Tag Archives: It’s Alive

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) or livewithfilm goes back to what it knows best…

8 Nov

Yes livewithfilm has returned to its roots: an 80s horror sequel. Could the third coming of Freddy Krueger compare favourably to the recurring wonders of the It’s Alive series or the ever diminishing rubber-toothed returns of Jaws II or IV: The Revenge? Whatever happened, livewithfilm could be safe in the knowledge that Michael Caine thankfully wouldn’t turn up sporting a floppy afro.

Chuck Russell’s sub-par entry into the Elm Street franchise amps up the gore yet unwittingly sheds it horrific origins, resulting in an imaginative yet ridiculous film. Relying heavily on earlier instalments for narrative clarity, Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors wavers between clunky exposition and unexplained madness as a host of new teens come to a sticky end thanks to dream-bound Freddy Kreuger. No explanation is given as children in a psychiatric hospital begin to fall prey to the knife gloved maniac, Dream Warriors happily expecting audiences to be clued up to the Nightmare formula. That is until Heather Langenkamp arrives, reprising her role as the original Nightmare’sNancy and shoehorning explanation in at every opportunity. Now a dream specialist, Nancy works with the children to battle Kreuger and manipulate their dreams.

Following Wes Craven’s supreme original, the Nightmare series relies upon its lucid concept to churn out ingenious murder sequences. Thankfully omitting a return to the shower set death-by-towel-whipping witnessed in Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Dream Warriors pushes new boundaries to slaughter its young cast. Yet while relentlessly inventive and disgusting (death by puppet veins?!), the kills disappointingly provoke few scares. Nevertheless, Russell’s intriguing attempts to maintain Craven’s original theme of American youngsters paying for the crimes of their forebears suggests deeper thinking at play. Similar to the ramifications of Vietnam alluded to in the first Nightmare, Dream Warriors now blames the youngsters’ dreams on the drug taking decadence of their parents. At points entertaining, Dream Warriors struggles to maintain the original excitement of Nightmare. Memorable for brief glimpses of imagination, the film remains a scare-free and decidedly non-nightmarish return for Kreuger.

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It’s Alive (1973)

6 Dec

Mon Dieu! As livewithfilm is sure that you’re aware, today’s film is not the second part of the French gangster flick Mesrine as previously promised. Battling to get back on the filmic trail, livewithfilm surprisingly felt little enthusiasm about watching the latter antics of the flashy bank robber. Unfortunately apathetic, livewithfilm decided to make a tactical decision regarding the blogosphere. Pure entertainment must prevail if the blog is to continue. Whilst Mesrine: Killer Instinct (Part One) was enjoyably tense, cheap thrills were on the cards today instead.

Larry Cohen’s It’s Alive supposes that the wealth of chemicals and drugs that saturate the modern world (well, 1973 at least) hold disastrous ramifications for our young. Parents Frank (John Ryan) and Lenore Davis (Sharon Farrell) await the birth of their second child in their sleepy local hospital. However, when gored doctors begin to stagger from the labour room and police replace surgical tape with a security cordon, Frank begins to think the worst. Having slaughtered the surgical team that has assisted in his birth, theDavis baby escapes to begin a bloody killing spree. Repulsed, Frank pursues, intent on enacting his son’s destruction. Yet when Frank begins to question the law forces that hunt his fanged spawn, he warms to the child and realises the greater evil that he is a part of.

A trashy treat, Cohen’s film is a creature feature that contributes buckets of fake blood to the paedophobic nightmare of Rosemary’s Baby (1968). But this isn’t the Devil’s work; we have bought this upon ourselves (cue livewithfilm frantically recycling to avoid being devoured by a toothed infant). The Davis baby tears holes in the establishment, exposing the cruelty and manipulation that lies within. When Frank recognises the link between his son and the misjudged Frankenstein’s Monster, his change of heart exposes the child as downtrodden victim. Yet Cohen keeps It’s Alive distant from preaching, a territory the film could have easily slipped into whilst portraying the after effects of pollution and moral failure. Instead the tongue is firmly in the creepy cheek. Any horror in which the town’s police force question whether a monstrous baby will ‘double back on itself’ to fox the authorities, is suitably aware of its eccentricities. It’s Alive has lost some of its shock value with age; munched milkmen and bright daubs of red remain darkly funny with little arising to make skin crawl. Nevertheless livewithfilm thoroughly enjoyed this piece of genre fun. Perhaps this is a trilogy that will turn out to be more enthralling.