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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Forgotten Horror Gems Vol. 6 - It's Alive! (1974)

I know what you're thinking.  

Cary, how could you have possibly missed seeing It's Alive!?  It's got one of the most iconic posters of the 1970's and was talked about on every schoolyard for months after its release!

Let me tell you a story of a young man obsessed with horror movies who was only allowed to see them when they came on TV.  I was only six when the movie came out but by the time I was 10, it was playing as part of the second half of a Drive-In Double Feature in Okeechobee, FL.  

That movie poster haunted my dreams and when my friends and their older siblings began telling me about how gruesome and horrible it was, I couldn't wait to see it.

Except, I kind of could.  You see, after I reached the age where I could have gone to see it on my own (or rented it), I'd heard from others that it kind of sucked.  I kept it in the back of my mind as something I should eventually check out, but didn't really pursue it.

Until now... and I have to say that once again my impression of the film differs wildly from the girls'.  

A quick synopsis:

A couple go to the hospital to have their baby.  Upon being born, it's discovered to be a horrible mutation that is already able to crawl, climb and kill.  The family is disgraced and local law enforcement has to track down the child and kill it to ensure public safety.  

Here's the girl's take:

The "Not So Old" Film Rubric:  It's Alive (1974)

  1. Something comes alive:  +0.5
  2. Legitimate Plot: +1
  3. Clueless Female Character:  0
  4. Decent Acting: +1
  5. Dumb joke at the expense of the foreign or elderly:  0
  6. The story progresses:  +0.5
  7. Educational short:  -2
  8. Expert in some ridiculous field:  0
  9. Sexist joke/comment:  +1
  10. Music is not repetitive:  -1
  11. Emperor, princess or ancient god present:  0
  12. Love story:  0
  13. 70's hair (giant hair):  +1
  14. Bike riding or picnicking:  0
  15. Bell bottoms and/or platform shoes:  +1
  16. "Trippy" used in dialogue or in the way the film is shot: +1
  17. Overly dated:  +2
Total Score:  6

Some takeaways from the girls:

"The first half hour of this was very promising!" - Karen

"The 70's wallpaper and clothes were awesome." - Lilith

"I was very disappointed that there was no scientist explaining how all this happened though." - Karen

Karen also said that she absolutely hated the music but her hate was immediately replaced the following day because she and I watched another 70's flick with even worse music.  That'll be coming next week.

Personally, I like the idea of this one but the execution is beyond horrible.  Karen's right, the first 30 minutes are fun, all the way up to the birth scene.  After that, there are a ton of plot points either skipped over or mildly mentioned in passing.  The pacing starts to drag in the middle and the whole movie felt like it was a half-hour too long.  My biggest gripe though is that there's never a clear shot of the creature and this is a travesty.  Stills from the film show that Rick Baker's design is fantastic.  

See!  That's one scary looking baby!  I can only guess that the budget dictated that things be kept mysterious.  Anyway, I sort of, kind of, recommend this one because it is 100% pure exploitative schlock and that's always fun on some level.

Next week, we'll check out another classic from the 1970's (again, with terrible music).  This one involves hippies and rabies!

See you then!

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