Sunday, July 6, 2014

Don't throw a tantrum, The Baby is on Blu-ray

Click to BUY FROM AMAZON
Director: Ted Post

Cast: Anjanette Comer, Ruth Roman, Marianne Hill, Suzanne Zenor, David Manzy

Severin Films / Region A / Rated PG / 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / DTS-HD Mono / 84 minutes Extras: "Tales from the Crib": Audio interview with director Ted Post / "Baby Talk": Audio interview with David Manzy / Theatrical trailer

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Anne, a curious social worker, volunteers to take on a very strange and interesting case involving a full grown man who lives as an infant/toddler. Arriving at Baby's (the man-child's actual name) home, she is greeted my his mother Mrs. Wadsworth and her two grown daughters, Germaine (the eldest) and Alba (the hottest). Anne finds the whole family to be eccentric and fascinating and after meeting Baby himself, she takes an extra interest. She begins to let her case-load fall by the wayside as all of her time is taken by visiting and prying into the Wadsworth affairs, all the while her husband is recovering from a serious accident. Of course all of this special attention doesn't sit well with Mother Wadsworth and her daughters, so after an unsuccessful try at scaring Anne off they devise a sinister plan to keep her away for good. In the end, family secrets are revealed and no one is safe from The Baby!

This is the most fucked up "PG" rated movie I have ever seen. If this movie was made today --it never would be-- but if it was and it went in front of the MPAA, it would slapped with an "R" rating so fast, their bibs would spin. It's not a graphic movie in any way. No nudity, no gore, very little blood and no sex, save a little making out. All of the shocks and uncomfortable allure of The Baby are based on watching a full-grown man acting like and being treated like a wee baby. I know, that sounds ridiculous but it couldn't be more true. I cringed through every scene that actor David Manzy aka David Mooney aka "Baby" was in, yet I couldn't take my eyes off of the screen. There is one particular scene where the babysitter tries to comfort the tantruming Baby by giving in and letting him suck her tit... oh jeez, I wanted to look away so badly. And the way the mother and sisters fret over him was enraging. I just wanted to yell at the TV, "Let the poor fucker stand up and go take a piss by himself"!

There is obvious psychological abuse as the mother has used negative reinforcement to keep her son an infant, but there is also physical and sexual mistreatment. Most of it is hinted at and some, like Germaine actually taking her clothes off and getting in Baby's crib with him and Alba "punishing" him with a cattle prod is more obvious. Aside from the strangeness of the plot device of a giant man-baby, the movie is actually really well made. Director Ted Post, who is best known as a TV director and for films like Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Eastwood's Magnum Force, brought his wealth of experience behind the camera to make this a legit horror movie full of suspense, shocks and bizarre thrills. I was surprised and shocked by the violent, ugly ending that totally caught me off guard. I was lulled by a well written, provocative story and sucker-punched by the left-hook of the film's climax.

Post assembled some great actresses in all the major roles, especially veteran Ruth Roman who played the Joan Crawford-esque, old Hollywood, bat-shit crazy mother. Her smokey, raspy voice added to her confident delivery and controlling role. There was also something charismatic about Suzanne Zenor's role as "Alba". She played a young Lolita with obvious "mommy issues" and a dislike for men even though she would lead you to believe otherwise. There was a weird thing where they seemed to have dubbed a real baby crying over Manzy's play-acting, which really made the already absurd goings-on that much more surreal. I thought that Severin Films had hit the apex of weird when they released The Sinful Dwarf a couple of years ago, but The Baby may just have it beat. The Sinful Dwarf was much more graphic and exploitive, but The Baby is just so well made and uncomfortable to watch that it takes the disturbingly iced cake. If you are into bizarre and fascinating cinema, pick up the Severin Blu-ray!

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