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Alligator_a_daffy_fright_flick - 'Alligator': a daffy fright flick ByTIMSACCO...
'Alligator': a daffy fright flick ByTIMSACCO ALLIGATOR To the residents of many large cities New Yorkers, especially the most enduring and endearing urban myth is the one about alligators. alligators. Supposedly all of the baby pet gators acquired during Miami vacations that get disposed of down toilets grow to monstrous proportions in the dark, dank recesses of city sewer systems, where they wait to chomp on anyone foolish enough to enter. It was inevitable that such a juicy and primal bit of folklore eventually would be processed into a slick horror film. Thus we have "Alligator," the story of a pet baby reptile named Ramone that gets flushed down a toilet into a big-city big-city big-city sewer system, where in the subsequent 12 years he grows to the size of an Eldorado (an Eldorado plus tail) and develops the most voracious appetite seen in films since the man-eating man-eating man-eating plants that wailed "Feed me, feed me" in "The Little Shop of Horrors." But although Ramone is 36 feet long and ferocious, he's no match for any carper or complainer who might want to tear into "Alligator" with sharpened critical incisor just because the film looks cheap and occasionally occasionally plays silly. It's too bad, really, because "Alligator" never tries to disguise the fact that it is a bargain-basement bargain-basement bargain-basement "Jaws," and its lack of pretense makes it all the more enjoyable as a somewhat daffy fright flick. Unfortunately, if you live in Des Moines, and you blinked, you already have missed this film.) The makers of "Alligator" also were shrewd enough to know that certain elements must be present and accounted for in a monster movie made in the 1980s. Those elements all are covered in "Alligator," which features: A pleasantly scruffy and unconventional unconventional hero (Robert Forster). A bright, self-assured self-assured self-assured heroine (Robin Riker). A spineless mayor (Jack Carter) and play-by-the-rules play-by-the-rules play-by-the-rules play-by-the-rules play-by-the-rules play-by-the-rules play-by-the-rules chief of police (Michael Gazzo). A corrupt representative of Big Business (Dean Jagger). Director Lewis Teague keeps the action moving right along, but the person who really gives "Alligator" its bite is screenwriter John Sayles who has created sortie charmingly off-beat off-beat off-beat characters and who writes wonderful dialogue. Filmgoers who were lucky enough to see "Return of the Secaucus Seven", already know how adroitly Sayles outlines characters and then colors them in with dialogue: He wrote, directed, edited and made a cameo appearance in "Secaucus Seven," which easily was one of the best films of 1980. "Return of the Secaucus Seven," as a matter of fact, collected reams of glowing notices from discerning film reviewers, and appeared on numerous . critics' lists of the best films of 1980. "Alligator" is the kind of film Sayles writes to finance projects like "Secaucus Seven." (So is "The Howling," a 1981 release about werewolves werewolves that has many critics baying in approval over Sayles' screenplay, just as they did for his screenplay for the 1978 thriller "Piranha.") , But Sayles doesn't just slough off when he writes these low-budget low-budget low-budget thrillers. He infuses his screenplays with an engagingly quirky point of view, and elevates the films several notches above the majority to be found in the horror movie genre. So Sayles is the star of the show behind the camera; but what of the star of the show on screen? , Well, Ramone isn't always a convincing convincing movie monster when he's confined to the sewers, but once he begins to prowl through the city he's in his element, bursting up through the sidewalk, playing hide-and-seek hide-and-seek hide-and-seek hide-and-seek hide-and-seek in dark alleys, and crashing a high-society high-society high-society lawn party. It's like the film editor replied to the director of "Them!" a terrific 1954 film about mutant ants when the director asked, "Does it look honest?" "As honest as 12-foot 12-foot 12-foot ants can look," the editor replied. Blue Dolphin Beach LAKI OF lH HI OZARKS Modern lakeside cottages, dl with beautiful view. Carpeted, air cond. 4 TV. Safe sondy beach, covered dock i, roc room, family type mart. Owrxrli Marty and Betty Emit. Writ for brothwe It. "C" Ux 1 170 Comderrton, Mo. 630W. Ph. (314)1734390

Clipped from
  1. The Des Moines Register,
  2. 19 Apr 1981, Sun,
  3. Page 90

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