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Traumafessions :: Richard of Doomed Moviethon on Alligator

April 7th, 2009 by unkle lancifer · 14 Comments

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.

UNK SEZ: Great traumafession Richard! Just what one would expect from the brilliant mind behind DOOMED MOVIETHON and the equally awesome DOOMED MOVIEBLOG!

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14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 MorbidNo Gravatar // Apr 7, 2009 at 8:49 am

    I LOVE this movie. Saw it in the theater as a kid and remember being as afraid of the alligator as I was Robert Forster’s hair.

  • 2 FilmFatherNo Gravatar // Apr 7, 2009 at 9:51 am

    My “cool aunt” took me to see Alligator when I was 11; my first R-rated film in a theater. I couldn’t believe the gory fun I was being exposed to. I remember telling my friend about the film, scene by scene, over lunch and recess the following Monday at school.

    Hey Unk/Aunt, how about a post featuring the most Trauma-tastic child deaths? I can think of three off the top of my head: Alligator, The Blob (1988), and Mimic.

  • 3 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Apr 7, 2009 at 9:56 am

    @FilmFather: The sleeping bag kid from The Prophecy would definitely make that list.

  • 4 DavidFullamNo Gravatar // Apr 7, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Totally awesome film from top to bottom. Text book example of how to make a low budget monster movie work.

  • 5 MorbidNo Gravatar // Apr 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    @aunt john: I loved that scene so much, that when we first created our Youtube channel, it was the second clip we ever put up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCi-OUHwaY0

    As for kid deaths, Alex Kintner from Jaws was pretty bad for the time. When I was a kid, the underwater screaming sounds gave me nightmares for weeks.

  • 6 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Apr 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    @Morbid: I L-O-V-E that clip so much — it never fails to bring a smile to my face — that I have thought about marrying it.

  • 7 ApocalypsejunkieNo Gravatar // Apr 7, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I won the Alligator game in a national kiddie art contest.  Even got my picture in the paper proudly holding my game( sadly it would be my only claim to fame ). It was a big plastic alligator and everyone took turns putting junk in it’s propped open gaping maw.  It would slam shut if you didn’t put the junk in just so. I wish I still had mine 🙁   SPIN THE SPINNER….. FEED THE GATOR……YOUR IN TROUBLE….SOONER OR LATER I actually found one on eBay: #280327976052

  • 8 MorbidNo Gravatar // Apr 7, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    @Apocalypsejunkie: You have no clue how much self-control it is taking me not to Buy It Now so that I can place that beside my Vintage Jaws Game.

  • 9 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Apr 7, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    It’s not often you see kids getting killed in a movie, and it’s so awesome (and strange) that both this and the Blob remake did so. I mean, both films are so much fun… and then… this!

    I saw this movie when I was about 9 or so and I remember Henry Silva’s demise, which upset me for days. Now it’s kind of funny… the SPFX, I mean. Man, wasn’t Silva GREAT in this!

    Also, I’m a BIG Robert Forster fan and I got to meet him. He signed one of my Spanish Alligator lobby cards! He’s so great in this movie and to go back to his hair for a moment… apparently when they shot this, he was really self concious about going bald (he was just getting a receding hairline) and I guess they ended up writing it into the script. There are at least two references to it. Afterwards, the hair plugs came into play. They looked so weird in the mid to late 80s, but settled just right for Jackie Brown.

    I know, I’m weird. He’s so hot, I can’t STAND it!

  • 10 ApocalypsejunkieNo Gravatar // Apr 8, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I feel your pain Morbid:-(
    I noticed today it’s already gone, unless it was yeeeeewwwww(staring with gimlet eyes)who snatched it up!   :-)>

  • 11 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Apr 8, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I thought about bidding on it, but the 72-inch description stopped me… is it really a 6 foot long plastic alligator?

  • 12 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Apr 8, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Whoops! I told my boyfriend to buy it for my birthday. I missed the 72 inch part. Shoot! I hope he didn’t get it!

  • 13 MorbidNo Gravatar // Apr 9, 2009 at 12:46 am

    @Apocalypsejunkie: Wasn’t me. But God knows I hovered over that Buy It Now link long enough. I made a pact not to impulse games off of Ebay after I paid too much on a Dark Tower board game. It was still kinda worth it…the game is still fun.

  • 14 ApocalypsejunkieNo Gravatar // Apr 9, 2009 at 8:22 am

    That measurment is off, it was only 2 feet long (if that), as I recall.  If it was 6 feet long I would’ve bought that and proudly displayed it on my front porch. I like to show the neighbors I care 😉

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