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Ramon the alligator is flushed down the toilet as a baby and grows into a gargantuan monster by eating the corpses of laboratory animals who have undergone dubious hormone experiments, thus providing all the ecological and social subtext that one could possibly wish for, even if one doesn't normally go for films about giant alligators eating people left, right, and center--which is the inevitable and tragic result of Ramon's decision that the outside world looks rather more interesting than the sewers.... Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
This great B-movie unspools like a Sergio Leone revenge tale. Big mean Daddy flushes daughter's baby gator, Ramon, down the toilet. Sixteen years later, Ramon has grown up to be a 36-foot mutated maneater stalking the mean sewers of the Windy City. Daughter has grown up to become a 5'-4" herpetologist for the Chicago Zoo. You can just hear the haunting whistle of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack as the showdown looms.
This monster flick's pedigree is a purebred B, written by Corman alumnus John Sayles (fresh from 1978's 'Piranha', on his way to 1981's 'The Howling') and directed by veteran Lewis Teague, who cut his directing and editing teeth on such Corman classics as 'The Lady In Red', 'Cockfighter', 'Crazy Mama', and the immortal 'Death Race 2000'.
Casting for 'Alligator' was made in Cult Heaven, with Tarantino-fave Robert Forster as the bad-luck cop who gets between the girl and her gator. Future 'Stepmonster' Robin Riker makes her movie debut as the reptile expert. '50s sci-fi veteran Dean Jagger (looking, swear-to-God, like the dancing octogenarian in the Six Flags commercials) plays the dastardly industrialist who kills puppies and inadvertently creates the monster. Henry Silva seems to have fun skewering his cinema psycho persona. Even Hollywood tough-guy Mike Mazurki makes a cameo as the villain's gatekeeper.
Injokes abound, with winks and nudges to infamous sewer rats Harry Lime and Ed Norton. Romantic foreplay includes heartfelt talks about male pattern baldness. The gator seems to have a Jones for men in blue. And Chicago can only be saved by the time-honored, foolproof solution of trapping oneself in an enclosed space with the monster and a timebomb.
After 24 years, we rabid fans are still waiting for the obvious sewer creature clash, 'Ramon vs. C.H.U.D.' Keep dreaming ...
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