A teenage girl purchases a baby American alligator while on vacation with her family at a tourist trap in Florida. After the family returns home to Chicago, the alligator, named Ramón by the girl, is promptly flushed down the family’s toilet by her surly, animal-phobic father and ends up in the city’s sewers. Twelve years go by, during which the alligator survives by feeding on covertly discarded pet carcasses. These animals had been used as test subjects for an experimental growth formula intended to increase agricultural livestock meat production. However the project was abandoned due to the formula’s side effect of massively increasing the animal’s metabolism, which caused it to have an insatiable appetite. This meant too much money had to be spent feeding an animal treated with this formula, making it economically unviable. For 12 years, the baby alligator accumulated concentrated amounts of this formula from feeding on these carcasses. This caused it to mutate, growing far larger than even the largest saltwater crocodile: a 36-foot (11 m) behemoth, with the same insatiable appetite of the animal test subjects, as well as an almost impenetrable hide. The alligator begins ambushing and devouring sewer workers it encounters in the sewer, and the resulting flow of body parts draws in world-weary police officer David Madison (Robert Forster) who, after a horribly botched case in St. Louis, has gained a reputation for being lethally unlucky for his assigned partners. As David works on this new case, his boss Chief Clark (Michael Gazzo) brings him into contact with reptile expert Marisa Kendall (Robin Riker), the girl who bought the alligator years earlier. David’s reputation as a partner-killer is “confirmed” when the gator snags a young cop Kelly (Perry Lang) who accompanies David into the sewer searching for clues. No one believes David’s story, partly due to a lack of a body, and partly because of Slade (Dean Jagger), the influential local tycoon who sponsored the illegal growth experiments and therefore does not want the truth to come out. This changes when obnoxious tabloid reporter Thomas Kemp (Bart Braverman) goes snooping in the sewers and supplies graphic and indisputable photographic evidence of the beast at the cost of his own life. The story quickly garners public attention, and a city-wide hunt for the monster is called for…

Been wanting to see this monster movie since it came out in 1980. I reckon back then “Alligator” seemed cool for a eight year old, but in 2014 and at the age of forty-two it´s a bit different. This is a B-monster movie with “Jaws” as the role model, but there´s still tongue-in-cheek humour and it doesn´t try to be something else from what it is, meaning it doesn´t take itself too seriously. Robert Forster is pretty ok as David Madison and it´s always a treat to see the over the top and underrated Henry Silva in this case as Col. Brock. Hardly as good as “Jaws”, but still entertaining in a simple way. (2 and a half out of 5)

alligator-1980-poster