‘Gator Bait (1974)

‘Gator Bait (1974)

“Ain’t much different killin’ gators and killin’ coonies — just messier, that’s all.”

When the son (Clyde Ventura) of a backwoods sheriff (Bill Thurman) accidentally kills his friend (Ben Sebastian) while attempting to rape a Cajun poacher (Claudia Jennings), he lies and claims Jennings was the murderer. Thurman, Ventura, Sebastian’s father (Sam Gilman), and Ventura’s brothers (Don Baldwin and Douglas Dirkson) seek vengeance on Jennings’ family — including her beautiful sister (Janit Baldwin) and mute younger brother.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Claudia Jennings Films
  • Deep South
  • Revenge
  • Strong Females

This swamp-set exploitation flick — co-directed, written, produced, and scored by husband and wife team Ferd and Beverly Sebastian — was clearly designed with one goal in mind: to showcase Playmate of the Year Claudia Jennings in denim shorts wielding a rifle and zooming through swampy rivers in a motor boat.

There are countless repetitive scenes of Jennings being chased by backwood hokums intent on rape; and while we’re confident Jennings herself will be okay (she has a permanent look of steely determination on her face), it’s deeply unpleasant watching her doe-eyed sister being brutally terrorized. While the men in this flick are ultimately rendered pathetic and useless, this doesn’t redeem the journey.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • A refreshingly bold and self-sufficient female protagonist
  • Nicely shot live action footage in the swamps of Florida

Must See?
Nope. You know who you are if this type of film appeals to you.


One thought on “‘Gator Bait (1974)

  1. First viewing. Fairly forgettable former drive-in fodder. Mainly since it’s co-directed by a woman, the case could be made for this process-of-elimination tale as a feminist flick. But, alas, witnessing Jennings slowly seize and win the day just isn’t all that interesting.

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