We popped in “It’s Alive” and already things were looking better. My husband spotted Rick Baker’s name in the credits and we both cooed over the Bernard Herman score. Graeme said that he could leave right then and feel completely satisfied. Nick was just obsessed with the groovy ‘70’s wallpaper.
The more Larry Cohen movies I see, the more I become a rabid fan of his. Although generally operating with lower budgets and far fetched plots, a Cohen film is going to be smart, well written and acted and not just a little satirical. “It’s Alive” deals with a couple who find that they have given birth to a flesh-eating mutant, the horrible result of environmental pollution. As with most high-concept horror from the ‘70s, the true horror is in how the authorities choose to handle the situation, with the doctors being more concerned about being right and the corporations more interested in covering their asses. There is also fabulous drama with the father (John P. Ryan) choosing to disconnect from his spawn and the wife (Sharon Farrell) retreating into a fantasy world where nothing is wrong and she is the perfect housewife.
There even the added stake of their adolescent son and their attempts to shield him from the horror of what is happening. Despite the absolute ludicrous nature of events, it is all handled in a realistic, humane way, making the horror even more affecting. Not to mention some quality gore, and a super creepy mutant baby creature. Nick commented that the baby resembled the infamous “Bat Boy” from the Weekly World News, but even that didn’t diminish the awesome atmosphere Cohen had built up.
It may seem a little redundant, but everyone agreed that “It’s Alive” was the perfect antidote to “The Suckling”. Comments were considerably fewer, other than cheers when the pharmaceuticals guy got it and some musings on the L.A. viaducts. Graeme and my husband noted that any movie using the viaduct was instantly cool. Look at “Chinatown”, or “Terminator 2”. Then Brendan brought up “Grease” and my sister had to remind him that “Grease” was only cool if you were a 14-year-old girl. And yes, she was speaking from experience.
Rumblings from the Peanut Gallery: My husband made a point of apologizing again at the end of the evening for “The Suckling”, especially since there were so many comments. It may have been the most talked through movie we’ve experienced yet. And definitely the one that inspired the most off-color remarks. In fact Brendan said something so offensive I couldn’t even write it down. Someone noted that “Big Mama” was neither big, nor mama-like. Mike wanted to know who had commissioned it and why they hadn’t just burned the money. And we all agreed that it would be best if we just forgot it all together. We also learned that someone else who we did not know had had a special “Boa vs. Python” night, which warmed the cockles of our hearts and my husband and I decided that we were in fact ready for “Q: The Winged Serpent”.
Next week, Toho terrors: “The Mysterians” and” Matango”.
Mariko McDonald and her fiancé host a weekly film night in their apartment, affectionately known as the Den of Sin. It’s kinda like evil film school. Monthly screening schedules are available at http:filmgurlland.blogspot.com and if you happen to live in the Vancouver, BC area and are interested in catching a screening please drop her a line at filmgurl79@hotmail dot com. Suggestions, hate mail and cute pictures of cats also accepted.
And of course you can always offer up some juicy Back Talk>>>
Posted on June 22, 2005 in Features by Mariko McDonald
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- LARRY COHEN: MAN IN A PHONE BOOTH
- LARRY COHEN: MAN IN A PHONE BOOTH
- IT’S ALIVE
- ENTER THE DEN OF SIN: BABY CRAZY
- SOMETHING TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS AND REVIEWERS
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