The Baby (1973)

God Sam-nit!

Though I have no memory of it, I can only assume that I lit Samrizon’s car on fire and punched her in the stomach, because she decided I needed to be punished for something.  She could have been more overt about the punishment and attacked me with a skillet, but Samrizon was more diabolical than that.  Instead, she suggested a movie and told me nothing more than that.  I was able to find the movie on Netflix streaming, so it was an easy request to grant.  I was so naïve.  So let’s talk about The Baby, written by Abe Polsky, directed by Ted Post, and starring Anjanette Comer, Ruth Roman, Marianna Hill, Suzanne Zenor, David Mooney, Michael Pataki, and Beatrice Manley Blau.

Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) is a social worker who gets involved with a strange case.  The Wadsworth family – mother (Ruth Roman), and daughters Germaine (Marianna Hill) and Alba (Suzanne Zenor) – have a mentally impaired person in the family named “Baby” (David Mooney), who is physically in his twenties but acts like an infant.  Ann gets to thinking (and is correct) about the family mistreating Baby to make him stay at his current age mentally, but she can’t prove it.  When she starts taking a little too much interest in Baby, the Wadsworth family decides they need to do something about it.

Whatever I did, Samrizon, I am truly, truly sorry.  Can I never have to watch a movie like this again?  Okay, this movie is pretty bad.  Admittedly, I’ve seen worse, but not very many.  I’ve retained no particular love of old movies, campy movies, or cult movies.  They get no particular love from this reviewer.  Not only does this movie suck, it’s really creepy and unsettling.  Knowing that the movie was a horror movie and seeing that its main character is a retarded man-child, I figured it would end up being a story about the family trying to hide the fact that the man-child would occasionally kill people.  They didn’t go that way.  They went with the family trying to keep the man-child as a perpetual baby and killing anyone that got in the way of that.  But since them trying to kill only came up once in the movie, it wasn’t even much of a horror movie.  It seemed like the writer just found out about retarded people and decided that was reason enough to make a movie.  But he went overboard, making every character in the movie retarded to some extent.  Ann’s boss says that it’s common for people to just disappear off the face of the Earth.  Ann herself wants to take Baby for herself.  One of Baby’s sisters fucks Baby.  In fact, it seems like almost everybody that crosses Baby’s path wants to fuck that retarded man-child.  I’ve been going about meeting women the wrong way!  I need to see if I can get my mom involved in this so that I can bang some social workers by acting like a baby and doing some heavy duty work in a pair of diapers.  And, just so you know, it’s okay for me to use the term “retarded” because this movie showed me that it was not only an acceptable moniker for the mentally challenged, but the proper term for it.  You get the idea of the movie pretty quickly, but it’s still going to drag on and on until it’s unsatisfying conclusion.  They drag on the ending with nothing going on to build up tension that’s not there until they reach the final fight that is laughably bad and ends stupidly.  Also, ::SPOILER ALERT:: how the Hell would the people that are making Ann’s pool not stumble upon the three dead bodies poorly buried with three inches of dirt on top of them as they finished the pool?  ::END SPOILERS::  The look of the movie is excusably poor (it is ten years my senior, after all), but the music is inexcusably awful.  Parts where the music should be trying to build tension sounds like Benny Hill music, and the rest of it is just annoying.

My motto for horror movies like this one would be, “If you’re going to suck at acting, the least you could do is be nice to look at.”  Unfortunately, I was at least 15 years away from being able to explain that motto to the people of this movie.  Not a single person in the cast made me want to look at them.  For instance, Anjanette Comer looked like she was about 20 years older than she was trying to portray.  And it also might have helped if they tried a little bit harder to cover up the cold sore that was on her lip for the entire movie.  Ruth Roman seemed like she’d be better equipped to be telling Johnny Fugazi to break some mamaluke’s kneecaps in a mafia movie.  Marianna Hill had the most 80’s hair that ever existed.  I thought she was Jon Bon Jovi for most of the movie.  There’s a chance that she wasn’t actually him though.  Suzanne Zenor was the closest thing to an attractive woman in this movie, so I found myself watching her out of desperation.  In the land of the homely, the slightly attractive are queen.  David Mooney did … something.  I don’t know what, but he did the shit out of it.  I guess he acted like a retarded baby.  Is that a compliment?  I also found myself fascinated with Michael Pataki.  He wasn’t in the movie very long, but I was able to figure out that I knew him from watching the Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of another shitty movie called The Sidehackers.  I found him unintentionally funny, mainly because he kept walking around smoking a joint that was the size of a Tick Tack that, if it was real and actually lit, would’ve burned the shit out of his fingers.  Another big problem with the performances in this movie is that there is no one for you to like.  Perhaps you don’t hate Baby, but he’s basically window dressing.  Every other character is completely unlikeable so why would I give a shit if any of them died.  I guess I gave more of a shit that not everyone was dead at the end.  That would’ve satisfied me.

The Baby is not a good movie.  Sure, it’s creepy and unsettling, but in a different way than a horror movie that is actually good.  It was creepy to watch the Mr. Hands video, but I don’t really call that a horror movie.  It’s more of a snuff film.  This one’s more of something you shouldn’t bother watching.  The story’s icky, the performances suck, and there’s nothing to look at or listen to that would distract you from the crapiness of the movie.  I guess you could watch this thing if you wanted to make fun of something.  But I just did that for you, so you can save yourself the trouble.  The Baby gets “With your damned tit in his mouth, and you call that nothing?” out of “This movie sucks … it’s thumb.”

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