Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's Alive (1973)

Fear 2/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 3/5

After watching this film, I was truly shocked that I hadn't seen this gem before. A perfect blend of campy schlock and horror, It's Alive could very well have been made by Herschell Gordon Lewis if he were asked to make a monster flick rather than a beatnikery gorefest (don't fret though, there is an ample amount of gore-y delight here too).

The film starts off with a happy family who is eagerly anticipating the birth of their 2nd child. The husband and wife playfully joke about the newest spawn while in bed one night. As the wife leaves to go to the bathroom, she starts to complain of contraction pains. The husband springs out of bed as the mention of said pains makes him think its go time. They pack up, hop into their ride and set off, dropping their son at a family friend's house on their way to the hospital.

After receiving confirmation that it is indeed baby delivery time, the husband works to get his wife situated in her room. Once that's done, the husband then heads to the waiting room. Proudly lighting a cig, he starts into conversation with a couple of other men who are also sharing temporary residence. They all start trading pointless jibber jabber, one remarking about the lack of air quality in the city of LA and the other lamenting about his troubles working in pest control (this scene alone pulling directly from the H.G. Lewis handbook of dopey banter). After the husband grows tired of the bitter gents, he exits the waiting room, quickly learning that mom is ready to give birth to the 11 pound bun thats in her oven.

Anxiously awaiting outside, the husband sees a nurse stumble out of the delivery room and collapse to the floor, a healthy gash showing on his neck. Rushing to the side of his wife, he opens the door to the room only to find that all of the doctors and nurses have been sliced and diced. After getting his wife out, the police arrive and interrogate the husband and wife, immediately laying claim that the wife gave birth to an animal. Checking out the wife's medical records, the po-po's learn that she looked into an abortion a few months earlier. The husband claims that they were just trying to cover all their bases, admitting that they didn't really plan on 'this' pregnancy. Relenting, the husband comes to terms with the birthing of something not quite USDA-grade human and it kicks off a city-wide manhunt for the mutated monster tyke which looks like this:

The little monster kiddo escapes the confines of the hospital and begins to go on a killing spree, stalking people through the lenses of his hazy, drunken eye vision.

In one particular scene, he follows a milkman as he's making his daily deliveries. Hitching a ride aboard his truck, the little guy begins to screech and claw around in the back (freakin' backseat drivers!). As the deliveryman leans in through the window leading into the refrigerated section of the truck, he's attacked by the ghastly little dude, pulled into the back, breaking milk bottles and sending contents spewing onto the street below. In a well executed shot, blood spills out of the back of the truck and it mixes with the milky trail, blending together like some sort of grotesquely infused creamy cocktail.

So the wife eventually comes home and starts to go cuckoo crazy as her maternal instincts kick in. She takes in the mutated new born (like all good animals, it finds its way home), vowing to do whatever's necessary to protect it. When the husband figures out what's going on, he confronts the wife, and learns that she's been keeping the little killing machine locked away in the basement.

The older son grows tired of staying at the home of the family's friend and does a marathon run home and upon arrival, sneaks into the house through the basement. He comes across the scared little guy and tries to coax it out from its hiding place. The father barges in, armed with a pistol he keeps in the home and fires away, striking the nasty little bugger. It then scurries out the back door that leads into the basement and it meets the friend of the family at the top of the stairs (he's now arrived on the scene to see what all the fuss is about). He immediately becomes a casualty of the mutant spawn as it hilariously sails into the air and takes a sizeable chunk out of his neck (I didn't draw the Microsoft Paint arrows in the pic below, BTW).

The end of the film sees the diminutive pint-sized tyke of terror finding refuge in the underground sewers, as dear old dad and the rest of the LA police force track him down. Dad begins to have a change of heart and when he runs into his wounded son, he attempts to try and rescue him. Upon exiting out of a large sewer drain, he comes face to face with a group of officers with their guns drawn. The father then has to make a decision to either save himself or his mutant son. He prefers the former, throwing his blanketed boy at one of the detectives. The police officers promptly open fire, killing both the detective and the little bundle of horror. Geez, thanks dad. First you want to kill me, then you want me, and then you REALLY do kill me. No Christmas card from Hades for you!

As the husband meets his wife in a squad car that awaits them, news comes over the radio that another mutant baby was born in a nearby state. You see, we come to find out about midway through that the wife along with scores of other women, had been taking an experimental birth control pill and now a number of mutated monster tykes are being plopped out of vajay-jay's across the country. ZOINKS!

An instant classic with yours truly, It's Alive is an absolute hoot. Definitely check it out if you haven't done so already. Oh, and apparently there are sequels.

Cortez the Killer

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