Crocodile Rockin’

To realize how brazen Italian filmmakers were when shocking an audience, watch Killer Crocodile 2. Insatiably hungry, the monster croc bears down on a boat of Sunday school kids, with a nun at the helm. They don’t make it. Not a one. Imagine being on set, only eight or nine, soaking up fake blood in a real river, while a 30-foot reptile prop bears down on you.

A sloppier sequel, Killer Crocodile 2 lacks the first’s kick. Filmed at the same time, Killer Crocodile 2 recycles the score and significant footage. It goes so far as to replay Killer Crocodile’s ending twice during an already minuscule runtime. Although the same, the creature prop helplessly bounces around and sinks while soaking up water; the effects lack care, ruining an otherwise fun cabin attack partway through.

Taken as the Jaws/nature-run-amok rip-off it so clearly is, Killer Crocodile 2 is only fair, even at is peak

Shrug all that aside and it’s not a total loss. Although still consumed by environmentalism (radioactive waste is, again, the catalyst), the focus here is unexpectedly feminism. Protagonist Liza (Debra Karr) deals with workplace sexism. Liza’s a journalist whose editors can’t believe she’s capable of doing the work when male writers fill the hallways. Liza spends her time uncovering the radiation scandal, on her own against a derivative landowner looking to turn this place into a resort. She’s tough.

Granted, the third act turns Liza into a hopeless, horny, often topless romantic interest for the returning Kevin (Richard Anthony Crenna). He jumps into the story late, partly to give Liza reason to shred her top, and also to kill the croc. This was 1990 – can’t go too crazy to believe a woman capable enough to blow up a river mutant. Italian exploitation willingly kills church kids, but doesn’t stick its social convictions.

Taken as the Jaws/nature-run-amok rip-off it so clearly is (a genre that ran aground years before 1990), Killer Crocodile 2 is only fair, even at is peak. Viewed back-to-back, the two movies work in sync, with the back half crumbling. The creative juices were so clearly spent prior, as if horror flicks about mutant crocs offer room to expand their idea base. Killer Crocodile 2 is functional schlock and little more.

Video

Included only with first printings from Severin, the sequel looks identical to the first. Given its own disc, that doesn’t help with visible compression. It’s a chunky, messy encode that lacks space to resolve grain, leaving a digital wash over everything. Fast action only intensifies things.

Black levels elevate. That robs Killer Crocodile 2 of any real contrast. Night becomes all gray, not even close to black. Artifacts further intrude in those weakened shadows. Color helps, well saturated primaries glistening and giving this transfer life. Plenty of greenery lines the river’s shore. Add in bright swimwear for a nicely complemented, natural palette.

Behind the “grain” is a reasonably sharp master. A few close-ups bring facial texture, limited as it may be. Location footage looks the best, stellar in resolving trees, weeds, and general overgrowth.

Audio

Static becomes an impediment to this DTS-HD track, suffering from frequents bouts. It’s loud too.

Both Italian and English tracks sound the same, albeit with different static times. Routine dubbing lends things an artificial air, somewhat muffled and appropriately cheap. The score hits highs without distortion.

Extras

The real bonus isn’t this movie, but The Price of Plasma, an 82-minute documentary on makeup man and director Giannetto De Rossi whose talents brought him Stateside for things like Rambo III, Dune, and others. A plethora of interviews cover Rossi’s entire career.

Four minutes of deleted scenes add a little more value.

Killer Crocodile 2
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
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Movie

While marginally successful when dabbling with workplace sexism, Killer Crocodile 2’s brazen horror doesn’t show the care of the original.

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