January 28, 2013

Doggy Style Blather For The Faithful Dog Farm Followers

Jason's shack from Friday the 13th Part II aka Movies At Dog Farm Headquarters
Movies At Dog Farm Headquarters in Weyers Cave, VA
     I've tried to avoid pointless, blathering posts, but it's been so long since my last posting that I figured I should at least surface for a moment to assure everyone that the Dog Farm is still open and operational.  I've been writing and stockpiling for the upcoming multi-site Ultimate Gore-A-Thon beginning February 10 and running through February 23.  I've got a couple of posts prepared already, and I hope to at least begin working on a third tonight.

     It's a great, hard working bunch of folks running the sites that are participating, and I encourage everyone to check them out either by using the link above or Other Dogs Barking in the sideboard.  Be sure to Like, Share, Comment, or Follow when you visit.  It only takes a click or two, and digital word-of-mouth is the lifeblood of these sites.

     It was with initial trepidation that I embarked on this venture, and I've been so pleased to discover that just about everyone I've come into contact with so far has been friendly, helpful, and encouraging.  My day job is in retail sales, where I frequently see the very worst of human nature.  It makes me happy that I've found such a nice - and talented - bunch of people in the blogosphere. 

     Finally, just a bit of housekeeping . . . Movies At Dog Farm now has an official fan page on Facebook.  The group page labeled Movies At Dog Farm is still open, as well.  All future links to this site will appear in both places.

     Thanks to all for the continued patronage, and be sure to mark your calendars for the upcoming Ultimate Gore-A-Thon.  You can also RSVP for the Event on Facebook here.

January 21, 2013

Movies At Dog Farm Remembers . . . The Drive-Ins Of My Misspent Youth

Screen and marquee of the Skyline Drive-In in Waynesboro, VA - Photo by Tony at http://www.driveins.org/index.html
Skyline Drive-In, Waynesboro VA 
     I'm only glad to be older than dirt when I'm a horror fan who's older than dirt.  I've been fortunate enough to experience some great horror mileposts, some "end of an era" type opportunities that some of my younger contemporaries missed out on.  I've been lucky. 

     I'm grateful that my indoctrination into the world of grown-up horror movies coincided almost perfectly with the slasher movie boom of the late 70's and early 80's.  I was afforded the opportunity to see the likes of My Bloody Valentine (1981), Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), and Halloween II (1981) all on the big screen during their original theatrical releases.  These were the salad days of the gratuitous tit shot and the practical special effect.

Bowman Body hosting Cobweb Theater
The Bowman Body - Cobweb Theater
     I'm grateful that I could look forward to seeing some hoary old black and white horror movie hosted by the Bowman Body every Saturday night, first on Shock Theater (The Big 8!) and later on Cobweb Theater broadcast from Charlottesville.  The picture to the right is a screen capture of the Bowman Body reading a fan letter on the air from a much younger and less jaded movie fan.  You can see the clip in its entirety here.  Even as a youngster I was a genre critic.

Ticket booth at the Skyline Drive-In in Waynesboro VA - Photo by Tony at http://www.driveins.org/index.html
Ticket booth at the Skyline
     Most of all, though, I'm grateful that I experienced the last hurrah of the drive-in horror movie.  Nothing beats seeing Lucio Fulci's Zombie (1979) on a gigantic outdoor screen with a cup of french fries in one hand and the badly dubbed soundtrack blaring through a speaker mounted to the window.

     My mother and I would spend each Saturday doing yard work for my Great Aunt Sydney so I could earn some drive-in money for Saturday night.  The theater in question was usually the Skyline Drive-In (Shenandoah's Showplace) in Waynesboro, VA.  There'd always be a line at the ticket booth because Saturday night was usually "carload" night - one admission price for as many people as you could fit in your car.  It  was an entertainment value that couldn't be beat, especially if it happened to be a dusk til dawn show.

     I had the good fortune to see Motel Hell (1980), Fear No Evil (1981), The Gates Of Hell (1980), and The Creeper (1977) on the Skyline's mammoth screen.  I saw The Toolbox Murders (1978), The Driller Killer (1979), and Wolfen (1981), too.  I saw them all out under the stars on humid summer nights, the way God intended.

