Its title a nod to Dr. Frankenstein’s triumphant cry in James Whale’s 1931 classic, Larry Cohen’s It’s Alive may be the most discomforting filmic depiction of childbirth anxiety, parental responsibility and unconditional love I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of the all-time underrated horror movies, a deeply terrifying portrait of child-parent relationships and intolerant fears of “otherness” defined as much by its sociological sharpness as its gore. Proving to be Cohen’s first mainstream success, this tale of biological processes-gone-awry focuses on middle-class couple Frank (John P. Ryan) and Lenore Davis (Sharon Farrell), whose second child exits his mother’s body a mutated monster with murder on his mind. A physical manifestation both of its parents’ corrosive hang-ups (specifically Frank’s selfish careerism and feelings of being “trapped” by kids) and public failings (environmental pollution, over-prescription of drugs), the “baby” immediately slays the attending doctors and nurses before fleeing into the neighborhood, where it becomes hunted by the police and Frank, the latter of whom loathes the notion that the thing shares with him common DNA. Crafted with superbly controlled widescreen compositions that, in the early hospital scenes, exhibit a distorted, fish lens-like surrealism, Cohen’s film – menacingly scored by Bernard Hermann – playfully (and discreetly) trades in infant/motherhood imagery, from the lactating milk truck attacked by the creature to the finale’s womb-like underground L.A. sewer system. Yet what ultimately elevates It’s Alive above being a piece of B-grade schlock (a designation unjustly used to define most of Cohen’s work) isn’t simply the writer/director/producer’s assured juggling of terror, comedy and social commentary; it’s also Ryan’s superbly bottled-up performance as the supernatural newborn’s distraught, disgusted and ultimately devoted daddy.