Sunday, May 1, 2011
The Killer Crocodile Saga (1989-1990)
Fabrizio De Angelis might be a very impersonal director, ONLY making movies for earning a quick buck. But I’ve always thought he was a competent and effective action-director. He makes the show working at least, which is something you can’t say about other directors (who just got work because they could wrap the movie under budget and on schedule). The first Killer Crocodile is actually just a mix of everything else we have seen earlier, from the grumpy old hunter (here played by the awesome Ennio Girolami, Enzo Castellari’s brother) to the evil capitalistic judge who rules the area (Van Johnson, slumming – but seem to enjoying himself). The heroes are a bunch of idealistic tree-huggers who are out to examine the pollution in the area and discover a dump of radioactive waste! And this of course leads to the discovery of a magnificent and plastic killer crocodile who eats everything in its way!
I might be wrong here, and I’m usually am, but Killer Crocodile 2 seem more like a bi-product of the first movie. Like Fabrizio felt he didn’t to go from the location with only one movie! Why not just use Richard Anthony Crenna (son of THE Richard Crenna) and Ennio or another adventure in the wilderness? But instead he let special effects maestro Giannetto De Rossi direct it but with a very small cast, fewer locations and in a week. Why not use that cool fake-crocodile for two movies instead of one? Anyway, Killer Crocodile 2 is actually weaker than the first one (when I first saw it many years ago I thought the sequel was better) even if it has the crocodile eating a nun and a lot of children. It also has a spectacular attack on a house, where the croc is barging right through the wall eating the people inside!
What is good about the movies are the gritty and dirty locations. I’m not sure they shot anything inside studio in Rome, because everything looks too dirty and realistic. And it must have been hell bringing that huge crocodile back and forth to whatever country they shot the movie in. Richard Anthony Crenna is a surprisingly effective hero, even if his huge hair is almost distracting sometime. It’s weird he never got a more successful career, but maybe he wasn’t that interested? Another great thing with both movies is the presence of the mighty and always muscular old man of Italian exploitation, Ennio Girolami (aka Thomas Moore). The man was even here in his golden years, but is more fit than any of the young studs running around trying to look macho. Maybe his performance isn’t totally 100 %, he look a bit tired, but he’s still one of the reasons why you should watch the Killer Crocodile saga.
So what’s the best way to see these movies? I would go for the Thai DVD’s which are uncut, having the English track and are in widescreen (non-anamorphic). The quality is good too, probably taken from a good analog beta-master. They are a bit hard to find in Thai webshops, but try this excellent eBay-seller for a good price and free shipping.
Now we just have to wait for Tarantino to direct "Killer Crocodile Unchained part 1 & 2" as a homage to the ninja-giallos of the eighties ;)