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TBT Movie Review: Alligator - A monster gator up to no good

Some people are influence by Oscar-caliber movies. Not me, as a young Norm, I was inspired by “Alligator.”

I probably saw this 1980 classic directed by Lewis Teague for the first time when I was 8 or 9, but have watched it several times since. I was tickled by the idea that you could buy a baby alligator somewhere, as the little girl did at the beginning of the movie, and actually bring it home.

Alas, I lived in a state that alligators were, and still are, illegal and I have to think my mother wouldn’t have let me

have one. I had to settle for other reptiles over the years – Asian water dragons, skinks, geckos, king snakes, etc.

As an adult, I did have my chance to buy an alligator. I had moved to the Live Free or Die state of New Hampshire and I stopped in a pet store and they had baby alligators for sale. I decided against it. I also got attacked by a parrot at the same time, but that's a story for another time.

I know, that has nothing to do with “Alligator,” but I figured I’m old and I can go off on tangents.

Anyhow, “Alligator” is one of those movies that tried to capitalize on the popularity of “Jaws.”

Unlike some other overgrown animal goes nuts movies, this one was done well. It had some humor and some good kills. I attribute that to writer John Sayles, who also wrote “Piranha,” and “The Howling,” as well as writing and directing “Eight Men Out.”

The story begins, as I mentioned above with a little girl getting her pet gator.

Unfortunately for many, many people, her father decided to flush that alligator down the toilet, playing on the urban legends of alligators living in New York’s sewers, although the movie takes place in Chicago.

It was bad timing, really. An unethical company ends up using the sewers to dump dead animals that they experimented on with some sort of injection to make them grow larger. It worked on our alligator friend, who grew up from a small little baby to an OH MY GOD IT’S A DINOSAUR 36 foot long alligator.

Amazingly, this is bad. It goes on a killing spree, ea

ts a lot of people and it’s up to a cop and a herpetologist to stop the monster.

The special effects aren’t horrible for 1980, except for a couple of overhead scenes where they show an obvious fake alligator walking next to what looks like knock-off Matchbox cars.

It’s basic, but it’s fun. It has good deaths, some good humor and definitely worth watching on Amazon for a few chuckles. Give it a watch.


Directed by Lewis Teague (1980)

1 hour, 31 minutes

Buy it here.

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