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31 Days of Horror

‘The Baby’ Features One of the Best Surprise Twists in Cinema History

31 Days of Horror

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Shocking and unsettling in breaking a number of social taboos, this forgotten gem centers on the sort of dysfunctional family seldom depicted on screen. The Baby is a politically-incorrect pseudo horror film about motherly love gone horribly wrong.

Our story follows a recently widowed social worker (Anjanette Comer) who investigates a strange case of child abuse and discovers a grown man (David Manzy) has been held in a state of infantile his entire life. The grown man still behaves like a baby, dressed in diapers, unable to speak and under the full dependance and care of a mother and her two teenage daughters. The social worker becomes increasingly obsessed with Baby, fearful of his well being under the manipulative, psychotically abusive family who controls and tortures him for their own benefit.

Ted Post’s The Baby is surely one of the most unusual camp classics ever made. Before Dogtooth and Bad Boy Bubby, Baby ranked as one of the most mature yet bizarre PG-rated cult films of the ’70s, featuring such controversial themes as incest, pedophilia, sadomasochism, drug use and more. For a film that, on the surface, appears to be a made-for-TV movie-of-the-week, Baby is much more, an exploration of violence in suburbia, sexual obsession, and social decay which masterfully avoids exploitation and successfully creates sympathy for its titular character.

Ted Post’s The Baby is surely one of the most unusual camp classics ever made.

Ted Post (Magnum Force, Beneath the Planet of the Apes) does a wonderful job creating one of the genre’s most perverse pictures with his no-frills direction. Aside from having a great script, The Baby also benefits from a cast full of cult movie favourites. Ruth Roman (a respected Hollywood leading lady in the 50s before moving on to a series of exploitation films), steals the show here with her moderate theatrics as the hideous matriarch Mrs. Wadsworth. Anjanette Comer gives her character a welcome vulnerable appeal as Baby’s persistently frustrated caseworker. Meanwhile, Marianna Hill and Suzanne Zenor hold up their end of the film’s odd charm. But perhaps most impressive is David Mooney who is great in the title role as Baby, a 30-something man with the mind of a child. His scenes could be played for cheap laughs but instead, we the audience find ourselves generally concerned for his mental and physical health.

Perhaps the film’s greatest virtue, however, is its unexpected ending, which forces us to reconsider everything that came before. The ending is so bizarre and disturbing, it’s widely heralded as one of the best surprise twists in cinema history, making The Baby a gutsy film that completely avoids a mainstream appeal.

Some cinephiles accuse the plot of being an attack against the rise of feminism in the early seventies and man’s fear of the extremes of female empowerment. The metaphorical emasculation of the male lead by dominant female figures is present, but there is much more to consider. The Baby, in short, is simply a disturbing look at a family that isolates their children from society to extremes. It’s a unique cinematic experience, something to be seen and something you’ll never forget.

Some people take my heart, others take my shoes, and some take me home. I write, I blog, I podcast, I edit, and I design websites. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goomba Stomp and the NXpress Nintendo Podcast. Former Editor-In-Chief of Sound On Sight, and host of several podcasts including the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead podcasts, as well as the Sound On Sight and Sordid Cinema shows. There is nothing I like more than basketball, travelling, and animals. You can find me online writing about anime, TV, movies, games and so much more.

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31 Days of Horror

Game Boys, Ep. 167: Co-optober- Man of Medan

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It’s finally here, Halloween, and with it comes the frightening conclusion of Game Boys’ Co-optober. The Game Boys are wrapping up in spooktacular fashion reviewing the co-op designed Dark Pictures: Man of Medan. But does this game float or sink? Does it stand a ghost of a chance with Tim, who notoriously dislikes walking simulators or does this title turn the tides of his opinion in spine-tingling fashion? Find out and, of course, Happy Halloween!

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31 Days of Horror

Game Boys, Ep. 166: Co-optober- The Horror Genre

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Few genres, if any, are as divisive as the horror genre. Love it or hate it, horror is an important piece of media history offering content creators a means of handling the taboo and trauma in a distinct way. This week, the Game Boys truly celebrate the genre by discussing its general importance, it’s appeal, where to get started in the genre, and what to avoid. Turn out the lights and tune in!

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31 Days of Horror

Game Boys, Ep. 165: Co-optober- Moon’s Haunted

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The nights are growing darker, longer, and colder and the most haunted time of the year approaches! Consequently, the Game Boys’ creepy Co-optober horror celebration continues this week with Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, the spookiest expansion to date! That’s far from the only thing haunting the Game Boys this week, so take a seat by the fire, dim the lights, and tune in to this terrifying episode! Let’s hope it’s not the last thing you do!

Listen on Apple Podcasts

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Follow Game Boys on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook

Email Game Boys at Gameboyscoopcast@gmail.com

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And Check Out Alex’s Work on Frightday.com!

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