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Issue #181a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES October 13th, 2003


A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

The huge success of JAWS spawned some pretty sorry imitations but none worse than this Thai production, which received scattered U.S. playdates in 1981 through Herman Cohen's Cobra Media company. However, one wonders whether this incompetently produced, mind-numbingly tedious picture actually lasted even a week in most of the theatres unfortunate enough to book it. A devastating storm that ravaged the coast of Thailand is followed by an even graver menace: a giant salt water crocodile. Although the creature seems content to just put the bite on unwary swimmers, it soon progresses to wiping out entire villages with a flick of its tail. Scientists are eventually able to determine that the mutant is the result of atomic testing (though just how they came to that conclusion is never explained) but it appears that no weapons at the authorities' disposal will be able to destroy the reptile.

In between the beast's rampages (depicted via incredibly sorry miniatures and tight insert shots of real crocs that make the creature's dimensions change from shot-to-shot), the viewer must suffer through soap opera-style dramatic interludes centered around a doctor whose family was among the monster's first victims. In between bouts of anguish, he dedicates his life to destroying the croc and sets up his own expedition to carry this out. Director Sompote Sands (THE 6 ULTRA BROTHERS VS. THE MONSTER ARMY) makes a few feeble attempts at developing suspense but it is impossible to generate much concern over events so murkily photographed and haphazardly edited (on many occasions, hardly anything within the frame is discernible!) There is plenty of unconvincing bloodletting but also an entirely gratuitous sequence showing the butchering of a live croc, so those wary of viewing such things are warned. A few derogatory laughs can be had from the tinker toy FX and cliched dialogue but, overall, this is a leaden, irredeemable bore that will have general audiences scrambling for the "eject" button and tax the patience of the most undiscerning giant monster completists.

Cover art courtesy VCI.

Image courtesy VCI.
VCI #8298 (U.S. label)

Dolby Digital 2.0

Dubbed in English

18 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Grabs

Letterboxed (1.74:1; cropped from 2.35)

Coded for Region 1 Only

Macrovision Encoded

NTSC Format

92 Minutes

Contains moderate violence and cruelty to animals

DVD menu courtesy VCI.

United States: R

Thorn-EMI's pan-and-scan tape release of CROCODILE in the early 80s ranked among the worst video transfers of its time. Now, we have VCI's new widescreen edition...which ranks among the worst video transfers of its time. Even after two viewings, it is difficult to tell just went wrong with the source materials. Was the film stock defective? Did the lab ruin the negative? Was Cohen sent a sub-standard negative by Dick Randall (who receives a co-producer credit)? The materials are consistently grainy and speckled and there is a strange, wavy jitter in the image throughout. Colors alternate between oversaturated and virtually non-existent, whites bloom, and night sequences are impenetrable. The damage is further compounded by VCI's decision to squeezebox the scope image at 1.74:1, leaving everything looking even more distorted. On top of this, the company has deceptively listed "16x9 ratio" on the DVD packaging. Yes, 1.74 is close to the standard 16:9 ratio of 1.78 but this disc is not anamorphic, something that anyone who sees the term "16:9" would automatically assume. Some prominent white dropouts even pop up in the master tape. Randall apparently arranged the English dubbing as many of the usual Italian exploitation voice artists are heard; the audio track is thick and mildly distorted but coherent. Two radio spots are included on the DVD but no trailer. However, we do receive trailers for KISS OF THE TARANTULA, DON'T OPEN THE DOOR, THE TWILIGHT PEOPLE, and GORGO, and they are the highlight of the disc by default.

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