Along with Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox, this is considered one of the ‘big three’ of the Italian cannibal boom. Umberto Lenzi’s Eaten Alive! , is one of the more interesting films of this craze. Although Holocaust is arguably the pinnace of the sub genre, Lenzi’s 1980 film takes an interesting approach. It successfully satirizes a recent event of the time, and borrows footage and ideas from films that had been previously released. A technique which was made famous by Bruno Mattei.
The film stars a few familiar faces, instantly recognizable to any Italian horror elitist. Janet Argen, Robert Kerman, and oddly enough, Mel Ferrer. Here’s the story, a young woman goes missing, and has been believed to be abducted and brainwashed by a cult, located in the South Pacific. The woman’s sister, who is played by Argen decided to go in search for her. She’s assisted by the help of a rough and tough adventure type named Mark, played by Robert Kerman. Kerman, who was best known for appearing in several porn films, insisted on doing all of his own stunts. An impressive feat for one for the stars of Debbie Does Dallas.
They’re able to infiltrate the mysterious cult, led by a religious fanatic named Jonas. A person who has led hid followers into the jungle, to escape persecution. Lenzi, who wasn’t above cashing in on a recent tragedy, satirized the Jonestown mass suicide from only a few years prior. Which is something you’ll see in a few films of this nature. It was only a few years after the end of Vietnam conflict, when violent images made their way to the television screens of middle America. Naturally, the films of the Grindhouse era would often reflect recent events. Many critics criticized Lenzi for this, as nothing more than a cheap way to capitalize on public interest.
The film’s plot flows like an gory action-adventure movie with cannibals. Somewhat similar to films such as Last Cannibal World , and Mountain Of The Cannibal God. Not surprisingly, Lenzi inserted footage from both of these into his own film. And much like a lot of other films of this nature, you will fins a hint of animal deaths. Fortunately, this time around they’re not man inflicted. With Lenzi making a return to horror later this year, I’m wondering what stock footage he’ll steal next.