Movie Review: The Great Alligator (1979) – Severin 4K/Blu-ray combo

April 20, 2024

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Hot-shit photog Daniel (Claudio Cassinelli, who you may recall was Zeus in Luigi (Starcrash) Cozzi’s mid-’80s Hercules pictures, but was also in The Island of the Fishmen from this film’s director, Sergio (2019: After the Fall of New York) Martino) is hired by a resort mogul (Mel Ferrer, Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare City) to snap publicity pics to advertise his new jungle-set, disco-tastic vacay hot spot, Paradise House, along with his model/muse Sheena (Geneve Hutton).

Once there, he meets anthropologist Alice (Barbara Bach, also from The Island of the Fishmen, but perhaps best known for her turns in 1977’s James Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me, and 1981’s prehistoric romp, Caveman, co-staring her hubs Ringo Starr) who fills our main man Dan in on the deets concerning the Kuma tribe, the indigenous people of the region who are paid in American blue jeans to huck dynamite at trees to clear land for further expansion… oh and their god is able to take the form of a giant alligator, but I’m sure that’s just a myth…

It fuckin’ isn’t… and he’s mega-reptile pissed about Paradise House in general (as admittedly anyone would be, especially with the shitty font they settled on for their staff t-shirts)…

So yup, a giant alligator soon rises from the nearby lake and begins chowing down on disco douches and obnoxious octogenarians (age estimated) alike, which is damn sure to put a crimp in future attendance!

If there’s one thing you can say about Martino’s The Great Alligator; it’s as ridiculous as it is entertaining, which is to say a whole fuckin’ lot… and that translates to a wicked winner of a creature feature if ever there was one in my beastly book!

Speaking of Martino, he was but one of many writers (including Italian horror cinema acting mainstay George Eastman, Antropophagus) on this pic… but whatever coven got together to conjure this forth from a plethora of terrifying typewriters, it’s a rock solid blend of Jaws and King Kong filtered through groovy late-’70s, coke-addled eerie eyeballs!

And the cast assembled here is pretty damn solid as well, with the previously mentioned Cassinelli, Bach, and Ferrer all super-game in their various roles, plus we get guest appearances from Demons’ Bobby Rhodes, Romano Puppo (Escape From the Bronx, Robowar), Silvia Collatina (Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery), and The Haunting/Zombie’s Richard Johnson… not a bad line-up for Italian fright flick fans!

Adding to the freaky fun is a driving, percussion-laden, spacey-synth drenched score courtesy of composer Stelvio Cipriani (who also provided trhe score for the aforementioned Nightmare City), some impressive (and simultaneously charmingly crude… trust me, it’s a solid gold combo every time!) creature and miniature work, and some frantic editing from Eugenio Alabiso, which all will doubtless put a gator grin a country-mile long on the face of any lover of nature-run-amok razzle-dazzle!

All of that monster magic looks damn sharp too, with a new 4K scan from, the original negative that boasts solid detail and lush colors that bring that reptile infested Green Hell to vivid life!

Of course our darling devils over at Severin have included plenty of bonus material to feast upon spread over two discs!

Disc One contains the 4K version of the picture, along with the film’s theatrical trailer, while Disc Two contains a Blu-ray edition of The Great Alligator, along with the aforementioned trailer, and interviews with Martino, Collatina, Camera Operator Claudio Marabito, Production Designer Antonello Geleng, and Underwater Camera Operator Gianlorenzo Battaglia, followed by a round-table discussion with Cinematographer Giancarlo Ferrando, Geleng, and Special Effects Supervisor Paolo Ricci. Taken as a whole, these segments provide a detailed view of the film’s production filled with a ton of first-hand anecdotes.

Also included are a video essay courtesy of author Lee Gambin that explores the spiritual themes of the picture, and an incredible look at Geleng’s amazing concept art for the film (with narration from the artist himself).

Filled with outrageous alligator action, ridiculous characters, and an absolutely undeniable entertaining streak longer than the river our titular antagonist calls home, The Great Alligator is Italian creature feature madness of the highest order, and shouldn’t be missed by lovers of the genre!


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