‘It’s Alive’

Title: It’s Alive (1974)
Rated: R
Directed by: Larry Cohen
Starring: John P. Ryan as Frank Davis
              Sharon Farrell as Lenore Davis
              James Dixon as Lt. Perkins

Tagline: “There’s only ONE thing wrong with the Davis baby…”

By: Jason Plissken

Pre-screening memories: For those of us with a thirst for cinematic blood as kids, sometimes our only outlets were on cable, and were typically edited as to not contain a hint of actual gore, sex or profanity. One of our gore guides in the 80s was a cigar-chomping “superhero” on the USA Network by the name of “Commander USA.”

While Rhonda Shear and Gilbert Gottfreid get all the love for their “Up All Night” shennanigans, Commander USA is largely a forgotten artifact of the era. It’s a shame, really, as his “Groovie Movies” featured quite an impressive list of films for those of us who liked to dance on the darker side.

Titles included such well-known horror gems as C.H.U.D., Friday the 13th, American Werewolf in London, Child’s Play and My Bloody Valentine. But it also included rarely seen films as the Hammer classic The Abominable Snowman (with Peter Cushing), “Bloodbath at the House of Death” (featuring Vincent Price), “Fiend without a Face,” “Hangar 18,” “The Possession of Joel Delaney,” “One Dark Night” and the truly horrifying “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band.”

As well as such international horror oddities thrown in for good measure, like Mexico’s “Brainiac,” and “The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy,” Germany’s “Mark of the Devil,” Italy’s “Satanik.”

It was through this window that I first witnessed “It’s Alive.”  The movie was actually on a lot back then on other channels, but watchin it with the Commander is my strongest memory.  I remember it being pretty scary (for reasons unknown, honestly). I remember, even as a child, thinking that the special effects were rather weak, but still effective. I enjoyed the movie enough that I went out and rented the sequels — “It Lives Again” and “Island of the Alive” —  from the local movie store.  I can’t remember the plots of the sequels, but they were pretty corny, or perhaps Ijust got a little older and they no longer held up under closer scrutiny.  In fact, I remember being more enchanted of the tropical island on which the third film took place than any other piece about the film.

I’m sure Commander USA would be disappointed in me.

Was Jason still making goo-goo faces at the little nipper after all these years? Download it here, or listen to it below:


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