Monday, June 16, 2014

The Baby (Severin Blu-ray) - It's Exactly What You Think It Is.... A BOY!

I've heard a lot about The Baby and the basic plot seems fairly obvious right? Nosy social worker decides to the blow the cover on one of the best kept secrets in all of welfare history as a baby is responsible for a check making it into the hands of his mother every month. No one questions it or at least not to anyone's knowledge; any suspicious parties seem to just up and disappear. Oh, and by the way, the baby is a full grown man, and they call him... Baby. This is just the kind of thing that the 70's post sexual enlightenment would afford an audience. It's popped up on my Netflix recommend list more than once and up until I finally threw this one in my player I was nervous. It all seemed so obvious. And that's where I was sorely mistaken and made happier than a freshly changed newborn. Severin Films brings us The Baby. A horror movie. A social study. A unique thriller with some exciting plot twists baked in the strange and unusual. 

Synopsis from Severin Films: 

An A-list director. A jaw-dropping storyline. And depraved depictions of suburban violence, 70s fashions and "sick love". The result remains one of the most disturbing movies in Hollywood history: Anjanette Comer (The Loved One) stars as an idealistic L.A. County social worker who investigates the case of Mrs. Wadsworth (former 50s starlet Ruth Roman of Strangers On A Train fame), her two buxom daughters, and son "Baby", a mentally-disabled man who sleeps in a crib, eats in a high-chair, crawls, bawls and wears diapers. But what secrets of unnatural attachment - and sexual obsession - are all of these women hiding? Marianna Hill (The Godfather Part II) and Michael Pataki (Grave Of The Vampire) co-star in this psychotic stunner from director Ted Post (Magnum Force, Beneath The Planet Of The Apes), restored from the original film negative for the first time ever on Blu-Ray.

This movie is nearly a Twilight Zone fleshed out and ready for Rod Serling to do his monologue. You truly feel like you're entering the 5th Dimension. If it was in black and white and cut down to a fifth or its run time, you'd be unlocking a door with the key of imagination. Yes watching a full grown man act like a baby is unsettling. At times you truly want this guy to snap out of it. You end up talking to the screen offering suggestions. Then once you get accustomed to it, you begin to watch Baby grow. You feel like you've gained a family member. Funny how that happens. This little buggers grow on you. 

What is as intriguing as the performance by Ruth Roman in the role of Baby's mother. She's damn good with a "carton a day" voice and a Bette Davis level of psychosis, you start thinking this is the Whatever Happened to Baby Jane from a slightly different perspective. Once The Baby kicks in, you'll realize the plot you thought was so crystal clear is beautifully and carefully diluted. It almost has a cliffhanger element to it, and there's a little bit.. just a smidge of Last House on the Left in the very end (this gives nothing away mind you). 

The Baby is a darkever film than I would have thought, and it goes beyond exploitation cinema or low budget rip off stuff. It's a complex, well written and genuinely acted piece of cinema. Severin has give this print new life in its Blu-ray debut fully restored from a film negative. You also get the trailer (which is a trip), an interview with the director Ted Post and a separate interview with star David Mooney. The cover art is gorgeous and iconic.

It's not precisely a horror movie mind you. It has elements of dark fantasy and murder with some exceptionally tense moments. Fans of traditional monster movies or slasher pics might find this hard to pigeon hole. Psychological thriller aficionados need apply.

You can order The Baby now. Releases July 8th.

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