Monday, December 8, 2014

Strange Killers: It's Alive (1973)

After a long, long break, I decided to revisit and actually complete my look at this Series.  Back in 2010, I watched all 3 of them, but not the Remake.  For whatever reason, I only reviewed Part 2.  Why?  You got me.  Regardless, I'm back to finish what I sort of started.  It's Alive is a unique Film from the 1970s, when Hollywood was moving away from Giant Monsters and into Masked Killers.  While Italy was making the Films that would eventually become such Staples as Halloween and Friday the 13th, people like Larry Cohen were being creative.  The Film tells the tale of a mutant baby born to an unsuspecting family and how it affects the world around them.  Can they stand the unwanted attention?  Can the baby be stopped before people die?  Can the family ever be the same again?  To find out the answers to those questions, read on...
A Couple goes to the Hospital on their big day: the birth of their child.

I wonder if Hospitals are still this blue today or if that was just a '70s thing?
While the husband is away, the baby comes out early and...kills a bunch of Nurses/Doctors?!?
Yes, they have a monster baby (for unknown reasons) and now it is loose in Los Angeles!
With a notable body count (and rising!), the dad reluctantly signs over the rights to his soon-to-be-dead baby to be studied.  He sure looks happy, huh?
In a neat little bit, this Corporate Guy (with the goatee) asks the Police Chief to destroy the baby's body when it is caught, lest any testing prove their culpability (since they made the birth control that the wife had been taking).

For a Film about a killer baby, this stands out to me.
Here's a new one for Monster-vision: double-slightly-out-of-focus vision.
The Police continue to track the beast- nearly shooting a normal baby in the process- and corner it a familiar sight: the water channel in Los Angeles.  I just drove through that in GTA V!
The dad is forced to take action himself, figuring that he had a big role to play in all that happened.
He can't kill his wounded son, but he can't save it either.  In the aftermath, three more babies are born in other Cities.  Ruh roh!  The End.
An interesting mix of Horror, Exploitation and legitimate Drama.  It's Alive is often just 'that movie with the killer babies.'  To be fair, it is about that.  Once you get past that, there is alot more going on here.  The Film is almost more about the Family behind the killer baby than the creature itself.  The dad goes through the multiple stages of Denial, while the wife mostly just shuts down.  Life around them suffers too, whether it is him being fired or them not being able to handle all the Press.  This Film makes a point about showing all of the aspects that come up when something like this does occur.  There is a neat bit where the Wife's Nurse is asking her all sorts of questions, only to be revealed as a Reporter.  In the age of Phone Hacking and Jake Tapper getting information from Monica Lewinsky via a 'blind date,' this holds up surprisingly-well.  The whole angle with people fighting over what would happen to the body when it was killed is certainly still relatable now as well.  Honestly, the only really dated stuff here is the fashion and the interior design.  I haven't seen wallpaper like they have in this movie in years!  The Rick Baker design of the creature is great, even if you don't see it that much.  If you like this kind of stuff, but haven't seen this one, then you really need to.  I can only hope that the Remake is good (but I have my doubts).  The lesson of this Film is simple: if you are going to be attacked, the Hospital is the best place.
Next up, I jump right to the final Film in the Trilogy.  With Cohen alum Michael Moriarty on board and more babies, this should be interesting.  Stay tuned...

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