Thursday, February 20, 2020

KILLER CROCODILE (1989) Blu-ray Review

Killer Crocodile (1989) d. Fabrizio De Angelis (as Larry Ludman) (Italy) (94 min)

When a group of attractive young environmentalists descend upon an idyllic tropical island community looking for evidence of illegal nuclear waste disposal, they find themselves not only at odds with the corrupt local officials but with an enormous toothy behemoth lurking beneath the surface! Operating by the 1950s sci-fi horror playbook, it seems that the titular menace has contracted a nasty case of gigantism from exposure to the radioactive leakage, with an appetite to match. The idealistic outsiders recognize that Nature and Science have created the perfect killing machine, but the debate as to whether it should be captured for posterity or extinguished for the greater public good becomes a moot point after several of their party are munched into extinction themselves. Now they must join forces with island’s resident Great White Hunter Joe (Ennio Girolami) to stop the leathery lunatic in its short, stubby tracks.

Produced in the waning days of the Italian horror boom, this blatant Jaws rip-off (which cheekily starts off with a scene of young lady swimming, then being pulled under and dragged along with her hand breaking the surface while her drunken boyfriend watches from the shore) came along almost a decade after Lewis Teague’s splendid foray into frightful reptilian fun, Alligator. While that film had the skilled hand of screenwriter John Sayles and some impressive mechanical effects artfully paired with a real-life gator on miniature sets, there’s no denying that this directorial effort from longtime producer De Angelis (Zombie, House by the Cemetery, etc.) matches Teague’s in terms of sheer entertainment value.

Under the pen name of David Parker Jr., screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti (The New York Ripper, The Beyond) dishes out a wonderfully soupy blend of cliches, ranging from the sleazy small-town officials more interested in their bottom lines than with the lives and welfare of the community to the questionable science (“Radiation must have made it grow!”) to the group of waffling young crusaders (“It has to be protected! It’s an endangered species!” [five minutes later] “I want to kill it. That crocodile has to die!”) led by Richard Anthony Crenna, son of Richard Crenna (Rambo).

Composer Riz Ortolani’s (Cannibal Holocaust) unabashed aping of John Williams’ iconic score brings a smile, as does gore guru Giannetto De Rossi’s (responsible for many of Lucio Fulci’s memorable splatter sequences) gigantic Crocosaurus monster creation. The cast is serviceable at best, but Girolami (Great White aka Last Shark) leads the pack with his hilariously go-for-broke macho performance, putting down young do-gooders and rigid authority figures (including Hollywood legend Van Johnson as “The Judge”) with equal gusto.

Well worth tracking down and serving up to fellow Turkey Lovers! (Apparently there was a sequel shot consecutively, also available from Severin Films, so keep an eye out for that one as well.)


“In the Jaws of the Crocodile” with special makeup FX Artist Giannetto De Rossi (14 min)

“Of Crocodiles and Men” with actor Richard Anthony Crenna (15 min)

“The Fearless Crocodile Hunter” with actor Pietro Genuardi (23 min)

“It Crawls” with cinematographer Federico Del Zoppo (15 min)

Theatrical trailer

Don’t call me kid. My name is Kevin!”

Killer Crocodile is available now on Blu-ray from Severin Films and can be ordered HERE:


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