Written, Produced, and Directed by Larry Cohen
Starring: John P. Ryan and Sharon Farrell
I had the pleasure of catching this on the Turner Classic Movie channel during the Halloween season. I was surprised that day they had a number of Independent Horror movies. The one that caught my attention was “It’s Alive”. I’ve always heard about how this is a must-see movie from the ’70s. I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed!
The movie is centered around the Davis family. They’re that perfect nuclear family with the nauseating cookie cutter life. The future is only brighter now that the Davis family is expecting their second child. When it’s time for Baby #2’s arrival, nothing but chaos follows. Instead of a dimpled bundle of joy, the Davis had a murderous mutant who kills when he feels threatened. The whole city is on lockdown as the police carry out a search and destroy mission while the Davis family has to cope with the fact that their child is a killing machine.
I loved how this movie was basically the nightmare every parent faces when having children. One of the things that were being thrown around throughout the movie were environmental concerns. “Have you been exposed to radiation, Mrs. Davis?” or “Have you taken any new medication, Mrs. Davis?” were the big questions floating around the film. Even though this was filmed in the ’70s, that is something that still a constant fear today. How many of you have seen those commercials saying “If you’ve taken X Medication and your child is suffering from a disability, you may be eligible for compensation”? I’m not going to even touch the medical journals that tell you what’s good for the fetus and what isn’t.
Anyway, 23 yr old Rick Baker was in charge of creating the creepy mutant baby. Before working on this he helped with the make up for The Exorcist. But it was It’s Alive that jump started his career which led to 7 academy awards for Best Make Up. Sometimes all it takes in an indie movie to give you that extra push you needed. Am I right?
But like most Indie movies it wasn’t a box office success. However it did do well in overseas. So later, Cohan asked the studio if it did well in London if they would re-release it. They agreed but didn’t think much of it. Imagine their surprise when it did well in London and it did better in the US after it’s re-release.