The idea that society looks at the deformed and ugly as inhuman only fit for death, while the parents see a child of theirs with a right to live regardless of how it was born, is not naive and hollow at all. It gives us several aspects. “Oh no, another society criticism”, I hear you say. But I liked the idea. The problem with this movie is that it was not properly developed and was given to director Larry Cohen who did half-ass job here.

its-alive-movie-poster-1974-1020464895

Beginning takes us straight to the point. Not much of a introduction. A woman Lenore (played by Sharon Farrell) is in the hospital, giving a birth to a baby. Not to a regular baby, as we might have already presumed, but to a mutated monstrosity with gigantic head who went on killing spree the moment after it popped out of it’s mother oven (you will notice that I am using “it” as an expression for a baby). Not-so-proud father Frank (played by John Ryan) busts in where he finds the entire delivery room staff slaughtered and his son is missing. Frank holds the hospital responsible for, what he said, abduction of his son (though he previously had to convince doctor that it is human). Of course, doctors are suspecting Lenore being exposed to radioactivity during her pregnancy. Yeah, when you don’t know who, blame it on radioactivity. It has as much sense as zombiefing ray shot from outer space. Anyway Frank, doctors and Lt. Perkins (played by James Dixon) had agreed to keep this quiet in order to avoid unnecessary publicity. But too bad that news reporters wouldn’t agree to them. Those vultures somehow got hold onto the info and, while driving home after the stressful day, poor Frank heard on the radio his name and name of his wife being accused of creating a  monstrosity which killed the entire hospital. They announced their names just like that! At this point I think I hate all of the characters in this movie. Meanwhile, IT is still somewhere at large.

 

After this Frank’s life is becoming a living hell. He got fired at his public relations job, media is all over him, and let’s face it, his firstborn kid is ugly as hell. And his newborn kid is piling up the corpses. After ripping the throat of some random unlucky guy it forced it’s entry into the milkman truck. And killed him. Frank had it enough of this, so he had agreed to sign his approval for absolute destruction of this thing, as doctor had suggested.

 

A police manages to locate the infant at nearby elementary school. Frank finds out about that so he joins them. He seems not as much interested in destroying the monster as into clearing his own name. There he held a speech in which he denounced his kid, not admitting it as his own flesh and blood (despite the fact that it the most certainly is). Offended by this speech, infant goes into another killing frenzy, slaughtering several police officers and escaping into the woods. Police had opened full fire but with no luck. They are just powerless against the demonic baby.

burn-baby-burnBurn, baby, burn

Back at home Frank faces another problem. Someone has drunk his milk! And we are not talking about few glasses. Several bottles are empty! Now who might that be? Was it his now deranged and ever-horny wife Lenore, who bugs him all the time about having sex with her? Or was it his firstborn son Chris (played by Daniel Holzman), who has been left for safekeeping at the relative? Also Frank finds Chris’ room trashed. He phoned him but Chris had said that he wasn’t coming back home that day. Then, under the excuse of going to bed, Chris sneaks out and starts running. Hm how strange.  It turns out that Lenore and Chris were hiding monster in the basement, without Frank knowing it. Frank decides to deal by himself with his prodigal son. He shoots the baby but it escaped again and killed their relative Charley (played by William Wellman Jr) who were following Chris. Also, we got here continuity problem. You see, it was early evening when Chris started running back to home. Later scenes show us that he is still running through the deep night. Eventually, he arrived home early in the morning with the first sunrise. So, by the looks of it, it seems that little 11 years old Chris was fully running for the entire night without a pause. I know adrenaline mixed with fear can give you some superhuman feats, but come on!

breastfeeding-timeBreastfeeding time

Police had arrived couple of moments later. It was obvious they wasn’t eager to stay. Actually they shit their pants. But there is a job to be done. So the big chase occurs resulting in cornering the infant in sewer. Like a real professionals police gave a rifle to civilian Frank in order to finish the job. I guess it is the only fair that Frank cleans up the mess he made. Frank finds his son wounded and, in that moment, fatherly instincts aroused inside him. He couldn’t kill the little monster so he tried to save him. He ended up surrounded by police squadron ready to kill. And what he had done? He played the oldest trick in the book! A moment before police started shooting he throws a baby into Doctor’s (played by Shamus Locke) arm hold, leaving him to deal with the rain of bullets and little monster who is ripping his throat. Classic! At the very end Lt. Perkins receives a call about another such infant has been born in Seattle, which leaves plenty of room for a sequel. And it actually has been made. Not one, but two – “It’s Alive 2: It Lives Again” and “It’s Alive 3:Island of the Alive”

 

Conclusion: As I have already stated in prologue, the main idea does drink the water. There’s no doubt that the film was made on a cheap budget. But it is not the main problem here. Main problem is director Larry Cohen. Sure, the budget was low, and he tried to cover it by hinting at the monster baby without elaborating in great detail what it looks like. But many other aspects remained undeveloped. For example, there is only a brief glance at researching scientists who wish to study the child, and the pharmaceutical company who created certain pills Lenore was taking during her pregnancy. That part of the story died with above mentioned rain of bullets so viewers remained short for explanation. Also there is a great number of continuity goofs. As for the acting I really couldn’t identify myself with nor believe to most of the characters, except maybe for John Ryan who’s performance in a role of agonizing parent who didn’t ask for the problems forced on him really hit the spot, while Sharon Farell was switching between overacting and underacting most of the time. And I must not forget to mention now famous make up artist Rick Baker who had done pretty decent job here, considering a cheap budget and the fact that this was his debut. Even if we promised to ourselves that we wouldn’t watch any other movie directed by this god wretched man, unfortunately we are such idiots that we ought to break this promise for sure (which actually happened the following week when we watched Q: The Winged Serpent). What can I say, we are suckers for ’80s trailers and low budget monsters.

P.S. We actually learned something from this movie. Don’t look with hate at and don’t be mean to the one who is socially unacceptable just because he is different than others in any way because…

vucic-se-smejeLike any other monster he just wants to be loved!

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Comments
  1. hoveprinting says:

    You are so unfair on Cohen dude, he was a great ideas man, just not, uh, much if a stylist . . . OK, I’m gonna shut up now . . .

    Like

    • pokeras85 says:

      I must admit Cohen really confuses me, some of his biggest successes are movies where he wrote the script and didn’t direct yet when he directs himself the scripts often seem rushed and undeveloped.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hoveprinting says:

        He’s the ultimate cheapskate director, so has blown potential ‘greatness’ to save some shekels eg Q the Winged Serpent. I’m not gonna mention The Stuff, still makes me feel ill, oh wait . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  2. […] I had already stated in my previous review (It’s Alive), we broke our promise given to ourselves that we wouldn’t watch any other movie directed by […]

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