Somebody go fetch Bronson “Cousin Balki” Pinchot for me because after reading that Alligator is finally getting a decent DVD release, I suddenly feel the urge to do the dance of joy. Alligator is probably my favorite non-Jaws nature gone amok flick with Piranha a close second. This is truly a joyous day for me.
For those of you who have never experienced the magic that is Alligator, basically writer John Sayles and his clever screenplay took the classic urban legend about alligators in the sewer and turned it into one of the all-time great Jaws knock-offs in a time when Jaws knock-offs were both plentiful and generally not all that good. A baby alligator gets flushed down the toilet and would have been doomed to a brief life in the Chicago sewer system except for some thoughtless company dumping the dead test animals they’d been pumping full of hormones down in the sewer, which the baby alligator feeds on for years. Baby alligator grows up to be one seriously roided up alligator; the sort that can eventually erupt forth from the pavement and chomp on people with a Pac-Man level of ferocity. Big mean alligator in the sewer followed by big mean alligator on the loose above ground spells bad news for hapless sewer workers, cops, nosy reporters, children playing pranks, and big game hunters, amongst others. Just the scene with the big game hunter getting eaten in the back alley and the alligator going on a rampage at a high falootin’ garden party alone have helped make this one a cult classic even since its release in 1980. Great stuff all around.
Fangoria got word today that Lionsgate will be releasing a special edition Alligator DVD the week of September 18th. We’re told to expect a widescreen transfer that hopefully will boast the uncut version, unlike the film’s initial VHS release all those years ago that featured an edited down version of the movie for some ungodly reason. Expect a commentary track with director Lewis Teague and Robert Forster that previously appeared on an Anchor Bay UK DVD release, as well as new interview with screenwriter John Sayles and the film’s original theatrical trailer.
If they really want to get clever they’d also dig out a commercial for the vintage Alligator game that got hit toy shelves not long after the movie. Clearly based on the even older Jaws table game of having to remove plastic junk from the shark’s mouth with a hook without causing the jaws to snap shut on you; the toy alligator was an impressive 2-3 feet in length. The game was okay, but mostly I used it with great success to to scare the crap out of even smaller children up through my early teenage years.
Lionsgate will also be releasing Night of the Demons 2 to DVD on September 25th, but no other specs are known on it at this time. Expect more details on both in the near future.
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