A girl risks her life and plunges into a jungle hell in search of her missing sister. Throughout her perilous journey she must fend off hungry cannibal tribes and avoid being served up as a sacrificial lamb for a good old-... more »fashioned suicide cult! Studio: Media Blasters Inc. Release Date: 11/26/2002 Starring: Robert Kerman Ivan Rassimov Run time: 93 minutes Rating: Nr Director: Umberto Lenzi« less
"Good god, I love Media Blasters! Every time you turn around, these guys are unleashing yet another depraved classic from years gone past. It seems that most of the stuff they release are Japanese anime flicks, a genre I haven't gotten into in a serious way yet, but they also make sure to release tons of gooey gorefests that send horror fans into paroxysms of joy. And they go out of their way (usually) to stuff the disc with plenty of supplemental materials like trailers, interviews, and commentaries. That doesn't sound like a big deal since lots of DVDs today contain extras, but it's a lot easier to find someone like Oliver Stone than it is to uncover the whereabouts of Ruggero Deodato or Umberto Lenzi. Heck, these guys actually locate cult favorites like George Eastman and Ivan Rassimov in order to interview them on camera! If you love films that delve deep into the inner recesses of shock cinema, Media Blasters is the place for you. And one film that definitely plumbs the depths is Umberto Lenzi's 1980 gutmuncher "Mangiati Vivi," better known as "Eaten Alive." Forget about Tobe Hooper's lame alligator flick of the same name; this one is the real deal.
"Eaten Alive" is one of the sicker entries in the much beloved cannibal genre. Helmed by the director responsible for the massively entertaining giallo "Seven Blood-Stained Orchids," "Mangiati Vivi" follows the exploits of one Sheila Morris (Janet Agren) as she attempts to find out what happened to her sister Diana (Paola Senatore). Dear Diana fell in with a Jim Jones knock off named Jonas (Ivan Rassimov) and fled to New Guinea with all of her money. At first, we don't know anything about Morris's dilemma, but we do know something isn't quite right in New York City. The film opens with stock footage of the Big Apple as we see a native assassinate some guy with a blow dart coated in poison. A few more poor souls eventually suffer the same fate, which stymies the best efforts of New York's finest. Then Morris arrives on the scene and hooks up with Professor Carter (Mel Ferrer, who also appeared in Hooper's "Eaten Alive"! What are the chances?), a guy who seems to know all about natives, poison darts, and Jonas. He directs Sheila to Jonas's compound somewhere in Asia, and also puts her in contact with American expatriate Mark (Robert Kerman), a guy who will help find Diana Morris for the right price.
What follows is pure Italian sleaze as Mark and Sheila tramp through the jungle to find Jonas's compound. After a short stop off at an abandoned village, where the two nearly perish in a nasty encounter with a cobra, they finally stumble into Jonas's "purification village." Then the film gets nasty. It doesn't take too long to discover that Jonas is an unbalanced cult leader who will stop at nothing to protect his flock from outsiders. There's also a tribe of dangerous cannibals nearby, a tribe that nearly finished off Mark and Sheila on their journey into the village. Jonas and the cannibals don't get along at all, but there is a benefit to having a bunch of flesh eaters hovering around the perimeter; they keep the followers in a perpetual state of fear, which keeps them inside the camp for further mind control fun and games. How does Jonas keep his followers in line? He makes them drink some sort of juice that turns them into mindless automatons, for starters, and then moves to the tried and true methods of torture, murder, and banishment of dissenters into the cannibal camp. Soon, Sheila Morris falls under Jonas's wicked enchantments, leaving it up to Mark and Diana to plan the inevitable escape.
It's a bit frustrating to review a film like "Mangiati Vivi" because you can't talk in depth about the atrocities. Lenzi throws out a bit of everything, not only recreating the Jim Jones massacre on a small scale, grape kool aid and all, but also subjecting us to cannibal atrocities. The final scenes, with Diana Morris and cannibal film regular Me Me Lai falling prey to the cannibals, ranks right up there with anything you see in Deodato's "Cannibal Holocaust." And for good reason--because Lenzi STOLE chunks of it from Deodato's "Jungle Holocaust" feature. He also borrowed footage from Sergio Martino's "Slave of the Cannibal God." Oops. Plagiarism aside, this stuff is so deeply disturbing and shockingly realistic, at least in certain parts, that one boggles over how something like this ever got made. The answer probably lies in the fact that these movies largely appeared in the 1970s, a time when almost anything went in cinema. There's no way something like "Mangiati Vivi" would play in theaters today, and definitely no way that Lenzi could secure financing for such an extreme film. If anybody in Hollywood tried to pass this one off on a studio, his or her career would permanently suffer.
