Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive (1976)
Elite Entertainment
Cast: Neville Brand, Mel Ferrer, Robert Englund, Carolyn Jones
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

Elite Entertainment has just released “Eaten Alive”, a horror movie by Tobe Hooper, the director who also brought us the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Long considered the “lost movie” of Hooper, this film has gone through more titles than any other movie I can recall, including names like “Horror Hotel”, “Murder On The Bayou” and “Death Trap” among countless others.

Although the opening minutes of the movie look quite good, it soon turns out that the transfer on this DVD actually has some problems. These problems mostly show themselves in an incorrect color balance, color over-saturation and discolored blacks. Especially the scenes in the hotel are heavily tinged and signs of color bleeding are evident. The most distracting problem appears when the blacks in the film become discolored. The result is a look as if you are watching the movie’s negative rather than the actual film print. I found this effect very distracting, as you find yourself trying to figure out what it is you are seeing the screen. The black level in general appears to be a bit too high as well, resulting in grayish blacks that create a rather muddy look throughout the film. The compression of the movie on this DVD is flawless however, without any artifacts. Despite the obviously challenging source material, this widescreen presentation is free of pixelation or chroma noise.

“Eaten Alive” contains a mono audio track in Dolby Digital. It is well produced and converted to this DVD without flaws. Dialogues are always understandable and the music has an eerie, although somewhat shrill quality.

“Eaten Alive” would require some serious restoration to make a really good show on video, and I honestly doubt that a low budget, rather obscure film like this one would ever find the funding for such an undertaking. I found the movie rather slow and predictable, which practically defeated the purpose of the ominous setup of the story. It has some great edits and visuals, but other than that, there must have been a reason why “Eaten Alive” was lost for the longest time.