Severin Films continue their quest to drop delicious versions of every ’80s Fabrizio De Angelis with KILLER CROCODILE, a gory, gory and ludicrous romp from the waning days of European exploitation boom.
Directing under the nom de plume Larry Ludman, De Angelis’ muscular, late-out-of the-gate JAWS rip-off (co-penned by frequent collaborator Dardano Sacdhetti) opens just like that game-changing aqua-shock adventure, with a giggling girl swimming and some dude half-assed strumming on a guitar before BLAMMO a beast attacks. Instead of a toothy great white, we get a google-eyed crocodile puppet built by the brilliant Gianetto De Rossi, a crusty and cool life-size monster that drags the dame all over the joint, her arm looking like a fin while the red stuff pools up and Riz Ortalani’s warmed over (but still rather awesome) John Williams=esque score slices away in the background. It’s a shamelessly derivative but still lively and stylish set-up that states plainly that what we’re about to watch has been done before and better.
But hey, that doesn’t mean KILLER CROCODILE isn’t a blast to watch. For fans of this sort of sloppy stuff, there’s plenty to adore, including the aforementioned special effects, which are naturally practical with not a CGI squib in sight. The pace is rapid-fire, with a gruesome death happening every few minutes and we always, ALWAYS see the monster. And when we don’t, De Angelis gives us admittedly cool POV shots of the beast eyeballing the water’s surface as he travels down river after a gaggle of bland environmentalists who are set to investigate what sort of corporate skullduggery spawned the toxic croc in the first place but end up as croc-snacks instead.
KILLER CROCODILE is dumb as dirt, with the actors throwing themselves into the puppet creature’s mouth like Bela Lugosi slapping tentacles across his chest in BRIDE OF THE MONSTER. But there’s so much blood and weird, dubbed ADR (gotta love that creepy groan/growl sound that sounds ported over from Lucio Fulci/De Angelis’ ZOMBIE) that you’ll be laughing to hard and having too good of a time with the flick to care about little things like quality choreography.
KILLER CROCODILE looks great and has that hazy, dreamy sheen that many of these late-’80s De Angelis films have, with a 2K scan here from the original camera negative and Severin packs in a wave of fun extras, including an awesome interview with De Rossi and an hilarious chat with actor Richard Anthony Crenna. Those looking for a good time with a terrible and terribly great slab of Italian trash should run to grab themselves a copy of this one.