The Baby - The Baby( Blu Ray) [Arrow Video - 2018]The Baby is a fairly pedestrian & soapy-though-at-times queasy shot of shockploitation from the 1970ís.The film blends together dysfunctional family drama, low-key hag horror, thriller, with a few fleeting moments of violence & sleaze. The film has been out of print for a few years, and has never had a Blu Ray- so here from Arrow Video, we get a new 2k reissue of the film.
Released in 1973 The Baby was directed by Ted Post- who is most known for directing US TV- having over ninety( mainly TV) directorial credits to his name between 1950 & the late 1990ís. And though The Baby was released on the grindhouse circuit & beyond- it definitely very 70ís TV movie like, but itís peppered with fleeting touches of violence, and what the-hell-moments.
The film focuses in on the Wandsworth family- taking middle-aged Mrs. Wandsworth, two early twenties daughters, and her son- who is simply called Baby. Baby is around thirty years old, but acts like an infant- wearing nappies, gurgling, playing in an oversized playpen, drinking milk & eat sloop, and been unable to walk. Into this odd set-up comes new social worker Ann Gentry who somewhat unsettles the apple- cart, with her interest/ later obsession with the case.
The Baby comes in at just over the hour & twenty mark- and to me, it felt mostly like an extended 1970ís US TV drama. Sure the whole idea/ concept behind the film is most unsettling- but itís never really played up or expanded in any sort of cinematic manner- yes we have moments of shock for example: when the family come home to find the babysitter trying to breastfeed baby, a moment of suggested incest between baby & one of his sister, and the fairly effective twist ending. But most of the film's runtime is built around soapy banter & (mostly) campy confrontation. Iíd be aware of The Baby for a few years now, but this first time Iíd actually got to see it- and I must say while itís well enough acted, at times is fairly queasy, & has some moments of subtly effective shock- but on the whole I felt somewhat underwhelmed by the filmÖI guess I was expecting more unhinged moments, more violence, and a general feel of transgression to the whole thingÖit just, well feels, too pedestrian.
Extra wise we get a good enough selection- we get a brand new audio commentary by American film critic Travis Crawford. This is full of facts & info on both the career of director Ted Post, the key actresses & of course baby himself. He also he peppers in observations about key scenes too- heís certainly done a lot of research for the track, and you are never left with awkward pauses or inane banter, I just felt he came across a little dry & academic in place, but thatís not to say I didn't enjoy the track- I just wish maybe there had be a tad more humor present. Next we two new interviews- ones with the actress who played one of the sister, and the other with the man who did the
artwork seen through-out babies bedroom- each of these run around the five-minute mark. Next, we get a 12-minute retrospective/ review from film professor Rebekah McKendry- and thatís all the new stuff. Added on from a previous DVD pressing of the film we get two audio-only interviews- one with the director, and one with David Mooney the actor who played Baby- and of this tow, the one with Mooney was the most interesting, as you get a real insight into his playing of the part.
So, in conclusion, Iím certainly glad Iíve finally got to see The Baby after hearing/reading so much about it- but for me personally, it just felt too tame, too soapy, & not edgy enough for my liking. That said Arrow have certainly done another great job with the film's reissue & extrasÖso if youíre a collector of 70ís shockploitation/exploitation films, itís certainly worth adding to your collection- just donít expect too much.