"It's Alive" is a Classic Horror Movie and we've been meaning to do a Motherfucking Masterpiece column about it for quite some time now. But you know how it is, just one thing after another. Like Acid Logic Editor Wil Forbis' Wife getting pregnant and the baby turning out to be a Monster. And then my Wife got pregnant and the baby turned out to know something about editing a fucking web zine. Yeah, I started writing the "It's Alive" column months ago and it's been just one stupid joke after another. Is this article ever going to get started? Maybe it already has and it's turned out to be a . . . MONSTER???
"It's Alive" is about a couple who give birth to a freak so horrible not even MSNBC will give it a prime time show. The Film is set in the Seventies so the situation is completely different from how it would be today in . . . We don't even know what to call whatever the hell this decade we're in today, that's how messed up we are compared to people in the Seventies. For one thing, the Mother and Father of the Monster Baby are MARRIED TO EACH OTHER and actually LIVE TOGETHER in THE SAME HOME. You know, like all those wonderful gay and lesbian couples they keep making us look at on Television. If a woman were to give birth to a Monster Baby today everybody would be too busy helping her fill out the paperwork to start collecting Welfare to even notice that the Baby is lurking around the city killing people. What caused the baby to be such a Beast? Hell, the kid will have slaughtered the entire population before anybody can figure out who the goddam Father is, forget figuring out why it's got fangs and claws! And with all these geeks getting piercings and neck tattoos today a newborn baby won't be allowed to leave the Hospital until they give it fangs and claws.
Comparisons to "Rosemary's Baby" are inevitable, especially since it gives me an excuse to write eleven pages worth of "Roman Polanski Pedophile" jokes. Roman Polanski. . . (Eleven pages of "Pedophile" jokes deleted). Who Directed "It's Alive"? Larry Cohen? Has he ever had to leave the US because of having sex with an underage girl? No? Well, if he's still in the US after some of the Movies he's made -"Black Caesar", "Hell Up In Harlem", "God Told Me To","Q", "The Stuff", - Larry Cohen must be a friggin' SAINT!
The Father of the "It" in "It's Alive" is played by the brilliant John Ryan. How do we know John Ryan is a great Actor? No, not because he's balling Scarlett Johanson after she's dumped Ryan Reynolds. We know John Ryan is a great Actor because HE CAN CRY ON CUE! Whoa! Ryan really opens up the hydrant during the Film's Big Climactic Scene in which he finally opens his Heart to the Baby and accepts him as His Only Begotten Son despite how the kid has turned out. Yeah, like THAT ever happens in Real Life! But it's real moving stuff. "Excuse me, are we going to get to watch the Baby kill somebody again after this Lifetime Movie shit?" "Shut up! Sniff . . . Sniff . . . Just shut the hell up!!" It looked like Ryan was about to have a really great career until he was horribly injured in a helicopter crash while making a Movie. Funny, I don't remember him in "The Twilight Zone", do you? I'll have to see that again. Nah!
"It's Alive" also features the first Musical Score composed by the legendary Bernard Herrman since he was booted out of the Movie Industry. Cohen was a long time admirer of Herrman's Music for such films as "Psycho" and "Citizen Kane" and used to listen to it while typing up scripts. Sure wish I knew that before I spent all those years typing up scripts while listening to Kiss and Blue Oyster Cult (Saleeby shoots himself in the head, brains fly all over the place). Herrman had been exiled to London after every Studio in Hollywood blew him off for being such a pain in the ass. But then a new generation of Directors started offering him work and he made a tremendous comeback. Hey! I was exiled to Mississippi after every Comedy Club blew me off for being such a pain in the ass! Maybe a new generation of Bookers will start offering me work and I'll make a tremendous comeback? Yeah, and a box of Kellog's Raisin Bran is going to win the Boston Marathon next year (Saleeby shoots himself in the head again but now it's empty). If Cohen hadn't brought Herrman back from London the old bastard would have become increasingly embittered and demented just in time to join the British Punk Movement. Under Herrman's diabolical control members of The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Heartbreakers, etc. would have instead been assembled into a massive Punk Rock Orchestra leading to the complete destruction of Western Civilization, mass rape, cannibalism, and Twenty Four Hour Music Video Broadcasting. And Iggy Pop would have became President Of The United States. So maybe we woulda been better off without "It's Alive", huh?
I learned a lot about "It's Alive" while listening to Cohen's commentary on the DVD. I'd pretty much given up on listening to those DVD commentary's after an ear full of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Verhoeven on the "Total Recall" DVD. I fell asleep halfway through, had a dream in which I was eavesdropping on Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler plotting the Final Solution, and woke up screaming "DON'T FORGET THE GOLD FILLINGS!!! DON'T FORGET THE GOLD FILLINGS!!!
