REVIEW: MANGIATI VIVI! (EATEN ALIVE!) VINYL LP / COMPOSER: ROBERTO DONATI / PUBLISHER: STELLA EDIZIONI MUSICALI / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
There's really nothing quite so thrilling as the first release of a previously unavailable movie score. Roberto Donati's soundtrack for Umberto Lenzi's first cannibal movie, Mangiati Vivi! (Eaten Alive!) has never before had an official release, so Stella did a nice job with this pressing.
The record is available in a limited pressing of 250 on black, and 250 on green. The green's a gorgeous deep colour, much like the Amazon jungle in which Lenzi's film is set. Additionally, it comes with two posters – neither of which you're likely to hang anywhere in your home where it might be seen by sensitive guests, as each features nudity and blood. The LP sounds spectacular, as does everything Stella releases.
For the first few tracks, it seems a shame to lavish so much attention on such a lacklustre collection of music. The opening cut, "Eaten Alive!" is superbly disco, and will remind listeners of something like the themes to American '70s television shows such as The Love Boat or The Price Is Right. "Stand By" is timeless in its genericism. It could have been recorded yesterday, it's so bland – random guitar solo freakout notwithstanding. The title is apt, as it sounds like on-hold music.
There's a sudden shift with the off-kilter pulse of "Into the Bush," and you understand that Donati had some skills for a couple of tracks, but by the time you've reached the end of the first side, cuts like "Free Time" have taken away any excitement you might have gained from "Bloody Rusty Saw."
The second side, however, is music from Lenzi's follow-up, Cannibal Ferox, and the "Cannibal Ferox Theme" hits it out of the park right at the start with its Frizzi-esque vibes. "Iron Nightmare" and "Room of Fear" absolutely kill, as well. However, some of the cuts suffer from the excellently clean sound on this Stella release.
Sometimes, you want something like "Speedway" to sound less crisp as, cleaned up, this track epitomizes the inherent cheesiness of half of the music on this LP. It verges on circus calliope. For whatever reason, a cheesy happiness grates on the nerves, while a creepy cheese cut like "Piranhas" is absolutely charming.
While well-executed and a lovely presentation for a heretofore unreleased score, given the calibre of the actual music, w'd suggest this only for diehards, and that those wanting something to which they can listen for enjoyment wait for One Way Static's Cannibal Ferox release.