Director – Tobe Hooper
Cast – Neville Brand, Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones, Marilyn Burns, William Finley, Stuart Whitman, Roberta Collins, Kyle Richards, Robert Englund, Crystin Sinclaire, Janus Blythe, Betty Cole
Release Year – 1977
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Despite being a fan of Tobe Hooper I first heard of this film while reading on Umberto Lenzi’s 1980 cannibal film Eaten Alive! and was immediately interested in giving this a watch due to its awesome plot and infamous director. Full of the usual 70s schlock and Tobe Hooper’s insane execution of the horror provided we are given a memorable experience heavy on exploitation and crocodile-chomping kills that made for a film I recommend to fans of Toby Hooper and 70s horror.
Judd, a redneck missing a few marbles, runs a lowly motel out in the East Texas swamps. One night he finally succumbs to his demented capacity and begins killing the patrons at his motel and feeding them to his gigantic pet crocodile.
The story is as simple as it sounds and gives us exactly what it says: lots of crocodile action at the hands of a really messed up redneck. I love storylines that involve unsuspecting patrons staying the night in a hotel or motel in the middle of nowhere due to the mystery it provides, and the uneasy feeling of knowing you are not only staying away from civilization and the emergency services that come with it but the people who own such places are just always so creepy, right? This idea is made even more awesome with the inclusion of Judd’s gigantic Nile Crocodile living in the very swamp the motel is located on, a perfect solution to the disposal of the dead bodies that would soon adorn the Starlight motel. It does not take long before Judd loses his cool and begins killing off everyone that stays at his motel, which he does in sweet fashion thanks to a handy scythe he just so happened to have lying around. Not ever kill occurs via scythe though as some of his patrons find themselves falling into the swamp during the struggle, which results in a very gruesome death at the hands of a giant reptile who somehow found his way to Texas. The horror is awesome and the story includes many kill sequences and other scenes of sexual nature that some may find hard to watch, but those of you looking for some good horror schlock will find joy in this one.
Tobe Hooper(The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Salem’s Lot, The Funhouse, Poltergeist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) did a fantastic job executing this cheesy low-budget flick, giving us full-frontal execution of the numerous scenes of horror. The kills were awesome and the usage of the crocodile increasingly became better and better as the film went on. Sure the crocodile is obviously some cheap crappy looking model but it added to the fun and thanks to good execution I was left with a smile on my face every time the croc graced the screen. We are given a positive musical score and good atmosphere to go along with it, and along with positive performances from everyone involved (including a young Robert Englund) this experience would up a very enjoyable one that I should have checked out sooner.
Overall, Eaten Alive is a fun and zany schlockfest from director Tobe Hooper that provides good carnage and horror thanks to awesome execution and a storyline consisting of the usual elements associated with 70s horror. This is more than just a slasher film as it also involves a giant crocodile munching away at the victims of a demented redneck, making for an experience I suggest you check out Tobe Hooper fans.