I remember back when I was a wee tyke of barely six years old, I saw a trailer on TV for a new film. It started out with a nice, harmless instrumental of “Rock-A-Bye Baby” as a bassinet slowly rotated against a pitch black background. The nice music was then replaced by an ominous-sounding heartbeat rhythm, and the most unsettling scream I’d ever heard. And to top all that off, there’s a grotesque clawed hand hanging out of the bassinet. Voiceover guy then says, “There’s only one thing wrong with the Davis baby…
That commercial? Scared the shiznit out of me as a kid. In fact, it still makes me shudder this very day. (I don’t care if it was rated PG; movie ratings were very different back then. This kind of PG isn’t even close to the same as Minions or Stuart Little being rated PG. Today’s ratings system is a big fat mess. I may blog on that later.) Voiceover guy says I shouldn’t see it alone. And, I didn’t. I hadn’t seen it at all, until about 24 hours ago. I found the movie on a popular streaming service, dialed it up, and, with my wife sitting very close by, finally watched It’s Alive, some 40+ years after its theatrical release.
How was it? Well, let’s just say I’m glad I waited ’til now to watch it. This film would have wrecked six year-old me. I would’ve never gone near another bassinet or baby again. Watching it now, of course, the script and the effects don’t really hold up, and it’s quite slow in its pacing. Actors walk very slowly, and take long pauses in between words to build suspense. Adult me would be more likely to die from boredom, than from fright, while watching this.
Oddly enough, I felt similarly un-frightened after watching the 2017 remake of IT. That’s mostly because different types of things scare me these days. Mutant killer babies, and demon clowns? That’s bush league. Nowadays, I’m scared by stuff like not being caught up on all my bills, or being too drowsy at my desk at work, or behind the wheel of my car.
Anyway, It’s Alive is a classic campy 70s-style horror flick, with a score that’ll make you think you’re watching an episode of McMillan & Wife. For pure entertainment value, it gets an adjusted-for-inflation three out of five stars from me.
(The IT remake was too long, and Pennywise seemed to be a little too unfocused in his mission. Two out of five stars.)