Eaten Alive (1977)

Miss Hattie: "All he wanted to do was look and talk his crazy talk."
By Tobe Hooper
With Neville Brand, Mel Ferrer and Carolyn Jones

I had heard of Eaten Alive before, but it was only after I watched Kansas City Confidential (1952) and checked out the filmography of Neville Brand that I remembered Eaten Alive and decided to watch it. Eaten Alive was the second movie of Tobe Hooper after the cult and critically acclaimed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974).

Eaten Alive takes us to rural Texas, where the movie starts after a girl runs out of a brothel because she refused to service a man. She ends up in a broken down motel where the old Judd lives. The motel will attract different people over the night but the alligator that lives just next to it will dine more than once tonight.

Tobe Hooper doesn't deviate too much from what got him famous with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Rural Texas, broken down house, weird borderline psychotic people, a lot of screaming and of course, blood. In a way, it worked well in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but here, it didn't. Neville Brand is absolutely terrifying as Judd and one might wonder how an actor can prepare for such a demented character.

I was really annoyed by some things in this movie. For example, the constant shrieking of the females when in danger--which is pretty much all movie long. Another thing that annoyed me was the over use of that weird fog that only horror movies ever produced, but here it always ends up being blue or red. There is really not much of a plot to the film, it is simply a follow up of people arriving at the motel and at some point Judd gets angry with them and decides it's time to feed the crocodile. The gore scenes are not that great either, yes, there is quite a bit of blood, but the weird angles and the fake gator don't really help.

The music element could have been nice, some of the songs are great, but the fact that the jukebox is constantly running in the motel and everything happens on top of it becomes quite annoying after a few songs. There is no suspense or mystery.

I liked: Neville Brand and Robert Englund are both good.

I disliked: Scream fest. Incomprehensible psychotic main. Jaws (1975) was good: sharks worked in that case. The same can't be said about the crocodile here. No mystery, no story, no plot.

If you're really bored this film might do the trick, otherwise... Well, maybe you're a fan of Tobe Hooper and then you should see it just to say you did.


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