Released in 1989, KILLER CROCODILE was one of those horror rip off movies that Italian film makers seemed to do so well, basically this is the story of a group of environmentalists that head off to a tropical delta where they find someone has been dumping toxic and radio active waste into the Santa Domingo river, but the river not only contains the deadly waste but a even more deadly killer lurks beneath the water in the form of a mutant giant crocodile that has grown to a giant because of the effects of the radioactive waste. Many said it was based on JAWS which I suppose to a degree is true, but there again so many of these types of movies have been made in the shadow of the Spielberg block buster, PIRANHA for example, ORCA-KILLER WHALE and to a degree ANACONDA all took their cue from JAWS, plus lets not forget PIRANACONDA (wonder what that is about). KILLER CROCODILE does however manage to stand on its own two feet in the entertainment department, just about any way, and although not a great movie it’s watchable. Written and directed by Fabrizio De Angelis, KILLER CROCODILE is an entertaining enough horror flick, with plenty of blood and gore and ample helpings of tense and nervous action. The musical score is by respected Italian Maestro Riz Ortolani
, who produced a soundtrack that not only serves the movie well but also has moments within it that are more than your run of the mill horror music, there is the obligatory JAWS sounding cue within the soundtrack that accompanies the hulking beast of a croc and announces his entrance, his attack and also his departure back into the dark depths of the murky river. Plenty of driving strings are present throughout the work, and a fair amount of what I refer to as tense lurking music, i.e.; the croc is hiding in the weeds so the composer underlines this with a dark but subtle musical presence, which gradually builds into a full blown version of the predators theme as it positions itself to strike at its unsuspecting victim, but although comparisons will be made between Ortolani’s croc theme and John Williams
Shark theme and yes there are blatant similarities, that some would say verges on plagiarism, but Ortolani,s central theme is made up of two very different sounding sections, there is the darker murky side and also a full blown symphonic string theme which although dramatic is also melodic and sweeping in its overall impact. The composer makes effective use of strings for the action passages and punctuates and enhances these strings with percussive elements and added synthetics to heighten the tension and provide the listener with some highly dramatic writing. There are also a number of cues within the score that are hauntingly melodic.
Track number 15 for example, contains an almost classical sounding theme which the composer relays via the string section and subtle and delicate woodwind, this I felt evoked memories of his music for THE VALACHI PAPERS and in places his romantic sounding themes for movies such as THE YELLOW ROLLS ROYCE and AFRICA ADDIO, Ortolani I suppose is along with Mario Nascimbene
and Ennio Morricone
one of the most prolific Italian composers who has written for the cinema and television, he also managed to successfully break into scoring films outside of his native Italy and of course co-wrote one of the most successful songs of all time MORE from MONDO CANE and it is this romantic sound that the composer also integrates into his score for KILLER CROCODILE, so as collectors of film music we have the best of both worlds in this release, tense and harsh sounding action cues that are accompanied by softer, easy listening and romantic interludes. A score well worth checking out. With a great cover and sound quality that is also very good. But hurry these are ltd editions available from Kronos records, get yours now before they are all “SNAPPED” UP.
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Addio, Fratello Crudele
, The Dark Side of Light