Sunday, August 7, 2011

Eaten Alive (1977)

Tobe Hooper's next film after The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was 1977s Eaten Alive. I've alway dug this film and feel that it is unfairly derided by some critics and deserves attention/viewings as a prime example of American exploitation/grindhouse movie making.

The story centers around a grimy, decrepit hotel built next to a swamp/river which is run by the scenery chewing and increasingly unhinged Neville Brand, who takes care of evil folks with his trusty scythe and crocodile pal. Film veterans Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones and Stuart Whitman also appear in the film; as does Texas Chainsaw Massacre alumn Marilyn Burns plus a pre-Freddy Krueger Robert Englund as Buck. No explanations are provided as to the caretakers background and this adds to the slightly off and surreal nightmare -esque atmosphere. Tobe Hooper helped create the soundtrack, a dissonant and electronic score that works well to enhance tension. As it was shifted around for distribution the film was re-titled multiple times, with some alternate titles including: Brutes and Savages, Death Trap, Horror Hotel, Slaughter Hotel, or Starlight Slaughter.

the feature


  1. I used to see this movie in video stores back in the vhs days with the giant boxes and super exploitative cover art-but I never actually rented it. Your description makes me want to-I love any 60s 70s 80s horror with that surreal anything can happen bad dream type vibe. Most horror movies today seem like they are designed by robots pushing buttons-do you know of any modern ones that capture that seventies feel well? House of a 1000 corpses or whatever that rob zombie one was tried to, but it didn't do it for me

  2. Let me know what you think of Eaten Alive if you watch it, I'll be curious. Vintage movies like Phantasm or Suspiria excel in developing a dreamlike/nightmare atmosphere. I'll have to think about what newer films have worked in that similar territory.