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It's Alive/Year 2889

3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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(Jan 20, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Two outlandish, monstrous curios from legendary Texas director Larry Buchanan, creator of Mars Needs Women and The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald! In It's Alive!, a forest ranger (Disney star Tommy Kirk) and unwary travelers run afoul of a roadside zookeeper (Billy Thurman) who feeds people to his pet dinosaur-man (also Thurman, in a tatty suit). Then take a trip to Year 2889, where Paul Peterson (TV's The Donna Reed Show) is destined to father a new world after a nuclear war has decimated Texas. Unfortunately, he and a handful of other survivors must contend with cannibalistic, telepathic mutants!

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Shirley Bonne, Larry Buchanan, Tommy Kirk, Corveth Ousterhouse, Bill Thurman
  • Directors: Larry Buchanan
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000YEDX6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,798 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "It's Alive/Year 2889" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As a longtime fan of cheesemaster Larry Buchanan, I was eager to see these two movies. While I view "Zontar, The Thing From Venus" as the touchstone for Buchanan, this cheesy duo stands on their own peculiar merits.

"It's Alive," from 1969, is the weaker of the two offerings in every sense, so I recommend watching it first. The premise is that a young couple (Tommy Kirk and Shirley Bonne) on a driving holiday run out of gas at Billy Thurman's roadside circus of freaks. Thurman has an involuntarily detained housekeeper who narrates much of the film in a traditional Buchanan collection of flashbacks, and quickly detains the couple as well. The film sort of plays as a weird combination of "Manos, The Hands of Fate" and "Psycho" only without the nuance or character detail of either. Thurman is a sadistic creep who has wildcats and rattlesnakes among other things in his zoo, but his prize possession is the leftover costume from Buchanan's 1967 picture "Creature of Destruction." This monster dwells in a cave under Thurman's house, and while the script assures us it is a huge aquatic lizard, the DVD box refers to it as a "pet dinosaur-man," a premise that is discussed in some hilarious detail in the film. Thurman fairs reasonably as an actor here, but the rest of the cast appears to have never read their lines before.

"It's Alive" is very plodding and suffers from extremely low production values (even by Buchanan's chintzy standards.) The plot is fairly predictable, and borrows a lot of things from other films (in addition to the costume, note the recycled music from "Zontar," etc.) The film really does have a lot of structural similarities to "Manos" especially in the beginning when the couple is lost on their drive.
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Format: DVD
Due to the length of my review here (sorry folks) I am focusing only on my favorite of the two films, "IT'S ALIVE!"

I want to preface this review for the uninitiated: the films of director Larry Buchanan are most definitely an acquired taste. In a way, viewing a Buchanan film is sort of like doing drugs, only without the negative after effects or the risk of incarceration. After catching one of Larry's films, (if you can make it all the way through), you'll almost certainly end up either loving him or loathing him. I happen to love the guy and think he's an under-appreciated indie filmmaker. Yes, he made schlock, but he acknowledged & accepted it and I feel he honestly tried to do the best he could with the meager resources at his disposal. I'm not trying to defend or whitewash his films. Especially the eight movies he shot for AIP under the "Azalea Pictures" banner. Some of Buchanan's work makes Ed Wood look like Spielberg in comparison. By any definition his stuff is crap. But it's glorious crap! There are no real production values to speak of in these Azalea films. The "sets" were whatever house/back yard Larry could secure the rights to film in for an afternoon or three (for free, of course!). His actors were almost always fast-fading B-listers with nothing left to lose (and bills to pay), clueless first-timers with no inkling of the career killing choice they'd just made, or friends of Larry's who pitched in to help make the movies and considered any time in front of the camera as just a fun bonus.

In the mid 1960's, as color TV sets became more widely available and commonplace, demand by local stations for color programming increased.
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Comment 3 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Who cares what anyone says negatively about Larry Buchanan's
films. Personally this is good cult movie entertainment. One
cannot properly critique a "cult movie" like mainstream films.
Either you appreciate this art form for what it is or stay with
regular fare. If you like Ed Wood type of filmaking get this DVD.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Oh man...yesterday I 'treated' myself to a mini Larry Buchanan film festival and I am now suffering from hangover like symptoms this morning. I thought it kind of odd that I should watch these two terrible movies on Oscar night, a night when Hollywood celebrates its' best films.
Anyway, Azalea Productions, which worked with American International Television, a subsidiary of American International Pictures (AIP), was sort of a dumping ground for AIP's younger stars that lost some of their sheen. Azalea's productions where beyond cheap, and mostly produced for TV, turning out such schlock as The Eye Creatures (1965), Zontar the Thing from Venus (1966), among others. Larry Buchanan, director of Mars Needs Women (1967), was in charge, and pretty prolific. Retromedia presents two of his more memorable (or forgettable) telefilms here.
It's Alive (1969) stars once popular Disney star Tommy Kirk, who appeared in films like Old Yeller (1957), The Shaggy Dog (1959), and Swiss Family Robinson (1960), but once he became older, lost his appeal towards casting directors and was forced to dwell in movie hell. The plot for this movie is basically a young New York couple, the Sterns, gets lost in the Ozarks, meets Wayne Thomas (Tommy Kirk), a paleontologist working in the area, who directs the Sterns to a nearby house in that they may get some gasoline and make it back to civilization. The secluded house belongs to a man named Greely (Billy Thurman), who also runs a sort of dinosaur park with wild animals that he's captured over the years. He's got snakes, wildcats, monkeys (where the heck did he capture monkeys in the Ozarks?) and something lurking in the caves behind his house, his prize possession. Seems Greely found a prehistoric creature, and feeds the occasional lost traveler to his 'pet'.
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