It's Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987)

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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 1987
Running Time 90:27
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Larry Cohen
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Michael Moriarty
Karen Black
Laurene Landon
James Dixon
Gerrit Graham
MacDonald Carey
Neal Israel
Joanne Lara
Art Lund
Ann Dane
William Watson
C.L. Sussex
Patch Mackenzie
Case ?
RPI ? Music Laurie Johnson
Bernard Herrmann


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (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 third film in Larry Coen's It's Alive! franchise sees the return of Lieutenant Perkins (James Dixon), the only character to appear in all three films. This instalment was produced ten years after the second, and as a result the quality and overall appearance of the film is superior to its predecessors. The same cannot be said for the plot, I'm afraid - although this film is quite a bit more humorous in comparison.

    A lengthy court case over the rights of mutant infants results in Judge Milton Watson (played by the late Macdonald Carey of Days of Our Lives) granting the creatures a safe haven (or quarantine) in which they can live out their natural lives without human intervention. Five years after the ruling, the Judge dies and the new administration dispatches a team to ascertain the fate of the island's inhabitants and bring back a live specimen for study. The mission is a dismal failure and the creatures hijack a vessel bound for the mainland. I'm sure you can guess the rest.

    This story builds upon a number of plot threads that were raised in the first two films and adds a lot of subtle gags that give the whole film a very different feel to the other two. The gore factor is also heavily increased, a stark contrast to the tense focus of the first two films. The cast features Michael Moriarty who recently starred in television's Law & Order and also appeared in Cohen's excellent Q: The Winged Serpent. A much younger Karen Black also stars, who recently appeared in Rob Zombie's fiendish House of 1000 Corpses.

    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 third instalment in the It's Alive! trilogy was produced ten years after the second, so as a result the video transfer is noticeably different.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. This is close to the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    Sharpness and general clarity is superior to the first two films, and shadow detail seems more realistic. There is no low level noise evident in the transfer.

    The colour scheme is much bolder and less muted than the other films in the series. There are no instances of bleeding or oversaturation to be seen.

    Film artefacting is most concentrated during the first three to four minutes of the feature, while the remainder of the film sees only a few minor specks here and there. Aliasing appears to be well controlled, as are MPEG artefacts.

    English and English Hearing Impaired subtitle streams are included, among many other languages. The subtitles are moderately accurate and easy to read.

    This disc is single layered.

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 2.0 stereo, while French and German Dolby Digital mono soundtracks are also available. The fourth soundtrack is a highly worthwhile Director's commentary, also presented in Dolby Digital 2.0.

    The English dialogue is primarily comprised of location audio and is of a surprisingly good quality. Audio sync is virtually flawless.

    The score by the late Bernard Herrmann is as outstanding as always and suits the violent mayhem of the film superbly. As with the previous film It Lives Again, Herrmann's score was rearranged by Laurie Johnson with a slightly grander feel, however the overall tone remains.

    This stereo soundtrack is obviously the best of the three films and offers a much clearer, modern sounding mix. The soundtrack is free of pops and crackles and has a surprisingly realistic depth for its age.

    There are many examples of panning within the stereo soundtrack such as gunfire and certain special effects. At 78:50 a creature can be heard screaming loudly from the left channel. Pro Logic processing didn't do the soundtrack any favours.

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)

    Cohen does a great Hitchcock impersonation and offers plenty of interesting insights into the making of this sequel, the locations, his relationship with the studio and his friendship with the crew. Cohen supervised this DVD transfer and shares a lot of anecdotes from the film's production, as well as his extensive knowledge of cinema. There is a bit of info repeated from the other commentaries and there are some very long pauses, however anyone who is familiar with Cohen's films or 70s low budget cinema will find a lot to gain in this commentary.

Theatrical Trailer (0:37)

    This looks much more like a TV spot and is identical to the It's Alive III trailer on disc one. This is presented in 1.33:1 full frame, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

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 Alive films is identical across all regions. Given the modest local price, I don't see any need to import this title.

Summary

    The third and final instalment in the It's Alive! trilogy is the least plausible of the three, but is saved by a great cast and some genuinely funny moments. It's certainly worth watching if you've seen the first two films.

    The video transfer is pretty good.

    The audio transfer is good.

    The extras amount to a trailer and a great commentary from the Director.

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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