If you saw the above image and thought to yourself, "Wow, that looks like a dude riding a flying crocodile," then you are indeed correct. Mostly anyway.
Crocodile Fury marks our third visit to the group known at Alamo Drafthouse as Video Vortex: VHS insanity from beyond the universe.
“VIDEO VORTEX unearths ultra-obscure, ultra-bizarre movies from the fringes of the universe. And beyond. Every movie is curated to potentially be the greatest thing that you've never seen. This is a showcase for movies that were only released -- or never released -- on home video. But here, they're blown up on the big screen and ready to annihilate reality in ways that aren't possible in the safety of a living room. From Turkish bootlegs to D.I.Y. goreblasts, these movies are surreal, hilarious, and admirable -- usually all at once.”
Each month, the group showcases a film, always prefaced by our hosts with fun behind the scenes info and trivia. Add to the experience fellow appreciators of the obscure as your theatre mates as well as some beer and popcorn, and you pretty much have the most amazing date night ever. You know. If you’re into that sort of thing.
This past visit, they even held a competition between two of the audience members. The prize? VHS copies of Crocodile Dundee parts I and II. Of course.
Our first foray to the event was The Brain followed by Things and now the bizarre Crocodile Fury. Next up is Desperation Rising for which we’ve already bought tickets. Suffice to say, we have loved every one and look forward to watching each new film to which we otherwise would have never been exposed.
I’d like to start chronicling these adventures to a) give mad props to the guys in charge of running Video Vortex without whom we wouldn’t have these oddities to enjoy, especially in Dallas, and b) spread the love of these wackadoodle films!
So where do we begin with a film that contains vampires, zombies, witches, and crocodile shapeshifters?
The Vortex team pitched it like this:
“No animals were harmed during the making of CROCODILE FURY, but many humans were. Deep within the jungle, raging crocodiles devour men, women, and especially children for no good reason. BUT ALL IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS! The killer crocs are really the ghosts of reincarnated humans who battle for the fate of the universe against hopping vampires, martial arts zombies, and a witch with Freddy Krueger fingers. For real!! With generous helpings of deranged crocodile puppets, lo-fi gore explosions, and stolen Kraftwerk songs, CROCODILE FURY can best be described as JAWS meets WONDER SHOWZEN meets who-the-fuck-knows. Directed by Godfrey Ho -- the person responsible for over 140 ninja movies -- and screening from a bootleg tape with Greek subtitles for maximum confusion.”
Godfrey Ho apparently purchased the rights to previously made Thai films for a very cheap price, then expanded them into full-length features with added footage. He then marketed them with badass looking posters that made the films look way cooler than they actually are (well, I guess that's debatable) to get people in the theaters.
Based on this, we'd assume there's a Schwarzenegger type macho man and a super hot babe fending off deadly crocodiles with the help of special forces units in the expanse of an enormous body of water. There's guns and explosions and boobs. Right?
Wrong. Mr. Muscles is not even present (unless that's supposed to be the Master of the Sea), and if the babe is supposed to be Monica, the only Caucasian female in the cast, we're not sure why she's in the mouth of a croc on the poster since she has more to do with the hopping vampires.
Sound bizarre yet? All this combined with, as mentioned, Greek subtitles, makes the viewing experience completely insane. In a very good way.
The audio is dubbed. The scenes which were added to the existing footage have no real correlation to the rest of the film other than the random appearances of hopping vampires and zombies.
We follow a group of villagers who are plagued by crocodile attacks and Jack (it should be noted that all the main characters have bland white people names like Donald and Jack), "a man of faith," who is attempting to get to the bottom of all the craziness as well as a group of demonic crocodiles who shift between human and crocodile form and live in a den which seems to exist in some type of alternate dimension beneath the river.
There is also Monica, the "witch with Freddy Krueger fingers," whose primary spellcasting technique involves waving her hands in a ball-like motion while chanting, "hummahummahummahumma," and sometimes pointing her fingers with an added "dink!" sound effect to summon or dismiss her minions.
So, basically what I'm saying is I already know my Halloween costume for this year.
The crocodiles are of course incredibly fake looking puppets, and much of the time during attack sequences they don't even open their mouths but simply sway their noses toward victims who scream in chaotic terror. There are a lot of close-ups of croc teeth meant to instill fear. Or hilarity. Villagers seem to fall aimlessly into the water and yet manage to land precisely inside their assailants' jaws, but when rescued later they have no wounds or signs of bleeding.
One crocodile does steal a baby. Why, you ask? Why not?
So what the hell are all these crocodiles doing? Well, Monica decides to work with Cooper, the Master of the Sea World, to take possession of the villagers' souls. Monica reanimates the dead into her vampire minions while Cooper sends demonic crocodiles to make them into one of their own. For some reason we have Jack, too, because Ho needed to add enough extra scenes for a full-length film. And in the midst of all this mayhem is also some romantic drama.
Because let's be real: at the heart of this film is actually a love story. Yes, that's right. Crocodile shapeshifter and human forbidden love. And crocodile shapeshifter-crocodile shapeshifter love. Or something. We think.
If you can find a copy of the VHS somewhere, don't hesitate to snatch it up, no matter the subtitle language.
Video Vortex screenings are held nationwide, so if you're interested in joining the fun then check out your local Alamo Drafthouse.
Have you been lucky enough to see Crocodile Fury? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.