Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Blu-ray Review: EATEN ALIVE (1976)
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Distributed by Arrow Video / MVD Entertainment Group
This is another example of a classic horror film that somehow I had never seen. Director Tobe Hooper's TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is probably my favorite horror film of all time. Actually, it might be my favorite film of all time, period! It would naturally make sense that I would check up Hooper's follow up to TCM asap! Why I never have I really couldn't tell you, but better late than never I guess. I am so thankful to have finally seen this film. It's not in the same league as TCM, but it is very close and actually has a lot of the feel of the original TCM. Here is the plot synopsis from the MVD website:
MEET THE MANIAC & HIS FRIEND. Nearly a decade before he donned Freddy Kruger's famous red and green sweater, horror icon Robert Englund delivered a supremely sleazy performance in Eaten Alive - another essay in taut Southern terror from Tobe Hooper, director of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Deep in the Louisiana bayou sits the ramshackle Starlight Hotel, destination of choice for those who like to check in but not check out! Presided over by the bumbling, mumbling Judd (and his pet croc which he keeps in a large pond out front), the patron of this particular establishment may seem like a good-natured ol' Southern gent - but he has a mean temper on him, and a mighty large scythe to boot... Oozing atmosphere from its every pore (the entire film was shot on a sound-stage at the famous Raleigh Studios, which lends it a queasy, claustrophobic feel) Eaten Alive matches The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for sheer insanity - and even drafts in Chain Saw star Marilyn Burns as the terrorised woman-in-peril, alongside William Finley and Mel Ferrer.
As mentioned above, this film has a very familiar feel to it. You can definitely tell this is by the same director that did THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, as it has the same gritty, dirty feeling that TCM did. In fact, the owner of the motel (played by Neville Brand) could easily be a member of the Sawyer family from TCM, as he has the same crazy feel to him. Worth noting also is Robert Englund's early performance as Buck. It was neat seeing "Freddy" in this early role.
While this is technically a "creature feature" since it contains a killer crocodile, the real stars of this film are the creepy characters and especially Judd, the hotel owner, who actually feeds the people to the hungry croc. Judd is the true killer, here....his pet croc being his "weapon" of choice.
If you are fan of director Tobe Hooper and especially of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, you will definitely want to add this one to your movie collection.
Arrow Video has recently released EATEN ALIVE in an awesome Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Arrow Video has easily become my favorite film company, as they always do a remarkable job with their film restorations, special features, and packaging/artwork. EATEN ALIVE is available now from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment and contains the following special features:
* Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative, approved by director Tobe Hooper
* High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
* Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
* 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
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the Arrow Blu-ray/DVD combo pack