It's Alive Trilogy

Starring: John Ryan, Sharon Farrell and Andrew Duggan
Warner Home Video
RRP: 24.99
Z1 04935
Certificate: 15
Available 25 October 2004

In It's Alive a couple are having their second baby, but it appears to be unusually large. When the child is born it is a demonic creature with carnivorous and cannibalistic tendencies. It kills everyone in the delivery room, aside from the mother, and escapes the hospital. For his own safety the couple's existing boy is packed off to his grandfather. While the mother begins to act unnaturally lucid as if nothing has happened, the father sets out on a personal vendetta to kill the abomination. He hasn't accounted for the baby's homing instincts, however...

Every parent's nightmare that their baby may be born abnormal is exaggerated and explored in this average but decent film from 1973. As it should be, the creature is seen only in sporadic half-glimpses, the majority of the film probing the reactions from family, associates and the media. The music is jazzy and over-dramatic, reminding me of a cross between the original Outer Limits and The Streets of San Francisco, thereby dating the film more than the setting itself.

In It's Alive 2: It Lives Again (1978) Frank Bradley, the father from the first film, is back as part of a group dedicated to saving any of the mutant babies which are being born periodically across the country. A crack team of government armed police are arriving with speed at the scene of each birth and killing the creatures. Frank and his team warn a couple and spirit the baby off to a secret location where they care for and study the mutants as the next evolutionary step of mankind. When the couple's wife is taken to the location the armed men follow, and all hell breaks out when the babies get loose.

Here we have much of the same, with more set pieces, the best perhaps being when a woman gives birth in the back of a taxi near the beginning of the film. This film seems to suggest that the mutants might be the result of mankind's manipulation of nature and neglect of the environment.

In It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive (1986) a father becomes a minor celebrity by fighting for the rights of his child and other mutants. When the case reaches the supreme court the judge decides it's unlawful to kill them, but also agrees that they cannot be integrated into normal society. He decrees they should be left to their own devices in a secret location (in this case an island). Four years later the judge dies and the policy is reversed. The father and others visit the island to discover the mutants have developed and multiplied, but still have that instinct for home.

This is where it all gets silly, but also somehow more enjoyable. It's almost as if writer/director of the trilogy Larry Cohen realised this and started to throw in some humorous visuals and ridiculous lines. This is fine except it makes the poignant ending difficult to take seriously.

Extras are a commentary and trailer for each film.

Ty Power

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