Alligator (1980) | 4K Blu-ray Review


Following a few years after Jaws, the much lower budget, but somehow still satisfying Alligator has made its way to the Ultra HD format thanks to the efforts of the folks over at Scream Factory. So let’s dive in and see if this is worth the asking price.


If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Buy it here!

Alligator 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-100)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Released By:Shout!/Scream Factory
Release Date:February 22nd, 2022
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
BR: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Resolution:4K: Native 4K, 2160/24p
BR: Full HD, 1080/24p
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (from negatives)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision (FEL), HDR10
Aspect Ratio:1.85:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K/BR):
DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit)
Subtitles:English SDH
Packaging:3-disc snapcase with slipcover*

*Slipcover may be limited to initial pressings
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region A (locked)

Video Review:

Alligator comes to us from a new 4K scan of the original negatives and I have to say that I was mighty impressed with what Shout/Scream Factory did with this low budget film. The amount of detail extracted from those negatives is impressive, being evident in the clarity and textural fidelity on skin, both human and alligator, hair, cloth textures on costumes, fine detail in sets and much more throughout the runtime of the film. From the first scene on, my eyes were darting around the screen trying to take in every last bit. Given the practical effects in this film were done mostly using both real and animatronic alligators and miniatures it’s also impressive the work they did and overall I think this transfer did an excellent job of showcasing what could be accomplished even on a low budget. Textures on the miniatures, to explosions, it all looks well detailed. Overall the release is clean of any compression artifacts.

There is film grain present throughout the runtime and it is well formed, organic and appropriate for the era and capture techniques of the film. It does get a touch heavy in the darker sewer scenes, but overall it never rose to the level of being distracting. In fact had it been missing, that likely would have been more out of place.

On the color side of things, they did a really nice job with the overall color grade. There were a few moments where skin tones would get a bit pink, but overall I did not find it over the top. Greens and reds overall noticeably get a bump with red shirts, the orange of fire and liveliness of foliage all coming much more apparent and lush. On the whites and blacks sides of things, those blacks definitely get deep and inky, and whites are bright and crisp on clothing, table linens and more. Specular highlights such as from flashlights and the reflections of moonlight on the back of the eponymous alligator all come through with bunch and authority. In the dark sewer scenes, the blue cast adds to the ambiance, and for the most part shadow detail is retained if not intentionally pushed to black to keep the scene of mystery and suspense.

The included Blu-ray comes from the same remaster and also looks very good. It cannot compete with its higher resolution brother. The TV Cut is also found on a separate Blu-ray and looks good, but just not as good as the theatrical cut likely due to the fact that the original negatives were not used, but rather the interpositive.

Video Score (4K): 4.7 / 5 (Excellent)

Video Score (BR): 4.4 / 5 (Very Good)


Audio Review:

The audio presentation includes a 2-channel mono mix, and that’s it. Overall it sounded good, but just not great. There were times where the highs got a bit too bright and sibilant, and a bit of fuzz or artifacting would come in, but those times were fairly rare on the whole of the runtime. Most of the time everything remained clean, clear and centered. The low tones are a bit anemic and left some of the audio track sounding a little thin, but it was still present, just not on the level one would have hoped. I would have enjoyed hearing what a new more modern mix could have done for this film by comparison, but I have to imagine this is fairly faithful to how it sounded when it came out.

Audio Score (4K/BR): 3.6 / 5 (Good)

Special Features and Packaging:

A big win on this release was the list of special features. From the audio commentary found on both theatrical discs, to a bunch of new interviews, trailers, tv spots and more. There was a lot to take in here for a fan of film in general. The major highlight was the interview with Bryan Cranston who served as a special-effects assistant on the film at a time before he became an established actor, but the rest of the list of extras are also worth a watch. And in addition to the theatrical cut, we also get a look at the TV cut of the film which is longer than the theatrical release.

For packaging, this is in line with most standard 4K releases from Scream Factory with nice custom art on the slipcase, interior case and discs. There’s nothing beyond that in terms of physical features if you buy this from the store, but overall it’s nice packaging for a non-premium level release.

Features Score: 4.2 / 5 (Very Good)

Buy/Upgrade-worthiness:

If you like this movie, you should absolutely consider picking this up. It looks fantastic and although the audio holds the overall experience back a small amount, its by no means bad. Throw in a great list of extras and you have one high quality release.

Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES!

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Buy it here!

Summary and Overall Scores:

Scream Factory’s efforts, especially on the visual front and bonus features should be applauded. While it’s not perfect, being held back by its mid-level audio experience, this was still a pleasure to experience.

Experience Score**: 4.2 / 5  (Very Good)

** Experience score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.

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