Director: Larry Cohen
USA - 1974
When you go to try to pick out a good and proper Crazy Baby movie, how do you choose? I mean,
theres no such thing as Too Much Crazy Baby, but what qualifies as Too Little? Addams
Family Values has a crazy baby, but hes fairly overshadowed by Raoul Julia. The
Omen concerns the baby, but Evil isnt really Crazy, and the baby doesnt
really do all that much. Same thing with Rosemarys Baby; lots of the other
people are crazy, but you dont really see all that much of the baby going to town.
In fact, he only makes the appearance at the end, really. So how do you find a Crazy Baby
of the right type?
Let me tell you this: in Chicago, its not as easy as it sounds. I went to the
Blockbuster a few blocks from my house (in Chicago, theres a Blockbuster a few
blocks from everybodys house), and they were busted. Turns out the closest
thing I could find only qualified because it had a monster in a hatching egg on the cover.
But Proteus is for another review.
Finally, I was able to get down to the local independent store, Darkstar, on North
Lincoln. Yes, I believe its named after that famous Carpenter movie, his first. Not
only do they know their stuff, theyve got a varied selection of the kind of stuff
you dont often find in chain stores. Even Hollywood Video. At least in Chicago. They
still dont have Crossroads, and I have yet to see if they have Cast A
Deadly Spell, but theyve got lots and lots of other neat stuff.
In any case, they were able to provide an excellent Crazy Baby movie: Its
The cover had a fanged, big-eyed baby
looking kind of like a vampire Gray,
and I have to say, killer mutant cannibal babies seemed like a fun time.
As usual, I was going to try to write the draft of the movie review
while actually watching the film. However, for a change, I was watching it with my beloved
wife, George. Now, George was a film studies major, so she has a great deal of training in
interpreting and evaluating cinema. On a side note, Chris and Scott of Stomp Tokyo once thought she might be a hologram, I
think because they couldnt picture a real woman would be dating me. But thats
just a side note, and were married now, so the last laugh is on them, I think. In
any case, George is a quick wit with an erudite means of expressing herself. Perfect for
watching a movie with.
Okay, so we started it up. Sadly, I had no advantage of previews to lessen the
experience; straight into the pain. As the credits began to roll, we see little
what are these, eyes? Reflecting the glare of something
There are more of them. Cells? No, there are beams; theyre flashlights! What? Why
flashlights? Okay, so its a neat little way to open the movie, Id say,
however, it doesnt seem to have anything to do with the crazy baby.
Okay, from the flashing lights, we cut to a red-haired pregnant woman, waking up in the
middle of the night, and finding its time for her to have a baby
she and Peter
no, wait, its not really Peter Lorre, it just looks like him when the mans lying there. She doesnt seem to have
her water broken, but then again, its 1973, and they must not be comfortable talking
about that sort of thing. They get up and start to get ready. Boy, its taking a lot
of time. But wait, something seems to be wrong. Oh, no, its time to wake up their
young son and have some expository dialogue.
So their small son is sleeping with a cat. A cat? What kind of Siamese cat looks like
its dead and just calmly stays under a kids arm all night? Well, not all
night, perhaps, just for the shot, so they must have had well-trained cat actors in the
early 70s. Kind of an odd choice for a boys sleeping companion, but at the very
least it promises to provide some false scares. After all, what would a monster movie be
without a Spring-loaded Cat (term coined
by the good folks at Jabootus, also fellow
Chicagoans)? Weve all seen the Spring-loaded Cat, where the cat jumps out from
hiding to surprise the actors and provide a cheap scare. Its one of my pet peeves in
movies that I pay good money to see in the theater, but I dont mind it so much in
cheap B-movies; after all, what else do they have going for them?
Okay, after they do some exposition, stuff I couldnt really be bothered to pay
attention to, even if it were easily audible, they continue to prepare to leave. Man,
its really moving slow. Isnt a pregnant woman supposed to be in a lot of pain?
I mean, contractions and all
they hardly even show her in pain. Okay, now Mom and
Peter are pausing to gaze lovingly at the nursery. The woman is in labor, people! You
should have taken the time to anticipate your coming happiness, you know, before this!
Yes, we now have unequivocal proof that Peter Lorre is a father. With a pregnant wife
in labor, he returns to the nursery to shut off the lights.
There is a touching family interaction as they drive to drop off their son, Chris, with their family friend, a friendly neighborhood child molester, and
very calmly and quietly check into Community Hospital.
