As we were just talking movie posters, let’s talk about another one. Over to our left we have the poster for the 1980 classic Giant Monster Movie, Alligator. That description on top pretty much describes the movie in full, though I’d add that this is one of the more entertaining monster movies out there. It’s certainly the best killer alligator movie you could watch.
Also the best movie with a monster named Ramon in it, though that list is kinda small.
A couple quick anecdotes about it first, before we hit the meat of this essay. This is what’s known in in the Writer Business as “filler”, as I want some space between this image and the next one. But it will be worth it. Trust me.
Anecdote #1: Alligator came out in my childhood. As it was an R rated film, neither Brother Eric nor myself were allowed to see it. We led such sheltered lives back then. It was really quite sad.
However, we did have the Alligator game. In a nut shell, it was this big old plastic alligator with his jaws agape. You spun this spinner and either removed or put in these little plastic garbage shaped pieces. Put in enough, and the jaws would snap shut. Whoever got that little shock (and it was always a shock) lost the game.
Think about that for a second. A game for kids, based on a movie they weren’t supposed to see (without parental supervision.)
Those were different times, people. Different times.
Other games were out there with similar pedigree. There was a Jaws game, which was just like the Alligator game (a rip off game from a rip off movie?). Then there was an Escape from New York board game, which I saw but never had. There were even The Sword and the Sorcerer coloring books, which I remember having. Three in all, telling the movie’s story. Sans heart ripping out and nekked people. And, as I recall it, a better plot.
The R rated tie-in that had the most infamy in our house was from Alien. It was an alien figure, complete with snapping tongue jaw. Eric got that for Christmas and chased our cousin Julie all over the basement with it.
Good times. Good times.
Anecdote #2: In many ways I’m glad I was older before I watched Alligator. There’s this scene in it, where these two brat boys are playing pirates with this third innocent. They make him “walk the plank” by means of a diving board and a swimming pool.
Guess who’s waiting in the swimming pool for the kid.
Yikes. Nightmare city.
In fact, I’m not too proud to admit it. Every time I go near a pool I make sure there isn’t an alligator in it.
You can’t be too careful.
I also try not to stay on roofs too long, but because of an entirely different movie.
Hey, you don’t know. There might be angry Aztec gods out there just waiting to eat a poor, innocent Irish man.
You can laugh, but I’m going to be safe, damn it.
See? That wasn’t so bad. Even historically relevant.
Anyways, back to the movie poster. You remember that, right?
What do you mean, the nattering blew it from memory?
Scroll up and scroll back down as needed.
The thing I take away from looking at the poster is the moodiness. It looks like a horror film. All the dark grays, the shape of the ‘gator’s head (doesn’t it look like it’s smiling?), the way the ‘gator looks like its on the way to greet you. The tag line at the top does nothing for me (too many words, which is an odd comment from me) but it does it’s job. It sells the picture.
Now take a look at the image they’ve got on the DVD box, below:
That just screams terror, now doesn’t it? It’s gawd awful on every level. Bright green ‘gator, plenty of lights around it, nice clean water, the works. Even the tag line’s stripped of menace. It looks like one of of those Sci Fi channel… excuse me, SyFy channel monster movies.
In other words, it makes the movie look like bad schlock horror. It doesn’t seal the deal.
I’ve notice this a lot lately, with a whole slew of ’80’s horror flicks. And with very few exceptions, the new posters fail on ever conceivable way.
But this? I wouldn’t dream of turning this in. I’d be too embarrassed to.
Plus, I’d be afraid I’d get on Ramon’s bad side and one day find him home waiting for me.
In the swimming pool.