UHD Review – Alligator (Scream Factory)

It lives 50 feet beneath the city. It’s 36 feet long. It weighs 2,000 pounds. …and it’s about to break out!

Director – Lewis Teague (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Time Trax)
Starring – Robert Forster (Walking the Edge, Vigilante), Robin Riker (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Stepmonster), and Michael V. Gazzo (Last Action Hero, The Godfather Part II)
Release Date – 1980
Rating – 3.5/5
UHD Release – 4/5

Jaws was not the first “when nature attacks” horror film but it’s popularity did “inspire” other films like it. In the wake of Jaws we saw some aquatic horror before moving to land with films like Orca, Piranha, Claws, Grizzly, along with the dozens blatant Jaws rip-offs. When I was in high school I snagged a copy of Lewis Teague’s Alligator on VHS when my local video store was going out of business. The tape only cost me 50 cents but it wasn’t worth that much. The VCR decided to eat the tape during my first viewing after about 20 minutes into it.

I had always wanted to check out this Jaws inspired horror tale starring Robert Forster but the opportunity never presented itself again until Scream Factory was kind enough to send the UHD release my way for review. Like always, I want to thank my friends over at Scream Factory for hooking me up.

**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a police detective who is investigating a string of murders tied to the city sewers when he discovers that an alligator is living there. When his superior is reluctant to believe him he stumbles upon pictures of the beast. Soon a city wide hunt is out for the gator as it works it’s way through the city using the underground tunnels to satiate it’s appetite. **Spoiler Alert**

Alligator is often compared to Jaws and referred to by a lot of genre fans as a rip-off but I don’t see that at all. Sure, inspired by maybe or heavily influenced but not a direct rip-off. With that being said, I can see why so many genre fans call it a Jaws clone. Honestly, I greatly enjoyed it and would love to revisit it sometime soon.

The acting in this one isn’t the best but I’m rather surprised by how lazy it feels especially considering the film’s budget. Robert Forster was the high point of the film. He has never let me down before now and still hasn’t. His character was great but a little cliched. The supporting cast wasn’t as entertaining and there was times where it felt like they were just trudging through the scene to get that paycheck.

The story for this one is great but not as original as it could have been. Forget that you’ve seen Jaws and imagine a horror movie set in the city where animals are killing people in the sewer. By 1980 it had been done several times but I find it difficult not to compare it to the 1971 classic Willard instead of Jaws. I liked the angle where the testing facility was using dogs to test a growth hormone on before tossing them into the sewer where the alligator was eating the corpses and growing to gigantic proportions. It’s a great set up for an “when nature attacks” horror film following a creature from the sewer. The film flows well but my biggest complaint is how dark the sewer scenes look. It’s extremely difficult to follow what is going on during these scenes.

Finally, the film has several death scenes that fit with the film with solid enough practical effects but they are not as gruesome as you would expect from a film featuring a 30 foot long alligator. The effects are solid and the film uses miniatures and perspective shots to give the alligator it’s enormous size. Overall, Alligator is a fantastic film that I feel doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It’s a great early 80s nature horror film with a little sci-fi flair that makes it stand out ever so slightly. Genre fans really need to snag this release from Scream Factory. It’s a must see.

Special Features:

DISC ONE (4K UHD – Theatrical Version):
NEW 4K Scan From The Original Camera Negative
Audio Commentary With Director Lewis Teague And Actor Robert Forster

DISC TWO (BLU-RAY – Theatrical Version):
NEW 4K Scan From The Original Camera Negative
NEW Everybody In The Pool – An Interview With Actress Robin Riker
NEW Wild In The Streets – An Interview With Director Lewis Teague
NEW It Walks Among Us – An Interview With Screenwriter John Sayles
NEW Luck Of The Gator – An Interview With Special Makeup Effects Artist Robert Short
NEW Gator Guts, The Great River, And Bob – An Interview With Production Assistant, Now Famous Actor/Director/Producer, Bryan Cranston
Audio Commentary With Director Lewis Teague And Actor Robert Forster
Alligator Author – An Interview With Screenwriter John Sayles
Additional Scenes From The TV Version
Teaser Trailer (NEW 2K Scan)
Theatrical Trailer (NEW 2K Scan)
Trailers From Hell – Filmmaker Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body) On ALLIGATOR
TV Spots (NEW 2K Scan)
ALLIGATOR Game Television Commercial
NEW Newspaper Ad Still Gallery By Drive-In Asylum
Still Gallery (Movie Stills, Movie Posters, Lobby Cards, And Behind-The-Scenes Photos)

DISC THREE (BLU-RAY – Television Version)
The Extended TV Version In HD For The First Time (NEW 4K Scan From The Original Camera Negative With Additional Footage Scanned From An Internegative)

Written by Blacktooth

(Staff Writer) Lover of all things horror and metal. Also likes boobs and booze.

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