Friday, October 12, 2012

It's Alive (1974)


Synopsis taken from IMDb
Heavily pregnant Lenore Davis tells her husband, Frank, that she is in labor. They leave their eleven-year old son Chris with their friend Charley and they head to the Community Hospital. Lenore feels that something is wrong and delivers a monster that kills the team in the delivery room and escapes through a skylight. Lieutenant Perkins comes to the hospital to investigate the murder and the press divulges the identity of the parents. Frank discovers a dark secret about Lenore and the baby.

Larry Cohen comes out swinging with this tongue-in-cheek horror film. Cohen, who'd later make The Stuff (1985), did two sequels to It's Alive. The sequels are titled It Lives Again and It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive. I haven't seen these sequels yet, but you bet your ass I'm getting to them.

One thing you gotta love about Larry Cohen is that he's big on slapstick horror. He throws the cheese one high and runs with it and makes it work. While I don't consider his movies to be masterpieces they're very entertaining. It's Alive has been dubbed the title of classic and until recently I've never seen it.

The hospital scene is one of the best horror scenes from the 70's, totally shocking. It's notorious. The birth of this mutant is grisly. It makes me cringe to think of that actually happening in real life. And it's definitely not something that a pregnant woman should watch. It'll put alot of horrors in your head.

Something that I found amusing and got a few laughs from me were the attack scenes. Where you see the baby's POV and he's crawling through grass and bushes and attacking people. His vision is blurry and cheesy, but it was a good touch. My favorite is when this little ugly thing attacks a milk man.

One thing that I find funny about this movie is that the father, Frank, seems to be the only real character. He's the only one acting as a real person would, feeling emotional pain and mental strain from what's happened with his baby boy. To make it worse he wife starts acting like a lunatic. Frank is the only one with his head screwed on tight, the guy acts on rationality and emotion. Everyone else put on over-the-top performances adding to the goofiness of this movie. Since it's intentional, I accept it.

One thing that upsets me a bit about this movie is that you don't actually see the baby. You hear him growl and attack people, you even hear him cry. But you never see him. There's one shot where you can see him but he's in the shadows, so you can't draw out any real details of him. However, there are plenty of pictures floating around online. Just a shame you have to go online to see what the ugly bastard looks like.

The policemen soon discover that the baby's been using the sewer system to get around (which made me laugh) and go after him. I liked the scene between Frank and his son. Frank has a real reaction and has a heavy decision to make. He's in a tough spot.

Overall I was amused and entertained by this film. I wasn't overly impressed but it was a good movie. It's one you could watch in the dark by yourself or one you could watch with friends and have a few laughs and jumps. I was a bit disappointed by it because I heard so much about it that it didn't meet my hype expectations. I feel like there was more to the story and we were cut short and only got part of it. The finale could have gone out with a louder bang.



  1. Hi Mr Grimm! Your review caught my eye as I watched this for the first time only recently. Must admit, I liked it. I mean, mutant babies? Weird enough, and the idea that they could be hiding in a cupboard, crawling around under your bed, nipping at your ankles...bit creepy, if you think about it.
    And don't you think it might have worked just as well (better?) if we the audience never got to see the baby AT ALL? Your imagination would have made it seem much worse... just a thought.

    1. Hey Bob!

      I get what you're saying completely and I agree with most of it. As far as never seeing the baby goes, I never thought of it that way. So I'm glad you brought it to my attention. I do like movies that don't show you everything, that's what's scary. The stuff you don't have to be shown to scare you. However, I guess I figured since this movie wasn't that scary and deliberately a little cheesy, that they should have shown it to add to the corny factor and for laughs.

      I didn't think of it in the scary aspect, I was going off of cheesiness. You get what I mean?


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