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It's Alive/Year 2889
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"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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
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'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie was so scary when we were kids and now it is fun to look at it and laugh.
Movies have come along way.
A Larry Buchanan double feature is sort of like two massive blows to the cranium. You're bound to be stunned, and may never fully recover! IT'S ALIVE! Read morePublished on February 24, 2013 by Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein
this is so bad it's great. love cheesy movies. It's a turkey and proud of it. Syfi 3000 here i come.Published on August 27, 2012 by mcdvd
Ok, shlock is really , really low budget filmmaking , with awkward dialog , the cheapest of effects, often wooden acting , which often isn't the actors fault even. Read morePublished on August 18, 2012 by Michael Dobey
everything just barely ok as far as the entertainment of ITS ALIVE xcept needs more personal monsta story/action, and its face is too fake. Read morePublished on April 28, 2010 by John Lemoine
First of all I would like to say that I'm a huge fan of the old stuff!You want to know why?Because Hollywood's idea of great
entertainment these days is pretty much just throw... Read more
It's Alive (1968) American International Pictures moved into television in the mid 1960's with a package of their black and white 1950's movies, which local stations would purchase... Read morePublished on March 18, 2009 by Craig Edwards
It's Alive (Larry Buchanan, 1969)
First things first: let's not get this made-for-TV monstrosity confused with the cult classic 1974 Larry Cohen film of the same name. Read more
This is a really bad old sci-fi/horror movie from the late 1960s about a father (looks more like her grandpa) and daughter holed-up in the Appalachians trying to survive a... Read morePublished on July 18, 2006 by Kathy Hendrix