Movie Review: Eaten Alive is an Orgy of Cannibals and Cults!

February 15, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Oh man, things are tough all over for Sheila…her sis has gone and got herself mixed up (courtesy of those lovely ol’ drugs and brainwashing) in a religious cult holed up in a commune in the  jungles of New Guinea (totally not Jonestown) led by the enigmatic Jonas (real subtle flick…real subtle). As if the whole evil cult wasn’t bad enough, the surrounding area is home to some carnivorous cannibals (are there any other kind really?) who want to make a meal out of Sheila-baby, the cultists…pretty much anyone they can sink their terrible teeth into. Soon Shelia, along with her hard-ass mercenary pal Mark, infiltrate the cult and then attempt to escape with their lives and asses intact!
Eaten Alive is indicative of all that is great, and all that kinda sucks about the Italian cannibal sub-genre. Brought to life by legendary director Umberto Lenzi (Cannibal Ferox, Nightmare City…and 1972’s Man From Deep River who’s one scene of cannibalism basically invented the genre in Italian cinema), the film is chock full of graphic and effective gut-munching effects work, softcore sex (though some is too ‘rapey’ for it’s own good), and a great bit of villainous scene chewing from giallo regular Ivan Rassimov…but, along with the good, comes the inevitable (and sadly “expected”) bad; namely the real on screen violence against animals that runs the gamut of stock footage (culled from previous Lenzi efforts) of animals being eaten by other animals to scenes of their entrails being devoured by natives…this is the type of material that keeps your’s cruelly from fully embracing Italian cannibal flicks…I will never argue their importance or even genius in our beloved horror biz, but they have never been my cup of terror tea , and the animal violence is the reason why.
So Eaten Alive is a fun if unfortunately unnecessarily cruel film, but ol’ Severin have included a gut load of extras on this Blu-ray to satisfy our appetite for entertainment. On this release you get: interviews with Lenzi, Production Designer Antonello Geleng, and Actors Rassimov and Robert Kerman. Also included are a 2013 Q&A with Lenzi from The UK Festival of Fantastic Films, and best of all, a feature length documentary on Me Me Lai (who plays Mowara, a sympathetic villager wrapped up in the cult)…her life took some fascinating turns and the doc is worth the price of admission alone!
Clearly Eaten Alive isn’t going to be for everyone (hell a large portion of it wasn’t even for me!), but it is undeniable that it’s an effectively produced nightmare scenario (cultists to the left, cannibals to the right, and the jungle ahead and behind) that deftly combines (then somewhat current) world events with straight up horror tropes!
 

 


 

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