Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Alligator People (1959)

Who's In It: Beverly Garland (My Three Sons, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), Bruce Bennett (The New Adventures of Tarzan), Lon Chaney Jr (The New Adventures of the Wolf Man; just kidding), George Macready (Tarzan's Peril), and Richard Crane (Rocky Jones: Space Ranger)

What It's About: A newlywed woman (Garland) searches for her husband (Crane) who disappeared on their honeymoon, tracking him to a gothic mansion in a remote swamp where terrible experiments are being performed.

How It Is: The Alligator People is a strong mystery in a cool setting. A lot of the acting and characters aren't especially memorable, but Garland is quite good as the tenacious woman relentlessly searching for her missing husband. And Lon Chaney Jr is effective as an unpredictable, gator-hating Cajun. The gator-people makeup is effective too and even sort of terrifying. I suspect that some will find the final transformation silly, but I like it a lot.

The only thing I don't care for in the film is the weird and unnecessary framing sequence in which Garland has repressed her memories of the swamp and even has a new name. That raises a lot of questions that the movie doesn't care to answer and also reduces the tension in the main story, because we know how her story ends. But I do like that the framing sequence features Bruce Bennett as one of the doctors examining Garland's character. As Herman Brix, he played one of my favorite film Tarzans.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 scaly spouses.

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