Follow TV Tropes


Film / It's Alive

Go To
Whatever it is, it's alive... and deadly.

In this 1974 horror film written, produced, and directed by Larry Cohen, diaper rash... turns into diaper rage.

Los Angeles PR executive Frank Davis (John P. Ryan) and his wife Lenore (Sharon Farrell) are overjoyed at the imminent arrival of their second child. Unfortunately, their baby... comes out a little odd. And it turns out to have a nasty habit of killing when it's scared. Which is pretty much all the time.

Followed by two sequels, It Lives Again (1978) and It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive (1987), as well as a very poorly-regarded 2008 remake.

Not to be confused with the show about fermentation on Bon Appétit.

This movie contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The novelization provides background as to why the baby turned out so screwed up (Lenore had been using experimental fertility drugs shortly after she stopped taking birth control pills).
  • The Atoner: Frank reappears in the sequel trying to atone for his actions in the first film by helping other parents of mutant children, though unfortunately this results in a Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome about halfway through.
  • Bizarre Baby Boom: At the end of the film, Frank learns that another mutant has been born in Seattle. The sequel, It Lives Again, picks up this plot thread, as the corporation that produces the fertility drug tries to cover up the resulting mutant baby boom.
  • Broken Aesop: The killer babies aren't to blame for their condition, but the theme of innocence must be protected loses its meaning when you consider that the babies are still extremely dangerous and unpredictable on the same level as a rabid or otherwise dangerous dog which have to be put down for the good and safety of everyone around them.
  • Cat Scare: While Frank is unscrewing a basement light bulb to change it, something emerges from behind him and touches his shoulder. It's a large papier-mâché doll tumbling from a shelf.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The company behind the fertility drugs causing the mutation wants to cover it up, and orders the babies terminated so they won't be held liable.
  • Downer Ending: Frank manages to find an emotional connection with the baby, but the police kill it minutes later. Not to mention his wife has been driven insane due to the whole ordeal, and another mutant baby has been reported born in Seattle.
  • Down L.A. Drain: Where the baby is tracked at the film's climax.
  • Enfant Terrible/Fetus Terrible: The entire premise of the series, the mutant babies are extremely deadly and hostile from the second they're born, and will viciously attack anyone they see as a threat... which is basically everyone.
  • Impending Doom P.O.V.: Quite a few scenes are shot partially from the baby's point of view. It has double vision, probably because it's still learning to process information from its eyes.
  • Mutants: The infant is born with multiple abnormalities, including fangs, claws, and apparently the ability to move about despite being a newborn infant — all of which make it very dangerous when upset, as newborns tend to be immediately after birth. These mutations seem to have been caused by an experimental fertility drug given to the mother, a la thalidomide.
  • Oh, Crap!: Frank, waiting in the hospital hallway, sees an intern emerge from the delivery room... and collapse to the floor.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The film takes its title from the famous line in the 1931 Frankenstein, and both that film and the original novel are discussed by Frank.
    • Frank impersonates Walter Brennan's Red River character while driving with his wife and son at the beginning.
  • Villain Has a Point: Mallory in the second movie. Sure killing babies might be harsh in principle, but the fact remains that the mutant infants are undeniably dangerous and unpredictable.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Frank and his wife give each other this exchange in regards to the infant. He wanted to kill it, while she wanted to hide it.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The infant, whose homicidal rampage turns out to be driven by birth trauma and separation anxiety, and who longs only to be reunited with his family.