The Alligator People is a 1959 science fiction horror feature film directed by Roy Del Ruth (The Terror; Phantom of the Rue Morgue) from a screenplay by Robert M. Fresco, Orville H. Hampton and Charles O’Neal. The movie stars Beverly Garland, Bruce Bennett, Lon Chaney Jr. and George Macready.
The Associated Producers film was distributed by 20th Century Fox.
Scream Factory released The Alligator People on Blu-ray on May 28, 2019.
Suffering from amnesia, nurse Jane Marvin (Beverly Garland) undergoes sodium pentathol treatment to try to regain memories of her past, and then recounts the events she has forgotten. She had married a man named Paul Webster (Richard Crane), and her name had been Jane Webster. While on their honeymoon, Paul got off the train and vanished.
After a private detective fails to find him, Jane discovers an address in the Louisiana bayous. But she is told by the owner, Lavinia (Frieda Inescort) that no-one named Paul Webster has ever lived there. Due to the lateness of the hour, Jane has to spend the night. Later she follows the sound of piano music, but the man playing runs away before she can see him.
The next morning, Lavinia confesses that Paul is her son; later, Jane meets Doctor Mark Sinclair (George Macready), who explains that years earlier, Paul had been badly disfigured in a plane accident, and Doctor Sinclair had treated him and several others with a serum of reptilian hormones in hopes of regenerating his limbs. This treatment had the unfortunate and unanticipated side-effect of slowly turning the recipients into reptiles…
“Though The Alligator People is primarily pure camp fodder, it still has the virtue of being entertaining. Garland’s portrayal of an able-bodied nurse (she not only faces down slimy gators, but takes a punch from Chaney, too) gives the story some creditability.” Exclamation Mark
“The Alligator People is a charmingly stupid film, but ultimately no more than that. Its main selling points are an uncommonly embarrassing performance from Lon Chaney Jr. and the exceptionally loopy monster suit representing the final phase of Paul’s transformation…” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
“The makeup’s also pretty decent, which should be no surprise since it’s the work of none other than Dick Smith, on one of his first credited feature films. They cut corners every now and then, but I loved the look of the guy who had normal skin on one side and gator skin on the other.” Horror Movie a Day
“The Alligator People is never scary nor is it atmospheric. It is pretty fun though, thanks to some keen makeup effects work courtesy of a young Dick Smith. When in ‘partial alligator man mode’ Paul actually looks rather eerie, but when he’s in ‘full alligator mode’?”Rock! Shock! Pop!
Cast and characters:
- Beverly Garland … Joyce Webster, aka Jane Marvin
- Bruce Bennett … Doctor Eric Lorimer
- Lon Chaney Jr. … Manon (as Lon Chaney)
- George Macready … Doctor Mark Sinclair
- Frieda Inescort … Mrs. Lavinia Hawthorne, Henry’s Wife
- Richard Crane … Paul Webster
- Douglas Kennedy … Doctor Wayne MacGregor
- Bill Bradley … Patient ‘Number Six’ (uncredited)
- Hal K. Dawson … Train Conductor (uncredited)
- Dudley Dickerson … Train Porter (uncredited)
- John Frederick … 1st Male Nurse (uncredited)
- Ruby Goodwin … Louann the Maid (uncredited)
- Ken Kane … Third Male Nurse (uncredited)
- Boyd Stockman … Alligator-headed Paul (uncredited)
- Vince Townsend Jr. … Toby the Butler (uncredited)
- Lee Warren … Second Male Nurse (uncredited)