Cohen shot "It's Alive" in only eighteen days. And if that sounds hectic, he was also shooting "Hell Up In Harlem" AT THE SAME TIME! He handled it very well except for the time he got mixed up and shot ten minutes of black guys hollering "YO! YOU HEARD 'BOUT DAT FREAKASS BABY GOIN' 'ROUND HARLEM KILLIN' MOTHERFUCKERS!?! DAMN! BABY GONNA EAT YO' ASS!!! SAY, JEWBOY MOVIE DIRECTOR!!! WHAT DIS KILLER BABY SHIT GOT TO DO WIT' 'HELL UP IN HARLEM'? YOU SMOKIN' TOO MUCH WEED, MY BROTHA!! AND ACID LOGIC!!! HOW MUCH LONGER THIS SILLY ASS ROUTINE GONNA GO?!? IT'S RACIST!!!"
Cohen completed "It's Alive" but the new Administration at Warner Brothers didn't know what to do with it any more than the Obama Administration knew what to do about Iraq. Ha ha! The Movie sat on the shelf for a couple of years until the same Distributor who surprised everybody by making a hit out of "Willard" picked it up and it went all the way to Number One. Yeah, they figured if that guy could make a success out of a Movie about rats he could do the same with a Movie about a Killer Baby. I think he might be the same guy who made a Big Star out of Ben Stiller.
Cohen shot a lot of "It's Alive" inside his house. I don't think he shot any of "Hell Up In Harlem" there. "YO! WHITE BOY MOVIE DIRECTOR!!! YO' BIG ASS HOUSE TOO GOOD TO HAVE US 'HELL UP IN HARLEM' MOTHERFUCKERS INSIDE!?! YOU AFRAID WE MIGHT STEAL YO' JAPANESE COLOR TV SET OR SOMETHIN'?!? DAMN, THAT IS RACIST!!! KILLER BABIES ARE WELCOME IN YO' HOUSE ANY OL' TIME BUT BLACK MEN LIKE ME AIN'T EVEN GOOD ENOUGH TO MOW DA YARD!!! IF WE DIDN'T HAVE THE SAME AGENT I'D KICK YO' ASS!!! AND YOU ACID LOGIC CRACKERS!! THIS ARTICLE IS OUTRAGEOUS LIKE I AIN'T NEVER SEEN NOWHERE!!! AN' I THOUGHT THAT 'CHARLIE"S ANGELS' ARTICLE WAS FUCKED UP!!! DAMN!!!"
Like a lot of Low Budget Movie Monsters, the Baby doesn't really look all that great. But unlike a lot of Low Budget Movie Directors, Cohen was smart enough to do that Val Lewton "Cat People" thing of making the Baby seem really scarey by showing it as little of it as possible. If they had shown Ben Stiller as little as possible "Meet The Parents" would have been a really frightening Horror Movie.
Here's The Big Mystery about "It's Alive" - How do you get away with making a Movie where Birth Control Pills cause the kind of Birth Defects that not even Sarah Palin can put up with? BIRTH CONTROL IS SACRED!!! Haven't you ever had a Girlfriend? (It's okay if you haven't. They aren't worth the trouble) If you let them make crazy Movies about Birth Control Pills they'll really go outta control and start making crazy Movies about ABORTION!! I'd hate to seem them try that with the "It's Alive" Baby "Okay . . . Hand me the pliers . . . My God! This baby is . . . " "WHO YOU TRYIN' TO PLAY WITH, BITCH!?! IF YOU EVER SAW A BABY LIKE ME BEFO' YOU MUSTA TOOK THE D TRAIN TOO FAR UPTOWN!!! ACID LOGIC!!! THIS IS SOME MESSED UP SHIT!!! IF IT WASN'T FO' DAT 'PETEY WHEATSTRAW, THE DEVIL'S SON IN LAW' ARTICLE I'D JUMP UP OUTTA THE INSIDE O' YO' GIRLFRIEND AN' . . . Exactly how long do I have to keep this up?"
"Oh, you can stop."
"Thank God! This is exhausting!"
There was an "It's Alive" remake a few years ago but it was a real flop. They should have gotten Ben Stiller to play the Dad, maybe gotten one of his Real Life kids to play the Monster . . . I broke out in a sweat just writing that down. No wonder Edgar Allen Poe needed drugs. Now I'm going to be locked up in the bathroom chugging Cold Medicine all night.
John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org