Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dinocroc vs. Supergator (USA, 2010)

"I'm telling you. It's aliens! First they go for our animals, then they go for our women."
Roy (Jim Wynorski)
"I've seen your wife. Trust me, Roy; she's safe."
Charlie Swanson (John Callahan)
"I know."

Way back in the day of Poverty Row, say the 1920 to the mid-1950s, a multitude of low-tier studios (the most famous probably being Monogram Pictures, Republic Pictures, and Producers Releasing Corporation) produced a continuous supply of low-budget and quickly made B-films and second features populated by unknowns, B and C personalities, and stars on the slide, out of favor, simply slumming it or on the rise.
Among the directors of Poverty Row, some like Douglas Sirk (26 Apr 1897 – 14 Jan 1987) went on to respectable fame and fortune; others like Edgar G. Ulmer (17 Sept 1904 – 30 Sept 1972) and to a lesser extent Arthur Dreifuss (25 Mar 1908 – 31 Dec 1993) gained later cult repute as under-appreciated masters; most, like the western specialist Robert N. Bradbury (23 Mar 1886 – 24 Nov 1949) or William Whitney (5 May 1915 – 17 Mar 2002), simply disappeared into obscurity; and others, like the highly productive William "One Shot" Beaudine (15 Jan 1892 – 18 Mar 1970), with around 180 movies to his credit,  and Sam Newfield (6 Dec 1899 – 10 Nov 1964), with over 250 movies to his name, attained eternal infamy as "bad movie" directors.
Poverty Row is long gone, needless to say, crumbling like dust once the chain-theater distribution system was broken, television appeared, and the major studios began making A-budget B films. For a long time, the almost cookie-cutter, scrappy product of the studios and directors like Sam Newfield was simply no longer needed.
Today, however, thanks to advent of DVD releases and the plethora of channels populating contemporary cable TV, "poverty row" has almost been reborn; perhaps not as a location — most of the studios of the past were all located on Gower Street in Hollywood — but definitely in regard to cheap, cookie-cutter product (admittedly with a bit more knowing irony than in the old days) from a "house" and some truly productive director(s).
The Asylum, of course, is a prime example of a highly productive "house", as is SyFy Films, nee Sci Fi Pictures, of the SyFy Channel, while Charles Band’s Full Moon, though almost venerable in age by now, is somewhat less fecund. (Roger Corman stands in the heavens above them all, of course, the Holy Deity of contemporary non-major production houses.)
Among the current directors vying for the sobriquet "One Shot" are David DeCoteau (of Creepozoids [1987], Blonde Heaven  [1991] and Retro-Puppet Master [1999], among many) and Jim Wynorski, the director of Dinocroc vs. Supergator (and, among other stuff, Vampirella [1996]), and whom Paste Magazine, on their list of "The Best of the Bad", already refer to as "the 'sleaziest' director on this list". (An oddly placed appellation, seeing that DeCoteau, who is likewise on that list, actually made hardcore porn movies, whereas Wynorski has yet to go further than soft-core.)
Much like the horror films of Sam Newfield — The Monster Maker (1944) being a prime example — invariably featured a stupid story, a "name" actor, a bad man & minions, a monster, an ape, cheap special effects, and a girl & guy, movies from SyFy Films invariably feature a stupid story, a "name" actor, a bad man & his minions, cheap special effects, a girl & guy, and one or more monster animals (or, quite often, mutated monster animals).
And Dinocroc vs. Supergator is no exception, though it does feature a larger bodycount and intentional humor, if not irony. (The latter reflected, for example, in such truly subtle touches as the casting of two people, MILFy Dane Delia Sheppard, seen somewhere further below from some nude pictorial, and the plump Jeff Rector, both with accents from different countries, as sibling scientists.) The "name" actor of Dinocroc vs. Supergator  is a whisky-swilling David Carradine, in one of his last roles (supposedly a one-day job) before proving, like Michael Hutchence, Albert Dekker,* and Vaughn Bodé before him, that erotic auto-asphyxiation is a dangerous way to blow a load.
* Maybe Dekker was actually murdered, if only accidentally.
