Based on the cover alone, this movie looks like it will be absolutely terribly, but has a 50/50 chance of being one of those “so bad it’s good” type of movies. Now let’s add in the fact that this movie is part of the Sci-Fi Invasion set, and you know how much I love those, and the odds jump to 80% that I am one of the few people that might like it. Why oh why am I cursed to watch these types of movies? Oh yeh, because I actually enjoy watching these cheesy B-movies. Oh well. Enough introspection for one day, let’s get on with today’s movie, It’s Alive (1969).
The plot: Norman and Leela Sterns are driving from New York to Los Angeles but as they drive through the Ozark mountains, they took a detour to look at some large model dinosaurs that they saw from the highway. Finding themselves lost among the back roads and running low on gas, the run into paleontologist Wayne Thomas, who directs them to a nearby farm that might spare some gas. When they get to the farm, the farmer, Greely, informs them that the gas truck should be there any minute and offers to let them wait inside his house. Greely goes to see his housekeeper, Bella, and tells her to get his guests some tea but she starts to refuse, saying that she knows what he is going to do with them and it isn’t right, but Greely slaps her and tells her to get them some tea or she will take their place. Wayne arrives at the farm and seeing the Sterns’ car, offers to take a look at it when Greely says it won’t start but as he looks at the engine, Greely hits him in the back of the head with a wrench and drags him off. Norman and Leela begin to grow impatient and so Greely offers to show them his animal collection while they wait. After showing them several animals in their cages by the road, he tells them that his prize animal is kept in a nearby cave. He takes them to the cave and leaves them in a room he says he built for tourists, which turns out to be a cage when Greely locks the door. As Norman and Leela try to figure out what to do, they are startled by Wayne, who appears out of a tunnel that Greely had dropped him in. Bella arrive with some food and they beg her to help her to escape but she is too afraid, saying that Greely has said that he will feed her to “the thing” he keeps down there. The three prisoners decide to explore the tunnel but run into Greely, who threatens them at gunpoint. Greely shoots Wayne, but Wayne throws a lantern at Greely and knocks the gun from his hand. While Leela tends to Wayne’s wound, Norman goes to retrieve the gun but when he grabs it, he is attacked and killed by a strange reptilian creature. When Wayne and Leela return to the room, they find Greely there, who taunts them by explaining that he feeds the creatures people that he captures and plans to do the same to them. He offers to spare Leela if she will take Bella’s place, saying that he will feed Bella to the creature, but when she refuses he leaves laughing. Bella arrives with some bandages for Wayne, saying she overheard what Greely said and offers to help them. Bella tells them how she was captured by Greely and abused to the point that her will was broken and she would do whatever he said in order to prevent him from killing her. Wayne has her bring him a bag out of his truck containing dynamite, which he plans on using to blow the lock off the cage and escape. Bella agrees to help and brings the bag with her when she brings them some food but unknown to her, Greely is growing suspicious of her and drugs the food without her knowing it. Wayne and Leela begin to feel the drugs effects and Wayne hides the dynamite before he passes out. Greely arrives and takes Leela down to the cavern where the monster is, while Bella wakes up Wayne and they go after him. In the cavern, Greely threatens to kill Leela unless she agrees to stay with him but she refuses. Wayne arrives and manages to stun Greely long enough for Bell and him to rescue Leela. As Wayne helps Leela out of the tunnel, he drops the dynamite and Bella picks it up and lights it, wanting to stop Greely from killing anymore people. Greely shoots Bella but the creature appears and proceeds to attack Greely just as the dynamite explodes, causing the cavern to collapse and leaving Wayne and Leela the only two survivors.
Well, this was better than I expected but it still wasn’t really a good movie. The acting was decent, with Bill Thurman doing a good job as the crazed Greely and Corveth Ousterhouse playing the somewhat arrogant Norman pretty well, but everyone else seemed pretty bland. The plot was ok but the writing could have been better. Bella’s recap of how she was kidnapped and abused took up almost 20 minutes of the movie. That was nearly a quarter of the running time and when that scene was over, there was about 10 minutes left to finish the movie. There was also a lot of dialogue and set-up throughout the movie but very little payoff. The monster suit was pretty cheap and was actually used in earlier movie by the director, Creature Of Destruction, which I coincidentally reviewed on this day last year. There are probably better ways to spend 80 minutes, so you might want to do those ideas first.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5