If you participate in the comments section around here, then I’m sure the eloquent (and yet still non-blogging) Xena Catolica needs no introduction. But just in case you missed the good news, she and her husband have recently, in their words, had a “new alien beam out of the mothership!” Translated for my Protestant readers, that’s what John Cleese would describe as “bloody Catholics filling up the bloody world full of bloody people they can't afford to bloody feed!” For our part, since it’s kind of our shtick around here, we’ll just go with the Catechism and say they’ve been blessed with “a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage"… a human person.”
As we are more than familiar with the singular joys of having a new baby in the house, we thought it would be nice way to celebrate and honor this gift by providing the happy couple with a list of good movies to keep them entertained and awake during those late night feeding sessions. But since we don’t watch GOOD movies around here, we’re gonna have to give them these instead. So, for everyone’s viewing pleasure (or maybe not), The B-Movie Catechism proudly (or maybe not) presents the following short list of movies dealing with the arrival of a new bundle of… something. But even though this collection of not-so-cuddly nippers aren’t exactly your typical adorable tots, their mommies still love’em, fangs and all. And more important, even though the filmmakers would probably deny they intended it, all of these movies end up being shockingly anti-abortion. Take a look.
IT’S ALIVE (1974)/IT LIVES AGAIN (1978)/IT’S ALIVE III: ISLAND OF THE ALIVE (1987)
I can’t explain why, but If I had to single out one image from my childhood which qualifies as a true Kindertrauma, it would be the picture of that crib with a claw hanging over the edge from the ad campaign for It’s Alive. It was unbearable. I had to leave the room whenever the commercial came on. So imagine my surprise years later when I finally watched It’s Alive and found a pretty solid little B-movie with a surprising amount of heart in it. Sure, it’s a low budget schlock fest about a mutant killer baby, but Larry Cohen (The Stuff) manages to give the whole thing a Frankenstein twist (It’s Alive!, get it?) and turn your sympathies to the child before the credits roll. The movie ends with the father, who spends most of the film trying to kill his own baby, finally manning up, accepting his duties as a parent, and rushing to save the life of his son. Failing to do so, he spends most of It Lives Again in a courtroom battling for the right for these children to be allowed to live, albeit in a controlled situation. He gets his wish in Part III when the surviving mutants are transported to an island of their own so they can have a chance at life. On the surface it’s all ridiculous, but underneath it’s pretty strong stuff when you realize the first movie came out barely one year after Roe v Wade. And although Cohen tries to keep his cred with the pro-abort crowd by making sure to present the victims points of view as well, it’s pretty clear he ultimately sees the potential killing machines as human. If you have any doubts, then just watch the opening sequence of Part III as one of the mortally wounded infants drags itself into a church and desperately tries to reach the baptismal font before it dies. It just goes to show that when Jesus said "Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these", he meant the ugly ones too.
With a $12,000,000 budget (pretty hefty in 1979), Prophecy probably doesn’t really qualify as a B-movie, but you sure can’t tell the difference once the guy in the rubber mutant bear suit starts stomping around on screen. Set in the Maine woods where a lumber mill has been poisoning the local lakes with methyl mercury, Prophecy eschews the humor of earlier environmental horror movies like Frogs, and earns its laughs the old fashioned way… by epically failing to convince viewers to take it seriously despite its ponderous subject matter. I’m not gonna lie, I adore most everything about Prophecy, from its over-dramatized social conflicts to its creepily deformed baby animal puppets. Heck, I even get a kick out of Robert Foxworth’s obligatory concerned white liberal afro. The whole thing is a blast (literally, in the case of the infamous sleeping bag death scene). And the good Catholic boy in me can’t help but respond when the ever fretful Talia Shire digs in her heels and commits to giving birth to her unborn child despite the fact that she’s ingested some of the mercury poisoned fish AND her socially conscious husband has spent the first half of the movie railing over the cruelty of bringing children into this world anyway. You go girl! Plus, any movie with Armand Assante playing a Native American activist participating in a chainsaw fight can’t be all bad, can it?
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD
I have to be jumping the shark here, right? After all, wasn’t The Dream Child nothing more than another cheaply produced quickie attempt at dragging a bit more cash out of a slowly dying film franchise based on the concept of a supernatural wise cracking serial killing child molester? Yes, it was. But for all its faults, Nightmare 5 also has one of the most bizarrely pro-life storylines of any B-movie I can ever remember seeing. Having had his butt handed to him by the previous film’s Dream Master, Alice, a severely weakened Freddie Kreuger attempts to use the only door open to him to reenter our world… the dreams of Alice’s developing fetus. Seriously. And not only does Alice have to enter the dream world of her unborn child to battle Freddie, but she actually ends up talking to the boy, who it turns out is really looking forward to being born if only mommy can stop the bad man from corrupting his soul. SERIOUSLY! Planned Parenthood must have crapped themselves over the thought that teenagers would be sitting in front of movie screens watching this. And that idea just warms my heart.
Well, that should be a good starting point for anyone’s list of pro-life B-movies. Suggestions for others are most welcome. Also, AS ALWAYS, any movie recommendations found on this blog should be taken with tongues firmly planted in cheeks. The B-Movie Catechism cannot be held responsible for any mental scarring resulting from the actual viewing of these works of art.
And in all seriousness, our congratulations and best wishes to Xena and her family on the arrival of their new gift. Whatever you do, don’t let him grow up to be like me.