Carradine's minions in Dinocroc vs. Supergator include Victoria (Lisa Clapperton), initially presented as an ass-kicker but, ultimately, totally incompetent, and a crew of mercenaries that quickly become dinocroc or supergator food. Some lean, hunky dude named "The Cajun" (Rib Hills, whom we wouldn't mind seeing naked) is originally introduced as a minion, but he quickly if inexplicitly turns good guy.
The monsters are of course the titular ones, created by science, which both escape at the same time and have insatiable appetites. They are the prime example of the cheap special effects that populate the movie:  unconvincing CGI that ensures that the monsters can never be taken seriously and every death, no matter how "bloody", is funny. Still, whenever one or the other chomps down on somebody, our eyes go all misty due to happy memories of such mid-century, non-Poverty Row, cheesy, stop-motion classics like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953 / trailer).
And though a lot people who you think will die, don't — the two guys who run into the deserted hotel and hide behind the counter, for example, though their survival looks more like something was cut from the DVD release than anything else — a lot of people do: aside from those previously mentioned, other deaths include dozens of people at the science complex, a honeymooning couple, two running blondes in bathing suits,** a photographer, a bus driver, diverse tourists, the lead heroine's father, and more.
** A scene that would have been so much funnier had it been two naked running blondes.
Basically, almost anyone introduced as a character agitating outside the core nucleus of three heroes — a nucleus that includes, aside from the Cajun, the girl & guy, Cassidy Swanson (Amy Holt, seen further below in her itsy bitsy teenie weenie non-yellow polka dot bikini, and in Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre [2015 / trailer]) and Paul Beaumont (Corey Landis of Camel Spiders [2011]), who of course become a couple — die. The most extraneous of all victims are probably the filmmaker Chaz (Michael Bernardi) and his two bikini brunettes, Bimbo 1 (Aurelia Scheppers) & Bimbo 2 (Brandi Williams), whose entire introduction and presence is only the lead up to the punchline of a joke.*** 
*** A scene and joke that would have been so much funnier had they all been naked.
For all the funnily unconvincing CGI deaths, Dinocroc vs. Supergator plays out pretty much just like the typical second feature movie of yesteryear. The equally insipid story, full of illogical developments and coincidences and filler, barrels along to a specific time length as quickly as possible, injecting an event or laugh anytime the goings threaten to get slow. Many of the stupidities are nicely ironed out by ironic dialog (a prime example is the verbal exchange between Paul and the Cajun when it comes to blowing up tunnels). The acting is generally OK, and even where it is truly abysmal — the Concierge (Jerry Hess) is particularly noteworthy — it remains painlessly funny enough to be passable for a movie of this caliber, and some of the actors (the heroic trio, for example) actually project a level of appeal that makes them likable and the movie a tad more fun than to be expected.
On the whole, nothing about Dinocroc vs. Supergator is particularly memorable or "good", but then it is probably a bit unrealistic to expect anything "good" from a movie entitled Dinocroc vs. Supergator. But it does offer some nice scenery, some good laughs, and it flies by quickly enough. It is basically a kiddy film, perfect for the pre-teen, for whom one assumes, hopes, it was made. Non pre-teens can enjoy it when in the right state of mind.
Perhaps it should be mentioned that Dinocroc vs. Supergator is a sequel of sorts of two previous Roger Corman productions, Kevin O'Neill's Dinocroc (2004 / German trailer), with Charles Napier, and Brian Clyde's Supergator (2007 / trailer), but as neither of those movies really has anything to do with this movie other than the respective titular monsters, the fact is immaterial. Another immaterial fact is that an extended sequence of Dinocroc vs. Supergator is set at a deserted resort on the Hawai'ian of Kaua'I, which, supposedly, according to the tour guide (Tamie Sheffield), was used as the location for Roger Corman's She Gods of Shark Reef (1958 / full movie).
As some reptiles are known to be able reproduce asexually, the last scene leaves open the possibility of a sequel — one hopes with nudity.

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