It’s Alive Trilogy
review by Bobby Blakey
Shout Factory has been churning out the classic horror films through their Scream Factory brand for years now. The latest getting the treatment is not only one, but the entire It’s Alive Trilogy from director Larry Cohen.
In the 1974 original It’s Alive, heavily pregnant Lenore Davis tells her husband, Frank, that she is in labor. They leave their eleven year-old son Chris with their friend Charley and they head to the Community Hospital. Lenore feels that something is wrong and delivers a monster that kills the team in the delivery room and escapes through a skylight. Lieutenant Perkins comes to the hospital to investigate the murder and the press divulges the identity of the parents. Frank discovers a dark secret about Lenore and the baby. As silly as the overall idea might be the original film does a great job at creating some mystery and tension until the end. Sure it is a bit dated with the somewhat silly creature effects, but that is part of the charm. I hadn’t seen this film in years and was expecting to be laughing throughout, but found myself actually really enjoying the creepiness of it all. This is one of those bizarre horror films that hold up pretty well.
The ending of the original film set it up for a sequel which came in 1978 with It Lives Again. In the second film, a hideous threesome of mutant baby monsters are the evolutionary response to man’s polluted environment. These frightened creatures lash out with deadly claws at what they don’t understand. There are only three, but they could reproduce into uncontrollable millions if someone doesn’t destroy them. This chapter tried hard to capture the magic of the original and while it does work for the most part it fumbles the demon baby a few times. Original film star John P. Ryan returns to keep the continuity of the story and helps to keep it on track. The new parents this time around are not quite as effective as the original film, but it’s the creatures that are the real star anyway. Once again the practical effects bring the old school charm to a film that could have easily fell flat.
There was a long break before the final chapter in the franchise It’s Alive III” Island of the Alive hit in 1987. In the final chapter of Cohen’s trilogy the distraught parents of one of the new mutant children have watched in horror as government death squads roamed the earth, shooting the humanoids on sight. They’ve suffered through the court hearings that sentenced their child and other surviving mutants to a remote, uninhabited island. And their nightmare continues … because the abandoned creatures are now grown … and they are coming back home to the society that created and rejected them. And no one who stands in their way will live. This is easily the weakest of the series. There was an attempt to evolve the creatures to something bigger and more menacing while trying to keep their essence, but what made them creepy was being babies. The bigger versions just didn’t work for me and the overall story felt too simple and lost the tension the other films worked to build towards.
This release is alive with bonus content including commentary, TV spots, radio spots, still galleries, trailers, new interviews and more. Grab your copy of the It’s Alive Trilogy when it hits Blu-ray on May 15th from Shout Factory.
For more information head over to www.shoutfactory.com