Tobe Hooper does a great job of taking a weird backwoods redneck and turning him into a wild, weapon wielding, crazy, dancing psycho. The movie as a whole is terrible but he does a good job of directing veteran actor Neville Brand. The cast is made up of actors from many different walks of Hollywood: Neville Brand is the veteran actor here and in my opinion completely discredits his entire filmography by appearing in this movie; Mel Ferrer gives a forgettable and dry performance; Marilyn Burns stars right along side Neville Brand, she worked with Hooper previously on Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I don't like the acting in this movie, it all comes off as incredibly forced. I think that Hooper tried to pull a larger and older audience into the theater by hiring actors from the 50's and 60's like Ferrer, Brand, Caroline Jones, and Stuart Whitman, but the greatest actor in the movie would have to be Robert Englund (sorry...its not the croc).
So the plot goes something like this... a girl who ran away from home gets fired from her job as a lady-of-the-night at a brothel and decides to spend the night at a rickety hotel and ends up being fed to a crocodile by the insane leatherface-ish manager, Judd. Various patrons start to filter into the hotel including the girl's father and sister who are looking for her and the killings ensues! Now here is something that I noticed about this movie and other Hooper flicks: he really likes to use a vast array of characters; each with his/her story, and the stories of each character loosely tie together. Also, just when you think that someone is going to save the day Hooper kills them off. This keeps you guessing all the way to the end of the movie. You have no idea who is going to survive a Tobe Hooper massacre. I like that.
The way the movie was shot bothers me. Maybe its just the cheap film and red lighting that is constantly glowing in every scene, but I can't stand looking at it. It tends to give me a headache. However, I did like the suspense that Hooper tosses in, you don't want anyone to ever stay at this hotel. The entire film I was hoping that someone would just realize that the place is a dump. You want Judd to get his comeuppance. Hooper does a great job of making you hate this guy.
If you are having a 70's movie marathon go ahead and throw this flick on. Its a good novelty and it is adored by filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Its a typical Grindhouse movie; the entire film takes you back in some sort of time machine and makes you feel like you are in a god forsaken penny theater. The movie has many flaws and it is nowhere near Tobe Hoopers strongest picture. I am giving Eaten Alive a 3 of 10.
"My name is Buck... And I came here to write this review!"
- In Japan they splice in scenes of an uncircumcised penis during Robert Englunds sex scenes. He assures everyone that this is not his and he is "chopped"
- The line "My name is Buck and I'm here to Fuck" Quentin Tarantino used in Kill Bill came from this movie
- The movie is based on Joe Ball, a serial killer from the 20's that fed his victims to Alligators.