|Directed by||Umberto Lenzi|
Me Me Lai
|Edited by||Eugenio Alabiso|
Eaten Alive! (Italian: Mangiati vivi!) is an 1980 Italian horror film directed by Umberto Lenzi. The film is about a young woman (Janet Agren) who is searching for her sister after her abduction by a cult in the jungles of Sri Lanka.
The film begins with a woman named Sheila who is searching for her sister, who has disappeared in the southeastern jungles of Asia (India). Sheila (Janet Agren) joins up with Mark (Robert Kerman), and they both encounter many perils while searching for Sheila's sister, Diana (Paola Senatore). Diana has joined a cult run by a man called Jonas (Ivan Rassimov). Jonas physically and sexually abuses his followers and local people alike. In one graphic scene, he rapes Sheila with a dildo covered in snake blood, and decapitates a native. In another, a native widow named Mowara (Me Me Lai) is ritualistically raped after her late husband's body is burned on a pyre. A group, consisting of Mowara, Mark, Sheila and Diana escapes into the jungle, where Diana and Mowara are caught by a group of cannibals, Diana raped, and then both hacked to death, while Mark and Sheila helplessly watch from the cover of the bushes. They quickly escape back to New York when helicopters sent by the authorities come looking for them. Back in the village, the rest of the cult commits ritual suicide, leaving one young female survivor for the authorities to find.
Eaten Alive! was part of the cannibal boom and filmed before the release of Cannibal Holocaust. The film uses a more traditional adventure film narrative opposed to the mondo film style of previous cannibal films. The film uses footage in the film taken from other cannibal films, including Last Cannibal World.
The assistant professor Danny Shipka of Louisiana State University described the film as Lenzi capitalizing on public interest in cult leader Jim Jones and referring to it as a "ridiculous film". Online film database AllMovie gave the film a one and a half star out of five rating, noting that the film includes "Stone Age cannibals, a Jim Jones-type cult, hired assassins, and gratuitous animal slaughters thrown onscreen every five minutes just to keep the viewer awake." The review also commented on the themes of the film, stating that "Both of the leading characters are given a backstory of having exploited blacks in their Alabama cotton mill, only to lose all their ill-gotten money and -- in one case -- pay the ultimate price, as one underclass avenges another half a world away. In more talented hands, there could have been a real statement made with this film. As it turns out, the only statement most viewers are likely to come away with is "yuck."
- Shipka, Danny. Perverse Titillation: The Exploitation Cinema of Italy, Spain and France, 1960-1980. McFarland, 2011. ISBN 0786448881.
- Kawin, Bruce F. Horror and the Horror Film. Anthem Press, 2012. ISBN 0857284495.
- Eaten Alive at the Internet Movie Database
- Eaten Alive! trailer is available for free download at the Internet Archive
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