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Eaten Alive

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R
1976

Eaten Alive is a 1976 horror film directed by Tobe Hooper, featuring Neville Brand, Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones and Marilyn Burns. Set in a rundown hotel and its swampy surroundings, the movie narrates the story of a psychotic hotel owner named Judd who murders his guests and feeds them to his pet alligator.

The movie begins with the arrival of a young prostitute named Clara (Roberta Collins) at a sleazy bar located near the hotel. Judd, the owner of the hotel, takes an interest in her and invites her to stay at his place. However, he soon loses his temper when she declines his advances and kills her with his trusty scythe. Meanwhile, a family of tourists- the father Roy (Mel Ferrer), his wife Faye (Carolyn Jones) and their daughter Angie (Marilyn Burns)- arrive at the hotel seeking a place to stay for the night. Judd reluctantly accommodates them but makes it clear that he doesn't want any trouble.

However, trouble finds him when he accidentally kills their pet dog, leading to a confrontation with Roy who demands an apology. Judd, who is already unhinged, takes offense at Roy's demand and goes on a killing spree. As the night progresses, more guests arrive including a man named Buck and his mistress, as well as a young runaway named Libby. Each one meets a grisly fate at the hands of Judd and his pet alligator.

The movie builds a sense of unease and horror as the characters become more and more trapped in Judd's surreal and nightmarish world. The dingy, claustrophobic sets add to the dark and tense atmosphere, as does the haunting musical score by Hooper's regular collaborator Wayne Bell. Although the plot is thin and the characters largely one-dimensional, the film makes up for it with its intense gore and violence. The kills are brutal and visceral, with Judd's scythe and the alligator's teeth doing most of the damage.

One of the standout elements of the movie is Neville Brand's performance as Judd. He imbues the character with a sense of menace and madness that is hard to look away from, even as he commits gruesome acts of violence. The scenes with his alligator are particularly unnerving, as he talks to it and feeds it various body parts. Carolyn Jones also turns in a memorable performance as Faye, giving the character a fierce and motherly protective instinct that makes her stand out among the other victims.

Eaten Alive is not without its flaws, however. The pacing can be uneven at times, with some stretches of the movie feeling sluggish and repetitive. The dialogue is also stilted and often unintentionally funny, which can detract from the horror. The ending, while suitably shocking and memorable, feels rushed and leaves some loose ends untied.

Despite these issues, Eaten Alive remains a cult classic among horror fans, due in large part to Hooper's direction and the grisly visuals on display. While not as well known as his more famous works like Poltergeist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it stands as a worthy addition to his filmography and a testament to his talent for crafting effective horror.

Eaten Alive is a Horror movie released in 1976. It has a runtime of 91 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 5.5. It also holds a MetaScore of 48.

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5.5/10
48/100
Director
Tobe Hooper
Stars
Neville Brand, Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones, Marilyn Burns
Genres
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