Blu-ray Review: IT'S ALIVE TRILOGY Kills

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Blu-ray Review: IT'S ALIVE TRILOGY Kills

I have always enjoyed the cinematic comfort food made by Larry Cohen (Q: The Winged Serpent, The Stuff, God Told Me To), and so I jumped at the opportunity to review Scream Factory's new Blu-ray box set, the It's Alive Trilogy

In the original 1974 film It's Alive, Frank and Lenore Davis head to the hospital for the birth of their second child, only things don't go as planned. The baby isn't just monstrous-looking, but in fact kills just about everyone in the delivery room. It turns out that pharmaceuticals are the cause of the mutation, but it's a subplot that's more or less buried within the film.

The film is slower than you'd think, as it follows the more leisurely pace of '70s cinema, but It's Alive is enjoyable nonetheless as the LAPD goes on a baby hunt trying to find this thing. Since this is a Larry Cohen movie, you can expect to have some fun. But there are other notable crew members, too: the always-excellent Rick Baker provided the special effects, in particular the weird monster baby design, and the phenomenal Bernard Hermann (Psycho) crafted the towering, dramatic score. 

The bonus features on this disc offer a q&a with Cohen after an LA screening, lots of interviews with actors, radio and TV spots, and more. It's Alive has a new 2K scan and looks and sounds great.

In It Lives Again, the cliffhanger that ended the first film is expanded upon. In short, other mutated babies have been born in other cities across the U.S. Frank Davis returns as a concerned father who's found out that the police and some agents are keeping watching on couples they think might birth a monster baby. As so, he goes to warn one couple and help them get away from the government, but they all end up teaming up, because MONSTER BABY. It Lives Again is not nearly as good as the first one, but the Blu-ray presents a good picture (2K scan) and sound on this release. The bonus features are relegated to a Cohen commentary, stills, and trailer.
 
It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive is the most entertaining film in the bunch. It starts with a woman giving birth in a cab with the aid of a nearby cop and the cab driver seriously losing his mind in an overly misogynistic tantrum. What comes out? MONSTER BABY! It's actually quite hilarious.
 
Anyway, for the rest of the film, Cohen regular Michael Moriarty (The Stuff) plays Stephen Jarvis, an actor who's fallen on bad times due to his own monster baby. He's been on the cover "Time Magazine" and has trouble getting women, because no one else wants monster babies, either. There's a great scene in which Laurene Landon (Maniac Cop) freaks out after she realizes who he is. And we also have the great Karen Black (RIP) as Jarvis' estranged wife.
 
The babies keep being born, and so a judge rules that they shall be put on an island, which could really just be an excuse to go film in Hawaii. Hey, why not? The babies are "adults" by year five, and they're hugely muscled humanoids. We also get to see the comeuppance of some of the pharmaceutical executives --- who venture to the island for what they think will be an easy hunt.
 
There's a ridiculous twist in which Jarvis leaves the island via yacht (without a captain or crew) and is put out to float at see by the "babies." He gets picked up by the Cuban military, who decide that they would like to personally bring Jarvis back to Florida and just give him a pistol. Through these strange twists, all I can think of is the word "cocaine." Of course, then there's the finale. It's all silly but quite fun.
 
In It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive, we have another 2K scan and the sound is also terrific. There's also another Cohen commentary, more stills, trailer, and interview with FX guy Steve Neill.
 
Want a fun weekend? Pair up the It's Alive Trilogy with Steve Mitchell's Cohen doc King Cohen. It's worth noting that some of the interviews on these discs are done by Mitchell, and are likely outtakes from that doc.

To find out more about the It's Alive Trilogy, visit Scream Factory's site and check out the trailer for the original film below.

Bonus Features

DISC ONE: IT’S ALIVE

  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Original Film Elements
  • NEW Cohen’s Alive: Looking Back At The It’s Alive Films Featuring Interviews With Writer/Producer/Director Larry Cohen, Actors James Dixon, Michael Moriarty And Laurene Landon, And More…
  • NEW It’s Alive At The Nuart: The 40th Anniversary Screening With Larry Cohen
  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Producer/Director Larry Cohen
  • Radio Spots
  • TV Spots
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

DISC TWO: IT LIVES AGAIN

  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Original Film Elements
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Producer/Director Larry Cohen
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

DISC THREE: IT’S ALIVE 3: ISLAND OF THE ALIVE

  • NEW 2K Scan Of The Original Film Elements
  • NEW Interview With Special Effects Makeup Designer Steve Neill
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Producer/Director Larry Cohen
  • Trailer
  • Still Gallery

It's Alive

Director(s)
  • Larry Cohen
Writer(s)
  • Larry Cohen
Cast
  • John P. Ryan
  • Sharon Farrell
  • Andrew Duggan
  • Guy Stockwell
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It Lives AgainIt's AliveIt's Alive 3: Island of the AliveLarry CohenScream FactoryJohn P. RyanSharon FarrellAndrew DugganGuy StockwellHorror