I can't remember when exactly I had the epiphany about Shot on Video films. I remember that the first I saw was the Last Slumber Party, and it left an indelible impression. But it would be years before I realized that there was a small unspoken revolution in the form of directors like the Polonia Brothers, Tim Ritter and Todd Sheets. For every prolific director there are an immeasurable amount of guys making even lower budget movies, sometimes far more interesting than what it's riffing off of (sometimes not). When I discover one of these buried diamonds, I'm over the moon. Such was the the case when I encountered Eaten Alive: A Tasteful Revenge.
Stacey (played by Debbie D.) works at a "cosmetic and fashion company" - according to the description on imdb, it isn't made at all clear from the film itself - and is up for a promotion. Her scientist friend in the lab has created a shrinking gun which is actually a squirt gun spray painted grey. When she gets her promotion she intends on using this technology to further her career (again, I have no idea what this has to do with cosmetics or fashion). After meeting with her boss she discovers that she's lost the promotion to a colleague. Her female boss explains that though she is very pretty, she needs the most "attractive" woman in the office to deal with the male clients they interact with. A plot device executed with the utmost sincerity, I absolutely laughed out loud. Stacey becomes angry, but not at her insane sexist boss. She takes it out on her competition and steals the shrinking gun to use on the newly appointed executive. Barging in on her in the shower, Stacey shrinks her in the nude and then eats her whole. That's what this movie is about. Eating little nude live women.
The effects on this thing had me slack-jawed. It was almost transgressive - reminding me somewhat of Nick Zedd's Tom Thumb in the Land of the Giants, but with no artistic motivation. The most simplistic green screen/super-imposed in-camera editing graphics were used. The imagery is so bizarre it actually is a little bit disturbing.
This angle is really awkward and unflattering, but I respect the effort.
Stacey realizes that she enjoys the taste of little tiny women, so when she discovers that she wasn't second in line for the job, she shrinks and eats the back-up choice as well.
Even though the same techniques were used over and over and, at only 30 minutes, Eaten Alive: A Tasteful Revenge was the perfect length for something like this. Debbie D. knew exactly what to do with the crappy dialog and seemed to have fun with it. There's something about this crap that's really fascinating. It leaves you feeling kind of gross because of the sexual context of the material, but it's so incredibly UN-sexy. The perverse nature of the subject, despite being treated lightly, with the extremely low quality of production gives the sensation of watching something you shouldn't be watching. Which leads me back to the the appeal of SOV films. They're voyeuristic and personal, like someone's home recorded pornography. This movie has the presence of cheap porn even without sex.
I have a purse almost identical to this, this is need to know information, readers.
I couldn't get this movie out of my head after it ended. I was curious about other films by director Gary Whitson. Is this just a fluke or are there others this strange? After a bit of digging I discovered that he's made a startling 250 + films! Way more than what's covered on IMDB. Whitson's company W.A.V.E. Productions used to feature ads in Fangoria, Alternative Cinema and various horror fanzines in the 90's. Their business model was: You write the script and pay them to make it into a movie. Not a bad little niche as it could potentially yield a plethora of material. It attracted mostly men who would pay this money to see women act out their fetishes. Upon discovering the website and the overwhelming catalog, I began to understand their schtick. With titles like "Kidnapped and Chloroformed", "WAVE'S Best Drowning Clips", "Strangled 8" (As in, the 7th sequel to the first Strangled), and "Bikini Girl Maid Service". These titles don't leave much to the imagination.
I was unfamiliar with the term "Vorarephilia" until I watched Eaten Alive and started doing some research. It's a fetish related to eating someone or being eaten. There's "Soft Vore", which is the fantasy of being swallowed whole while alive, and then there's "Hard Vore" which is a much more violent, cannibalistic form of Vorarephilia. Eaten Alive falls under Soft Vore - and was clearly made to satiate some random dude's weirdness.
There's something undeniably yucky about the whole thing. This film, and W.A.V.E. in general. After I watched Eaten Alive, I spent hours on the website reading synopsis' and looking at strange pictures. They seem to be violent in nature, towards women. Not in a way I'm necessarily used to from horror movies. The idea of an individual paying money to see women asphyxiating in quicksand is unsettling. Yet here I am, a woman, spending my time researching it. I became curious about Gary Whitson and found this interview, by Tina Krause who I immediately recognized as one of the actresses from Eaten Alive. It's a very generic, survey-like interview. One that seems coerced and completely biased. My first thought was that it sounds like Whitson wrote the questions to accommodate the answers he wanted to give. Though it did clear a lot of things up, like his response to being considered a fetish filmmaker...
"What I’ve always tried to do is make a movie with a beginning, middle, and end. Something with a real storyline. I’ve refused numerous storylines whose only objective was to show some violent or sadistic scene. This isn’t to say I don’t do violent movies. But I try to make them within the context of a real story. And my feeling is everything is a fetish of some kind or another. People may just not call it that."
Fair enough. Also, I do respect that he never crossed the line to hardcore pornography. Not that I have a problem with porn but you can either make strangulation films or porn, to do both is just excessive. It seems like it would be the natural progression, but instead he built this weird little empire. I've since seen two more movies from the W.A.V.E. catalog and surprisingly with mostly female casts, there hasn't been a lot of male aggression directed towards women. I'm sure I just lucked out there, but it's worth noting. I also like that most of the actresses seem to return for every movie which somehow softens the blow of the subject matter. Not to mention that these are campy as fuck. It's not all rooted in sexual proclivities either, they also make adventure film inspired by old serials, Sci-Fi and your run of the mill vampire/zombie/monster movies. I'm especially intrigued by a few Mermaid fetish films on the site. I will SHELL out money to see that! I feel like I stumbled into this unlimited resource of whathaveyous that are untouched by man. Not all of them, but well over half I can find no mention of anywhere on the internet except the website itself. At $20-$30 a pop, this should keep me busy for years or until I lose interest.
Eaten Alive was followed by trailers and alternate variations on the effects.
Despite it's reputation, W.A.V.E Productions has my full attention.! I have a few more queued up to be watched and a list of titles I plan ordering from the website soon! I don't anticipate anything will ever live up to Eaten Alive: A Tasteful Revenge, but I'll never know unless I do the work! Feel free to explore their website yourself!...