But, did you know that, a few years later, someone who had no idea that the aforementioned movie existed, wrote his own Crocodile. That someone was thirteen and had no grasp on biology, much less the specific subject matter of crocodiles.
And that someone was me.
Stupid, stupid me.
Started with my article on my version of Halloween 4, 5, and 9, and continuing here, let’s dig deeper into the fan fiction of a young madman.
|What state is this?|
Daniel Dockery’s Crocodile is set in Australia, somewhere that Daniel had never been to.
Therefore, none of it is set in any specific Australian locations. That would require research, and someone who writes fan fiction for a majority of his day wouldn’t be caught dead geeking out in front a computer doing “research.” The settings are all “beach,” “lab,” “bar,” and “swamp.” Four settings in two-hundred plus pages. It didn’t matter that Daniel had never been in a lab or bar before, either. He’d seen enough movies to know that one was full of tanks and test tubes and the other had cowgirls dancing on tables in it.
|This. Every bar ever.|
The titular crocodile was forty-feet-long, which isn’t all that incredible in the case of giant crocodile movies.
Consider the Syfy movies of today, where an animal’s size is generated by looking at the aspect ratio of a television and saying “Yes.” Forty-feet is nothing. The only reason Daniel chose forty-feet is because the shark in JAWS is twenty-five-feet and Daniel had to prove himself by having a dick waving contest with something that doesn’t have the ability to care about animal sizes. Daniel was picking a fight…with a movie.
Sadly that trend would not stop here for him, or anywhere for anyone, because the internet exists, a perfect medium for people to get mad at things that aren’t real.
The opening scene was of a surfer getting devoured. I mentioned earlier that Daniel Dockery’s Crocodile was written in a response to his arch-enemy, Peter Benchley’s JAWS, and the opening provides a good example of that legendary feud. In JAWS, the shark remains mostly hidden until the classic “chum” line.
Therefore, the attack on the drunk girl in the beginning doesn’t showcase the shark; just the girl, her screams, and the power of the unseen attacker.
It’s kind of subtle, when you think about it. And when you’re thirteen, subtle is for people hadn’t kissed a girl yet. And from the way Daniel Dockery’s Crocodile is written, it’s a wonder that Daniel Dockery could stop making out long enough to write this poor novel.
The crocodile is described in exhausting detail.
Anyone wondering what a crocodile looked like would get their wish and more, and anyone who knew what a crocodile looked like would wonder how someone could fuck up describing a crocodile that badly. The crocodile erupts from the water and literally knocks the surfer off his board. It then bites the surfer’s leg off. The surfer doesn’t notice this, ‘cause nerves and paralyzing fear and all that stuff that happens.
It happens, right? I’d hate for my Crocodile novel to be medically inaccurate.
Well, the surfer gets eaten and we cut to a lab somewhere, where, rather than create a mystery about the uncertain origin of such a massive reptile, we get a mad scientist wondering aloud about where the hell his giant crocodile went. Suck it, convention. A good writer would engage his reader. But when you’re Daniel Dockery, you have no reader’s to commit to. And the results are simply baffling.
Further copying JAWS, the three main characters are a sheriff, a normal scientist and a grizzled crocodile hunter.
Daniel even adds a personal touch by having the sheriff deal with relationship issues; relationship issues that reflected Daniel’s own at the time. And then, in another completely non-heavy handed personal touch, Daniel had the old croc hunter dispense girl advice to the sheriff, effectively solving the problem in the novel AND in real life.
Because, when you’re thirteen and “a writer,” the best way to deal with things, is to let fictional characters in unrelated fantastical circumstances handle them.
|You know what Quint was missing? Sound advice about crippling social insecurities.|
There are a lot of crocodile attacks in this novel.
Nearly everyone loses a limb, if not multiple ones. And they lose them all in fairly precise ways. The mad scientist, in a stroke of science genius, invents a careful way to feed his giant crocodile which involves sticking his arm down a dark tunnel and dropping food into a open tank below, effectively creating some sort of alligator glory hole. He dies because, since he can’t see his arm when he sticks it in, he won’t see the crocodile swim up to bite it off. That’s where the good guy scientist finds him when he comes to the evil scientist’s lab to investigate – shoulder deep in a tank, bled out. I know it SOUNDS dumb, but it’s a metaphor.
In the end of the novel, the three men take a swamp boat, you know the ones with the massive wind propellers on the back, not used in Australia, but totally used in Australia when you don’t know how stuff works, down a river to take the fight to the crocodile. The sheriff gets a few fingers bitten off, the scientist ends up getting decapitated and the croc hunter is bitten in half. In the end, though, the sheriff manages to trick the crocodile into jumping head first into the swamp boat propeller.
I built up two-hundred pages of smart crocodile only to have him die in the most mindless way possible. He literally leaps into blades spinning fast enough to cut through his enormous head and mince his entire body to pieces. The boat’s not moving at the time (eat it, physics), but that doesn’t matter when, just five pages earlier, in the middle of a monster attack, you have a salty croc hunter telling a sheriff “You just have to tell her you like her. To her face. Life isn’t a fairy tale.”
Too true, grizzled crocodile hunter. Too true.
|But imagine it covered in crocodile meat. I certainly did|