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Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's Alive!

In the 39 years I've been alive, I've seen millions of movies, and a great many have been slasher films--hey, I guess I'm just lucky enough to have great taste in cinema, right? Anyway, in that time, I've seen my share of weird slasher-flick villains: Psycho doctors? Check. Summer camp killers? Ohhhh, yeah. Killers possessing inanimate object? Yep. But you know what I never thought of? Killer Babies.

Yes, Killer Babies. I've watched It's Alive(both the original 1970's "classic", and the recent remake, both via Netflix Instant) and It Lives Again and It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive on a double-sided DVD. Oh baby!

The first film in the It's Alive franchise is about an advertising executive and his wife, Frank and Lenore. They have a son and another baby on the way. On the day the Lenore starts going into labor though, SOMETHING GOES WRONG!!!!! *gasp* It seems that there was a minor massacre in the delivery room, killing everyone except for the mother and the baby, who fled out through a window and left Mama to take the rap. Naturally, Lenore is accused of murder, and an investigation follows. Mom is allowed eventually to return home, but still under what is pretty much house arrest. And one question remains: how does a woman giving birth kill a roomful of medical personnel while strapped down to a table???

We learn fairly quickly that the answer is, "She doesn't." Her baby does. See, when Lenore first knew she was preggers she decided to abort the fetus by way of an experimental medication. Then, when she changed her mind, she went to the other extreme and tried fertility drugs. All those drugs, plus cigarettes, alcohol, recreational drugs and whatever-the-hell-else she decided to ingest, all of it mutated the baby. In the first movie you don't really see the monster baby much, but in the other films it resembles a fat version of the monsters in the Ghoulies, pretty much like a normal baby, really.

Anyway one cop, Perkins, knows something weird is going on. He starts visiting the couple, interviewing them more and more, and doing deep background checks. By the way, Perkins is in all 3 of the It's Alive movies--although by the third film, he seems shoehorned into the plot. I don't know if it's intentional or not, but the guy's a riot...sort of like Norm on "Cheers" if they could pry him off of that barstool. (oh, and apparently the actor passed away, so forget about ever seeing him in any future killer baby films)

So the parents are kind of stuck: the baby is on the loose, killing pretty much everyone it encounters, they're being scrutinized 24-7, and the pharmaceutical company responsible for the drugs that mutated the baby in the first place have coerced the authorities into trying to hunt it down so it can be dissected/studied. Frank pretty much cracks under pressure, what with having his Baby Mama deliver a Baby Monster, so he gets his hands on a gun and decides to kill the baby himself. I mean, hey, it's not like his wife will ever want to carry HIS baby ever again, and he loses his cushy job, so what's a monster breeder to do?

Well, the baby ends up breaking into a school. While Frank is helping investigators look there for the baby, Lenore finds It first, and hides it in the basement. Dr. Spock must've loved this film's parenting advice. While It is exploring his dank, dark new home, he meets Frank and Lenore's older son, whose name completely escapes me at the moment. Let's see, he could be considered the Sibling Hero of It, right? So let's just refer to him as SHIt.

So SHIt tries reasoning with It, and it turns out that It only kills because he's frightened. Kind of like that time I rode a roller coaster at Six Flags and decapitated everyone waiting in line after I got out. Because THAT is just the most normal reaction to fear ever, right? But I digress: Frank interupts the SHItstorm, and wins Father of the Year trophies by shooting It. It escapes AGAIN(C'MON, mutant or not, it's a freakin' BABY fer Petes' sake!), and after ditching his handgun, Frank gets his hands on a shotgun. Yee-ha, it's turning into a tame episode of Jerry Springer now!

He tracks the thing to the sewers, and realizes exactly what his non-monster son realized about 2 scenes earlier: Baby It is just scared. Awwwwwwwwwwwwww. Any bets on how monstrous his diaper must be at this point? Frank picks his son up, apologizes for shooting him, and walks out of the sewer with It in his arms. Best Father's Day card EVER. Too bad the cops waiting outside weren't watching the previous 10 minutes of the film, because they open fire on It, giving him a circumcision he'll never forget. As the movie winds down, there's a call over the police radio: Another monster-baby has been born, this time in Seattle. Was he ever in a grunge band, I wonder? DUN DUN DUNNNNNN 4 killer trees, just for the batshit-craziness of it all.

So, after watching all of this nonsense, what lessons have I walked away with this week?

-Muppet Babies are hard to kill.
-I can get through an entire movie recap without even once making fun of a name like "Lenore".
-Lead actors in movies from the 1970's didn't need to look good or know how to act to get work in Hollywood.

Join me next time as I go make boom-boom in the diaper that is It's Alive 2:It Lives Again! Cootchy-coo, mofo's!