The Hunger Grows (Alligator 2: the Mutation, 1991)

Over ten years after the original Alligator came the sequel. Now, the first film was about an alligator that was flushed into the sewers, fed on dogs full of growth hormones and was mutated into a giant alligator. It was defeated by a cop and his love interest zoologist.

Meanwhile, the sequel follows a police Detective David who is investigating disappearances that seem tied to a nearby lake. With help from his scientist wife Christine, he discovers there is a giant mutant alligator living in the lake. An unscrupulous land owner is trying to force locals out of their homes to build condos or something. He is a shady dude. So, like this is a totally different movie with a new plot. Really.

So, yeah, this was a direct to video attempt to cash in on the name recognition of the original and even reused footage from the film (shots of the alligator swimming and eye closeups). It pretty much follows the same story as the first, but there are small tweaks I genuinely like. David and Christine have a pretty nice relationship. Their marriage is not in jeopardy, and they seem to really like each other. Richard Lynch has a fun role as the mercenary badass initially hired by the bad guy to dispatch the gator. I like David, he is portrayed as “One of the Good Ones”, a cop who has a sincere love and respect for the community he serves. This makes him quite likable.

The effects are okay, but largely hokey. I am not sure why this is the mutation…this gator seems pretty much the same as the previous gator…which also was a mutation. This film is pretty much on par with the original, more of a remake than a sequel. It is kind of fun, though not any kind of classic.

The Hunger (Alligator, 1980)

Opening with a young girl getting a pet baby alligator at an alligator park (after an alligator attacks an employee) whose father decides to flush the gator down the toilet. Playing into the old urban legend about alligators living in the sewers, this film adds an animal testing conspiracy to the mix.

Robert Forster is a Detective named David investigating dog corpses and human body parts popping up at the local waste treatment plant. His defining character trait is being embarrassed by his thinning hair. he brings this up often. The little girl from the beginning grew up to be Marisa, a zoologist who specializes in reptiles. When David discovers that the killer leaving around body parts is a giant alligator, she helps give him insight. It has been feasting on the carcasses of dogs used by a pharmaceutical company in growth hormone experiments.

When people try and catch the alligator, it goes above ground and starts killing people left and right.

Alligator is a rather goofy film. David has a trauma related to a partner who was killed and he blames himself. He does not just get help Marisa, no they start sleeping together. The evil company eventually sees their comeuppance is a bloody finale.

Notably, this film pulls a Jaws, killing a kid. But unlike Jaws, where that is played as a major tragedy that haunts Brody, here it is just one of many scenes with no real impact to the story.

I do like this creature feature overall, even though it does not have a lot of emotional weight.

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