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Old 02.03.2014, 11:50 AM   #17681
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A re-watch for me of the follow up to Tobe Hooper's debut effort, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" ("TCM"), and is set in some un-named Southern USA/"bayou" town, where there's a hotel run by a war veteran called Judd (Neville Brand). Brand's guests at the Starlight Hotel tend not to survive their stay here for too long - from the first guest we see (a runaway from the local brothel), his guests end up being victims both to himself and a rather large crocodile, who lives in the depths of a whole heap of water next to the hotel. Other guests include a family of three (the wife/mother being Marilyn Burns from "TCM"), and the father and sister of the "missing" brothel runaway. One of the regular guests is a self-styled local "gigolo" (Robert Englund), who immediately raises the ire of Judd. As the bodies pile up, the police become involved, but to little success or intervention. Judd, in a bid to "save" her, ties Burns to the bed, and then a long chase sequence begins where Burn's daughter hides away in the crawlspace of the hotel, with Judd on her tail. Burns is eventually freed by Englund's one-night stand (Englund himself meets his end at the hands of the crocodile), and after a frenzied "chase" sequence, Judd himself finally meets his fate at the hands of the killer croc.

It would appear that director Tobe Hooper was trying to re-create the atmosphere of madness and hysteria that permeates the whole of "TCM", but he largely unsucccessful in his endeavours. The film is shot with a curious flat feel to it, and the print I viewed is rather dark in places. "Eaten Alive" seems to have been filmed all on studio sets (even the outdoor scenes), and this adds to a sense of artificiality to this film. the script (co-written by Kim Henkel ("TCM") and producer Mardi Rustam) emphasises the surface terror aspect, whilst being very low on psychological horror. The characterisations tend to be a tad on the cliched side, and Marilyn Burns' attempts to resurrect her "victim" role in "TCM", but with significantly diminishing returns. The crocodile in "Eaten Alive" is distinctly rubbery-looking, and the scenes where said croc attacks Judd's victims fail to convince at all.

On the positive side, the "found sound" score (co-composed by Wayne Bell and Tobe Hooper) is very impressive, and Robert Englund (in an early role) is convincing as the sleazy, repellent Buck. Neville Brand's Judd is entertaining and enticing as well - he veers between incoherent nutty ramblings and nutso scenery-chewing. Carolyn Jones (best known for being Morticia Addams in "The Addams Family") is also good as the unlikeable brothel madam. There are also appearances by genre stalwart Stuart Whitman, and also veteran actor Mel Ferrer (who also appeared later in the atrocious and racist "Cannibal Ferox").

"Eaten Alive" seems to be imbued with the atmosphere that permeated the classic EC Comics stable, and there are moments where a sense of dread and panic are evoked. However, for too much of "Eaten Alive", the temptation to go into "shock" mode is too much temptation for Hooper to resist, and the film really falls down here. Incidentally, this film is one that Hooper has always been less-than-keen to discuss: he had many behind the scenes rows with US schlock-meister Rustam, and Hooper has essentially distanced himself from the film. The pattern of producer interference and general fallouts has plagued Hooper's career ever since.

"Eaten Alive" certainly has its moments, and is quite an enjoyable film in its own way, but it really has none of the power and effectivess of the seminal "TCM". See this film if you know about "TCM", otherwise do go and watch Hooper's debut film instead.

Notes: "Eaten Alive" was released in the UK under the re-titling of "Death Trap", and had a (cut) cinema UK release in 1978. An uncut version of this film was later released by the Vipco label in the early 1980's, and "campaigner" Mary Whitehouse took violent exception to this film (despite never having seen it). "Death Trap" was successfully prosecuted several times under Section 2 of the Obscene Publications Act on video during the "video nasties" period, and was subsequently withdrawn in due course. "Death Trap" was finally re-issued by Vipco in 2000 in a cut version (around 30 seconds cut?), and there has never been a subsequent uncut release of this film in the UK.
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Old 02.03.2014, 12:11 PM   #17682
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I love TCM and tend to think Tobe Hooper doesn't get enough credit for a lot of what he made after it but I do find Eaten Alive almost unwatchably dull.
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Old 02.03.2014, 12:12 PM   #17683
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demonrail666
I love TCM and tend to think Tobe Hooper doesn't get enough credit for a lot of what he made after it but I do find Eaten Alive almost unwatchably dull.

I quite enjoyed it a lot the first time I watched it - but as I say, it's definitely a miss rather than a hit, and am not surprised you don't care for this one.

