here's something even exploitation fans don't see every day...
A cult movie that deals with infantilism!
worker Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer), who has recently lost her
husband in an accident, gets assigned to the Wadsworth family,
and goes to meet matriarch Mrs. Wadsworth (Ruth Roman, looking
like a weathered combination of Joan Crawford a la Mommie
Dearest and late-period Elizabeth Taylor) as well as her
two adult daughters, blonde tennis instructor Alba (Suzanne Zenor)
and brunette amateur actress Germaine (Marianna Hill), at their
home. Ann also meets Mrs. Wadsworth's son, who is referred to
only as "Baby". In most ways, "Baby" seems like a normal child.
He takes naps in his crib, cries when he wants his bottle, and
plays with his ball while crawling around on all fours. There's
just one small problem: "Baby" happens to be a fully grown adult
immediately, Ann feels a connection with Baby, spending more and
more time with him at the expense of her other cases. As she gets
to know Baby better, Ann begins to suspect that he's capable of
progressing beyond his current infantile state. What's more, it
turns out that his family is purposefully holding back his development.
("Baby doesn't talk! Baby doesn't walk!" instructs Alba
while brutally zapping Baby with a cattle prod.) Eventually, Ann
conspires to take Baby away from his abusive home. But has she
underestimated how far Mrs. Wadsworth will go to protect her family?
director Ted Post had some big-screen successes with movies like
the Planet of the Apes and Magnum
Force, most of his directing experience was in television,
and that's kind of how "The Baby" feels, like a television movie.
Scenes are shot and edited in a very workmanlike manner, which
is not to say that this is a badly directed film; far from it,
it's just that the tone of the movie is not nearly as gritty and
off the wall as the DVD cover would lead one to believe. In fact,
up until the shocking twist ending, The
Baby doesn't even really feel like a horror movie, but
more like a social melodrama, albeit one where the main character
is a grown man who drools on himself and has a woman change his
diaper. Rather than emphasizing the sleazy possibilities of such
a weird premise, Post treats the material in a very straightfaced
manner, with virtually none of the characters acknowledging the
inherent strangeness of Baby's situation. Even the babysitter
who ends up breastfeeding him doesn't seem that freaked out! Of
course the fact that everyone involved seems to have no idea how
weird the film's premise is only has the effect of making it seem
even more bizarre.
the cast, veteran actress Roman comes off best as the tough, brassy
Mrs. Wadsworth, with her husky, cigarette-burned voice and poofy
hairdo only adding to her ridiculous yet intimidating character.
As Baby, actor David Mooney (credited here as "David Manzy")
goes all out, drooling, crying and crawling around in the kind
of role most actors would be afraid to tackle.
recent years, directors like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez
have made a name for themselves making what are essentially slick,
big-budget films trying to recapture the feel of the weird, crudely
made drive-in fare they enjoyed when they were young. The
Baby is the exact opposite; namely it's a weird-as-hell
'70s cult movie trying to pass itself off as mainstream entertainment.
And although exploitation enthusiasts might be disappointed with
the movie's relative restraint in the sex and gore department,
make no mistake; in its own way, The Baby
is still one fucked up little movie.
Films have done a great job with the transfer on this DVD, having
restored the film from its original negative. The picture is crisp,
colors are rich and well balanced and there are barely any flaws
to speak of. The audio track is solid as well, if a little bit
underwhelming, but that probably has more to do with the original
source material than the DVD.
include a 20-minute audio interview with director Ted Post as
well as an 11-minute audio interview with actor David Mooney,
both of which were done by phone. Post talks about his experiences
making the film, including his original reluctance to direct it
due to its subject matter, and the audio is accompanied by various
clips from the film. Mooney talks about how much he enjoyed playing
Baby and how he got the part, although strangely the interview
fades out before he's done talking. The only other extras on the
disc are the film's original trailer (which actually gives away
a lot of the ending, so make sure you watch the movie first) as
well as a few trailers for other Severin releases like Psychomania