Coming some fourteen years after Jaws and just as the trend for Italian horror films was coming to a ignominious end, Killer Crocodile 2 is really a paltry cinematic offering. With a scipt by the busy Dardano Sacchetti and producer Fabrizio De Angelis (who directed Killer Crocodile at the same time this was being made), it was directed by special effects wizard Giannetto De Rossi, who had worked on most of the Lucio Fulci zombie films and David Lynch’s Dune amongst others. De Rossi also directed another film for De Angelis, Cy Warrior, a year earlier, which was also pretty dreadful.
The plot follows irritating New York reporter Liza (Debra Karr) who travels to the Caribbean to cover a story about the cleaning up of a stretch of formerly polluted river and swampland and proposed development of an exclusive holiday resort. However, she discovers there are some missing barrels of nuclear waste (leaky old tin barrels with ‘nuclear waste’ written on their side, just in case we don’t get the message), and goes off in search of them. In the meantime a giant crocodile has appeared out of nowhere and is chomping its way through assorted nuns, schoolchildren and minor villains (Is it a result of the pollution? Some kind of legendary beast come to life? Such fripperies remain unexplained). Guessing that she might end up in trouble, Liza’s editor sends environmentalist and giant crocodile expert Kevin (Anthony Crenna) to look after her, and he ropes in old mucker Joe (Ennio Girolami) to help. Meanwhile, the developers have discovered their dastardly secret has been uncovered by our heroes and send a bunch of killers to dispose of them.
Having never had the pleasure of seeing Killer Crocodile, I can’t comment upon whether this sequel is any more or less impressive than its precursor, but seeing as it contains a lot of replayed footage from the first film and several scenes that have little to do with the main narrative (but expand the running length to a barely acceptable 80 minutes), I’d guess it was an opportunistic afterthought. Suffice to say, it’s all pretty pathetic: the script is desperate, the acting poor and production values wanting. Even established professionals like composer Riz Ortolani and cinematographer Giovanni Bergamini are unable to bring any distinction to the production, which seems to have been just too cheap and too swiftly made to have had much of a chance (as is readily acknowledged by De Rossi in an old interview in Deep Red magazine).
De Rossi’s creature effects are acceptable, especially when the crocodile is largely submerged, but as the running time goes on you see way too much of it and as a result it begins to look increasingly ropey. The climax seems to feature a toy person attached to a real crocodile, and would only fool the most naive of viewers.
As a piece of cheesy nonsense, though, it is at least mercifully short and not unenjoyable. Most of these late eighties Italian exploitation films have to be viewed with a certain pinch of salt, and you can admire its chutzpah if not its actual quality. And it’s always nice to see Enio Girolami, a familiar performer in Italian films from the 50s onwards (and Enzo Castellari’s brother), who’s fun as the Robert Shaw-style grizzled hunter. And is that Franco Fantasia in a cameo as a doomed private investigator? He’s not credited, but it certainly looks like him.
Here’s a German trailer: