The Baby (1973)
By: J.R. McNamara on April 17, 2012  | 
Severin (USA) | All Regions, NTSC | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 mono | 84 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Ted Post
Starring: Anjanette Comer, Ruth Roman, David Manzy, Marianna Hill, Suzanne Zenor
Screenplay: Abe Polsky
Country: USA
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There is nothing I love more than having a film leave me gobsmacked. The first time I saw I Spit On Your Grave was one of those times, as was the first time I saw Return of the Living Dead, and Spider Baby. I just love to watch a film, and afterwards be sitting there on my couch, mouth agape at what I just watched. I doesn't have to be a good film - just one that makes me wonder how on earth anyone ever came up with such an idea, especially if it has one of those 'What the…?' endings.

The Baby was written by Abe Polsky, who also wrote the Jack Nicolson/Cameron Mitchell motorcycle/crime flick The Rebel Rousers and directed by Ted Post who directed Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Hang 'Em High.

The Baby tells the tale of social worker Ann Gentry (Night of 1000 Cat's Anjanette Comer) who actively pursues a case involving the Wadsworth family. The Wadsworth's are presided over by the domineering mother (Strangers on a Train's Ruth Roman), and her three children: the odd Germaine (Marianna Hill), the loosely moralled Alba (Suzanne Zenor) and the very retarded son, whose name is Baby (David Manzy, who didn't do much other than this and some TV, unless you count a bit part in Chaplin). Ann soon starts to believe that perhaps Baby isn't suffering from retardation at all, but instead is being deliberately halted from having any chance at mental advancement by a mother who has severe 'man' issues, and so she begins a campaign to get custody of Baby. Naturally, the three ladies of the house aren't having any of that!

Even though David Manzy is effectively mute for the majority of this film, except for baby-like crying, his performance is disturbingly off-putting. I mean this is no Oscar-winning performance like Dustan Hoffman's in Rainman, but it is a weird display of baby emulation that is definitely disturbing and bizarre!

By the way, keep an eye out for the babysitter assault sequence, when the mother first grabs the babysitter, it is quite obviously a stuntman in the worst wig you will ever see. Hilarious!
This movie is presented in 1.78:1 and is, at best, an OK image. The picture is clear, with only the occasional artefact, but at times it shows its age and appears faded and almost smoky.
The Baby is only presented in vintage mono, but it is mostly a decent sound, though occasionally a touch hollow.
Extra Features
Tales From The Crib (*groan*) is an audio interview with director Ted Post where he talks about this film as being one that he was brave to direct, but felt that the story was a good one. This is a quite interesting interview, obviously a telephone conversation, with footage from the film played over it. There is one warning though: do not watch/ listen to this without watching the film as the visuals are chock full of spoilers!!!

Audio Interview with David Mooney who back in the day was called David Manzy, and is the titular star of this movie. Manzy/Mooney basically talks about his career and the events leading up to his acquiring the role, and the actual filming.

There is also a theatrical trailer for this film, as well as Psychomania, In The Folds of the Flesh and Horror Express.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
A wise man once said that no-one puts Baby in a corner. Or was that Patrick Swayze? Anyway, after you have watched this you won't put it in a corner either. It is so strange and creepy it will stay you long after you have watched it. The performances of all involved are excellent, and there is this bizarre underlying sexual tension that runs through the film.

You have to watch this film!

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