It's Alive (1974)

PG | 91 mins | Horror | 1974

Director:

Larry Cohen

Writer:

Larry Cohen

Producer:

Larry Cohen

Cinematographer:

Fenton Hamilton

Editor:

Peter Honess

Production Company:

Larco Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

A 19 May 1975 Box article stated that the budget was $500,000.
       When It’s Alive was released in Los Angeles, CA, in twenty-four theaters, it grossed an unimpressive $210,480 in two weeks. It later performed well in Paris, France, and Singapore, and producer-writer-director Larry Cohen urged Warner Bros. to re-release it in the U.S. if a spring 1975 release in London, England proved successful. According to a 22 Sep 1976 Var brief, a spring 1977 re-release was set after the film took in $255,000 in one week of test engagements in Baltimore, MD, and Washington, D.C. It’s Alive eventually enjoyed a successful re-release in southern U.S. states, as noted in a 6 Jun 1977 New York item, ranking eighth on Var’s list of top-grossing U.S. releases. New York speculated that the “ridiculous” film was “making millions” due to the popularity of films like Rosemary’s Baby (1968, see entry) and The Exorcist (1973, see entry).
       Critical reception was mixed. In response to a negative Var review on 16 Oct 1974, in which Var questioned why illustrious composer Bernard Herrmann agreed to score It’s Alive, Cohen defended the picture in a 26 Nov 1974 letter published by DV, stating that Herrmann willingly accepted the job after Cohen reached out to him personally and was paid his usual fee, “one of the highest in the industry.”
       A 10 Feb 1975 HR item announced that the film was awarded the “Prix Special du Jury” at Avoriaz, France’s Festival of the Fantastic ... More Less

A 19 May 1975 Box article stated that the budget was $500,000.
       When It’s Alive was released in Los Angeles, CA, in twenty-four theaters, it grossed an unimpressive $210,480 in two weeks. It later performed well in Paris, France, and Singapore, and producer-writer-director Larry Cohen urged Warner Bros. to re-release it in the U.S. if a spring 1975 release in London, England proved successful. According to a 22 Sep 1976 Var brief, a spring 1977 re-release was set after the film took in $255,000 in one week of test engagements in Baltimore, MD, and Washington, D.C. It’s Alive eventually enjoyed a successful re-release in southern U.S. states, as noted in a 6 Jun 1977 New York item, ranking eighth on Var’s list of top-grossing U.S. releases. New York speculated that the “ridiculous” film was “making millions” due to the popularity of films like Rosemary’s Baby (1968, see entry) and The Exorcist (1973, see entry).
       Critical reception was mixed. In response to a negative Var review on 16 Oct 1974, in which Var questioned why illustrious composer Bernard Herrmann agreed to score It’s Alive, Cohen defended the picture in a 26 Nov 1974 letter published by DV, stating that Herrmann willingly accepted the job after Cohen reached out to him personally and was paid his usual fee, “one of the highest in the industry.”
       A 10 Feb 1975 HR item announced that the film was awarded the “Prix Special du Jury” at Avoriaz, France’s Festival of the Fantastic Cinema.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 May 1975
p. 4782.
Daily Variety
26 Nov 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 1974
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 1975.
---
LAHExam
17 Oct 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Oct 1974
Section IV, p. 14.
New York
6 Jun 1977.
---
New York Times
28 Apr 1977
p. 22.
Time
3 Mar 1975.
---
Variety
16 Oct 1974
p. 16.
Variety
22 Sep 1976.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Larco Production
A Larry Cohen Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Stills
FILM EDITOR
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles & opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod consultant
DETAILS
Release Date:
1974
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: week of 16 Oct 1974
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor®
Lenses/Prints
Filmed with Panavision equipment
Duration(in mins):
91
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Lenore Davis wakes her husband, Frank, to tell him she is about to give birth. On the way to the hospital, the couple drops off their son, Chris, at the home of Charley, a family friend. Suffering from painful contractions, Lenore tells Frank that this labor feels more difficult than her first. In the delivery room, she insists something is wrong, but the doctor promises everything will be fine. As Frank waits in the hallway, he sees a nurse, covered in blood, emerge from the delivery room and collapse. Rushing to Lenore’s aide, Frank discovers that everyone but Lenore has been killed. Hysterical, Lenore demands to know what her baby boy looks like, but the newborn has disappeared. Later, police question Frank and Lenore, asking why they inquired about abortion earlier in Lenore’s pregnancy. Frank says they only briefly considered the option before deciding that they definitely wanted another child. The next morning, a woman hears a baby crying outside her home. As she approaches Frank and Lenore’s newborn, she sees his large fangs and panics. Frank loses his job at a public relations firm due to the controversy over his killer baby. After bringing Lenore home from the hospital, he calls their son Chris to say he must stay with Charley a bit longer and lies that the infant is sick. Another dead body is found, and soon after, the killing spree continues when the baby murders a milkman while gorging on milk inside his truck. A pharmaceutical executive tells Dr. Norton, a local physician, that they must cover up the incident and destroy the baby’s body, since Lenore once took a birth control pill manufactured by ... +


