Movie Review: Crocodile (1979) – Synapse Blu-ray

July 4, 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?

After a series of freak un-natural disasters pound coastal Thailand to absolute shit, a giant crocodile crawls from fuck knows where and begins eating the various citizenry of water-side towns.

Enter: Dr. Tony Akom (Nard Poowanai) and his pal John (Min Oo); two dudes who’s spouses… and in one case daughter… are devoured by that toothsome terror which sets the men on a little mission to put the hurt on that scaly fucker but good!

To that end they enlist the help of grizzled sailor/possible early ’80s NYC LeatherDaddy Tanaka (Kirk Warren) and before you can say “Amity Island” the group (eventually joined by a Third Act comedy relief photographer character) begin the hunt to end the monster before he eats even more people… good luck fellas!

Crocodile had me hooked right from the beginning with an impressive depiction of nearly supernatural storms and their destructive powers realized through sweet miniature work, tank effects, and animated lightning strikes… I eat that kind of stuff up with a sinister spoon, and I wager you lot do as well!

As for the eponymous beast, it’s realized one of two ways alternating… either as a real croc (boo!), or as a huge, particularly incredible Jaws-style prop (fucking hell yes yay!)… there’s also a smaller version utilized to destroy miniature sets (again, awesome) to realize some of the creatures destructive capabilities, which are also showcased via blood drenched sequences loaded with extras, destructible sets, and gore!

There are so many memorable, delightfully ridiculous sequences on display here which include the utilization of a giant bear trap to subdue the creature… and I’m talking giant… it takes three dudes to maneuver it in place… all of which has the effect of pinching on to the tail of the croc who then flicks it off sending it flying where it cuts down trees… I simply can’t even with how choice some of this shit is…

Adding to the fun is a stock music laden and often Disco-groovy soundtrack, some arty shots, questionable but semi-reasonable late ’70s fashions and interiors (unavoidable given the production date), and some gorgeous Thailand scenery.

If there’s a negative to be had here, there are some brief sequences of animal cruelty, and that’s never cool in my opinion… so if you are really put off by those things be advised…

Put off or not, you’ll be able to see every nasty bit thanks to a rather solid transfer (restored from the original English 35mm camera negative) that showcases a clear picture with vibrant color (especially in those reds of course). There are some scenes with some grain present, but overall it makes this glorious insanity look like a million bucks!

As for extra features, things begin with a truly fantastic audio commentary from late Author/Critic Lee Gambin that analyzes the film thoroughly both from a scholar and fan perspective.

Following that we get an interview with the film’s original director Won-se Lee that fills in details of the film’s production, a collection of alternate and deleted scenes (which include, but are not limited to, the film’s original ending and more animal cruelty unfortunately… yet these are easily avoided), and the film’s original U.S. trailer.

Besides the slight hiccups mentioned above, Crocodile is an insanely fun, outrageous, and bloodthirsty affair and really shouldn’t be missed by lovers of “nature run amok” cinema!

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