Shortly after I had discovered the horror of JAWS and the irrational fear of even the shallowest of waters, my parents introduced my sister and I to the 1980 film ALLIGATOR. The scene that shook me to the core of my being was the birthday party scene when some bratty kids blindfold an unlucky youngster and took him to walk the plank. The plank, of course, is the diving board of their pool and as luck would have it, the titular beast is waiting hungrily at the bottom. This takes place at night so the kids don’t know of the danger until somebody’s parent turns on the pool lights revealing 36-feet of alligator badness.
You know how things slow down when you’re scared? This scene seemed hours long to my kid-brain. The way I perceived this moment was that the kids KNEW the alligator was in that pool and were trying to kill their friend ON PURPOSE. So what is really just a great scare in a horror movie turned into this long, protracted and sadistic murder scene. Was this a nihilistic comment on the state of children in the 1980s? Probably not, but on the following Monday morning, I viewed the other kids at my grade school in a different and much more suspicious light.