It’s Alive … and It’s AwfulJuly 6, 2010
Tonight I watched a movie I have been trying to see since the 1970s: It’s Alive.
This is a horror movie. I remember it being marketed when it came out, but now that I’ve done my research I realize I saw the second wave of publicity that came with its re-release. Yeah, this movie bombed in 1973, but came out again in 1977 with a better ad campaign, and did some good business.
I suspect it did the kind of business that ends with people saying “I spent money on that?”
This is a bad, bad film. It’s about a couple whose new baby is a monster. Here, watch this:
Reader/listener Mike reminded me tonight on Twitter that this aired as a TV commercial, so I probably saw it. It’s pretty gripping. The problem, though, is that this never happens. The couple never actually sees the baby, and it sure as hell is never in a cradle; it flees the hospital upon birth and runs wild in the community. Mom is in shock. The cop’s wife is due to give birth, so he’s freaked out. The other dads in the hospital talk about the impact of pollution. Dad’s boss then fires him because his baby killed all those nurses … I can’t go on. This movie is abysmal, and a real letdown. What little we see of Monster Baby looks cheap and stupid even by 70s standards, and that’s saying something.
The posters and trailers, as it turns out, were a real cheat, but a good example of how to re-market a failed movie. We don’t see that anymore. What we do see are stupid remakes of bad 70s horror movies, and this is no exception. The only thing worse than a cheap remake of an old fright show is a cheap remake of an old fright show that you’ve never heard of.
We do, though, get to see some nifty 1970s artifacts that are long gone.
- A home intercom system. Remember these? You could turn your voice into incomprehensible gibberish in order to tell your mom to bring down your BMX helmet.
- Smoking in the house. Hell, smoking in the hospital.
- The milkman. I used to love to wait for the milkman. Yeah, I was always pretty nerdy.
- Wallpaper. People don’t wallpaper anymore, and they don’t choose thick dark prints to match their shag carpeting. Wallpaper seems like a great idea until you (a) try to put it on or (b) try to remove it. Don’t ask me how I know this.
- Brown appliances. Fridges and stoves used to come in gold, olive green and brown. This was the worst period in modern American history, and not just because of Nixon.
I’m glad I watched it just to have seen those things. But I don’t recommend it. Same goes for the 2008 remake, which haven’t seen. This is the first time I’ve understood the phrase “you can’t polish a turd.”
My friends at Horror Etc. have better selections for you. Check them out.