Eaten Alive (1977)

Article 2562 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-10-2008
Posting Date: 8-18-2008
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Featuring Neville Brand, Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones
Country: USA

A psychotic backwoods hotel owner kills his customers with a scythe and feeds them to a crocodile he keeps in his back yard.

I wonder what it must have been like for TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE director Tobe Hooper to realize that he had to come up with a follow-up to his legendary horror movie and the expectations that would go with it. This, the result, is a mixed bag at best. On the plus side, Neville Brand definitely gives a memorable performance as a psycho who lives so much in his own head that he is damn near incoherent. Hooper also makes effective use of music and sound on occasion; I’m particularly impressed by the scene where Brand’s character finds himself assaulted by the sounds of the woman he’s got tied upstairs trying to escape, the sounds of the intrusive couple having sex in the next room, and the sound of the little girl crying under the hotel, which he tries to fight by turning up a country music station to top volume. The creepy, dingy, grungy look of the area is also a plus. Unfortunately, the script is a real mess; its lack of focus keeps the horror from building up to any real effective head of steam, and, despite all the grisly nastiness of the story, it’s easy to walk away from, which is something you can’t say about TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. And because it never really grips you in the same way as that movie, you also end up realizing that the premise is more than a little bit silly. The movie is also muddied up by unnecessary subplots and scenes, and too many other characters who are perilously close to psychotic; the little girl’s father and the strange guy at the bar end up as major distractions. It is interesting to see one of Robert Englund’s early film roles, though. The movie isn’t awful; it’s just a mess that had the potential to be a lot better.


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