Tuesday, June 4, 2013

IT’S ALIVE (1974) movie review

It's Alive (1974) d. Cohen, Larry (USA)

“There’s only one thing wrong with the Davis baby...” Expectant couple John P. Ryan and Sharon Farrell end up with more on their hands than just dirty diapers in this low-budget shocker, which became an unexpected hit with drive-in audiences everywhere. From its jaw-dropping delivery room massacre to the absurdly moving climax in the Los Angeles sewers, this is the scary mutant baby flick to end ’em all.

While writer/producer/director Cohen is the mastermind behind this inventive spin on a parent’s worst fears made flesh, equal credit must also go to f/x maestro Rick Baker’s nightmarish nipper creation (a riff on 2001: A Space Odyssey’s “Star Child,” complete with bug eyes, claws, vein-studded scalp and a serious teething problem).

Additional points for Fenton Hamilton's blurry, fish-eyed “Baby-cam” cinematography, and for Ryan’s convincing, dedicated performance (especially considering the outlandish and outrageous subject matter). And yes, that is legendary composer Bernard Herrmann providing the musical stings.

Followed by two inferior, but still entertaining, Cohen-directed sequels, It Lives Again and Island of the Alive, and a hit n' miss 2008 remake starring Bijou Phillips.

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