CINE-WEEN 2023: In Defense of EATEN ALIVE

Tobe Hooper gets a bad rap as a director. Sure, he gets credit for THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and, if you’re the right sort of horror fan, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, but beyond that his filmography is often glossed over, ignored, or credited to other collaborators. And yet Hooper directed several impressively creepy (and, occasionally, wickedly funny) horror films that did not involve Texas or chainsaws. One such film worthy of reconsideration is his 1976 film EATEN ALIVE! (aka STARLIGHT SLAUGHTER, aka HORROR HOTEL, aka DEATH TRAP, aka LEGEND OF THE BAYOU).


If you’re a reader already lucky enough to be familiar with Bob Clark’s 1974 horror classic DEATHDREAM (aka DEAD OF NIGHT), you may be wondering why it’s even appearing on a column of undervalued or undercelebrated films, and it’s true that there’s been a critical re-evaluation of the film that has taken hold over the past decade. But, frankly, I still think there’s work to be done, even within the catalogue of the venerable Bob Clark, where it deserves to sit among his very best: including A CHRISTMAS STORY, BLACK CHRISTMAS and (former most profitable Canadian film of all time) PORKY’S.