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It Lives Again

Entry updated 26 April 2021. Tagged: Film.

Film (1978; vt It's Alive II). Larco/Warner Bros. Produced and directed by Larry Cohen. Written by Cohen. Cast includes Frederic Forrest, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley and John P Ryan. 91 minutes. Colour.

This sequel to It's Alive (1974) has the Mutant child's father from the previous film warning another young couple that the pregnant wife may also produce a mutant baby and that the government is systematically terminating all such pregnancies, even though he has learned that the Monsters will respond to parental affection. There follows a continuing clash between, on the one hand, the group determined to save the babies and, on the other, a government group – including another father of a mutant baby – equally determined to kill them. Apart from being a devastating study in marital stress, the film also asks (but does not answer) questions of an sf kind about the possible purpose of this apparently horrible mutation. Primarily, however, the mutants symbolize the way in which families and society as a whole can be torn apart by diversions from the norm. Like most of Cohen's films, It Lives Again is deeply subversive of the conventional social pieties. The exploration of these ideas is continued in the further sequel, It's Alive III: Island of the Alive (1986), which blends schlock horror with extraordinary sensitivity in Cohen's typical but unsettling manner. Here the mutants have been isolated on an Island contaminated by radioactivity, two of them producing a child of their own, while once again a father (Michael Moriarty) has to come to terms with his abhorrent role as star in a media freak show. [PN]

see also: Monster Movies.


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