Friday, May 1, 2009

Day Ninety-Four: It's Alive (1974) - Rank 3/5


If you've never seen the film before, you may be familiar with the first five minutes. A husband and wife check in to a hospital as the wife prepares to give birth to their second child. A shot while later, a nurse staggers out of the delivery room, blood gushing from his neck, and screams are heard. The husband rushes back, sees a pile of dead doctors, nurses and orderlies, all the while his wife is screaming, "Where's my baby? What's wrong with my baby?" Such an opening hooks you instantly, but the rest of the film never lives up to the initial shock. Instead, the film digresses down the road of the cathardic and the implausible for most of its duration.

That's not to say the film is terrible - it just could have been much more. Though I doubt a cock-eyed baby puppet could have instilled genuine fear for too terribly long (hey, it was early, pre-"American Werewolf in London" Rick Baker, so I won't knock the puppet too much). It was getting pretty silly about fifteen minutes in as the inevitable question: "How is a newborn baby able to take out humans faster than a rabid wolf, much less plague an entire city?" No, a larger focus seems to be the duality of the father and the mother, the latter hopes her baby will return to her, the former totes shotgun in hand, hoping to score the kill himself. I had a genuinely tough time trying to discern whether the humor and hammy acting were intentional or incidental. I fear the second is likely the truth. Nevertheless, that unintentional scenery chewing and hoakiness make it fun fare, if nothing else.

Watch the Trailer

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