To finish off the "It's Alive" trilogy, Adam returns. I didn't know Michael Moriarty was in this, since he is my favorite b-movie actor. I'm gonna have to look into this movie. And sorry, there's not gonna be any images from this movie for this review. I'll just be posting pictures of Michael Moriarty and Karen Black.
Like the other movies in the trilogy, It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive delivers pertinent social commentary in the guise of a schlocky horror movie. This movie, released in 1987, isn't so much about mutant babies as it is about the paranoia surrounding the AIDS epidemic in those early years. If you lived through that time, you may recall a small but vocal minority who wanted to quarantine people with AIDS on an island. You may also recall people disseminating misinformation about how the disease was spread, as well as AIDS jokes that made everyone terribly uncomfortable. This movie captures all those fears AND gives us severed limbs, explosions, Communists, and Karen Black!
The movie opens with a woman (horror icon Karen Black as Ellen Jarvis) giving birth in a cab. The cab driver flags down a policeman, and the cop helps the woman through labor, only to be killed by the mutant baby moments after it was born.
The next thing you know, we're in a courtroom, where a slick-talking lawyer is trying to convince a judge that there needs to be a law mandating these mutant babies be killed. The opposing attorney mentions the Death Squads patrolling the hospitals, and we get a chilling look into our future if Obama's health care bill goes through. The evil lawyer brings one of the mutant babies into the courtroom (in a cage, of course), and calls the father (Michael Moriarty as Steven Jarvis) as a witness. Sort of like the incident with O.J.'s glove, the asshole lawyer wants to prove that even the father won't go near his own baby. Much like the glove incident, it backfires, and the father cradles the nasty little baby in his arms after it breaks out of the cage. The judge rules that the babies should be quarantined, and they're secretly sent to an uninhabited island.
Months pass and Steven Jarvis is a reluctant celebrity. His wife wants nothing to do with him, and he's not handling the media attention well. So he goes to the local carnival and picks up a cheap floozie. After they have sex, she realizes that Steven Jarvis looked familiar because he was the father of the mutant baby and she freaks out like he just gave her AIDS, going on and on about how nobody knows how contagious it really is and how he owed it to her to tell her about this before they had sex.
Meanwhile, a group of scientists or poachers or some group of people with guns decide to see how the babies are doing on the island. They're all killed really quickly in gory fashion. One guy's arm is ripped off while he tries to board the rescue helicopter. The helicopter pilot thinks he escaped danger, but he is killed by a stowaway baby. For some reason, the helicopter EXPLODES in midair!
Back in America, Steven Jarvis is at a fundraiser for preventing mutant baby syndrome. He's still trying to cope with being famous, and he seems drunk. He cracks sick jokes about mutant babies and the other partygoers are appalled. Sort of like if he were making jokes about AIDS.
Five years later, he's selling children's' shoes and dealing with obnoxious kids and their asshole parents. One day at work, he's met by Lt. Perkins (the same guy from the previous movies), who tells him that the judge who sent the mutants to the island has died, and the new judge wants to send some scientists to the island to see how the kids are doing. Lt. Perkins wants Jarvis to go with the scientists to the island. Since he hates selling shoes, he agrees.
Some of the scientists think the children are the next step in human evolution, and they want to bring one of them back to study. But the babies are all grown up and they don't want to be studied. Soon after the crew arrives at the island, they're all killed, except for Jarvis. He makes it back to the boat safely, but the mutants HIJACK THE BOAT and start heading back to the U.S. After being kept alive for a few days, Jarvis (and a flotation device) are tossed overboard by the mutant he thinks is his son. Jarvis is eventually picked up by the Cuban Navy and taken to a heavily guarded hospital as the mutants come ashore in Florida, looking for their mommies.
Can Jarvis escape communist captivity? Will the mutants destroy the world? I won't spoil the ending, but I will say that the movie slows down considerably at this point. All the interesting nuances, social commentary and plain ol' fun are abandoned in the last third of the movie. It becomes your typical "mutants attack beach town" scenario with predictable results. That isn't to say that the rest of the movie is bad, just nothing special.
It's Alive 3: Island of the Alive is just as good as the other two movies in the trilogy. Steven Jarvis is the most interesting of all the fathers of mutant babies. His descent into near-madness mixed with his attempts to do the right thing for his child make him a sympathetic hero and keeps the movie from becoming boring. The social commentary may be lost on younger viewers, but even without it, this is a fairly solid movie.
OOH! One more day left! What movie am I gonna finish with? I bet you can't wait!