Eaten Alive Blu Ray

Tasty...

Buck wants to have some x rated fun in the backside of any girl he can pay for, Clara Wood a local prostitute doesn’t. When He complains, her madam is less than impressed and forces her out of the brothel and into the wild swamps. The Starlight hotel owned by Judd is her next step and from the looks of the place, we know things are bad. Judd has a rage and a 200 pound insane crocodile to boot. He hates prostitutes and those he considers unclean. With a swift slash of his scythe he dispatches with her and feeds the body to his crocodile. When however more people arrive and Judd cant get them to do what he wants, they become unclean and feeding time is near approaching.

Made in 1977 and released the same time as Star Wars and the beginning of the end of New Hollywood, Eaten Alive was to be a horror release that lived on for far longer than expected. Tobe Hooper’s first film after that mammoth, omnipotent film beast The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we could have expected much from this outing. After speaking to Tobe, it became clear that he wanted that film (and this) to be dark, jet black comedies. The audience is scared and exhilarated, yes but they are also laughing. The reality for TCM is that it scares the absolute wits out of you and does so without restrictions. This was a problem for Hooper, as he never expected the response to be so intense. It would years later damage his Canon produced sequel, which I personally hate and feel missed any element of the skill from the first. This also is the problem for Eaten Alive, a film that is of two halves.

Nice Place....

The first half is a dark, deranged piece about a man on the verge of a psychotic episode. We have amazing light scales, canted angles and a sublime use of mid shot and close up. This creates a rough mixture of madness and horror, juxtaposing the horrid surrounds with the horrid person. With his flair for the dark, unsettled intensity and characteristic distortion of space and person you expect this. You expect these layers of disturbing and disturbed. We feel that the film is in its element here. The film falls down anywhere around or outside of this. Production levels make it feel stagey, acting makes it feel high camp. This is intended but from a modern view it is too difficult to steer away from. Robert Englund doesn’t help either. He is a nice guy and a great villain but being in this makes you feel like you might be watching an early mix of NOES. Sadly, instead of it being unsettling and funny it misses the point. Much like its former film, Hooper misses the balance. He should have stuck with madness and the focus on Judd. What we get is a film that’s first act is amazing but comes into a mess in the second, before becoming wishy, washy in its end.

The sad reality is the film was caught up in a mixture of video nasties era panic (and comically enough it was almost a state of mistaken identity.) and the cast additions. This film is a mess and one that is entertaining. Hooper is a great film maker but one that was caught in a trap of making a masterpiece and coming back from that.

 

Red in the face?

Now a word to a Front Row reader, we love you all but Jamie apologies for the lack of comment on the Blu rays themselves. The transfer is excellent and has truly given back much of what was lost in the video nasties era copies. I saw one at about 13 and remember the horrid static. I even saw the DVD release from Vipco, which was ok but had faded color and a matt look. This has gone replaced by a clean 2k color transfer and sound mix. The extras are good, the commentary is informative but not fantastic. The docs are very fun and the Englund interview a superb piece of fun. The introduction by Hooper is pointless, so move to the interview. The audience cards are very funny and a must for film lovers. The various trailers are not very informative, as they are dressed up pieces but allow the viewer to understand marketing. No mention however is made to the video nasties and that would have helped!

I quite liked the booklet, it has a great informed piece by Brad Stevens.

 

  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Audio commentary with co-writer and producer Mardi Rustam, actors Roberta Collins, William Finley and Kyle Richards, and make-up artist Craig Reardon
  • New introduction to the film by Hooper
  • Blood on the Bayou a brand new interview with Hooper
  • Gator Bait a brand new interview with star Janus Blythe
  • Monsters and Metaphors a brand new interview with make-up artist Craig Reardon
  • The Gator Creator an archive interview with Hooper
  • My Name is Buck an archive interview with star Robert Englund
  • 5ive Minutes with Marilyn Burns the Texas Chain Saw star discusses her role in Eaten Alive
  • The Butcher of Elmendorf: The Legend of Joe Ball featurette looking at the true-life story of the South Texas bar owner on whom Eaten Alive is loosely based
  • Original theatrical trailers for the film under its various alternate titles: Eaten Alive, Death Trap, Starlight Slaughter and Horror Hotel
  • TV and Radio Spots
  • Alternate Opening Titles
  • Behind the Scenes Slideshow
  • Stills and Promo Material Gallery
  • Audience Comment Cards
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Brad Stevens, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

 

About The Author

One Response

  1. Lathe of Heaven

    Hey Simon!

    Although this film is not one of my personal favourites, I REALLY appreciate your kindly adding all the information about the Blu-ray itself! That is truly most helpful to those of us looking for actual ‘Blu-ray Reviews’ of a film where we are keen to know how the quality of the Blu-ray turned out, along with perhaps the mention of any Xtras that are provided on the disc. That way, we will have a MUCH better idea in our deciding as to whether to purchase the new Blu-ray release or not.

    You did all that quite nicely! 🙂

    Sure appreciate your mention of that and going to the trouble to include this very helpful and important information.

    Thanks again kindly!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.