     At some point I'd always have to visit the bathroom or the snack bar, usually after I was sufficiently spooked by the evening's entertainment to make the trek from the car to the snack bar a terrifying dash through the darkness and open air.  The bathroom, in particular, was the stuff of nightmares, lit by the jaundice glow of the yellow bug lights punctuated occasionally by the purple flash of the bug zapper.  The bathroom had a screen door and a trough to pee in - very utilitarian.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre poster (1974)
     Inside the snack bar, though, was the drive-in holy grail.  For as long as I visited the Skyline, there was always a poster for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) on the wall beneath a sign that read "Coming Soon".  It was a tease.  TCM never played the Skyline during these years.  I know.  I waited for it.  And waited, and waited . . .

     Undoubtedly, the poster had been there since TCM had played the Skyline years earlier.  I ultimately did see TCM on the big screen years later at a midnight screening - I can be grateful for that, at least - but nothing could've beaten seeing the epitome of the drive-in horror movie at the Skyline.

The Route 340 Drive-In marquee in Waynesboro, VA covered by Speedway signs - Photo from http://www.driveins.org/index.html
The Route 340 Drive-In marquee, covered by speedway signs
     I would occasionally find myself at the Route 340 Drive-In, as well - also in Waynesboro - and that was an even sketchier state of affairs.  The Route 340 shared land with Eastside Speedway, so on most Saturdays you couldn't hear the movies until after the drag racing was done for the night.  The Route 340 also generally played raunchier titles. 

     My most vivid memory of the Route 340 was the night my mother and I stumbled upon I Spit On Your Grave (1978) playing there.  Spitting on graves - it's a horror movie, right?  My mother was mortified that she'd taken her nine year old son to see a movie with a protracted and graphic rape scene that comprised nearly a third of the movie's run time.  She couldn't really make me leave the room, either.  I ended up standing by the snack bar for most of the rape, thereby at least sparing my mother the uncomfortable silence and unfathomable shame.  I still can't bring myself to watch I Spit On Your Grave in mixed company.

     There's one final drive-in that deserves an honorable mention here - Roth's Drive-In in Harrisonburg, VA.  We visited the Roth less frequently because it was farther away, but it distinguishes itself as being the venue in which I first saw both Halloween (1978) and Friday The 13th (1980).  A fellow in the bathroom assured me when I saw Friday The 13th that the version he'd seen the preceding week was gorier.  I'm not even going to conjecture as to why he felt the need to share that info with a ten year old standing at the pee trough. 

     This post came about because of an exchange with Jonny Dead at Blood Sucking Geek.  Jonny, who's younger than me (who isn't?), was envious of the fact that I'd seen The Driller Killer at a drive-in.  For those who didn't, I highly recommend  Jonny Dead's Trash Box Volume 1, wherein Jonny pairs The Driller Killer with Naked Massacre (1976) in a lovingly rendered ode to the drive-in / grindhouse experience.  All of the drive-ins mentioned here are long gone, but the drive-in aesthetic lives on.

January 16, 2013

Noteworthy On Netflix - 1/16/13

Noteworthy On Netflix banner

     These are by no means the only worthy genre related movies on Netflix streaming, just a sampling of movies that I'm familiar worth that I think might otherwise be overlooked.  You'll notice a television show and a few documentaries in there, as well.  Sometimes a guy just needs a change of pace.

     Availability changes often, but all of the following titles were available to stream from Netflix at the time of this posting.  The genre listed after the title (Documentary, TV Shows, Horror, or Sci-Fi & Fantasy) describes where you'll find each movie in your onscreen groupings.  Try doing a manual search if one seems to be missing.

     If you have recommendations of your own, please share in the Comments section below.  You can check out a trailer for each entry by clicking the title.


American Grindhouse (2010) poster
American Grindhouse (2010)
Documentary / 1hr 21min / NR / HD 

     Fantastic overview of the exploitation genre.  It's loaded with great clips and features commentators like Jack Hill, John Landis, and Joe Dante.  Keep a note pad handy, because you'll be jotting down titles on your "Must See" list from beginning to end.


This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006) poster
 This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)
Documentary / 1hr 37min / NR / Standard

      Have you ever wondered how the Motion Picture Association of America decides upon the ratings for all of those movies you watch?  You'll probably be a little aggravated by the answer.  Though it's now a bit dated - the MPAA now allows filmmakers to cite other film's ratings for comparison - this is still a fascinating look at how an elite few decide what is and is not appropriate for the masses.    


