The second and third parts of Larry Cohen’s It’s Alive trilogy are by turns silly and sublime. It Lives Again, released four years after It’s Alive, picks up soon after the original film’s conclusion with the monster babies now being born at an ever increasing rate. The gleefully over the top scenario involves parents on the run from government death squads charged with executing the babies and a hidden laboratory where sympathetic scientists are determined to uncover the secrets of the children and reintroduce them into society. Cohen carefully regulates the humorous hysteria of the material to present a scalding portrait of societal intolerance without ever losing sight of the fundamental sadness of his story. That grief, though, is tempered by a deepening of his critique; with the multiplication of the “monster” babies comes a raising of the stakes of Cohen’s portrait of prejudice. The overwhelming parental fear of having children that are “different,” so powerful a theme in the original film, becomes, in the sequel, a fear not only of one individual aberration but rather a horror at the prospect of an emerging aberrant society—the allegory of the anxiety within the parent-child relationship is articulated even more explicitly in the second film. For example, one can read the hysterical fear of parents wondering if their child is going to be “one of them” as a representation of the dread of homosexuality—and that society promises a challenge to previously held mainstream notions of what is “normal” and “right.”
- Warner Bros.
- 91 min
- Larry Cohen
- Larry Cohen
- Frederic Forrest, Kathleen Loyd, John P. Ryan, John Marley, Andrew Duggan Eddie Constantine, James Dixon, Dennis O'Flaherty
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