Kehr Capsule of the Week: It’s Alive (1974)

Larry Cohen’s cultish 1974 horror film. The plotting is never less than clever and suggestive: it reduces the Exorcist ethos to its essentials, in the figure of a mutant baby that murders the doctors and nurses in the delivery room and goes on to attack society at large, happily gurgling all the while. It’s certainly a vivid image of something deep and dark within the nuclear family, though it’s hard to say exactly what. This rough, vague film has attracted the interest of psychoanalytically inclined academic critics, who’ve found plenty of room to maneuver within its broad symbolic outlines. Still, it isn’t that well made—it seems more potent in retrospect. With John Ryan and Sharon Farrell.

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