Monday, October 10, 2011

October Horror Movie Challenge 10/8


It’s Alive (1974)
(3rd viewing) Cohen, Larry (USA) 91min

It Lives Again (1978) (2nd viewing) d. Cohen, Larry (USA) 91min

It’s Alive 3: Island of the Alive (1987) (2nd viewing) d. Cohen, Larry (USA) 95min

Q (1982) (2nd viewing) d. Cohen, Larry (USA) 93min

“There’s only one thing wrong with the Davis baby…”

Writer/producer/director Cohen graduated from Fred Williamson blaxploitation flicks with this surprise box office smash about mutant babies running amok. John P. Ryan and Sharon Farrell play the distraught couple in the original flick, with Ryan returning to warn expectant parents Frederic Forrest and Kathleen Lloyd in the less effective sequel. A young Rick Baker provided the monster tykes – a riff on 2001: A Space Odyssey’s “Star Child” – for the first two installments (the original being one of the future Oscar winner’s first big creature features).

Along with stop-motion monsters, a strong stripe of twisted (and sometimes ill-advised) humor is introduced into the belated third chapter, as the action is moved from the suburbs to a secluded island where the monster nippers are quarantined. Michael Moriarty and Karen Black ride (and occasionally cross) the fine line of over-the-top with performances as robust and ripe as the gigantic marauding toddlers.

Meanwhile, betwixt the second and third Alive films, Moriarty and Cohen teamed with David Carradine for a charmingly sardonic exercise in monster mania, probably my personal favorite of Cohen’s horror efforts. A giant flying lizard (realized by an f/x team that included Dave Allen, Randy Cook and Peter Kuran ) starts picking off sunbathers and constructions workers off their Manhattan rooftops, eventually nesting in the Chrysler Building. Moriarty’s performance as a wheedling small-time crook is one for the ages.

First Time Views: 17
Repeats: 19
Total Films: 36

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