'It's Alive!' (1969)
Film: 'It’s Alive!'
Director: Larry Buchanan
Writer: Larry Buchanan
Starring: Tommy Kirk, Shirley Bonne and Bill Thurman
This film begins with voice-over narration setting the stage for the film; the narrator is actually director-writer Larry Buchanan. He tells us that we have a married couple that is traveling across the country. We learn that where they are, hidden behind the forests is a creature that lives in a cave and only will come out when there is rain and sunshine at the same time.
The couple is played by Shirley Bonne and Coverth Ousterhouse. They are lost as they made a wrong turn. Bonne pushed for this drive west, as she is from New York and has not seen much of the country due to this. They are running out of gas as they past through a Prehistoric Forest park. They come to a jeep that is parked and stop. Ousterhouse gets out of the car and drinks some water from a metal cooler on the back of it.
The owner of this Jeep appears and he is played by Tommy Kirk. He is helpful in telling them that they made a wrong turn and that the national park they are looking for cannot be gotten to from this road. He does inform them that there is a farm up ahead that might have gas for them to get to the nearest town.
They get back into the car and continue you along the road. They find the farm and as they exit their car, they meet the owner, who is played by Bill Thurman. He was outside playing with one of his pet snakes when they arrive. He asks about them, learning that no one would look for them if they were missing. He then invites them inside to wait, claiming that there is a truck that is coming out to the farm that will have gas. When that arrives, they can buy some and then be on their way.
Living with him is a woman that takes care of the house; she is played by Annabelle Weenick. Thurman asks her to host his guests, but she is visibly scared about something. He commands her to do what she’s told and even slaps her across the face. She agrees to what he is asking.
Thurman goes outside to move the couple’s car when Kirk arrives. He offers to help see what is wrong with the car and while he does, he is hit in the back of the head with a wrench.
Weenick brings some drinks to the couple, but they want to open the drapes. Weenick states they can’t and that Thurman doesn’t like it. She is hiding the fact that he trying to hide their car. Thurman then comes into the house and offers to take them on a tour of his farm, showing his animals. The couple reluctantly agrees to this.
He ends up taking them down to a cave and locks them in. They are concerned as to what is going on and realize that Kirk is locked down there with them. Thurman informs them that there is a creature down there, his prized possession. There is a set of stairs that take them down even lower into the cave, where the creature is.
Thurman brings a gun into the cage with him and ends up shooting Kirk when he tries to rush him. Thurman does drop his gun though and it falls to the lower level. Ousterhouse goes down to get it and is introduced to the reptilian creature.
Kirk is a paleontologist and states that it is an extinct creature. Weenick is a captive herself and tries to do what she can to help them escape, but she has to be concerned with her own well being. Can they all get away from Thurman and his creature before it is too late? Or will they all become victims to it?
I came in not really knowing much about this film, but this if from the 1960s, sci-fi/horror films where they had small budgets and minimal scripts. I did read up on this film that there was much bigger plans for it, but with the death of the star actor it was passed on. This film really had issues having such a small budget. The concept of a crazy man who is feeding this creature is good, but we only see the creature twice and it is not even on screen for more than a minute.
There were a lot of issues with this film due to this. First off, the film is really boring because there are long takes and many shots of people just driving. To play off of that, when Weenick is telling her story how she came to the house and why she is there, that legitimately takes almost 15 minutes, with a portion of that is her running through the woods, chased by Thurman. I liked that they didn’t show the creature all that much, because it looks cheap and fake. The problem though is that this film is about the creature, but it really wasn’t. It is more about the people who are kidnapped and living in captivity and trying to find a way to escape. I wasn’t a fan of the ending and Kirk’s reaction to everything either.
Now with that said, I wouldn’t view this film. The acting isn’t good and there isn’t much in the way of story either. The concept is good, having a man who is isolated losing his mind and feeding people to this rare, supposedly extinct creature living in a cave near his house, but we don’t get a lot of that. Mostly we get the people locked up and the back-story of how they got there. The budget was extremely small and the creature looks fake, so it was good that they really showed it for about a minute on screen. This film was very flawed and boring, I wouldn’t recommend giving this a viewing unless you like bad horror films and want to laugh. The problem though is that there isn’t much in the way of laughing at this film.
My Rating: 2 out of 10