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The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest V

Hell Plaza Oktoberfest V

Adam Jahnke - Main Page

The Baby (DVD)

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The Baby
1973 (2011) - Severin
Released on DVD on June 28th, 2011

Typically, horror movies are relatively easy to pin down and classify. You've got your paranormal and supernatural horror. You have monster movies. And you've got your slashers and serial killers. Sure, there's some crossover where the lines get blurry but for the most part, it's all fairly straight-forward. And then there's The Baby.

I think it's fair to say that The Baby is one of the weirdest movies I will ever include in Oktoberfest. It isn't so much that the movie is particularly scary. It's just... strange. Off. Abnormal. Uncomfortable. Needless to say, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Anjanette Comer stars as a social worker assigned to the strange case of the Wadsworth family.

Mrs. Wadsworth (Ruth Roman) lives alone with her two daughters (Marianna Hill and Susanne Zenor) and one son, Baby (David Mooney, here credited as David Manzy). Baby is a full-grown man who hasn't developed mentally past infancy. He can't talk or stand up, sleeps in a crib, wears a diaper, and is fed from a bottle.

The Wadsworths maintain that Baby is mentally challenged ("He's always been backwards!") but as the movie goes on, it begins to be clear that Baby has intentionally kept this way by his abusive family. Comer makes it her mission to get Baby out of this environment, no matter what.

The Baby was directed by Ted Post, the Hollywood veteran responsible for such films as Hang 'Em High, Magnum Force, and Beneath The Planet Of The Apes. You won't find another movie like The Baby on his resume but then again, you won't find another movie quite like it period. Post takes this inherently strange material, written by Abe Polsky, and treats it seriously. A lot of credit belongs to the cast, especially Ruth Roman. Thanks to their efforts, the movie never quite falls into high camp even when it looks like it's about to.

Severin deserves high marks for rescuing this gem from obscurity. The DVD boasts a surprisingly solid transfer and a clean, well-balanced audio track. The disc includes two phone interviews with director Ted Post and Baby himself, David Mooney. Both offer interesting background and anecdotes, although they also fade out rather strangely at the end instead of coming to a conclusion. The disc also includes the original trailer and three additional Severin trailers.

To say The Baby is not for all tastes is a massive understatement. It's probably one of the most bizarrely, unpleasantly sexually charged PG-rated movies ever made. While there's nothing terribly explicit or overtly horrific in the movie, it still gets under your skin and leaves you wondering what the hell you just watched. If that sounds as intriguing to you as it did to me, you're in for a treat.

Film Rating: B+
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/B/C+

Adam Jahnke

Adam Jahnke - Main Page
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