The Monster That Challenged The World (1957) poster
The Monster That Challenged The World (1957)
Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy / 1hr 24min / G / HD

     When's the last time you treated yourself to a good, old-fashioned black and white monster movie?  This one features a surprisingly good prehistoric mollusk monster from the depths of the Salton Sea.  I still vividly recall seeing this as a youngster hosted by the Bowman Body on Shock Theater.


American Horror Story (2011) poster
American Horror Story (2011)
TV Shows / 42min / TV-MA / HD

     The Walking Dead gets more press, but I find American Horror Story more consistently entertaining.  The second season is just now winding up on FX, so Netflix only has Season 1.  If you missed the first season, seize the opportunity to catch up.  I love the idea of making each season a self-contained story arc, and Jessica Lange was awarded both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her incredible performance here.


Nightmares In Red, White, And Blue (2009) poster
Nightmares In Red, White, And Blue (2009)
Documentary / 1hr 36min / NR / Standard

     The American Nightmare (2000) - not currently available on Netflix - covered much of the same ground to arguably greater success, but this examination of the evolution of the American horror movie is still worth a look.  Narrated by Lance Henriksen and featuring commentary from the likes of John Carpenter, Larry Cohen, and author John Kenneth Muir.    


Pontypool (2008) poster
Pontypool (2008)
Horror / 1hr 36min / NR / HD

     If you haven't seen Pontypool and have no idea what it's about, I envy you.  I'm not going to ruin your opportunity to be pleasantly surprised by one of the most original and spellbinding genre movies of the last ten years.  You can thank me later.  Rumor has it we may get a sequel called Pontypool Changes in the not so distant future.  I hope so.  This one was a big crowd pleaser at the Movies At Dog Farm II Pre'Ween Picture Show last year.


S@Man (2006) poster
S@Man (2006)
Horror / 1hr 24min / R / HD

     It probably sounds like a cop-out, but this exploration of the sleazy underground genre of fetish films is another one you'll get the most from by watching cold.  Even the most jaded horror enthusiasts will likely be skeeved out by the subject matter.


Sssssss (1973) poster
Sssssss (1973)
Horror, Sci-Fi & Fantasy / 1hr 38min / PG / HD

     This supremely entertaining B-movie gem starring Strother Martin and Dirk Benedict (the original Starbuck!) somehow escaped my notice until last year.  Lots of real snakes add verisimilitude, making Sssssss more squirm inducing than its silliness would seem to dictate.  An incredibly cheesy transformation at the end is the icing on the cake.


Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2010) poster
Machete Maidens Unleashed! (2010)  
Documentary / 1hr 24min / NR / HD

     . . . and one final documentary, this one exploring the sub-genre of Filipino lensed exploitation and horror movies from the 70's and 80's.  The doc benefits from the specificity of its topic.  Funny and enlightening.  This one will have you digging through the delete bins for heretofore unknown gems, too.


V/H/S (2012) poster
V/H/S (2012)
Horror / 1hr 56min / R / HD

     V/H/S was probably one of the most polarizing horror movies of 2012.  See it for yourself and decide - is it ambitious and original or over-hyped and tedious?  It has the earmark of almost all anthologies in that the quality of its five segments varies wildly, but at least three of the five segments are solid and unnerving.  I jumped more than once, and isn't that what horror movies are all about?  I love the segment entitled 10/31/98 that closes the movie.


January 13, 2013

The Five Stages Of Grief As They Pertain To Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

     I've been mulling over my viewing of Texas Chainsaw 3D now for four days.  I've been wringing my hands in front of the laptop trying to come up with an angle.  I've given up.

     It's wretched.  Don't let morbid curiosity get the better of you.  If you must go, make sure you put on  your 3D glasses in time to enjoy that wild, clockworky Lionsgate thingy, then thrill to the archival footage of the 1974 original that opens the movie, then get the f**k outta Dodge.  Those bad reviews you've read don't even scratch the surface.  I composed a better script on the way home from the theater.  At most, it was a fifteen minute drive.  Somebody owes me $48.00.

     Why then, you may ask, did it take me four days to post about it?  I wondered that myself.  Writing a scathing review should be a snap, right?  Then, as I sat here bathed in the glow of an empty laptop screen, it finally occurred to me.  I'd been experiencing the Five Stages Of Grief.

