's about as welcome as a dose of clap in a convent and her old man promptly flushes him down the toilet at the first opportunity and that's the end of that.
 Or so they think.
 12 years go by and having survived on a constant supply of dead animal carcasses that have been spiked with an experimental growth formula form the local science lab's, Ramon's all grown up and is now 36 feet long and hungry...very hungry! Cue a sudden outbreak of people feeling the urge to wander around the local sewers (as you do) and getting chomped on.
 This wave of bloody body parts finds David Madison (the supremely cool Robert Forster) assigned to the case, even though his career is on a downward spiral due to a botch job in St. Louis and a reputation for being fatally bad luck for anyone assigned to work with him.
 As Ramon munches his way through those residents of Chicago dumb enough to go for a Sunday stroll underneath their city, Madison teams up with a reptile expert Marisa Kendall (the strangely-hot-for-a-ginger Robin Riker) to try and figure out a way to bring an end to the terror that lurks beneath their feet (cue maniacal laugh).


I love this film.
 It's what a monster movie should be.
 It's full of blood, guts and dismembered bodies, a half decent script and the supremely cool Robert Forster who is, as I mentioned before, supremely cool throughout.
 Sure, Ramon is about as threatening as a chinchilla with a super soaker but that's the whole point, this film doesn't ever take itself to seriously. 
For example the tagline to the movie is "It lives 50 feet beneath the city. It's 36 feet long. It weighs 2,000 pounds...And it's about to break out!" and yet when Ramon does finally go for a wander around Chicago he somehow manages to conceal himself from the entire population and the police department, that's right folks a 36 ft long 2,000 pound eating machine plays hide and seek with the world and wins.
 Motherfucker's a Ninja!!!
 And what of Chicago itself?
 Well it isn't.
 All the cars have Missouri number plates and when the family return from their vacation at the start of the movie you can clearly see a sign that says "Welcome To Missouri".
 And that's a big part of Alligator's charm.
 It's almost as if they said: "Fuck it, we know we're making this on the cheap and you know we're making this on the cheap so how about we all just agree it's being made on the cheap and would you like to see a bunch of idiots get eaten?"
, To which the only sensible answer is "Well yes, yes I would." If you want a monster movie that's played straight and sucks all the fun out of the genre then I'd suggest you get a copy of Cloverfield and some motion sickness tablets, but if you're looking for 90 minutes of cheese-tastic fun then Alligator is a must-see.
 Besides, you wouldn't want to find yourself agreeing with Roger Ebert now, would you?

Neil Gray is a writer from the UK. The story goes that he was invented in a laboratory experiment that went horribly wrong and has spent years devouring every movie form and film genre that was foolish enough to pass his way until he is now nothing more than a hideous monstrosity, more celluloid than man.
  • Grindhouse Database Newsletter
  • Exploitation books
  • Kung fu movies
  • Giallo BluRay