Roller Gator

1996 | Color | 83 min

Starring: Joe Estevez, Sandra Shuker, Bobbie Blackford, Conrad Brooks, Jenette Lynne Hawkins, Lisa Kaake (Mmm, Kaake…), and Elizabeth Mehr.

Directed By: Donald G. Jackson

You can’t judge a book by its cover, or so the saying goes. I suppose it isn’t too surprising to find the same also holds true for movies. You can’t judge a movie by a quick synopsis. I foolishly assumed a movie about a talking baby alligator, directed by the man who brought us Hell Comes to Frogtown, would at the very least provide some mindless entertainment. Oh how wrong I was. Roller Gator is 83 minutes of pure, unadulterated pain, masquerading as a lighthearted kiddie film. Torment, thy name is Roller Gator.

“♫ Leathery and Ivory... ♫”

Roller Gator’s
plot, as it were, revolves around a small, thoroughly-annoying, talking (and occasionally rapping) alligator. Baby Gator, as he is sometimes called, is on the run from Chico Dennis, a carnival owner played by b-movie workhorse Joe Estevez. Mr. Dennis wants the obnoxious little reptile to be the main attraction in his carnival’s sideshow. I guess “The World’s Tallest Midget” wasn’t exactly paying the bills anymore. To help him capture the purple, pint-sized, pain in the ass, Chico enlists the help of a skateboarding female ninja. Calm down. This all sounds much cooler than it actually is, trust me.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater: Shinobi Edition

Fortunately for the obnoxious alligator, he meets up with a cute, leggy, blonde rollerblader named P.J. who, instead of freaking the hell out about finding a talking reptile, decides to help him escape from the evil carny clutches of Joe Estevez. Eventually P.J. manages to reunite Baby Gator with his pal, the Swamp Farmer, played by Ed Wood alum Conrad Brooks. It should be noted that despite 40 years of acting experience, Mr. Brooks is still out-acted by the barely articulate lizard puppet. That doesn’t matter though. Conrad seems like a really nice guy and we still love him here at The Realm.

“So, you're saying I need to constantly notice the camera and emote even more?”

It is almost inconceivable to me how a film featuring Joe Estevez, Conrad Brooks, a taking alligator, skateboarding ninjas, and a cute blonde wearing nothing but tight cutoffs and a sports bra, can be so painful to endure. Sadly, any enjoyment you could have possibly had from this film is all but squashed by its overbearing soundtrack.

“I know how you feel, man. I'm more talented than my brother Barney, but does anyone care? Bah! It's all politics, dude.”

Throughout the entirety of Roller Gator’s 83 minute running time your ears are constantly assaulted by an endless barrage of banal guitar noodling which, because it has no relation whatsoever to what is happening onscreen, borders on pure torture. The movie lacks any semblance of action, so the decision to drown out all dialogue with a needlessly loud soundtrack is an absolutely baffling one to me. It’s almost as if the film and the soundtrack are locked in an epic battle to see who can inflict the most damage on the viewer’s psyche. Spoiler: The soundtrack wins.

“Thanks for returning my talking gator.
Say, would you girls like to meet my beat-boxing snake?”

Thanks to this overly-intrusive soundtrack, Roller Gator becomes an exceptionally painful slog which all but the most hardened of b-movie fans wouldn’t tolerate for ten minutes, let alone last to the end credits. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I am one of the only people to actually watch it all the way through (several times through, actually. Ugh, the things I do for you people…). Roller Gator is what I like to call a “merit-badge movie.” You don’t watch them for enjoyment, you watch them simply to say you survived them. These movies help your b-movie street cred by allowing you to one-up other b-movie nerds when you are comparing scars. Hmm, come to think of it, maybe I should start advertising my bad movie credentials by getting a teardrop tattoo on my face for each one of these movies I have survived over the years, à la the infamous prison tattoo. Listen up, you fools best step aside, cause I’ma be crying twin waterfalls over here. Best recognize!

Reviewed By Derek “Twin Waterfalls” Miller
Posted June 10, 2012

Yup, Slayer was right. God hates us all.

Video Clip

Baby Gator and P.J. kill some time with some “hilarious” impressions. This movie hates you.


Mondo Bizarro on February 22, 2014
Don't feel bad. I too watched this shit. It is pain. Life is pain. There is no hope. There is only Roller Gator.
John Andrew Cameron on March 14, 2014
Roller Gator needs a gritty reboot.
xyzzy on June 23, 2015
Oh, a gritty reboot alone wouldn't do it justice — IMAX 3d all the way!
Hola on August 10, 2017
Thanks for finally talking about Roller Gator!
JONAH FALCON on March 1, 2022
Even with Rifftrax commentary, I can't watch this in one sitting. The soundtrack is pure torture.


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