     Stage 1 - Denial

     Tobe Hooper wouldn't executive produce anything that pisses all over the legacy of his brilliant, genre defining 1974 masterpiece, right?  It can't possibly be as bad as it seemed at first blush.  I'm probably being too hard on it, holding it up to an impossible standard.  Never review the movie you wanted it to be, review the movie it is.  I kind of enjoyed the (telegraphed) twist at the end, right?

     I'll live with it a few days, and then I'll be able to appreciate the misunderstood glory of Texas Chainsaw 3D.

     Stage 2 - Anger

     But wait . . . I'm just making excuses for this shameful exhibition.  This miserable excuse for a movie squandered every opportunity!  How can you waste the terror inherent in creeping into Leatherface's basement lair alone by having the unfortunate soul doing so holding his cellphone aloft so the two ninnies back in the police station can monitor his progress, thereby insuring that the movie will keep cutting from the dank, creepy basement back to the safe, brightly lit police station every few seconds and destroy any potential for suspense?  Has anyone involved with this travesty ever even seen a horror movie?

     Where do you get off telling the whole world to disregard Tobe Hooper's first "real" sequel so you can rewrite canon to accommodate this dreck?  And what about that carnival business?  Why have Leatherface storm a crowded carnival and then just do nothing with it?  This is actively pissing me off!  Now who do I see about that $48.00?

     Stage 3 - Bargaining

     Look, man, I'll forgive everything if you promise me a director's cut on disc that eliminates the first two thirds of the movie, completely restages the final third, and adds about eighty minutes of the 1974 original to the opening sequence. 

     Stage 4 - Depression

     I could have spent that $48.00 on tickets to Django Unchained.

     Stage 5 - Acceptance

     I already knew it would be like this.  I wasn't surprised.  Horror fans will keep getting movies like this as long as we keep lining up to buy tickets to them.   General audiences don't expect much from movies anymore, and they expect even less from movies that reside in the ghettoized genre of horror.

     There will undoubtedly be a Texas Chainsaw 4 (the studio's math, not mine), and that's scarier than anything Texas Chainsaw 3D had to offer.  

January 7, 2013

Leatherface, U.S. Ambassador

leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) with hammer
Welcome to the U.N. Mr. Ambassador!
     It seems I may have spared myself  from stepping into a steaming pile of cinematic failure last weekend by being unable to attend a showing of Texas Chainsaw 3D.  By extension, I avoided writing yet another review of yet another apparently lackluster sequel to one of the most beleaguered and inconsistent franchises in horror.  Good.  If I feel differently after viewing the film myself, I'll gladly post a retraction.  I do have a history of championing movies everyone else loathes.  I simply can't believe that anyone intentionally makes a bad movie, even if the movie's genesis is commercially driven.

     I have, however, had the Chainsaw movies on the brain this week.  I've also been fascinated recently by the fact that Movies At Dog Farm has been getting hits from foreign countries, something that it just never occurred to me might happen when I launched this blog on Thanksgiving day, 2012.  The two seemingly disparate topics have been marinating in my brainpan together,  and I arrived at the following conclusion: director Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) is the most uniquely American franchise spawning horror movie around.

     The United States is a big country.  I believe the U.S. is still imagined by much of the world beyond our borders as a Wild West free-for-all that tolerates - and even encourages - an egocentric and often violently destructive self-sufficiency for the individual.  In particular, I suspect that to much of the world the great state of Texas epitomizes the U.S. as a whole.  It's perceived as a vast, lawless frontier populated by loud, arrogant, gun-toting, giant-belt-buckle-wearing blowhards with cowboy hats.  This is an erroneous stereotype, of course - so please, no hate mail - but one that our history, media, and (let's be honest) our interaction with other countries often reinforces.

Grandpa from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) having a nap
TCM's Grandpa, conserving energy
     Consider for a moment the character of Grandpa (John Dugan) in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a symbolic representation of the United States.  Grandpa use to be the best killer in the slaughterhouse, and the entire Sawyer family delusionally believes he still is.  They're determined to keep alive the memories of past glories, and they still revere the last remaining symbolic vestige of their former preeminence - a symbol now old, frail, and almost comically unable to swing a hammer.  He perks up when he gets a taste of blood, though . . .

