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Frank (John P.Ryan) and Lenore (Sharon Farrell) are having a baby, and
until childbirth, everything is going as smoothly as possible, they can
leave their son (Daniel Holzman) with a friend (William Wellman jr) in
time, make it to the hospital in time, and Lenore is admitted to a
delivery room right away ... and this is where it starts to go wrond: You
see, the baby turns out to be a monster, kills all the medical staff in
the delivery room, and makes it out of the hospital through the
ventilation system. Both the police and the hospital staff are baffled,
only the boss of a big pharmaceutical corporation company wants to hush
everything up, just in case (shades of Contergan here).
Meanwhile the baby continues to roam the city, doing a little killing
here or there, with the police unable to track it down (one of the best
scenes has a dozen of cops threatening a harmless, normal baby at
The Davies' meanwhile find themselves besieged by the press, and while
Lenore seems to be more and more losing it, Frank comes to the conclusion
that the only solution to the problem is he himself shooting his baby (a
son, in case you wondered). Then though things take a bizarre turn:
Somehow the baby has found its way home (to its parents' house that is),
and Lenore, who has never really stopped loving her offspring, has hid it
in the cellar and fed it well. Frank, when he finds that out, is horrified
and even takes a shot at the baby before it manages to make a getaway.
Soon the police finds out the baby hides in the sewers, and sends a
virtual army down to kill it. But somehow it is Frank, who has gone ith
the police, who finds the baby, but seeing the poor little creature, hurt
and insecure, he can't but feel pity and fatherly love for it, and he
tries to save it from the police ... to no avail, in the end, the police
can stop father and son and shoot the baby like a rabid animal.
Back in the 1970's, director Larry Cohen was famous for shooting thinking
man's B pictures - meaning he would shoot genre films that always had
a poliltical, ecological and/or satyrical edge to it -, and It's Alive
would become his most famous film, on the surface nothing more than a
monster flick about a murder baby, but beneath the surface, the film
leaves many questions open for discussion (e.g. How can that happen ?
Could something similar happen for real ? Can a newborn be held
responsible for its deeds ? Who has the right to kill a child ? ...).
However all this intellectual baggage does not keep It's Alive
from being first and foremost a very entertaining genre movie.