It Lives Again (1978)

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Released 6-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Larry Cohen (Director)
Theatrical Trailer
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1978
Running Time 87:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Larry Cohen
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Frederic Forrest
Kathleen Lloyd
John P. Ryan
John Marley
Andrew Duggan
Eddie Constantine
James Dixon
Dennis O'Flaherty
Melissa Inger
Victoria Jill
Bobby Ramsen
Glenda Young
Lynn Wood
Case ?
RPI ? Music Bernard Herrmann
Laurie Johnson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Norwegian
Swedish
Greek
Dutch
Arabic
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The second film in Larry Cohen's It's Alive! franchise sees the return of Frank (John Ryan) and Lieutenant Perkins (James Dixon). Much of the original film's style is retained here - the two features were obviously intended to flow from one to the other.

    Two years have passed since the events of the first film, and Frank now dedicates his time to tracking down and warning prospective parents of the government's new screening program, the purpose of which is to identify a dangerous infant prior to its birth. We reunite with Frank as he gate-crashes a mother's baby shower, lurking about after the guests have left and scaring the expectant parents Jody and Eugene Scott (Kathleen Lloyd and Frederic Forrest). Luckily they recognise Frank from his appearance in Time magazine and are familiar with his story, accepting his reason for visiting with some trepidation. It appears that based on recent lab results their doctor has reported the expectant parents and as a result the couple have been targeted by the government to have their infant destroyed upon delivery. Happy at the prospect of offering their child a better life, the pair agree to dodge the normal birthing avenues and follow Frank's promise of safety, following him to a remote facility designed to house and study groups of these curious but dangerous offspring. Are the creatures the result of our dependence on prescribed drugs coupled with an increasingly toxic environment, or are they simply a case of rapidly advancing evolution? More importantly, will the government rest knowing that the hideously violent creatures exist? Of course not, they'll pull out the big guns and hunt them down like dogs!

    This instalment follows on directly from the first film and is neither better nor worse than its predecessor. It's certainly worth a watch if you're familiar with the first film, otherwise there's little point. The success of the first film guaranteed the sequel a higher budget, which is evident in the variety of locations and set pieces that were used.

    Writer and Director Larry Cohen is responsible for penning the recent Colin Farrell hit Phone Booth and countless b-film classics such as Q: The Winged Serpent and Black Caesar. Cohen is currently in the process of producing a remake of It's Alive! with a New York setting, which should prove interesting. There are three films in his original Alive series, all of which are presented in this box set.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This video transfer is presented in an aspect of 1.78:1, which is relatively close to the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    As with the first film in the series, it's important to take into consideration the age and very low budget of this production. Judging by the commentary, it appears director Larry Cohen was actively involved in bringing these films to DVD. Despite the minor flaws that are present here, it is likely that this transfer even eclipses the quality of the original theatrical exhibition. The level of sharpness is quite good, although some scenes are marred by a noticeable wash of film grain over the image. Shadow detail and black levels are also good, and noticeably superior to the first film. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.

    There isn't a lot of bold colouring present in the film, as this was the intention of the Director. He clearly aimed for a look consistent with the first film and avoided bold colours altogether for fear that they would beautify the picture and detract from the effects and tension. The transfer doesn't contain any bleeding or rendering glitches and maintains a reliable consistency throughout.

    Artefacting is limited to some noticeable hairs and dirt in the first two minutes, but aside from an ugly, large black artefact at 42:02 it remains relatively controlled for the remainder of the film. There are no major MPEG compression or aliasing issues to speak of.

    Both English and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle streams are included, among many other languages. The subtitles are moderately accurate and free from any obvious spelling or grammatical errors.

    This disc is single layered (DVD5 format).

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are four soundtracks accompanying this film on DVD. The default soundtrack is English Dolby Digital 1.0, while French and German are also included. A Director's commentary makes up the fourth soundtrack.

    The quality of the English dialogue is as average as the first film and suffers from a few slightly annoying flaws, most notably a distinct drop in level at 10:18 from the line "may I touch it?". There is little ADR present as the soundtrack is mainly comprised of location audio. As I stated in my review of the first film, Cohen believes looping vocal performances in post production removes the immediacy of the performances. Unfortunately the production of this film was marred by constant heavy rain, which can be heard in some scenes. Audio sync is perfect.

    Bernard Herrmann passed away before production of this film began, however his chilling score from the first film is reprised here with bold new arrangements by Laurie Johnson - despite the original recordings being lost between films. The compositions by Herrmann were re-recorded by Johnson with a slightly grander scope, but the feel remains.

    There is obviously no surround activity or subwoofer response in this mono soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu page is static and 16x9 enhanced, accompanied by an audio clip from the film's theme. The feature begins playback automatically after two rotations of the main menu.

Feature Commentary-Larry Cohen (Writer, Director)

    As with the commentary on the first disc, Cohen offers plenty of interesting insights into the making of this sequel, the various locations, his relationship with the studio and his friendship with the crew. Cohen also supervised this DVD transfer and shares a lot of anecdotes from the film's production, some of them amazing. Interestingly, Cohen reveals his unique scriptwriting methods and his plans to remake the first It's Alive! film in New York. There is a bit of info repeated from the first film's commentary, however anyone who is familiar with Cohen's films or 70s low budget cinema will still find a lot to gain in this commentary.

Trailer

    The theatrical trailer for It Lives Again is included, complete with 16x9 enhancement.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This boxed collection of the three It's Alive! films is identical across all regions. Given the modest local price, I don't see any need to import this title.

Summary

    It Lives Again is a decent sequel, and should appeal to anyone familiar with the original It's Alive!

    The video transfer is good.

    The audio transfer is faithful to the original mono soundtrack.

    The extras include a great commentary and a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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