Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Big Alligator River, Barbara Bach vs. the Gator

In 1978, Sergio Martino directed Ursula Andress in "The Mountain of the Cannibal God."  How does one top that?  In 1979, Martino had the fortune of then directing Barbara Bach in "The Big Alligator River" (aka "The Great Alligator").  Bach, two years earlier, wowed audiences as a Bond-girl in "The Spy Who Loved Me" attempts to do it again in this Italian horror flick shot in exotic Sri Lanka.  B-Movie fans will not be disappointed.
 The plot:  In the middle of an African jungle, an evil entrepreneur has built a decadent resort which will cater to European tourists.  He has blown up portions of their jungles and has reduced the native cultures to cheap side shows for the guests.  Daniel, played by Claudio Cassinelli ("The Mountain of the Cannibal God") has arrived to take photos of the resort which will be used in an advertising campaign, and to take shots of a hot European model, of African descent, named Sheena.  Lucky for him, the evil entrepreneur (Mel Ferrer) teams him up with his visual assistant, Alice (Bach).  Alice and Daniel are appalled at the exploitation of the natives.  Unfortunately for Ferrer, the natives are also peeved and do a ritual resurrecting the alligator god, Kruna.  Kruna begins his quest by eating Sheena and her guy during a moonlight tryst.
   Not knowing Sheena swims with the fishes, Alice and Daniel go look for her and figure out that Kruna is hungry for revenge on the white people who decimated the native culture.  Their warnings are ignored back at the resort as a three-million dollar investment is at stake.  Too bad for them, as Kruna inspires the natives to mount an attack on the fornicating tourists, and abduct Alice (no virgins were available) for sacrifice.
In a scene reminiscent of the original "King Kong," Alice is dressed in slinky native sacrificial garb, and offered to Kruna.  Will Kruna take to Alice as Kong took to Fay Wray?  Will Daniel be able to rescue Alice and be forever known to her as "The Photographer Who Loved Me"?  After Bach and Andress, who will be next for Sergio Martino?  Bach is captivating, and the last 20 minutes of this film are very exciting.  Even in the slow first hour, Bach's presence is enough to satisfy us.  For Italian horror, and B-Movie fans, "The Big Alligator River" is a must see!  

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