I think I've seen most of Tobe Hooper's movies, though nothing recent (Toolbox Murders or Mortuary), and in general I think the quality of his work is pretty high. Maybe not consistent or extremely well written, but... I mean, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is rough and raw, but it's exceptionally well-made, shot, and edited. There's skill as well as talent involved. Eaten Alive, though...
I spent maybe 90% of this movie thinking about how terrible it is. I mean, just poorly shot, written, scored and (with some exceptions) acted. The plot is just a thin excuse to have women get naked and for people to get killed in gory ways. The 'crocodile' is an awful prop (that's not used much - a wise decision, but frustrating as well). In some ways it reminded me of earlier, terrible, low-budget exploitation films like Two Thousand Maniacs.
|It takes real skill to make an indoor set look so sleazy|
BUT. But, man... it's all shot on sets, indoor and outdoor. Like, obvious, cramped, garishly lit and half-assed set-dressed sets. Hell, at times you could be forgiven for thinking it was a bad copy of some forgotten MGM musical about - well, about some lunatic hotel owner and his pet alligator.
|An EXTREMELY REALISTIC alligator. Crocodile. Whatever.|
Over time the film actually started to win me over a little - enough that I could sit through it, after several moments thinking I might turn it off. I think - I THINK - it's actually supposed to be a comedy. There are definitely characters - like the bordello owner - that are supposed to be funny. They AREN'T funny, but I think they're supposed to be. And Robert Englund - many years before V and Freddy - is pretty watchable as a scumbag. The over-the top soundtrack of twangy country music - with extra twang - makes some of the scenes even more surreal than they already are. There's a couple that simply goes insane at one point - for no reason that I can tell. (Why is she wearing a wig? Why is he dressed like Johnny from Night of the Living Dead? Why is there a shotgun in their trunk?)
|Also, this scene goes on like 15 minutes too long.|
|"I'm gonna harvest me some crops!"|