Eaten Alive, directed by Tobe Hooper, is not to be confused with 1980’s horror movie of the same name, which was directed by Nightmare City‘s Umberto Lenzi that same year, even if the plot is similar in places.
(Note that this review contains stills from the film. And the film’s an 18-certificate. So… y’know…)
Both star Mel Ferrer and both also feature a young woman who goes missing, this film’s damsel in distress being call girl Clara (Roberta Collins) who leaves the employment of Miss Hattie (Carolyn Jones) and gets no further than the Starlight Hotel before trouble begins, namely inadvertently getting hacked almost to death with a rake. And then she’s helped to her feet by the perpetrator, Judd (Neville Brand), the redneck owner, who frequently rambles to himself. Is he now trying to help her? Oh, no, he’s pushing her over the balcony and into the alligator pond where she’ll be eaten alive… rather like any poor unfortunate in Deadwood who suffered at the hands… or rather, trotters, of Mr Wu’s pigs.
There are other potential victims who turn up to this place which is the most rank motel you’ve ever seen. It makes Crossroads look hygenic! Fresh potential blood includes Harvey Wood (Mel Ferrer), who’s looking for his daughter, Clara, as well as being accompanied by his other daughter Libby (Crystin Sinclaire). There’s a family – Faye (Marilyn Burns), Roy (William Finley) and their young daughter Angie (Kyle Richards), as well as a pre-Freddy Krueger Robert Englund as Southern drawler Frank Buck (“My name is Frank Buck, I’m raring to fuck!”).
Who will live and who will suffer a garish exit? (*fingers crossed for the kid!*)
# Neville, Neville, your face is a mess… #
Eaten Alive, originally known as Death Trap, is a very disjointed film but there are some great deaths in it and I love how the outdoor scenes of the hotel are draped in red light.
Some random observations:
- Seeing a little doggy get eaten alive by a plastic alligator, around 20 minutes in, was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. It’s like he’s splashing about in a paddling pool while the alligator from Punch & Judy is going at him.
- And how does Judd vehemently kick a suitcase with his right leg when it’s a falsie?
- How come no-one ever seems to notice what would be copious amounts of blood stains on the motel veranda??!
- There’s also a country music song constantly playing in the background that’s reminiscent of Lurleen Lumpkin’s Simpsons track, “Your Wife Don’t Understand You, But I Do”
Go to page 2 for the presentation and the extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.