“One of the peaks of Larry Cohen’s remarkable series of low-budget political allegories, this horror hit reaches back into the womb not as escape hatch from the tensions of society, but as pipeline into its very roots” — Fernando D. Croce, cinepassion
B-movie master Larry Cohen completed his transition from hardboiled television work in police procedurals like Columbo to high concept genre movies with 1974’s It’s Alive. The film finds the best laid plans of happy couple Frank and Lenore Davis (John P. Ryan and Sharon Farrell) ruined when their second child comes out swinging in the delivery room, massacring everyone in sight and revealing his monstrous form.
Despite the schlocky premise of a manhunt for a killer newborn that isn’t the bundle of joy his parents hoped he’d be, It’s Alive is smart, savvy filmmaking, straddling the line between horror, family drama, and social satire. Cohen is equally deft at handling the expectant parents’ comic anxieties about the pesticide and pharmaceutical filled future their child is about to be born into and tracking the diminutive monster’s eerie milk-and-blood stained killing spree across L.A. It’s Alive is also potent as a commentary on the moral panic of medical professionals, PR executives, and concerned citizens who want to snuff out the Davis baby on principle — disgusted by its unforgivable crimes of being ugly in a world that only knows how to buy and sell beauty, and being a bad child in a world that only values innocence.
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