Larry Cohen’s horror film “It’s Alive” didn’t always get the respect it deserved. While it’s certainly a seventies shock horror film about a mutant baby, it’s also about fear of genetic and birth defects, the question of abortion, and the idea of euthanasia in children. It thrives on being a horror cult classic, but it’s also a socially relevant movie that pounces on a lot of important issues. Larry Cohen’s classic film gets a wonderful treatment from the folks at Scream Factory with all three “It’s Alive” films on one box set, and it’s a collector’s set that’s impossible to pass up.
Cohen’s “It’s Alive” is an entertaining horror drama about Frank and Lenore, a couple going on to their second child. On the way to their hospital Lenore gives birth to what happens to be a ravenous mutant baby. The baby massacres the doctors and nurses, and escapes the hospital making its way across the city, leaving a wake of bodies in its path. Though Frank and Lenore are convinced the baby has to die, they aide in hunting it down and realize it’s merely the product of experimental birth control. While I’m not a fan of the anti-contraceptive message, it’s at least a top notch monster movie with solid performances, and a gut wrenching finale; there’s also the great effects by Rick Baker, who is behind a lot of the gore and monster effects.
And it has Bernard Hermann scoring, of all people. The baby from “It’s Alive” lives! Again! In “It Lives Again!” Cohen brings us not one but three mutant monster babies. But this time they’re more a response to the pollution of the environment than anything else. They begin to reproduce and now it’s up to a secret organization and Frank, the dad of the original mutant baby to hunt down the trio of babies. But things aren’t completely as they seem as the as Frank seems intent on helping them along with a group of covert scientists that hope to domesticate and help the mutant babies from growing up to be monsters. It’s a road trip horror film/parental nightmare like the former film that takes a while to get going but it’s an okay follow up nevertheless.
Last but not least “It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive” finds two new parents, Stephen and Ellen, who have spawned a new mutant child. The government is now implementing death squads to find and eliminate the mutant children around the world. With the parents leaving their child in an island where the mutants are abandoned, things get worse when the full grown mutants want back in to society. If you can appreciate the silliness that ensues with the giant mutant babies, “Island of the Alive” might prove to be a fun monster movie and capper to Larry Cohen’s mutant baby saga. I like it for being so ridiculous and it admittedly has sentimental value as I fondly remember watching it on late night cable back in the nineties.
The Blu-Rays come packed with new transfers and reversible cover art. On Disc One there’s an audio commentary by writer and producer Larry Cohen. There’s the eighteen minute “Cohen’s Alive: Looking Back at the It’s Alive Films” which features interviews with Cohen, producer Paul Kurta, actors James Dixon, Michael Moriarty, Lauren Landon, cinematographer Daniel Pearl and historians/journalists John Burligame, FX Feeney. “It’s Alive at the Nuart: The 40th Anniversary Screening” is a thirteen minute Q&A set on the special screening.
There are Radio Spots, TV Spots, the Theatrical Trailer, and a Still Gallery. The disc for “It Lives Again” features an audio commentary with writer and producer Larry Cohen. There’s also the original trailer, and a still gallery. The disc for “It’s Alive III” features an audio commentary with writer/producer and director Larry Cohen. There’s also a ten minute interview with Special Effects Makeup Designer Steve Neill, who discusses his work on the film, working with Rick Baker and Larry Cohen, and his ideas on evolving the mutants from the first film. Finally there’s the original trailer and a Still Gallery.