Novelist Scott Sigler’s horror columns will appear every Thursday.
There aren’t enough monster movies these days. Sure, Cloverfield had one — a mish-mash of a slug’s tail, a Komodo dragon’s arms and Art Carney’s face — but once we’re done with that, what’s left? (And as a side note on Cloverfield, how is it that no one can get a clear picture of a monster that’s 10 stories tall? I swear, that thing had more “hide the hips” camera angles than any of Kirstie Alley’s Jenny Craig commercials).
I’ll tell you what’s left, good ole’ Mother Nature and her favorite death machine, the crocodile. That’s right, the croc. This bad boy has flashed his big white choppers in front of the cameras more times than Julia Roberts. Granted, her teeth are bigger, but when it comes to sheer mass, the crocodile has Roberts by about 1,000 pounds.
And how can you go wrong? Every crocodile movie is basically Jaws with legs. It can kill you while you swim. It can kill you on land. It can get you on land, drag you into the water and drown you. It can give you the “death roll” so fast your arms spin out of their sockets. And, of course, it can bite off your head. Now I love Freddy, Jason, Chucky and the gang, but not one of them can bite off your freaking head — that’s an acting resume stuffer that’s always going to get you a callback.
The Crocodile on the Big Screen
The latest entry into this solid slice of genre is Rogue, directed by
Gary Mclean. Mclean also directed Wolf Creek, and word is, Rogue brings
the same sensibilities in pacing and dialogue. That’s the good news. The
bad news is Rogue will be in a limited number of theaters when it comes out April
25. Still, it makes up for last year, which looked to be a banner year for Mr. Croc, starring in Supergator (aka Primevil) and Lake Placid II: Unrated. Yeah, Unrated, and Unwatched. And that’s a shame, because the original Lake Placid (1999) is a solid contender, maybe the best gator/croc movie made.
Director Tobe Hooper took his turn on the reptile express with his 2000 movie, Crocodile. Hey, Tobe, maybe we need a more imaginative title? Maybe something like the other croc movie that came out in 2000, namely, Krocodylus? I don’t even need to see a synopsis of that, I’m renting the DVD based on the name alone. At least the 2002 Crocodile sequel had a better I-know-it’s-bad-but-I-gotta-rent-it title: Crocodile II: Death Swamp.
Far be it from me to mince species, so we have to throw in 1980’s Alligator. How often do you get a monster movie set in Chicago? Not often enough. In this, a baby alligator flushed down a toilet turns into a Cubs-loving creature that has a hankering for deep dish pizza… after the pizza has been eaten by a Chicagoan, of course.
Alligator is one I won’t watch again, because I watched it as
a kid and I was afraid to put my little booty on the toilet for weeks. I just couldn’t get rid of the vision of that thing coming out to get me. I really don’t want to watch it now and refocus my memories on the bad acting, bad special effects and a bad plot; I’d rather just remember it fondly as the movie that made me hold
myself for hours because I wouldn’t go in the bathroom.
So you want monsters this month? You’ve got Rogue in theaters (if you’re lucky) and you’ve got Cloverfield on DVD. If the latter’s ridiculously hard-to-see giant monster frustrates you, plan a road trip to see the former.
Just make sure you go to the bathroom before you see it.
Scott Sigler writes tales of hard-science horror, then gives them away as free audiobooks at www.scottsigler.com. Infected, hit stores on April 1, 2008. If
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