Cast & Crew
A tourist resort in Africa finds itself at the mercy of a huge man-eating crocodile from a local native legend which the croc is the incarnation of a native god angered by the intrusion of the tourists on its nesting ground. After a new natives are killed and eaten, they naturally blame the tourists and set out to kill them while the survivors try to rally on a boat with the hungry crocodile in the water, and the blood-thirsty natives on land waiting for them.
The Big Alligator River on DVD
This by-the-numbers story courtesy of the ridiculously prolific Ernesto Gastaldi and The Grim Reaper himself, George Eastman, involves plans to construct a lavish, upper-crust resort in Kuma, located in southeast Asia. However, the irritated natives believe that their local alligator god, Kroona, will be displeased with such a desecration… and sure enough, the greedy land developer in charge (Mel Ferrer) is horrified when his demolition plans are interrupted by a giant, bloodthirsty reptile, whose agenda is foretold by a crazy missionary (The Haunting's Richard Johnson) holed up in a cave. Now it's up to he-man photographer Daniel (Flavia the Heretic's Claudio Cassinelli) and girlfriend Alice (Bach) to stop the mayhem and get away with their lives.
Complete with lavish scope photography, a lush Stelvio Cipriani score, some mild splashes of gore, and gratuitous disco dancing, this perpetual drive-in and home video favorite is certainly entertaining and professionally executed but never rises above the level of pure trash. Martino proves once again that he can churn out junky thrills with the best of them, and as far as Jaws rip-offs go, this is certainly a more respectable shot than, say, Lamberto Bava's Devilfish or the wretched Crocodile (both versions!). Considering the definitive killer-gator movie, 1980's Alligator, had yet to arrive, this is at least a decent money-machine that added another notch to Martino's cinematic sleaze belt.
The first DVD release of this gatorthon came from Germany's X-Rated Kult in a highly unsatisfying presentation complete with a legal disclaimer slapped over the film during playback of the English audio track. Fortunately NoShame gets it right with a much better anamorphic transfer (and sans legal ephemera onscreen), throwing in the dubbed Italian track with optional subtitles as well as the original, preferable English track.
As usual Martino is on-hand for a 20-minute video interview, "In the Croc's Nest" (hmm, wrong reptile!), in which he discusses the Sri Lanka locations and his collaborations with various actors over the years. Production designer Antonello Geleng also appears near the end to offer his own thoughts about the making of the film. Also included are the international trailer, a poster gallery, and a hefty booklet containing Richard Harland Smith's punny essay on animal revenge cinema and separate liner notes, plus lengthy bios of Martino, Bach, Ferrer, and Cassinelli by Smith and Matthew Weisman.
For more information about The Big Alligator River, visit NoShame Films. To order The Big Alligator River, go to TCM Shopping.
by Nathaniel Thompson