Lenore Davis wakes her husband, Frank, to tell him she is about to give birth. On the way to the hospital, the couple drops off their son, Chris, at the home of Charley, a family friend. Suffering from painful contractions, Lenore tells Frank that this labor feels more difficult than her first. In the delivery room, she insists something is wrong, but the doctor promises everything will be fine. As Frank waits in the hallway, he sees a nurse, covered in blood, emerge from the delivery room and collapse. Rushing to Lenore’s aide, Frank discovers that everyone but Lenore has been killed. Hysterical, Lenore demands to know what her baby boy looks like, but the newborn has disappeared. Later, police question Frank and Lenore, asking why they inquired about abortion earlier in Lenore’s pregnancy. Frank says they only briefly considered the option before deciding that they definitely wanted another child. The next morning, a woman hears a baby crying outside her home. As she approaches Frank and Lenore’s newborn, she sees his large fangs and panics. Frank loses his job at a public relations firm due to the controversy over his killer baby. After bringing Lenore home from the hospital, he calls their son Chris to say he must stay with Charley a bit longer and lies that the infant is sick. Another dead body is found, and soon after, the killing spree continues when the baby murders a milkman while gorging on milk inside his truck. A pharmaceutical executive tells Dr. Norton, a local physician, that they must cover up the incident and destroy the baby’s body, since Lenore once took a birth control pill manufactured by his corporation that could have caused the child’s birth defects. Later that day, Dr. Norton visits the Davis home with a university professor who persuades Frank to sign away his rights to the baby’s body once he is captured. After the visitors are gone, Frank receives a call meant for Dr. Norton and learns that the baby has been cornered at a local school. There, Frank speaks with Lt. Perkins, who promises that the police do not blame the father for his baby’s actions. Meanwhile, the baby attacks a policeman and escapes into the woods. The next morning, Frank retrieves milk bottles on his doorstep and notices that Lenore has packed the refrigerator with food. Although Lenore wants Chris to return home, Frank insists their son is better off at Charley’s. Waking from a nightmare, Frank is spooked by Lenore when he looks for her. Frank discovers that the milk from that morning has been consumed and asks if their son Chris has been home. Lenore does not answer, so Frank calls Charley’s house and confirms that Chris is there. Frank returns to the refrigerator and sees that more food is missing since he last checked. As Chris escapes Charley’s house and runs home, Frank walks upstairs in a daze and checks the baby’s room. Although he finds no one in the crib, the door slams behind him and Frank panics. Sneaking in through the basement, Chris finds the family cat dead and bloodied. Retrieving his handgun, Frank heads for the basement, but Lenore tries to stop him, saying the baby will not hurt his own father. Frank finds Chris in the basement, speaking softly to his baby brother. Searching for Chris, Charley shows up, and the baby attacks him, prompting Frank to shoot at the child. The baby escapes through a window, and as police arrive, Frank begs to join Lt. Perkins, saying he must be the one to kill his infant son. Later that night, the police determine that the baby has been traveling via the sewer system. Carrying a police-issued rifle, Frank descends into the sewer with several police officers. Veering off alone, Frank finds his child crying into clawed hands and sympathizes with the mutant offspring. Covering the baby with his trench coat, Frank picks him up and flees. A police barricade greets father and son as they emerge from the sewer. Frank begs the police to spare the baby’s life, saying he should be researched, not killed. However, when Dr. Norton orders police to shoot, Frank throws the baby at Norton. As the baby kills Norton, his final victim, police shoot the infant dead. Driving away, Perkins gets word that another killer baby has been born in Seattle, Washington. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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