It’s Alive (1974): United States – directed by Larry Cohen
Rated PG by the MPAA – contains violence and some blood and a scary baby
I feel like this movie should have an exclamation point after the title, like Them! It’s Alive! That sounds so much better. In any case, the movie should be better than it is. Or maybe not. The basic plot just screams suckiness. And, for some reason, it was recently remade. The original stars almost no one, is directed by Larry Cohen, a guy who did a few horror movies and a Masters of Horror episode, and the effects are by Rick Baker, who is pretty cool.
In any case, the movie is about a young family who is pregnant with a second child. They go to give birth, but one of the orderlies runs out of the room all bloody. By the time they make it to the delivery room, everyone except the mother is slaughtered bloodily. Pretty fantastic, actually. But the rest of the movie follows the baby serial killer as it tracks down the family and kills folks along the way. Pretty ridiculous. The baby doesn’t look that bad, but its attacks mostly consist of quick cut of baby being thrown at someone, cut away to body lying with blood around the neck.
There is some psychological stuff, I suppose, with the father refusing to acknowledge that the baby is in any way his, and the mother becoming increasingly estranged from the father. Their first son is kept out of the way and out of the public eye (because, yes, the media gets a hold of the whole story and it goes crazy).
The movie is pretty bloody, and I was surprised to see it was rated PG. Sort of don’t believe it, as it was banned in several countries. But still, it deals with several serious thematic issues, like keeping a mutant baby instead of aborting it, realizing that whatever your wife gives birth to is really yours and you can’t distance yourself from it, and probably other stuff.
Despite the serious issues, it’s a bit slow and lacking in the necessary blood/gore/hilarity to recommend to a regular horror fan. Overall, I was not particularly impressed with any aspect of the film. The good news, I suppose, is that the remake can’t be much worse, though I haven’t actually seen it yet. However, on second thought, it probably will be worse, seeing as how it’s a not-so-great plot being recycled.