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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(1974), PG
INCLUDES comparative with R-rated Scream 3 (2000)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
January 13, 2004
61 out of 100

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, if you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(1974), PG [13-PG] -- I can't wait until we find enough money to analyze many more older films.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Larco Productions, Inc., Warner Bros.
Distribution (US): Warner Bros., Warner Home Video
Director(s): Larry Cohen
Producer(s): Janelle Cohen, Larry Cohen, Peter Sabiston
Written by: Larry Cohen
Cinematography/Camera: Fenton Hamilton
Music: Bernard Herrmann
Film Editing: Peter Honess

Wow! A huge total of nine uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary in this PG-rated 1974 horror classic of yesteryear! But it earned a middle-of-the-road PG-13 final score! The last PG-13 I analyzed, My Baby's Daddy (2004) had 97 uses of profanity [2 Tim. 2:16]. That says that PG-13 movies of today are more than 10 times more profane than a PG-rated film of thirty years earlier. After more than 1200 movie analyses since 1996 of incredible reliability and consistent results (the credit goes to the Designer of the model - Jesus, not the engineer - me), I suspect there is at least a smidgen of credibility in our findings.

By the CAP analysis model, It's Alive earned a score of 61 out of 100, equivalent to a "middle of the road" PG-13 of the comparative baseline database of movies circa 1996/7 (which does not incorporate that more than half of the PG-13 movies made since 1996/7 earned R-13 scores ). R-rated movies (and R-13 movies) of today consistently earn scores of 54 and below, most of them far below 54. Even the Examples per Hour figures for It's Alive are paled in comparison to the same figures for modern R-rated features. And even modern PG-13 features! More on this at the end of this Summary/Commentary.

Beverly Hills Public Relations executive Frank Davis (John P. Ryan), his wife Lenore (Sharon Farrell) and their 11 year old son Chris (Daniel Holzman) are about to welcome a newborn into their home. However, Lenore keeps saying there is something different about this pregnancy.

After consuming unapproved birth control pills for 31 months, Lenore announces that the baby is coming. Prematurely. Frank zips his wife to the hospital after dropping off Chris at a prearranged stay with friend Charley (William Wellman Jr.). In the waiting room, Frank participated in gambling with other expectant fathers and discussing with them all the harmful effects of so many pesticides. Soon, the unusual baby was born.

Within minutes, five hospital staff are dead. The police note a hole in the delivery room skylight that a "normal sized" person could not get through. The unnamed infant that just killed five people is now on the loose in Beverly Hills. It must be killed to stop it from killing more. Now there is a dilemma. It is an infant. A baby. It is killing people. Though it is a killing monstrosity it is still a baby. Who could kill it? Frank could.

How is this infant different? It has fangs. It has claws. And at one day old it can walk, run, jump to shame Olympic athletes. It can live off frozen meat, milk left on doorsteps by the milkman, the milkman, a cop or two, Charley, a musician, a mini-skirted woman, a cat, .......

The most invasive sexual matters in this film were Lenore asking Frank to make love to her (Lenore and Frank were "married", but Ryan and Farrell were not) and an actor patting a towel against Farrell's most intimate parts while she was lying in a childbirth position [Hebr. 13:4; 1 Cor. 7:1-2]. The portrayal of childbirth is non-invasive of Farrell's privacy, however the amount of leg exposure is a bit much. Though unavoidable in actual childbirth, this is a movie and ALL scenes are 100% controllable. How much is controlled is dependent on the level of morality of the filmmakers. [Ps. 12:8]

There were a grand total of two uses of God's name in vain, once with the four letter expletive (which is unusual fo a PG-rated film) and once without it. Though It's Alive (1974) uses much lesser profanity than most modern films, even one use of His name in vain is sinful. [Deut. 5:11]

The gore of today is not presented in this horror film of yesteryear. Today's gore was not within the technology of 1973 (the film's release date was October 1974 but the content carries a 1973 copyright). Yesterday's gore consists largely of obviously dripped-on fake blood, sheets of red plastic draped over appendages, and animal flesh. Gore in this horror flick was lite. No gaping holes or rips in flesh and no body parts scattered around.

Just for the fun of it, I decided to compare the analysis data of It's Alive to that of a more recent R-rated film. To find a more recent R-rated film to compare to It's Alive, I opened our CAP Reports page (the one with "All Analyses" - more than 1200) and randomly selected a more recent film rated R by unobserved scroll-down through the entire list, stopping wherever I let go of the mouse button, and then blindly rolling the cursor around the resulting screen. I repeated this process until I hit an R-rated film of 2000 or later. Lo and behold, Scream 3 was selected! How serendipitous! Scream 3 is a horror flick, too! And in nearly the same genre as It's Alive. It's Alive is not a comedy while Scream 3 is, but since the CAP analysis model could not care less about such subjective matters, there is no skewing of the comparative. So, Scream 3 was the more recent R-rated film selected as a comparative for the 1974 It's Alive data. Below are the CAP Thermometers for both films. I dare say that for the open minded of you there is little I can say to augment what is revealed in the comparative display below. But I will say there sure seems to have been a lot added to R over three decades. Or maybe this comparative is evidence of "We have become so drugged by the narcotics of extremees that what once was morally unacceptable has become morally invisible." -TC- [Ps. 12:8; Jude 4]

Another little tidbit in view of some recent developments. There was not the slightest hint of the practice of homosexuality in It's Alive (1974). Not even a mention of the topic, positive or negative. I will let the Findings/Scoring section tell you all that was found in It's Alive.

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If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • 2 Tim. 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
  • Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
  • Hebr. 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure ....
  • 1 Cor. 7:1-2 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman [sexually]. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    It's Alive (1974) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • gambling
  • deaths by injuries (non-graphic)
  • lite gore
  • agitated physical resistance to rightful control maneuvers
  • ignoring parking ticket
  • image of grotesquely deformed infant several times
  • dead body, lite gore, repeatedly
  • dead body, no gore, repeatedly
  • killing (non-graphic), repeatedly
  • cops pointing their firearms at a baby
  • bribery
  • many firearms - police, repeatedly
  • gunfire to kill, no victims, repeatedly
  • firearm with intent of assault
  • mutilated cat
  • flash images of beast attack with lite gore
  • blood trail
  • flight from police
  • firearm death by police

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • nine uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • talk of having considered abortion
  • firing a man because of bad public relations not his fault
  • lies to son to protect him
  • ridicule
  • 11 year old boy defying father's wishes to stay away

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • ma and woman in bed (portrayal of husband and wife)
  • inappropriate touch, twice
  • childbirth procedures, Hollywood style
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure plus ghosting of female anatomy through thin clothing, once
  • request for sex

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • booze

    Offense to God (O)
  • one use of "fool" [Matt. 5:22]
  • one use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and one without

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted (killings and deaths by the "murderous infant" and the one by the police were incorporated into Wanton violence

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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