Let’s get this out of the way. My favorite Tobe Hooper picture is Salem’s Lot. My second favorite Tobe Hooper picture is Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. My third favorite Tobe Hooper picture is The Funhouse. I feel like the simple fact that Texas Chain Saw Massacre doesn’t come in to play until around number four or five really says something about the way I appreciate his movies. Yes I love Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I love Poltergeist, and Lifeforce and Invaders from Mars are great movies. Once Hooper really got going is when I think he was able to make some pictures that were visually stunning. That brings us to Eaten Alive available now from Arrow Video.
Eaten Alive is a gritty little movie that plays off of most of the popular slasher tropes save for one key and separating fact; it takes place in Louisiana. This means that the flavor of Eaten Alive is completely different and allows for some clever shocks and disturbing sequences especially involving gators. The movie follows the formula for a a movie of its type until it doesn’t and decides to be a mean spirited dark picture.
What a cast! William Finley’s performance in Phantom of the Paradise is something of legend and Marilyn Burns will always be remembered from her role in Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but they really do bring a lot of energy and emotion to the table with Eaten Alive. Yeah yeah… Fred Krueger is in the movie or rather Robert Englund. Hell, I really remember him from the TV show V. He’s definitely creepy in this one for the short bit that he’s in it, and you may even find the precursor key attributes that would have set him up to play an iconic Horror character.
The extra list for this release is just incredible. I hope you enjoy interviews because there are ton of new and archival interviews including a new one with Tobe Hooper. The most interesting extra is the featurette on the inspiration for the owner in Eaten Alive. The real story almost creeps me out more. The new cover art is gorgeous and receiving wide acclaim. As with most Arrow releases, you get a booklet inside that provides essays and useful information about the presentation and picture. I love the stills.
Fans of Tobe Hooper will definitely enjoy this picture as well as those folks who genuinely enjoy the slasher era. It’s got grit. It’s mean and it takes no prisoners. It’s not my favorite Tobe Hooper picture. My favorites are all super produced, “high budget” jobs, but you’ll have the benefit of seeing where Tarantino borrowed a line for Kill Bill.
From Arrow Video:
Synopsis: MEET THE MANIAC & HIS FRIEND.
Nearly a decade before he donned Freddy Krueger’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! Bumbling Judd, 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 which lends it a queasy, claustrophobic feel), Eaten Alive matches The Texas Chain Saw Massacre for sheer insanity – helped in no small part by some marvellous histrionics from Chain Saw star Marilyn Burns and William Finley (Phantom of the Paradise).
DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
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