Eaten Alive (1976)


The movie Eaten Alive (1976) is a horror film directed by Tobe Hooper. The plot revolves around a psychotic hotel proprietor in a Southern bayou, who feeds those who upset him to a large crocodile that lives in a swamp beside the hotel [1].

The movie begins with a naive prostitute named Clara Wood refusing a demand for anal sex from a customer named Buck. Clara is evicted from the town brothel by the madame, Miss Hattie, and makes her way to the decrepit Starlight Hotel, located deep in the remote swampland of rural Texas. Here, she encounters the hotel’s mentally disturbed proprietor, Judd, who attacks Clara with a pitchfork, chases her outside, and feeds her to his pet Nile crocodile that lives in the swamp beside the hotel [1].

Some days later, a fractious couple, Faye and her disturbed husband Roy, arrive at the hotel along with their young daughter Angie. Shortly after their arrival, the family dog, Snoopy, is brutally attacked by the resident crocodile, which shocks little Angie. In retaliation, Roy goes out to kill the carnivorous swamp creature but is stabbed and killed by Judd, who is wielding a large scythe. Judd then violently beats and straps Faye onto her bed and attempts to grab Angie, but she escapes and hides under the hotel’s porch [1].

Later, Harvey Wood and his daughter Libby also arrive at the Starlight Hotel, seeking information on the now-deceased Clara, who is Harvey’s runaway daughter. They leave when Judd denies having seen her1. Accompanied by Sheriff Martin, Harvey and Libby question Miss Hattie, who also denies ever seeing Clara1. Harvey returns to the creepy swamp hotel alone, while Libby goes for dinner and drinks with the sheriff1. After Harvey discovers a captive Faye in her hotel room, Judd murders him, once again utilizing his large scythe [1].

Meanwhile, after being kicked out of a bar by the sheriff, Buck and his underaged girlfriend Lynette venture to the Starlight, much to the annoyance of Judd. The movie Eaten Alive (1976) ends with a series of gruesome events, showcasing the horrifying reality of the Starlight Hotel and its deranged owner [1].


  • Neville Brand as Judd
  • Mel Ferrer as Harvey Wood
  • Carolyn Jones as Miss Hattie
  • Marilyn Burns as Faye
  • William Finley as Roy
  • Stuart Whitman as Sheriff Martin
  • Roberta Collins as Clara Wood
  • Kyle Richards as Angie
  • Robert Englund as Buck
  • Crystin Sinclaire as Libby Wood


The plot of Eaten Alive was very loosely based on the story of Joe Ball, also known as the Bluebeard from South Texas or the Alligator Man, who owned a bar with a live alligator attraction during the 1930s in Elmendorf, Texas. During this time, several murders of women were committed by Ball, and the legend is that he would dispose of his victims’ bodies by feeding them to his pet alligators. However, it was never proven that the flesh found in the pit was human. Joe Ball committed suicide at his bar on September 24, 1938, when he was about to be arrested by the police in connection with the murders [3].


According to a review on, “EATEN ALIVE is more akin to a sleazy and sadistic fairy tale that, despite being overlooked for years, is one of the more well known hixploitation pictures that are popular with a small number of drive in film fans. ” [3]

A review on states, “Overall, this isn’t a classic and from a historical and cultural perspective, doesn’t hold a candle to Hooper’s previous film: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” [4]’s review mentions, “Eaten Alive is an exercise in atmosphere, imagery and surrealism with narrative taking a backseat that could not possibly appeal to mainstream movie-going crowds… Yet despite its flaws with pacing issues, taken for what it is it is a success in the respect of its experimentation. It has many effective moments and is certainly worthy of investigation.” [5]


[1] Wikipedia

[2] IMDb




Last updated byCody Meirick on November 20, 2023