Extras on the disc include interviews with Robert Kerman, Ivan Rassimov, and Umberto Lenzi; poster and film stills; and five awesome trailers for such schlock classics as Bruno Mattei's "Zombi 3," "Zombi Holocaust," "Jungle Holocaust," "Zombie 4," and "Mangiati Vivi." Listening to these interviews is a lot of fun, especially Robert Kerman's. I would never have suspected that he went on to a lengthy career in the adult film business after this movie! Unfortunately, Rassimov's talk is less interesting because he doesn't seem to remember much about making the movie. If you feel like jumping into the gory cannibal genre, you will find plenty here to wet your whistle. Make sure to watch "Cannibal Holocaust," "Jungle Holocaust," and the tamer "Slave of the Cannibal God" soon after. "
An Adorable Film
Josh Tetreault | Rhode Island | 05/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eaten Alive - Another film from Umberto Lenzi, famed director of Cannibal Ferox. This one is about a beautiful blonde-haired bombshell who is searching for her sister in the jungle. She gets help from an adventurous Indiana Jones type guy just a lot less cartoony. On their way they see a display of cannibalism before them from a local tribe and are understandably frightened by this and now want to get as far away from this area as possible. They are soon captured though by a tribe, but they soon find out it isn't the cannibal tribe but one that her sister belongs to, that has a good number of english-speaking Americans in it. They are brought to the tribe's town that they live in and protect from the cannibals inhabiting the surrounding jungle. The tribe's leader is an American who believes in "purification" and such, something to do with cleansing yourself. For instance no alcohol is allowed in this place and if this guy finds you with it, consider yourself next to be carted out of the place, given a gun and a flashlight and then told "good luck with the cannibals". There is a funeral procession occuring and the main character, miss blonde bombshell, spots her brunnette sister as part of the procession. They watch as the widow of the man the funeral is for is systematically screwed by her three brother-in-laws to "break the ties of marriage". Afterwards our protagonist finally gets a chance to speak with her sister and her sister seems rather adamant about being a part of this tribe and not wanting to leave. Pretty soon our protagonist and the Indiana Jones type dude with her are called for a meeting with everyone else, and everyone is given some odd drink. Indiana Jones dude is given it but refuses to drink saying it's drugged. For this he is tied up and made a prisoner. The blonde drinks it willingly and soon goes into an almost catatonic daze where she follows orders obediently and the ruler of this tribe takes her up to his rooms where he snaps a snake in half spilling it's blood all over a long cylindular object, a dildo. He then begins violently shoving it into our blonde protagonist. All the while the best music you heard in Cannibal Ferox is playing right here. It was this music and the impact of this scene(despite not graphically showing the dildo penetrating her) that got me completely into this movie from this point on. This film has a lot of similiarites to Ferox besides the same music in certain scenes, and those that were fans of it won't be dissapointed. The climax of this one is simply amazing, probably mostly because it was women being butchered and eaten instead of guys this time. Both are amazing films of the highest caliber of horror movie. Both come very highly recommended from me."
BadWaldo57 | Valatie, NY United States | 05/24/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Lovely heroine Janet Agren tracks her missing sister to the wilds of New Guinea and hires hard-drinking adventurer Robert Kerman to help get her out. There's double jeopardy this time around--not only is sister Paola Senatore part of a fanatical Jim Jones-style cult, but the jungle surrounding the cult's compound is teeming with hungry cannibals, complete with the usual grungy faces and Ramones-style wigs. On the Minus side--like many DVDs, this suffers from exteriors that are way too bright, with some outdoor scenes almost white--not a good thing considering how many outdoor scenes there are. In the Plus column--the late great Ivan Rassimov gnashes the scenery as fanatical cult leader Jonas, and the cannibals give us gorehounds our money's worth. This film is often held in contempt because many of the ritual butchery and cannibalism scenes were lifted from other movies, namely MAN FROM DEEP RIVER, JUNGLE HOLOCAUST and MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD. However, this makes EATEN ALIVE a sort of smorgasbord for cannibal fans, and if you can only own one of these gut-munchers maybe EATEN ALIVE/MANGIATI VIVI should be it. Yum yum, Eat'um UP!!!"
I'll take a leg
Sir Jub-Jub | Sir Jub-Jub's Lair, Alaska | 12/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, its another Italian cannibal film seeing release on DVD. This entry is probably the least in the series but is still well worth the time. The transfer by Media Blasters is acceptable for a film of this age and presenting it in widescreen and uncut is another plus. They are doing a great job with their DVD's of obscure films and are giving them an almost archival restoration. The film itself takes some time to get going but once the characters enter the jungle, all sorts of atrocities engulf them. This film is kind of like a cross between "Apocalypse Now" and "Jungle Holocaust", as there are two seperate storylines going on at once. We have a deranged leader of a group of cultists on one hand and on the other, cannibals. It makes for a rather fun foray if you are into this type of graphically violent kind of stuff. I was suprised to see more than one scene "cribbed" from other cannibal movies appear in this. There are scenes from "Jungle Holocaust" and one other movie inserted into this, primarily concerned with animal killings and a few bits with the cannibals. A nice bonus is the inclusion of three interview segments, one with the director and two with the male leads. I did find it interesting to learn that the main actor was actually a porn star in the US by the name of R. Bolla-hey you learn something new every day! Anyway, if you are into seventies Italian cannibal films you won't be disappointed with this one."
Bottom of the Italian barrel
Steven Serednesky | 07/14/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This movie gets 2 stars only for it';s gore content. if you are a completest who needs to see every cannibal gore movie, then by all means check this out... just don't expect much. This movies tries to mix a Jim Jones type cult w/ cannibals. The gore is poorly done. The movie is hard to watch. Not the best of it's genre."