Alligator – USA, 1980 – reviews

spanish-alligator

‘A frightening movie with a sense of fun!’

Alligator is a 1980 American horror feature film directed by Lewis Teague (Cujo; Cat’s Eye) from a screenplay by John Sayles (Piranha). The movie stars Robert Forster, Robin Riker, Henry Silva and Michael V. Gazzo.

The film plays on a prevalent urban legend of the era which held that rogue alligators lived in the New York sewers preying on the homeless and unwary. There had been a short-lived craze of owning baby alligators as pets which led to many being allegedly flushed down toilets when they began to grow too big for a domestic setting.

The film received praise from critics for its intentional satirising and, in 1991, a sequel was released, titled Alligator II: The Mutation. Despite the title, this film shared no characters or actors with the original, and the plot was essentially a retread of the first film.

Plot:

A laconic police officer named David Madison (Forster) and a reptile expert named Marisa Kendall (Riker) tries to stop a deadly giant alligator that is killing humans in the sewers of Chicago…

alligator 2

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“This flick easily knocks the socks off some recent killer gator epics (Lake Placid anyone?). Alligator isn’t gonna change your world, but it’s a fun flick that doesn’t overstay its welcome.” Lawrence P Raffel, Monsters at Play

“There is an odd comedic tone to Alligator that is laced into the characters and the dialogue in the film. It is clearly self-aware about what it is and mocks itself lightly while not ruining the genuine monster movie tone. It never drifts so far as to become outright parody, which is a good thing in my opinion. This is a movie that hits right on the nose of the tropes and characteristic of a Jaws-era monster thriller, and it plays with them well.” Gordon Maples, Misan[trope]y

alligator2

“Come to think of it, the alligator does a lot of slinking in this movie – maybe because it was too difficult to show the whole alligator. There are a couple of fairly phony special effects shots, as when the alligator bursts up through the sidewalk, but for the most part we just see parts of the alligator: His mean little eyes, his big tall, and his teeth. Especially his teeth.” Roger Ebert, November 26, 1980

Alligator is a pretty neat flick, miles ahead of its contemporaries like Tentacles. If only the endless supply of similar films (recent examples include Anaconda and Relic) had as much going for them as this film, we would all be up to our ears in rampaging animal heaven. Killer beast devotees should definitely pick this up… Scott Hamilton, Stomp Tokyo

alligator 5

” … has a tongue in cheek tone which is both admirable and invigorating, and the spatial potential of claustrophobic sewer systems with the ever-present sound of dripping water adds a great deal of atmosphere to the piece. An enjoyable film which is able to transcend its limitations (poor model work, plot inconsistencies) to emerge as a minor classic in the ‘Revolt of Nature’ subgenre.” Shaun Anderson, The Celluloid Highway

” …this movie features a great sense of humor and a high fun quotient.” John Kenneth Muir, Horror Films of the 1980s, McFarland, 2007

[amazon_link asins=’B000BCZXH2,B0002IQL8K,B005QF4LZE,B07NN3JDTN,B00DJM0BVY,B00XBP1L36′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’moviesandmania-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’423bda5a-c6cf-42e1-9f65-3ed6ca275c10′]

” …an effective and unpretentious treat.” Time Out (London)

” … this is a movie that mixes sly humor with genuine thrills, and features an imposing and highly impressive central creature […] Like a number of the best monster movies, you can transfer a lot of meaning onto the onscreen events, or you can just sit back and watch the chaos unfold with a satisfied smile. But DO watch it.” Kevin Matthews, When Animals Attack, Moonlight Creek Publishing, 2016

Cast and characters:

  • Robert Forster … David
  • Robin Riker … Marisa
  • Michael V. Gazzo … Chief Clark (as Michael Gazzo)
  • Dean Jagger … Slade
  • Sydney Lassick … Gutchel (as Sidney Lassick)
  • Jack Carter … Mayor
  • Perry Lang … Kelly
  • Henry Silva … Brock
  • Bart Braverman … Kemp
  • John Lisbon Wood … Mad Bomber
  • James Ingersoll … Helms
  • Robert Doyle … Bill
  • Patti Jerome … Madeline
  • Angel Tompkins … Newswoman
  • Sue Lyon … ABC Newswoman

Technical details:

91 minutes | 86 minutes (theatrical cut)
Sound: mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

More movies with alligators

alligator 1980 lewis teague

alligator_

alligator

alligator-1981-alpha-video-british-VHS-sleeve

alligator dvd

Buy Alligator and Alligator 2 on DVD from Amazon.com

Alligator-1980-Turkish-poster

Trivia:

Graffiti on a sewer wall reads: “Harry Lime lives!” (a reference to The Third Man, 1949)

MOVIES & MANIA provides an independent aggregated range of previews, opinions and reviews from a wide variety of credited sources, plus our own reviews, in one handy web location. We rely solely on the very minor income generated by affiliate links and internet ads to stay online and expand. Please support us by not blocking ads on our site. Thank you.

One Comment on “Alligator – USA, 1980 – reviews”

  1. Pretty much what happens when you get a solid director/screenwriter team to helm your movie. The monster action works as does the comedy and satire. Amazing how no one seems to be able to make the formula work anymore.

Leave your comment here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.