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It’s Alive Trilogy (1974 -1987) - Blu-ray Review

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It's Alive Trilogy (1974-1987) - Blu-ray Review

5 beersBigheaded mutant babies that kill? Forget the toys and balloons. We need guns!

Filmmaker Larry Cohen is one hell of a writer. Sure, at the height of his career, he was crafting low budget exploitation tales but, for the most part, his work was widely praised. Each of his films continues to garner a growing audience of cult film enthusiasts. It’s a life of filmmaking to be envious of; it truly is. Mixing comedy with suspense is not easily done but he pulled off with great success over the course of his filmography. This is part of why the It’s Alive Trilogy of films remains of favorite of B-movie enthusiasts.

And now we have a new reason to celebrate these creepy titles – It’s Alive (1974), It Lives Again (1978), and It's Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987) – thanks to Scream Factory’s blu-ray release of the super celebrated Cohen trilogy concerning the demented Davis infant and the score of other mutant children who are being born to unsuspecting parents around the country.

Poor Frank Davis (John P. Ryan). The sympathy he begins to feel toward the end of flick for this poor child is palpable. But his begging will do no good; the trigger finger is itchy with this one.

"we have a new reason to celebrate these creepy titles – It’s Alive (1974), It Lives Again (1978), and It's Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987) – thanks to Scream Factory’s blu-ray release of the super celebrated Cohen trilogy"


Thing is, It’s Alive remains a classic because of Rick Baker’s creation and the fact that Cohen never really wants us to see it. It’s disturbing in how the killer baby is just teased. These sequences are STILL quite effective.

Add to that crazy killer baby bit a very suspenseful score by composer Bernard Herrmann and you have a classic film that startles us time and time again with its off-screen shenanigans. We don’t get good looks at the killer baby; that’s by design. Just keep in mind that this is before Jaws, where the filmmakers had no choice but to NOT show the creature.  

Four years later, Cohen returned to scare audiences again as Mr. Davis, still trying to forgive himself, tries to warn other parents of mutant killer babies. Three It’s Alive babies?! Wowser. Starring Frederic Forrest as Eugene Scott and Kathleen Lloyd as Jody Scott, this time Cohen tries to preserve the monster baby instead of kill it. We get to see more of the baby killer, yes, even as the film limits its locations. Hospital. Home. Hospital. Home. And still the police come gunning for the monster baby and its parents.

Island of the Alive, part of a package deal for Cohen that included Salem’s Lot 2, is damn successful and – as it is a tonal shift into comedy – revisits the creepy crawlies territory of the original through a brand new lens. The results are quite good. Thanks to Michael Moriarty, Karen Black, and Laurene Landon, the film is a successful continuation of what went before except with a bit more of a wink to the action. With more shots of mutant killer babies – thanks to stop motion effects – and the munching of human flesh, the films included here work more often than they do not.

It’s important to note that Cohen doesn’t really make anything but Larry Cohen movies. They are had to define and hard to single out as comedies, science fiction blasts, and horror movies. Cohen just does what he does best and lets the chips fall where they may. And, as audiences, you either get it or you get out. There really is no in-between with this director.

Whatever "It" is, it's alive!  After all, another one has been born in Seattle…

It's Alive Trilogy (1974-1987) - Blu-ray Review

It's Alive Trilogy (1974-1987) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- May 15, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; three-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Shout Factory’s brand new 1.85:1 HD master of the trilogy of It’s Alive films is detailed and looks better than ever. Some shots, due to the era of the day, are fuzzier than others but the image is reasonably well defined with crisp contrasts and solid textures. Colors are solid, with reds being a standout. Blacks are, too. Surprisingly, there's enough fine detail on display to make this seem revelatory for those used to the previous DVD release. The era-ready color palette looks terrific, too. While there is not much difference between them, the disc comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo soundtrack.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See Special Features for Disc details.

Special Features:

Fans are going to dig these films. Trust in that.

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 (1974)

It Lives Again (1978)

 It's Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987)

It's Alive Trilogy (1974-1987) - Blu-ray Review

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