Eaten Alive ★★★½


At this point, I'm so far gone into my Tobe Hooper fangirling that he could have filmed shit on a stick and I'd find something good to say about it.
Eaten Alive is a story about a shady motel owner in the Texas backwoods who feeds guests to his pet crocodile.
Shot entirely on soundstages, the movie has an intentionally artificial feel to it, the neon lighting foreshadowing sets of TCM 2, and even more so the EC Comics look of Creepshow.
It is not a conventional horror movie and anyone who seeks it out as such will be bored to death (no pun intended). I see it as an exercise in aesthetics, and Hooper's further reflections on Americana - just as with TCM, it takes no stretch of the imagination to believe that these characters, however absurd, exist for real (Neville Brand is amazing in the main part; I often forgot I was watching an actor at play).
The phantasmagoric design is further enhanced by the trippy, cacophonic soundtrack - I dig it.
Features pre-Freddy Krueger Robert Englund in a small part as an anal-loving creep, and Carolyn Jones as brothel owner Miss Hattie.