The Big Alligator River/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Daniel the photographer (Claudio Cassinelli) scores a new photo-shooting gig in a tropical resort located in Sri Lanka. The resort is run by Joshua (Mel Ferrer) and it just so happens that there's a busy weekend ahead (With an army of constantly-dancing tourists who are about to plow in) Joshua's "Most valuable assistant", Alice (Barbara Bach) shows up and greets herself to a dazed and love-struck Daniel (With Barbara Bach in your face, how can you not prevent your jaw from dropping?)
Anyway, the local tribe, The Kuma, begin to make a scene. Alice (Doing dual duties as a translator) says that The Kuma are pissed at the white folks for awakening the slumber of "The Kruna", who is seen by the tribe as a monstrous spirit, but all it is just a hungry, gigantic alligator. Alice and Daniel then receive further confirmation on the beast in a semi-entertaining scene by ex-missionary Father Jameson (Richard Johnson) who is now cave-dwelling hermit. Daniel and Alice then go back to warn Joshua of the alligator attacks, but of course Josh says, "Oh come on. Y'all are crazy. I've been living here since god knows how long and I've never seen a giant....YEEOWW!!" And up comes the giant alligator who bites a chunk off Joshua's butt. Okay, that's what I would have LIKED to have seen but fate has much different ideas for Joshua. And disappointing, I might add.
Sergio Martino has previously carved out a pretty good reputation for some slick directorial work for some of the best giallo classics, but in an attempt to cash in on making (What was supposed to be) an International hit by mixing up some Jaws and King Kong together, the expectations came up WAY short. Which is too bad I honestly thought Martino could make something worthwhile out of this. And I admit that in the first half of the movie, from a technical standpoint, the potential seemed to actually be there. There was some nice, sensual cinematography occurring during a night time sequence. And an interesting mix of slo-mo and freeze frame tactics as Daniel's camera becomes The Movie's camera! But then everything seems to all go to hell once the laugh-inducing giant Gator shows up. All that's made for this "Beast" is just a few miniatures used for the "Wide shots" and a non-functional giant Gator mouth (Which only emerges half-way in the water) so it's VERY hard to be scared of this thing. And although this movie does have a huge body count towards the end, a majority of the killing is done from the native tribe who go on a rampage against the tourists. I guess the filmmakers figured out that the audience won't buy this Gator killing everyone so they just gave the extras (Dressed up as native warriors) to "KILL ALL THE TOURISTS!" But if there is a few things that I did find in the movie to recommend it--And it is just a few--is the ultra-groovy music score by Stelvio Cipriani. The score didn't need to be that good, but a job well done, Mr. Cipriani. And last...But certainly not least...Barbara Bach!!! Now I admit, there was plenty of times when I wasn't listening to what her character was saying because Bach's stunning beauty is SO distracting, that you just can not help but to zone out whenever you're looking at her. Heck, that's probably the reason why she didn't have a long acting career! But honestly, you should only check this one out if you're in a "I feel like watching something dumb" mood.
Reviewed by Laydback