SassyFlix | The Great Alligator

The Great Alligator

  • NR
  • 1979-11-03
  • 01:29:00
  • Horror


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.


Not too bad.

This film starts with a photographer being flown by helicopter to a hotel/resort in the middle of the jungle, because he has been hired to take some publicity photos for the owner. Once there he is introduced to everyone of any interest (to the viewer anyway) and is given a guided tour of the place (once again more for the viewers benefit than his, a quick and lazy way to set the story up). After this opening ten or so minutes its on with the story, this photographer falls for the owners assistant and tries to chat her up when she is alone, outside. At the same time two locals sail to a nearby island and make love. On their way back they are attacked and killed by a giant alligator, of course the photographer and his soon to be lover hear their screams. The next morning one of the two killed the night before is reported missing, the photographer puts two and two together and along with a broken boat realizes something is not quite right. The hotel owner however is not convinced, and as he has his first guests coming to stay he doesnt want to start a panic. Its now down to the photographer and his girlfriend to prove the great alligator exists. I like all these italian rip off movies from the late seventies and early eighties and this one isnt too bad at all. Sergio Martino is a solid director who seems to make good, handsome, well made movies that are better than their low budgets would suggest, mountain of the cannibal god, A man called blade and 2019 after the fall of new york are a few examples. There is not much gore and the alligator is rarely seen, but the locations are nice as is the camera work. I liked the ending as well. Some may find the film a bit dull and slow but I liked it and recommend it.

Solid and far more enjoyable creature feature than expected

Heading into a jungle preserve, a photographer helping to showcase a newly opening resort finds that the connection between a series of strange disappearances of the natives is tied to a local legend of a monstrous crocodile living in the area and teams up with the resort staff to stop it.

This here was a fun and rousing creature feature. One of the better features here is the enjoyable over-the-top preparations shown here for what the resort has to go through in order to stay in business. Although it's never stated at all, the idea of the crocodile being present with the way they have to feed the pigs to the crocs and putting up the fences to keep them out of the tourists' swimming areas gives a great hint for what's to come. That is put on display nicely with the standout attacks here, from the night-time ambush on the couple in the water sneaking off together while being overlaid by the tribal ceremony which makes for a wild sequence, the failed strike on the guests underwater which is stopped by the protective nets and the frantic attack on the group coming back to camp where its strikes are quite enjoyable. That this is done in conjunction with the connection to the local tribe, which not only gives this the fun backstory with their stories involving native spirits living in the river taking the form of the huge crocodile but also has this one maintaining the funkiness of their tribal ceremonies against the slicker society of the resort guests. Their stories and rituals that are shown here offer a great deal of influence for their actions later on which gives the final half a ton of action, from kidnapping various members of the resort group to launching attacks on the remaining staff at the resort and killing off the survivors of an accident caused by the crocodile as they try to seek safety, one of the film's best sequences. Alongside the amazing miniature work for the crocodile and the destruction it leaves behind, these here hold it up over it's few minor flaws. The main one of these issues is the back-and-forth nature of the native tribe over how they're presented. While they initially seem like the friendly, good-hearted group of helpers, the way they flip into being ruthless and bloodthirsty as the film goes on is quite an unusual change which is done plainly for outrageous reasons that don't really make much sense. The motivations here, where they misinterpret the actions of the crocodile as being the physical incarnation of their God coming back for revenge against the hotel, make no sense as they can use the croc to get what they want by letting it eat the interlopers and comes as a total turnaround from how they were before. As well, despite the good effects work on the model croc, the scenes shot using a live miniature interacting in a bathtub with other miniatures looks really painful and at the opposite end of the spectrum. Otherwise, there isn't a whole lot really wrong here.

excellent jungle splatter film from the talented Sergio Martino

Obviously a stylized foreign film like this would fly right over the heads of American audiences.

The late Claudio Cassinelli stars as a photographer who (with his girlfriend Barbara Bach - wife of Ringo Starr) helps to combat a giant alligator god "Kruna" from destroying a multi-million dollar tourist trap (in more ways than one) in Africa somewhere. Of course their exploits are further complicated when the local tribesmen decide to go on a violent killing spree and slaughter nearly all the annoying tourists. (yay!) Mel Ferrer (Audrey Hepburn's hubby) also stars as the greedy landlord of the resort, who lives just long enough to see his dreams of wealth and high society burning to the ground.

I really loved this movie; excellent Stelvio Cipriani 70's jungle music and some cutting-edge Giancarlo Ferrando camerawork gave this a uniquely cruel and menacing atmosphere. The alligator is great looking and the death scenes are done with great skill and panache. Great cast too, with small parts played by Bobby Rhodes, Richard Johnson, and Romano Puppo. Would have been Sergio Martino's best film if not for 2019 - After the Fall of New York. Not to mention an extremely high bodycount and a slick script co-written by George Eastman (!), Ernesto Gastaldi, Cesare Frugoni, and several others.

Martino went on to ruin his career with such turkeys as Mani di Pietra (HANDS OF STEEL) and CASABLANCA EXPRESS.

BTW - at one point the characters do express surprise that Kruna is an alligator, not a crocodile thank you very much.

The Great Alligator

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