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“Welcome to Starlight Hotel. Your room is reserved…Check-in…But never check out!” Well, they better have free breakfast and wi-fi. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – and as they check out the dwindling number of lodgers at the cut-rate hotel in Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive (1976).
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 136 – Eaten Alive (1976)
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A psychotic redneck, who owns a dilapidated hotel in rural East Texas, kills various people who upset him or his business, and he feeds their bodies to a large crocodile that he keeps as a pet in the swamp beside his hotel.IMDb
- Director: Tobe Hooper
- Writers: (adapted for the screen by) Kim Henkel; (written by) Alvin L. Fast, Mardi Rustam
- Cinematographer: Robert Caramico
- Neville Brand as Judd
- Mel Ferrer as Harvey Wood
- Carolyn Jones as Miss Hattie
- Marilyn Burns as Faye
- William Finley as Roy
- Kyle Richards as Angie
- Robert Englund as Buck
- Janus Blythe as Lynette
- Stuart Whitman as Sheriff Martin
- Roberta Collins as Clara Wood
- Crystin Sinclaire as Libby Wood
Eaten Alive is not one of Tobe Hooper’s better films. Even so, the cast is filled with horror-cred: Marilyn Burns, William Finley, Robert Englund, Carolyn Jones, and Kyle Richards. Jeff loved the cast and is a big fan of Neville Brand’s work, but the crocodile was, at best, suspect. Chad really hated the film. Eaten Alive should be a good film but he wonders if big ideas and available resources were confined by the budget leaving the film with characters being weird for the sake of being weird. Bill reminds us that Tobe Hooper left before production ended and goes on to describe the story as having no narrative, William Finley as being off the wall, and the crocodile as terrible. Having said that, however, he also describes Eaten Alive as interesting in that some of the scenes are beautifully shot. Doc agrees with Chad that there seems to be a vision buried in this movie that doesn’t materialize, making it hard to watch as ideas fail to gel and in the end, it doesn’t work.
Check this puppy out if you are a Tobe Hooper completist or if you want to see Neville Brand chew some scenery and see William Finley chew even more scenery. Eaten Alive is currently available to stream VOD and as physical media on Blu-ray discs from Arrow Video (2-disc Special Edition).
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule will be Torso (1973), chosen by Bill! Be sure to join us for that one.
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