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Eaten Alive


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Product Details

  • Actors: Neville Brand, Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones, Marilyn Burns, William Finley
  • Directors: Tobe Hooper
  • Writers: Alvin L. Fast, Mohammed Rustam, Kim Henkel
  • Producers: Alvin L. Fast, Larry Huly, Mohammed Rustam, Robert A. Kanto
  • Format: Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Mpi ( Sma )
  • Release Date: Sept. 26 2006
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FS9FDU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #137,643 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: DVD
EATEN ALIVE is Tobe Hooper's 2nd movie to date, made 3 years after his previous work: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
DETAILS.
Just like THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, EATEN ALIVE is yet another movie based (very loosely) on a true story. I heard it was inspired by a bar owner named Joe Ball, who kept a pool of alligators in his bar, and it was rumored that he often fed his patrons to these gators. When the police came to question him, Ball killed himself.
PLOT.
Tobe Hooper VERY loosely bases this incident in EATEN ALIVE. The story is about a deranged, nerdy person named Judd who runs a motel called Starlight in the middle of a swamp. When guests check into his motel, he murders them with a sythe and feeds their bodies to his ferocious, pet crocodile.
Neville Brand (Judd) delivers an insane performance, he's crazier than the Old Man (from TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE), but not quite as frightening and disturbing as Leather-Face. Marylin Burns even makes an appearance in here, too (she was the heroine, Sally Hardesty; also from TCM). Also, be on the lookout for Robert Englund as Buck (...) (he would later play Freddy Krueger in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET). The crocodile effects could've used a little work though, the croc looks about as real as Barney the dinosaur.
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Format: DVD
This is considered to be director Tobe Hooper's "Lost" film. This could be because "Eaten Alive" was released under so many alternate titles...or it could be as simple as this film just isn't that great. Tobe Hooper seems to be with this film trying to create the same tension he did with his stunning Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but fails. Eaten Alive is actually very similar to TCM in many ways. Stray vistors vistit a remote hotel (not a farm house)only to be slayed by a psycho (not Leatherface) with a scyth (not a chainsaw) and then fed to his pet croc (not served up for supper). Neville Brand does a good job portraying the psychotic hotel owner, but his character does not seem to come off near as scary or relentless as the legendary Leatherface. I can see way Tobe Hooper decided to make this film. TCM was such a hit that he probably felt it to be safer to try to copy his success rather than try something different. Sadly this film disappeared from the box office never to be heard from again until the Elite DVD release. The DVD presention is very good, considering how rare this film is. It does have some scratches and color disortions, but its acceptable since the original negative probably hasn't been stored in the best of conditions over the years (it was probably stored in Tobe's basment until one day he decided to blow the dust off of it). This film is still a good buy for the curious horror fans out there.
On the up side about the film, I like how Tobe Hooper tried to "liven" up the film by using some unique lighting effects. These lighting effects are very similar to Dario Argento's Suspiria with the bright red and blues. Many consider Dario Argento to have started that whole "unique" lighting effect stuff, but Tobe Hooper actually beat him to the punch by two years! Maybe Eaten Alive was released before "artsy" horror films became popular.
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Format: DVD
Tobe Hooper's next film after the ubersuccess "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is a mess of half realized ideas and a director who must have felt the pressure to top himself.
Neville Brand is Judd, who runs the Starlight Hotel on the outskirts of a small Texas town. Libby (Crystin Sinclaire), a novice hooker, runs away from Miss Hattie's (Carolyn Jones, in some awful pancake makeup) and takes refuge at the creepy hotel. She arrives at night, Judd figures out she was one of Miss Hattie's girls, and throws her in the swamp. The swamp out back of the hotel contains a giant crocodile, which eats almost everything that comes its way.
The film then falls into a pattern that constantly repeats itself. More patrons come to the hotel, Judd picks this night to go nuts, and the crocodile out back gets to eat more than his share. Roy (William Finley) and his family arrive, Libby's dad (Mel Ferrer) and her sister arrive, Buck (Robert Englund) arrives, the sheriff arrives, my impatience arrives, etc.
While the crocodile attacks are very good (Hooper wisely keeps the shots dark), and the gore effects are okay, the script is a mess. Why did Judd pick this night to go bonkers? Has he been killing people all these years, or just now? The constant predictability kills the suspense.
Neville Brand, one of Hollywood's greatest underrated character actors, does a good job here until his performance eventually becomes stale. I am still trying to figure out why Carolyn Jones is covered in the horrible makeup, even her character is a little unnecessary. Poor Mel Ferrer does his best, but he has appeared in so many of these B horror movies, he looks totally bored. Robert Englund is good, his opening line is memorable, but his character is also just a small minded caricature.
"Eaten Alive" is by no means a great horror film, but if anything, it is a hundred times better than Hooper's later "Crocodile," one of the worst films ever made.
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Format: DVD
Unlike the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was truly frightening and fast-paced, this movie, about a hotel with a pet crocodile that dines on guests and unwanted visitors, is rather slow and silly. The film might best be classified as a tongue-in-cheek gore comedy. ("Motel Hell" (1980) is a much better example of this genre.) You will see some cinema has-beens (Mel Ferrer, Stuart Whitman, Carolyn Jones) and one cinema soon-to-be (Robert England of "Freddy" fame). Their acting talents are wasted here. Even watching a squirming Marilyn Burns gagged and tied to a metal bed frame for most of the movie isn't very exciting.
If you are a fan of campy horror movies, this one won't disappoint you. If you want a movie like "Chainsaw" that is really scary, look elsewhere.
Tobe Hooper hasn't been a great success as a director. "The TexasChainsaw Massacre" (1974), Hooper's debut as a director, was truly an inspired work, only to be followed by the lesser work reviewed here. "Poltergeist" (1982) was certainly a wonderful film, but the hand of Spielberg is too much in evidence for us to credit much of its direction to Hooper. Hooper followed "Poltergeist" with "Lifeforce" (1985), an overly long film whose high points were surely the extended physical displays of French actress Mathilda May, whose superstructure was astonishing and whose exposure was total. These occur near the beginning of the movie and at the very end. In between is tedium.
2400 years ago Aristophanes said of the obscene language in his plays that it was very hard to do right. The same, perhaps, may be said of film violence.
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