Eaten Alive

1977

Eaten Alive

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

29%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 14

30%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,380
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Movie Info

Also known as Death Trap, Starlight Slaughter, Legend of the Bayou and Horror Hotel, the film concerns a maniac (Neville Brand) who lets a crocodile live in the front yard of his motel.

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Critic Reviews for Eaten Alive

All Critics (14)

Audience Reviews for Eaten Alive

  • Jul 21, 2012
    *** out of **** Tobe Hooper's "Eaten Alive" is a film so tasteless and sleazy that literally the first few words of dialogue spoken are by Robert Englund as Buck, who is as he says, "fixin' to fuck". You might recognize this line of dialogue because it was slightly altered by Quentin Tarantino for his film "Kill Bill: Volume 1". So you see, in spite of the obvious shit - yes, the film is bad, bad, bad all around and there's literally nothing morally redeemable about it -, the film has its admirers. And I'll be damned if I'm not one of them. I've come to the realization lately that I simply love me my sleaze. If I don't get my dose of sleaze at least once or twice a week, I'm rendered incapable of doing much for the remainder of it. That's just how I am. By no means do I consider these sleaze-fests good movies (at least not by my definition, but I'm not afraid to admit that I really do enjoy the hell out of them on occasion. They should be judged for what they are, not for what they aren't. The story...oh who gives a rat's ass? It's about a repulsive and sadistic hotel owner named Judd (Neville Brand) who kills people that he believes are looking to interfere with his ill-fated business and feeds their bleeding corpses to his pet alligator. He starts with a young prostitute (Roberta Collins) for no reason other than the fact that she's a prostitute, or in this case (she's just been evicted from the whorehouse), a former-prostitute. Then he moves onto a family whose dog is eaten by the alligator, putting the young child of the bunch in turmoil and pissing off the parents. The dad hopes to shoot the animal dead; and you see, this just doesn't sit too well with ol' Judd. He carries out the heavy duty with his trusty scythe. To me, good sleaze hits just the right notes between bizarre, silly, and exploitative. "Eaten Alive" explores all three of those areas and scores big in such departments. In fact, those are the only three departments of cinema that it knows at all. It's a dumb, bloated movie; Hooper's first foray into Hollywood filmmaking and certainly not his last, yet certainly not his worst. It's not as stark and effective as TCM but if you can somehow stop yourself from comparing it to that film so much, it's a pretty fun ride. Like all good sleazy horror flicks, there's an attitude to the exploitation. The thing is weird and wild; which makes it all the more exciting to watch. Englund's Buck and Brand's Judd get the best scenes. In fact, they alone create horror movie history; if only a mild contribution (but still, it's a contribution nonetheless). Buck is as sleazy as the movie itself; a psychopathic sex addict who frequents the local brothels and even stops in at Judd's hotel for a night, one which he shall not soon forget. And Judd, well, he's just a really menacing guy; and Brand plays the crazy fucker real well. Both performances are unhinged and fearless, which is precisely what I like about them. Just like the rest of the film, not a single thing about either character is believable; although people like them certainly do exist. Remember that this was made even before TCM was considered somewhat respectable: so nobody on board was really looking for much respect, yet they got some anyways. And you know what; I'd have to say they damn well deserve it. "Eaten Alive" is what it is - a stupid, absurdist horror-exploitation picture that revels in its own infectious excrement. I liked it enough - the sets and animal props may be cheesy as fuck and the violence may exactly be aplenty but Hooper still retains an interesting visual style through grainy camerawork that occasionally gets a little inventive - although I recognize that it's not for everyone. You need to go in knowing that this is not a good movie, but a good exploitation film. Those are two COMPLETELY - and I mean it - different things. But like I said, the film should be judged for what it is and not for what it isn't. And it's an honest reminder of how good the VHS days of horror used to be. It serves as thoughtful nostalgia to some; someday I imagine I'll look back on it quite fondly. Because I'm one demented bastard love child. If you are too, then feel free to rejoice with this fancily ferocious fright flick.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 15, 2011
    How did Tobe Hooper retrogress so far as to go from 'Texas Chainsaw', my absolute favorite horror film to this sophomore effort which could rank as one of the worst? The gap is quality is astonishing as are the formulaic similarities. Neville Brand is a rabid hotel owner, but he is not spine-tingling; he is just unkempt, shambling and tiresome doppelganger of Scott Glenn. The film is also extremely redundant with the same patterned structure: guests arrive and shortly after, Brand attacks them with a scythe. On top of that, the assaults are ineptly directed (a struggle on the stairs is very clumsy) and the crocodile is rarely shown. The whole film looks like it was filmed on a horribly artificial soundstage with fog pumped in and lit with a distracting red gel. In summary, 'Eaten Alive' is sluggish, shallow junk that is scored with a shrill, frequency-scrambling soundtrack and edited with anticlimactic crossfades. At least Robert Englund's scenery-chewing Bud character inspired Tarantino for 'Kill Bill'.
    Cory T Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2010
    Not really that great. A mess of madcap insanity.
    Tim S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 09, 2010
    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!" S!D
    Brandon S Super Reviewer

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