• Killer Crocodile (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: September 24th, 2019.
    Director: Fabrizio De Angelis
    Cast: Richard Anthony Crenna, Pietro Genuardi, John Harper
    Year: 1989
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    Killer Crocodile – Movie Review:

    A gang of environmentalists made up of leader Kevin (Richard Anthony Crenna), nerdy Jennifer (Ann Douglas), foxy Pam (Sherrie Rose) and diver guy Bob (John Harper) – along with accompanying photographer Mark (Pietro Genuardi) hire a crummy boat in Santo Domingo and head straight into the swamp lands to investigate the cause of the rising levels of radioactivity in the area. What they don’t realize (but which we do, thanks to a fun nudity laden prologue scene wherein a dumb guy plays guitar while his hot girlfriend gets killed) is that there’s a giant killer crocodile in the area.

    With some help from local guide Conchita and her little dog Candy, they make their way into the thick of it only to discover barrels of toxic waste floating about. Before long, Conchita is dead and the local magistrate, Judge (Van Johnson), is trying to frame them for murder! All this in spite of the presence of a surly hunter named Joe (Ennio Girolami). See, Joe knows that truth… that Conchita was killed by a giant, man-eating crocodile! Judge is, of course, on the take, trying to cover up his relationship with seedy businessman Foley (Wohrman Williams), the man behind the dumping (ha!).

    However, once that croc shows up and lays waste to a kid and a few other locals and manages to take out an entire dock in the process, it becomes clear to everyone that Joe’s spot on in his assessment of the situation. Judge and Joe want to make short work of the beast, but Kevin and company want to study it – until it chows down on a team member, at which point, all bets are off and, well, I was going to make a joke about needing a bigger boat but that would be just as cliché as this enjoyably ridiculous Jaws knockoff.

    Those looking for genuine shocks, good acting or serious tension need not apply (because you get nothing of the sort with this film), but if you like big, fake looking monsters, wonky dialogue and repetitive synth scores, well, Killer Crocodile definitely delivers all that and more. We also get some mild gore (complete with a visibly breathing corpse in one scene), a bit of nudity in the opening, a douchey guitar player, a reasonably bad Quint impersonator and lots of time spent on rickety boats. Worth seeing for the dock attack scene alone (which features one of the most moronic rescue attempts you’re ever likely to see), this is enjoyable cinematic junkfood of the highest order.

    Giannetto De Rossi’s effects are the star of the show. Yeah, fine, the croc still looks pretty mechanical at times but it’s definitely huge and admittedly pretty cool looking. Richard Anthony Crenna, the Rambo star’s son, is okay as the male lead while Ennio Girolami looks like crappy Lee Van Cleef but wishes he were Robert Shaw. Van Johsnon is an okay bad guy while Sherrie Rose is just plain cute. John Harper is disposable while Ann Douglas is sciencey. All of them are out-acted by the crocodile.

    A year later a sequel was made, titled appropriately enough, Killer Crocodile 2. Severin has put this out on Blu-ray as well but it wasn’t sent for review so… flip a coin. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not. For now that remains one of life’s great mysteries.

    Killer Crocodile – Blu-ray Review:

    Severin Films brings Killer Crocodile to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and taken from a new 2k scan of the original 35mm negative. Overall, this is quite a nice effort. Some shots were definitely shot soft on purpose, typically outdoor shots involving a lot of harsh sunlight, and during some (though not all) of the nighttime sequences black levels look closer to dark grey, but overall this is definitely a solid picture even if you might spot some minor compression artifacts in a few spots. Detail is quite good, there’s solid depth and texture here, colors are handled well and skin tones look good. The image never appears to have been DNR’d or to have had any edge enhancement applied to it and it remains quite clean, just the odd white speck here and again.

    DTS-HD 2.0 tracks are provided in English and Italian (although the opening scene only features English audio) with English SDH subs for the English track and proper English subtitles available for the Italian track as well. As it’s clear that this was all dubbed regardless of which option you go for, take your pick as to which track is more accurate (though as the English track is complete maybe it gets the edge?). Both tracks sound pretty decent, with clear dialogue and properly balanced levels (mostly – there are a few spots where the score is a bit high in the mix).

    Extras start off with an interview featuring Pietro Genuardi entitled The Fearless Crocodile Hunter. Here, over twenty-three-minutes, he talks about taking the part rather haphazardly as he was excited about the prospect of going to Santo Domingo for a while and hanging out with Crenna. He also talks about getting along with the rest of the cast, how weather wreaked havoc with part of the shoot, what it was like on the set, dangers they encountered during the making of the film and working with De Angelis. Cinematographer Federico Del Zoppo is up next in the fifteen-minute It Crawls featurette. He speaks quite candidly about some of the challenges that he encountered during the production, from the budget to the environment, the difficulty involved in shooting a big fake crocodile, having to rush his work and more. From there we hear from makeup FX artist Giannetto De Rossi in a piece entitled In The Jaws Of The Crocodile that runs fourteen-minutes. This is quite interesting in that it allows De Rossi to explain what all was involved in building and operating the giant crocodile featured in the film, noting that it was all done manually and with human labor rather than animatronics. He also talks about crafting the gore effects featured in the picture and about what it was like working alongside director Fabrizio De Angelis. Of Crocodiles And Men is a fourteen-minute piece with actor Richard Anthony Crenna who talks here about not having to audition for the part, taking it on the basis of getting to play the lead in the film, what it was like working with a foreign cast and crew, the atmosphere on set, De Angelis’ directing style and more.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are the film’s original theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection.

    Killer Crocodile – The Final Word:

    Severin Films’s Blu-ray release of Killer Crocodile presents this enjoyably goofy crocsploitation/Jaws knock off in very nice shape and with some pretty solid extra features as well. Fans of Italian monster schlock should get a kick out of this release, there’s a lot of fun to be had here.

    Click on the images below for full sized Killer Crocodile Blu-ray screen caps!