To be upfront about 1999’s Lake Placid, when I first saw the film I was very disappointed. I was working at the Razorback Theatre when it was originally released and I was pretty darn excited about being able to see a film about a giant crocodile up on the big screen. As I’ve mentioned before on the site, Alligator is one of my favorite movies so I was ready to experience a bit of that fear once again.
That is not what I got when we ran the film during our employee preview. In fact it was so opposite of what I had expected that I did something that I’ve only done a handful of times…I walked straight out of the auditorium during the screening. Now in my defense let us look at a couple of things.
Here is the poster we had hanging in our lobby. Does it seem to you that this is going to be a Horror/Comedy hybrid?
Now let us take a quick look at the original theatrical trailer, which I had seen, there is what I would call gallows humor…but how much of it is in the trailer? What is the main focus? It’s the threat of the crocodile, right?
Now I did give it a second chance of course, going in with a fresh mindset of it being more a comedy and I was quite pleased with the film. Which is why I was excited when our friends at Scream Factory allowed me the opportunity to review their upcoming Blu-Ray release that will be available tomorrow, 7/8/14!
Directed by Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Pt. 2, House) from a script by David E. Kelly (L.A. Law, Doogie Howser, M.D., Boston Legal) Lake Placid focuses on what lurks beneath the waters of Black Lake (We are told in the film they had wanted to call it Lake Placid but that name had already been taken).
Sheriff Hank Keough (Brendan Gleeson) is front and center for the first attack by what turns out to be a 30 foot crocodile, when a Fish and Game Warden is bit in half…though the Sheriff didn’t actually see the beast under the water so his bet is it was done by a bear. He is a grumpy no-nonsense type of guy which is why the sarcastic Jack Wells (Bill Pullman) who is brought in from Fish and Game to investigate the death of his fellow Warden means the two men do not see eye to eye. Thanks to them finding a piece of a tooth from the beast, Paleontologist Kelly Scott (Bridget Fonda) is brought into the mix, a city girl whose amorous encounters with her boss at the American Museum of Natural History finds her exiled on a field expedition to the lake and whose barbed insults are almost as deadly as the crocodile they are hunting. Finally you have Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt) who just so happens to be a Mythology Professor who has first hand experiences with crocodiles and a healthy disrespect for the local law enforcement, especially Sheriff Hank Keough.
That is where most of the film’s humor comes from, as you can see you have four characters that are…extremely opinionated…and you can’t help but laugh as they snap and bite at each other verbally while trying to avoid becoming a quick bite from the 30 foot crocodile that is terrorizing the waters.
I did forget to mention one more character, Mrs. Delores Bickerman, who is played by Betty White and she absolutely steals the show as a foul-mouthed old woman who hates law enforcement officials even more than Hector does. She also is the only person living on the lake…
Now like Steve Miner’s earlier film House, Lake Placid does have scares mixed in with the humor of it’s main characters. By using practical effects aided by CGI the crocodile in the film has a very menacing presence and you can’t help but get tense when it is on the hunt.
As usual, Scream Factory has loaded up their newest release with extras:
The Making of LAKE PLACID featuring new interviews with director Steve Miner, actor Bill Pullman, director of photography Daryn Okada, editor Marshall Harvey, Production Designer John Willett, Effects supervisor Nick Marra and Puppeteer Toby Lindala
Vintage Featurette featuring interviews with actors Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Oliver Platt, Brendon Gleason, Betty White and director Steve Miner
Behind the Scenes Still Gallery
Animatronic Croc Test Footage
You can still pre-order your copy by following the link provided up above. Thanks to Scream Factory we can rest easy knowing that our Summer nights can be spent curled up watching the best cult horror films available!