Eaten Alive

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This article is about the Tobe Hooper film. For the Diana Ross album, see Eaten Alive (album). For the title track from the album, see Eaten Alive (song). For the Barry Gibb album containing the demos made by him to the Ross' album, see The Eaten Alive Demos. For the film by Umberto Lenzi, see Eaten Alive!
For the television special, see Eaten Alive (TV special).
Eaten Alive
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Produced by Alvin L. Fast
Larry Huly
Robert Kantor
Mardi Rustam
Mohammed Rustam
Samir Rustam
Written by Kim Henkel
Alvin L. Fast
Mardi Rustam
Starring Neville Brand
Mel Ferrer
Carolyn Jones
Marilyn Burns
Music by Wayne Bell
Tobe Hooper
Cinematography Robert Caramico
Edited by Michael Brown
Mars Productions Corporation
Release date
September 23, 1977 (USA)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Eaten Alive (known under various alternate titles, including Death Trap, Horror Hotel, and Starlight Slaughter) is an American horror film, directed by Tobe Hooper and released in May 1977.[1]

It was written by Kim Henkel, Alvin L. Fast and Mardi Rustam and produced by Fast, Larry Huly, Robert Kantor and Mardi, Mohammed and Samir Rustam. The film stars Neville Brand, Roberta Collins, Robert Englund, William Finley, Marilyn Burns, Janus Blythe and Kyle Richards.


After refusing a demand for kinky sex from a frisky customer named Buck (Robert Englund), naive prostitute Clara Wood (Roberta Collins) is evicted from the town brothel by the Madame, Miss Hattie (Carolyn Jones). Clara makes her way to a decrepit hotel, called the Starlight Hotel, located deep in a swamp. There she encounters the middle-aged, demented, mentally disturbed proprietor, Judd (Neville Brand), and his pet Nile crocodile, who lives in the swamp beside the porch.

Some days later, a fractious couple, the outgoing Faye (Marilyn Burns) and the disturbed Roy (William Finley), arrive at the hotel, along with their young daughter, Angie (Kyle Richards), and Angie's inquisitive dog. Harvey Wood (Mel Ferrer) and his daughter, Libby (Crystin Sinclaire), also arrive at the hotel seeking information on Clara, who is Harvey's runaway daughter, but leave when Judd denies having seen her. Accompanied by Sheriff Martin (Stuart Whitman), Harvey and Libby question Miss Hattie, who also denies ever seeing Clara. Harvey returns to the creepy swamp hotel alone, while Libby goes for dinner and drinks with the Sheriff. Meanwhile, Buck and his girlfriend, Lynette (Janus Blythe), venture to the hotel, much to the annoyance of Judd. Later, Libby arrives back at the hotel.

Events at the remote, no-diamond-rated swamp hotel include fighting (with a firearm and farm tools), swamp chases (occasionally involving a harvesting implement), interrupted cleaning rituals, attempted sexual assaults, displays of amazing engineering in underground swamp architecture, human bondage, fortuitous revelations and discoveries, and, throughout, a well-fed crocodile.



The film was shot entirely on soundstages at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, California.[citation needed] The plot was very loosely based on the story of Joe Ball (also known as the Bluebeard from South Texas or the Alligator Man) who lived in Elmendorf, Texas, in the 1930s after Prohibition ended.[citation needed] He owned a bar with an alligator pit serving as an entertainment attraction. Several murders of women ensued, but it was never proven that the flesh found in the pit was human. Joe Ball committed suicide upon possibility of capture.


Video nasty[edit]

This movie was one of the so-called "video nasties" in the UK during the height of the issue during 1983 and 1984. Mary Whitehouse took a personal objection to this movie.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

Eaten Alive has received a negative response from critics, and currently holds a 18% approval rating on movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on ten reviews.[2] An African hand-made poster for the movie is included in the book Extreme Canvas: Hand-Painted Movie Posters from Ghana by Ernie Wolfe.


  1. ^ Jane, Ian (October 11, 2007). "Eaten Alive: 2-Disc Special Edition". DVD Talk. 
  2. ^ "Eaten Alive - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 

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