     Consider, also, how the character of The Cook (Jim Siedow) is more concerned with the inconvenience of replacing a chainsawed door than with the wholesale slaughter that's been occurring in his home all day.  The slaughterhouse is closed, and the gas station has no gas.  The Sawyers are doing what they feel they must to survive.  The entire family's actions are based upon a flawed morality that suggests that because they're doing what they must to get by that it's kinda sorta O.K. 

the farmhouse from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
TCM's deceptively tranquil farmhouse
     What else should they be expected to do, though, when interloping outsiders keep encroaching on their territory?  It's interesting to note, however, that the territory the Sawyers perceive as their own appears to be theirs only by virtue of the fact that they're squatting on it, and the outside world is too indifferent or oblivious to force them out.  They've staked their claim, taken something that wasn't theirs, and then fiercely defended their "ownership" of what they've taken against all comers. 

Leatherface sitting pensively by the window in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Leatherface pauses for reflection
     Perhaps only Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) himself might be absolved of his trespasses, because he seems to be the only member of the Sawyer clan who displays any anxiety or remorse about what he's doing, and he's too simple to know any better.  He's defending the family's home and doing his part to provide for their needs.  He's following orders.  He's but one microscopic cog in an infernal machine that leaves death and destruction in its wake, and all he's trying to do is get dinner ready.

     . . . and really, what's more uniquely American than the whole family joining together at the dinner table for some quality time?

January 3, 2013

The Dog Farm Doesn't Quite Review John Dies At The End (2012)

John Dies At The End (2012) movie poster
Currently Available on VOD
     I had no intention of posting again until I reviewed Texas Chainsaw 3D this weekend, but then I got gobsmacked by John Dies At The End last night.  This was one of those increasingly rare instances in which I knew virtually nothing about the movie before sitting down to watch it.  I knew it was directed by Don (Phantasm) Coscarelli, I knew Paul Giamatti was in it, and I knew it was based on a cultish novel I hadn't read.  That's pretty much all I knew.

     It seems that viewer response to John Dies At The End has been mixed.  Those familiar with the book grouse that the movie adaptation takes too many liberties with the source material and omits too many key narrative points.  Those unfamiliar with the book seem (mostly) to love the movie.  I'm glad - for now, at least - that I'm unfamiliar with the book, because John Dies At The End was the most fun I've had watching a movie in a long while.

     Now before I go on I must, in the interest of full disclosure, mention that my friend Adrienne - also unfamiliar with the book - watched it with me and loathed it.  She characterized her viewing experience as "an hour and a half of my life that I'll never get back" and demanded to know why I hadn't warned her of what we were about to watch.  Clearly, then, John Dies At The End will not be everyone's cup of tea, regardless of one's level of familiarity with the source material.  Luckily, I was able to get back in her good graces tonight with a viewing of William Friedkin's Killer Joe, which we both enjoyed.

David finds a syringe full of soy sauce in John Dies At The End (2012)
     As indicated in the title of the post, this isn't really going to be a proper review of John Dies At The End because I wouldn't want to be the jackass who ruins the movie for you by giving away all of the "good stuff".  In a nutshell:  college dropouts John and David are introduced to a drug called Soy Sauce that transports its users across dimensions and time, and that sauce just might leave its users a few clicks shy of human in the process.  Obviously, this is all part of an invasion originating from another dimension.  The fate of all humanity hangs in the balance.   

Angus Scrimm cameos in John Dies At The End (2012)     Though crafted on a modest budget, the cheesy effects suit the movie's tone perfectly.  The CGI is a little dodgy, but the practical effects - supervised by Robert Kurtzman and Robert Hall - give up the 80's style latex and slime in glorious fashion.  The "apocalypse on a budget" vibe invites favorable comparisons to Coscarelli's own Phantasm series, still my favorite genre franchise.  Did I mention Angus "The Tall Man" Scrimm's cameo?  Please, guys, give us just one more Phantasm installment while The Tall Man still lives.

     Director Don Coscarelli and his cast are clearly having a blast telling this twisted tale, and the freewheeling absurdity of pretty much everything that happens is a delight.  I was grinning from ear to ear throughout, and laughed out loud on more than one occasion.  I don't often say this, but I can't wait for the sequel.  Remember, though - Adrienne was not amused.

     I'm debating whether or not I should read the book now . . .

