Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tobe Hooper

Watched Eaten Alive (1977) today-- nerve wracking, but worth it.

The trailer makes allusions to the movie being a crocodile Jaws...not quite. Eaten Alive manages to jam characters and plotlines all up next to each other, connected mostly by tour de force gore and Hooper-tastic moments of creepiness.

I was worried right out of the gate, as the movie didn't begin well. The first ten minutes reminded me of that godawful Grindhouse Experience dvd I got duped into buying in the height of a Tarantino fever... poor costuming, barely adequate framing, sets made out of what appear to be corrugated cardboard, etc, etc. Read something on the imdb page about Hooper having problems with the producers and someone else having to shoot additional scenes, maybe that had something to do with it. HOWEVER-- about the eleven minute mark, things start getting weird, and boy do they just stay weird.

Tobe Hooper has a knack for making dementedly dimwitted characters put you so on edge it's hard to watch. In Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, a movie I simultaneously like and don't like, the black comedy of the one character (in the scene in the radio station?) touching the hot wire to the metal plate in his head and the sizzling noise is undercut by how unbearably uncomfortable you feel watching him do it. LOTS of scenes like that in this one. Also, a man-eating crocodile which, in spite of the viewer being almost insistently visually reminded that it's made of foam rubber by poor special effects, works.

Need to track down more from the Hooper oeuvre (outside of TCSM, Salem's Lot, and Poltergeist, which were fine, fine pics), more to come.

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