As a kind of intermission from The Stand I watched It’s Alive!, the 1974 killer baby thriller. Babies, what have they ever done for us? And now this one is killing people. How ungrateful.
This movie reminds me of the eco-warning movies of the seventies like Frogs, Jaws, Orca and the like. True, there aren’t any rampaging animals. I guess humans do count as animals. But it does contain warnings about the pharmaceutical and pesticide industries and about the health-care complex.
Basically, Lenore and Frank are an older couple with an eleven-year-old son. Frank looks like the offspring of an Easter Island Statue and Bob Newhart and spends much of the movie acting like a dick.
After deciding they could afford another child, Lenore goes on fertility drugs to help conceive. Unfortunately, the baby she gives birth to is a monster and slaughters the entire staff of the delivery room.
The prelude to giving birth was one of the calmest “driving a pregnant woman to a hospital” scenes that I’ve ever seen but the aftermath is shocking, not because of the deaths but because of the inhuman treatment Lenore receives. She’s left screaming for her baby with no one giving her any information about what happened.
The most patronizing doctor in the history of the world gives her some drugs and tells her to calm down.
Around this time we meet the most seventies woman of all time.
Here’s a close-up:
The baby attacks several people, including a milkman. Luckily, we don’t see a lot of the baby. I think if we did it would be a case of too much and we’d focus on the effects.
One night, Frank and Lenore are home alone since they sent their son to a friend’s house to shelter him from the media onslaught since the baby-killings. Frank realizes that Lenore has been harboring the baby. She says it’s just scared and would never hurt them. There is a truly creepy scene where Frank is in the baby’s room and sees the blanket in the bassinet move.
I don’t want to say how the movie ends but it is very satisfying. The movie is billed as a schlocky thriller and yes, some of the effects are very seventies, but I think it does make some legitimate critiques of society. Some of it is rather heavy-handed, such as the scene where the menfolks are waiting for their women to give birth and the exterminator talks about pesticides breeding bigger roaches. The movie is more thoughtful than you would think a movie about a killer baby could be. It actually reminded me of the issues with thalidomide in the fifties and sixties. As a society, we do have some degree of scientific illiteracy and have to trust some authorities about what we’re taking and may not know if it’s actually harmful.
And it leaves us with this message that I totally agree with;
As a horror movie, this was a little schlocky, a little fun, and quite a bit thoughtful. Overall enjoyable. I mean, killer babies? Awesome.