Blu-Ray Review: It’s Alive Trilogy
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It’s Alive Trilogy
Director: Larry Cohen
Screenwriter: Larry Cohen
Cast: John P. Ryan, Sharon Farrell, Frederic Forrest, Kathleen Lloyd, Michael Moriarty, Karen Black
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated PG/PG/R | 91/91/95 Minutes
Release Date: May 15, 2018

“There’s only one thing wrong with the Davis baby… IT’S ALIVE!”

A genuine auteur of low-budget horror and science fiction films, writer/director/producer Larry Cohen has made a career out of making audiences exclaim “holy fucking shit” in unison during his movies. Known for blaxploitation films like Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem, and horror flicks like Q: The Winged Serpent, The Stuff, and God Told Me To, Cohen is one the last true mavericks of cult cinema.

Cohen’s most beloved contribution to cinema, perhaps, is a series of films about monstrously deformed babies with razor-sharp fangs and claws. It’s Alive (1974), It’s Alive Again (1978), and It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987) are inbred triplets hanging off one particularly fucked up branch of the Creepy Kid Family Treeâ„¢, the same gnarled oak that contains movies like The Bad Seed, Village of the Damned, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Omen. And like those classic films, they’re cautionary tales packed with scathing social commentary… and demon babies.

In the first film, Frank Davis (John Ryan) and his wife Lenore (Sharon Farrell) are expecting their second child. The couple avoided having a child for several years while Lenore took contraceptive pills. When the child, a baby boy, is born, it’s a hideous monster deformed by fertility drugs with an insatiable urge to kill. Cohen’s first entry is notable for its score, composed by the legendary Bernard Herrmann (Citizen Kane, Psycho, Taxi Driver) and its bouncing bundle of terror, created by makeup artist and creature designer Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London).

The second entry, It’s Alive Again, continues with Frank Davis, seeking out other would-be parents of mutant babies. He tries to warn soon-to-be parents Jody (Kathleen Lloyd) and Eugene Scott (Frederic Forrest) of a conspiracy to murder their baby and the other unborn mutant children who are being born around the country as a result of dangerous fertility drugs. The final film in the trilogy, It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive is without question the most outlandish – and the most entertaining – entry in this murder-baby saga.

It’s Alive III picks up several years later, with five deformed babies being quarantining a remote deserted island. One of those babies belongs to Jarvis (Michael Moriarty of The Stuff and Troll) and Ellen (Karen Black of Trilogy of Terror and Burnt Offerings). Five years later, Jarvis is approached by Lieutenant Perkins (James Dixon), who tells him that he’s been recruited by Dr. Swenson (Art Lund) to launch an expedition to the island to study the babies’ development and that he wants Jarvis to accompany them. Yes, it’s as utterly bat-shit bonkers as it sounds; an amalgam of Aliens and Predator, but with giant six-foot-tall baby monsters stalking soldiers and soldiers through the jungle.

Now, Scream Factory is giving new life to Cohen’s seminal work with the It’s Alive Trilogy Blu-ray box set. Each film offers up a 1080p high-definition widescreen presentation in its original aspect ratio (1.85:1), from a new 2K scan of the original film elements. It’s hard to imagine these movies looking any better than they do here – and let’s be honest, could you even handle a 4K release of It’s Alive? I don’t think my brain (or my stomach) is ready for that. Each movie also comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio track, so you can hear all the screams in super-crisp detail.

If you’re a cult movie maniac who celebrates Cohen’s vast filmography, even the lesser works like A Return to Salem’s Lot, you’ve no doubt already pre-ordered this release. For younger horror fans who are playing catchup with obscure ’70s titles, the It’s Alive Trilogy is definitely worth a look. I can’t say the movies are all that great, but they’re interesting, if not fascinating, especially within the context of the era in which they were made.

Bonus Features

Scream Factory’s three-disc It’s Alive Trilogy box set comes with several newly produced special features. For It’s Alive, there’s Cohen’s Alive: Looking Back at the It’s Alive Films, an 18-minute retrospective featuring interviews with Cohen, actors James Dixon, Michael Moriarty, Laurene Landon, and more. There’s also It’s Alive At The Nuart: The 40th Anniversary Screening with Larry Cohen, a 13-minute interview with Cohen at a special screening of the film at Los Angeles’ historic Nuart Theatre.

For Island of the Alive, there’s a new interview with special effects makeup designer Steve Neill. All three films offer an audio commentary with Cohen as well as your standard assortment of radio spots, TV spots, theatrical trailers, and still galleries.

It’s Alive Trilogy is now available at Amazon. Check out trailers, clips from the films, and the Blu-ray box set’s kick-ass cover art below!

It’s Alive Official Trailer

It’s Alive Clip: Delivery Room Issues

It Lives Again Official Trailer

It Lives Again Clip: It Escapes Again

Island Of The Alive Official Trailer

Island Of The Alive Clip: Protect Ya Neck

Cover Art

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