Saturday, October 11, 2014

EATEN ALIVE (1977)

What a bizarre movie.  Instead of doing the logical thing and following up THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE with a cash-in sequel (who knows, maybe there was an legal issue) TCM director/producer/writer/composer Tobe Hooper, writer Kim Henkel and main actress Marilyn Burns created this almost fever dream-like story of an old coot (Neville Brand) running a hotel near a swamp.  Despite the fact that the hotel is completely dilapidated, there's no road nearby and the owner is clearly insane the place still gets a steady stream of customers...whom, the owner, kills about as quickly as they show up and then feeds to his huge crocodile.  It makes no sense at all.

Still, there's something about EATEN ALIVE that you can't take your eyes off of it.  It's just so strange that it's more fascinating than it is entertaining.  Over-the-top acting by an whole cast of weird characters, sudden unexpected spurts of violence, gritty camerawork that reminded me at moments of TCM, eternal nighttime, two surprisingly nice topless scenes, strange set design, fake as hell looking crocodile, Marilyn Burns underused (she should have had a bigger role), lots of fog (at one point - 1:19:53 - I swear Neville does the Leatherface dance, but there's so much fog it's hard to tell), old timey country music playing almost non-stop, surreal colors, Freddy Krueger topless.

Not horrible, but not good either.  Just strange.