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It Lives Again Reviews

The excellent first sequel to IT'S ALIVE expands the concept of the original and finds a more-confident Larry Cohen behind the camera. Picking up where the first film left off, IT LIVES AGAIN opens at a baby shower for Forrest and Lloyd, who are anticipating the birth of their first child, with friends and family. In the living room, among the guests, is a mysterious stranger, Ryan, whom no one seems to know. After the other guests have left, the couple is surprised to see Ryan still sitting in their house. The man identifies himself as the father of the first monster baby in IT'S ALIVE and says he has come to ensure that this baby is protected from the authorities who have formed a task force to abort all suspected monster pregnancies. Forrest resents the assumption that the expected child will be a "freak" and tries to kick Ryan out; but the man's obvious sincerity strikes Lloyd, and she eventually convinces her husband to trust the stranger. Ryan is convinced that these strange children are superior in intelligence and may mark a step forward in human evolution. They respond to the affection only their parents can give them, he says. Ryan takes the couple to a secret institute run by a group of scientists that want to nurture and study the babies (they have developed their own task force, which tries to reach the parents of the monster children before the government does). The opposition is led by Marley, a parent of a monster child himself, who has sworn to stamp out all such babies because his child murdered his wife. Upon the birth of their monster child, Forrest responds with disgust; Jody feels maternal but wary. The parents go through complex stages of acceptance and rejection that build to an agonizing climax. Once again Cohen uses his outrageous premise to explore with insight the fabric of American family life, power structures, and social mores--addressing such topics as corporate abuse of the public trust, abortion, and government omnipotence. Composer Herrmann died before this film was made, so Johnson (writer of the score for TV's "The Avengers") reworked some of his leftover themes from IT'S ALIVE.