January 1, 2013

A Pregnant Pause For Baby Horror

scary baby will kill you
. . . right after you change my diaper.
     I'm not anyone's daddy, and I'm sure that's something for which we can all be thankful.  I'm forty-two years old and I've never changed a diaper.  I know two very special people that are expecting, though, and I'll most likely have a hands-on role in one of those circumstances.  I look forward to the new experience.  I'm also terrified.  What if I break the baby?

      Just like those who fall in love start to "get" love songs, I've found that proximity to a real, live pregnancy has prompted me to consider baby themed horror movies in a different light.  Many of the horrors depicted in movies like Grace (2009), Inside (2007), Baby Blood (1990), and It's Alive (1974) have been purely hypothetical to me until now.  I've never considered the horror of losing a child, the possibility of parenting a child born with disabilities, the extents to which I'd go to protect a newborn, or all of the queasy, Cronenbergian particulars of growing a baby inside one's own body.  Suddenly those worries resonate more, and I'm seeing baby horror in a whole new light.

mom fills a baby bottle with blood in the movie Grace (2009)
     Grace, in particular, seems to push a lot of buttons.  *Spoilers ahead*  Even before now, the notion of losing one's child and then carrying it to term anyway was deeply disturbing to me.  Grace continues to posit a lot of "what would I do?" scenarios throughout.  Like the very best of horror movies, Grace makes the questionable choices of new mother Madeline Matheson (Jordan Ladd) distressingly plausible given that she's just given birth to a "dead" baby for which she still feels the expected motherly instincts.

     Madeline is ultimately driven to kill in order to protect her special newborn and to provide for its needs.  After all, a baby bottle full of blood doesn't just happen.  It's all too easy to empathize with Madeline's circumstance, and Jordan Ladd plays the role beautifully.  Director Paul Solet methodically builds a sense of tragedy rather than going for the easy B-movie scares, and the end result is haunting.  Recommended, but only for the postnatal viewer.

     I've mentioned Inside before on this blog, and the content of this post demands I do so again.  If there's ever been a more viscerally upsetting movie revolving around expectant motherhood, I'm not sure I have the stones to watch it.  *Spoilers ahead*  Of course, Inside is all about a formerly expectant mother who's lost her baby that goes to violent extremes to take the unborn baby of another expectant mother for herself.

beatrice dalle lights up a cigarette in Inside (2007)
     I've never been quite sure if I'm reading Inside correctly, because I've always felt more empathy for the Woman (Beatrice Dalle) than I feel for the expectant mother she's terrorizing.  She just seems a lot more crazily committed to motherhood than her victim.  That final shot of the Woman sitting in the rocking chair cradling the baby, while undeniably chilling, just seems right.

     There's probably something wrong with me, huh?

     The fact that I'm a big fan of the obscure French horror movie Baby Blood probably doesn't say anything positive about my mental stability, either.   In this case the unborn baby in question isn't human, but the woman carrying it is still driven to provide for it and protect it at all costs.  The frightening notion here is that this malevolent alien thing has taken up residence in her womb, and it now dictates (literally, in this case) every single thing the expectant mother does.

arms bursting out of the belly in baby blood (1990)      I'll never know what it's like to have another living thing growing inside of me (except tapeworms, maybe?) but I've seen firsthand now what it's like to be enslaved by the changes wrought to one's body during pregnancy.  It's like your own body is betraying you out of deference to the baby's needs.  I did once give birth to a two foot long sigmoid volvulus, but that's not really the same thing, is it?

mutant baby from It's Alive (1974)
     I believe, though, that the most disturbing of the baby horrors under discussion here is the murderous newborn of director Larry Cohen's It's Alive.  Surely this needy, bloodthirsty, deformed monstrosity represents every parent's worst nightmare.

    "Congratulations, it's a monster - and it's all yours!  Even worse, it's a monster because of the prescription drugs that you took!" 

     B-movie or not, It's Alive plays upon every expectant mother's fear that she's done something during her pregnancy that will have an adverse effect on her unborn child.  One is reminded of the horrific deformities caused by the morning sickness drug thalidomide in the 50's and 60's.  Equally as terrifying is the notion of being responsible for a baby (any baby, not just an abnormal one) that you're not properly equipped to care for.  I can't keep aquarium fish alive, so how can I possibly expect to succeed in properly caring for a newborn baby?

     When I get too scared, though, I just remind myself that having a baby is a completely natural occurrence that happens all over the world every single day.  Nothing to be scared of, right?


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