The Curator of Schlock #162 by Jeff Shuster
This year, we at The Museum of Schlock would like to wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving. Granted, it’s a day late, and I’m sure all of you are busy with your Black Friday shopping, pepper spray at the ready for your Fitbit Altas and your Ninja Coffee Bar Brewers. And then you’ll be gorging yourselves on cranberry sauce and day-old turkey, but have you ever wondered what it might be like to be eaten yourself and by eaten yourself, I mean eaten alive by a giant crocodile? You have. Excellent. Keep reading.
Tonight’s selection is 1977s Eaten Alive from director Tobe Hooper. He’s the dude who directed 1974s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I think I covered that movie last Black Friday because I didn’t want to bother watching Eaten Alive, but I’ve since watched this movie in ten-minute increments over the past twelve months so I’m good to go now. Does lightning strike twice? By “lightning striking twice,” I mean to say if it’s as good as TCM, and by TCM, I mean Texas Chainsaw Massacre not Turner Classic Movies. Uh. No. Lighting doesn’t strike twice, but there’s enough here to sort of keep your attention for 90 minutes.
So there’s this prostitute named Clara (Roberta Collins) who refuses service to some townie named Buck (Robert Englund) because he wants her to do something she doesn’t normally do for customers, but we won’t speculate as to what that is here. The brothel Madame, Miss Hattie (Carolyn Jones), fires Clara on the spot, turning out into the hot, muggy Texas night. She makes her way to the Starlight Hotel, run by a redneck named Judd (Neville Brand). He’s happy to give her a room for the night until he recognizes her as one of “Hattie’s girls.” Judd starts manhandling Carol. When she fights back, Judd hacks her up a bit with a rake before feeding her to his pet crocodile while she’s still alive.
The next night, a family decides to stay the night at the Starlight Hotel. The crocodile eats the family dog. The dad gets sliced up a bit with a scythe before being fed alive to the aforementioned crocodile. Judd wraps the mother up in a shower curtain while their little girl runs away and hides under the hotel for the rest of the movie, trying to evade capture by Judd and/or the crocodile. You know, call me a nitpicker, but I’ve stayed at Days Inns more posh than this place. If the hotel you’re looking at features a moat out front with a live crocodile as well as a scythe-wielding redneck named Judd, you’d probably do best to look for accommodations elsewhere.
Crocodiles are nothing to mess with. I was at Silver Springs one year and they had these crocodile pits, these plastic tubes in the ground that you could peer down in and take a gander at the park’s crocodiles. I looked down and the crocodile took notice of me. It stretched up as far as it could, gazed up at me, and opened it’s mouth. The hiss that came forth still haunts me to this day. I know what that crocodile was trying to tell me: “I’m going to eat you alive!”