Alligator People, The

Tagged: Film

Film (1959). Associated Producers. Directed by Roy Del Ruth. Written by Orville H Hampton from a story by Hampton, Charles O'Neal, and Robert M Fresco (uncredited). Cast includes Bruce Bennett, Lon Chaney, Richard Crane, Beverly Garland, Douglas Kennedy and George Macready. 73 minutes. Black and white.

Joyce Webster (Garland) goes to see two psychiatrists, Dr Eric Lorimer (Bennett) and Dr Wayne MacGregor (Kennedy) over recurring nightmares she is suffering from. They give her "truth serum" (sodium pentathol) and the tale is told in flashbacks. Joyce had recently married Paul Webster (Crane), a test pilot, and all seemed well until he abruptly vanished after receiving a mysterious telegram. Tracing him to a mansion in Louisiana, Joyce eventually learns that Paul has been mutilated in an aircraft crash and given an experimental treatment in cellular Regeneration involving alligator DNA. The procedure at first appeared a spectacular success, but he has since begun turning at intervals into a reptilian Mutant. Dr Mark Sinclair (Macready) is developing a way to stabilize his condition, but an alligator hunter called Manon (Chaney) interrupts the experiment at a critical moment. This turns Paul completely into an alligator "man" whom Joyce proceeds to pursue through the swamps, where the ill-fated Paul sinks in quicksand. The psychiatrists decide to conceal the truth from Joyce, feeling this is best for her.

This film may have helped inspire Marvel Comics' popular Villain The Lizard, who has become a similar Monster through the same type of limb regeneration experiments using reptilian DNA. [GSt]

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