I actually quite like "TCM2", for what its worth!
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Old 02.03.2014, 12:32 PM   #17684
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I hated TCM2 the first time I saw it but once I accepted it for what it is rather than what I wanted it to be (a simple continuation of the first one) I grew to like it a lot. It's also been pretty influential in its way. There definitely seems to be a lot of TCM2 in Rob Zombie's movies. Probably due a 'seminal' prefix by now.
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Old 02.03.2014, 12:59 PM   #17685
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Agree with you v much on "TCM2". I've seen at least one Rob Zombie film I can remember ("House of 1,000 Corpses"?), and yes, that is definitely imbued with said sequel.

I also like "Poltergeist" as well, by and large. Still haven't seen "The Funhouse" yet - is that worth checking out?
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Old 02.03.2014, 01:19 PM   #17686
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Old 02.03.2014, 01:23 PM   #17687
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Originally Posted by MellySingsDoom
Still haven't seen "The Funhouse" yet - is that worth checking out?

Definitely. Massively underrated. Have you seen his version of Salem's Lot? The one with James Mason and David Soul. Outrageously good for a made for tv movie.
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Old 02.03.2014, 02:44 PM   #17688
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I bought Eaten Alive/Death Trap on DVD for a £1 or something not long after I saw TCM for the first time and was really excited for more. I hard a really hard time making it to the end of Eaten Alive as it was so booooring. It's weird that a guy could go from awesome to awful so abruptly.
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Old 02.04.2014, 01:19 AM   #17689
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demonrail666
Definitely. Massively underrated. Have you seen his version of Salem's Lot? The one with James Mason and David Soul. Outrageously good for a made for tv movie.

Thanks, demon. Will check out both "The Funhouse" and Hooper's "Salem's Lot" as soon as I can.
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Old 02.04.2014, 01:20 AM   #17690
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toilet & Bowels
I bought Eaten Alive/Death Trap on DVD for a £1 or something not long after I saw TCM for the first time and was really excited for more. I hard a really hard time making it to the end of Eaten Alive as it was so booooring. It's weird that a guy could go from awesome to awful so abruptly.

Heh! Fair enough on you not liking it at all, and certainly agree with you by and large on your last point.
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Old 02.04.2014, 06:30 PM   #17691
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i had never heard of this shit

very fucking funny
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Old 02.05.2014, 09:41 AM   #17692
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PARIS (2008) by cédric klapisch

this was an altman-esque run through various characters and situations, all interconnected somehow. it was a good movie, not a great one, but i really loved it and would see it again-- possibly because i generally like the french a lot and this is one of those movies that makes me want to be there instead of saying "ohh, whatta mooby". plus, there are a bunch of beautiful women in it.
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Old 02.05.2014, 10:04 AM   #17693
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i had never heard of this shit

Over here that film is so embeded in the culture that it transcends things like mainstream and non-mainstream. It seems strange that in other places places don't know it.
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Old 02.05.2014, 12:30 PM   #17694
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Over here that film is so embeded in the culture that it transcends things like mainstream and non-mainstream. It seems strange that in other places places don't know it.

i had it recommended by netflix-- their servers know what i like. i can see why it can be very much an english thing though-- it's not that it's incomprehensible or untranslatable to foreigners, but that it's very "national" in its context and references, and that can make it hard to pick up elsewhere ("ponce" and "toilet [something]", oxford/eton, the unemployment checks or whatever it is they get, fear of armed peasants, the novel that marwood is reading, class differences, etc. etc.)
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Old 02.05.2014, 12:45 PM   #17695
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It has a similar 'quintessentially English' thing to Python or Fawlty Towers which apparently have a pretty big cult following in the US, so I'm slightly surprised W&I doesn't have a similar following there.
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Old 02.05.2014, 12:49 PM   #17696
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W&I is known around the film nerds and fanboys. Nowhere near as much as Python or Fawlty.
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Old 02.05.2014, 12:53 PM   #17697
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Originally Posted by demonrail666
It has a similar 'quintessentially English' thing to Python or Fawlty Towers which apparently have a pretty big cult following in the US, so I'm slightly surprised W&I isn't that big there as well.

my wife can recite every fawlty towers episode by heart and we regularly watch english stuff which is i think why netflix said to get it (we recently watched the first seasons of "upstairs downstairs," which were suprisingly entertaining).

python is bigger than that-- at least here in 'merica, especially in nerd/computer culture, it has been a constant presence. their absurdist humor is less context-dependent and can be more easily repurposed, i think.

plus, terry gilliam is from minnehaha, or however one spells the name of that american state.
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Old 02.05.2014, 02:08 PM   #17698
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I never liked Python stuff. Never have found it more than mildly humorous at best.
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Old 02.05.2014, 02:16 PM   #17699
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and yet, the influence of monty python can be found in things as diverse as…

oh, too much work. check here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_P...ural_influence

plus a ton of things that haven't yet made it too that page.
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Old 02.05.2014, 02:37 PM   #17700
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Shit has just as much influence as gold. Influence does not = worth.
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