Even in labor pains, Mom is very calm and rational. Either shes a bad actress, or
her "labor" is pretty weak at the moment. Peter Lorre spends a great deal of
time gazing at the little babies. George thinks theyre fake babies, and they do look
rather rubbery, but when they put one in an incubator, it moves on its own. I tend to
think that maybe sleeping babies in the early 70s just naturally had a rubbery look to
A bunch of fathers sit in the waiting room, including a Robert Englund-looking guy, a
Hunter S. Thompson-looking guy, our Peter Lorre-looking guy, and a tall, balding guy I
like to call The Mook. Now we have the time to give our Environmental Message: with the
pollution and toxins and all that, its a wretched world to bring a kid into. The
Mook, an exterminator, says maybe well adapt, and tells the gripping story of how
the roaches in Beverly Hills adapt to new poisons. Little did he know he was describing
exactly what was going on with bacteria and antibiotics, as well. But thats the
benefit of hindsight.
Now then, Mom is gradually having her baby delivered. Theres
a whole crew there, probably lots more people than are actually necessary. Dr. Tactful
delivers the words every mother wants to hear "This baby is just gigantic."
Things are very quiet. Then, while gazing some more at the rubber babies, Peter Lorre
notices a collapsed orderly
strange that nobody saw what happened. In any case, he
naturally relates it to his own child, and bursts into the birthing room to find everyone
slaughtered! Except his screaming wife: "Wheres my baby! Why wont you
show me my baby?" Okay, I know you kind of lose track of things when youre in
labor, but not only is she splashed with blood, and strapped to the table (do they do
that?), but the bodies of the medical crew are stacked like cordwood off to one side,
where she could see them. I mean, come on.
Orderlies restrain Peter Lorre, while they dont seem to be particularly worried
about the bodies. They do take the time to notice that the umbilical cord has been chewed
off, rather than cut. Exactly what kind of priorities do these early 70s doctors have,
Aha! Now there seems to be a police investigation. Theyre looking up in the drop
ceiling, finding blood and excess tissue! I knew James Cameron must have gotten it from
someplace to use in Aliens! No, wait, apparently it was a skylight, not a drop
ceiling. Well, similar principle: when you want to be sneaky, you go high. Of course, that
brings up the question of how a newborn was able to reach a skylight, much less a drop
ceiling. And this baby also seems to be able to launch himself up from, say, floor level
to neck level, and ripping into the carotid artery of his victims. No wonder the baby is
gigantic! It seems as though weve chosen well, this is definitely a Crazy Mutant
Okay, back to the movie. See, heres the thing. When the dead bodies were found,
when the medical team was killed and Mom was going crazy, and they were screaming about
the baby and such (though Im still iffy about how he could relate a collapsed body in a hallway to his
own childs birth; its just too much of a leap for me to go with), it was
interesting. Now that were back in the emoting time, and theyre being all
weepy about the baby, I find it hard to
there must have been five or eight people killed, and theyre just
focusing on the missing baby. Youd think the police would be swarming around the
place, youd think theyd be questioning the wife on what she saw, but you know,
the police dont seem all that up on things. Those dead medical professionals at
Community Hospital wont get justice anytime soon.
Now, back to the movie. I really do wonder about the makers of these B-movies. I mean,
I know baby movies usually take a bit of time to warm up, but how much walking and
standing around do they think they can carry off? Building tension by showing a man
brushing his teeth and staring in the mirror? I dont think it works, really, but
then again, Im not much of a movie executive.
Mom stays in the hospital, while Peter Lorre drives home. In the news on the radio, the
newscast is remarkably movie-specific. They already have the salient details of the attack
at the hospital, and theyre blabbing them all over.
"Police still offer no explanation for the series of five deaths which occurred
early today at the St. George Medical Center in Santa Monica. Officers are still working
an around the clock schedule. Informed sources at the hospital allege the deaths resulted
from attacks by an infant, born earlier today in a mutated form, but officials declined to
comment. This station has acquired exclusive information naming Mr. and Mrs. Frank Davis
of West Los Angeles as the parents of the infant in question. The whereabouts of the
newborn child are not known."
What responsible journalism! Those arent words you hear in every radio news
report, but damn it, you should.
The next morning, a woman heading toward her car hears a baby cry, and goes to investigate. Dear God, what a mini-dress! And go-go boots! Finally, some
cheesecake! I have to admit, this is my favorite part of the movie so far. See, weve
developed the art of the B-movie far enough that if we dont see some kind of
exploitation early enough, we have a tough time staying interested. Now, this isnt
exactly exploitation, exactly, and I know for a fact that this girl is going to be baby
food in a second or two, but still, you have to enjoy what you can.
There are a few point of view shots that are deeply out of focus. Is this going to be
representative of the Crazy Mutant Baby? Could this be the first view of Babycam? I do
believe so. Shortly, the baby strikes, and we have
CRAZY BABY IMAGE! Only took twenty minutes for a half-second shot. Still, could be
worse. Its a fanged baby mouth, and I presume its munching on the hottie in
the mini-dress. Oh, well. At least Crazy Mutant Baby is already on solid food. What a fast
learner he is!
Peter Lorre goes in to work the next day. Got to admire him; hes quite a trooper.
Of course, due to the wonderful journalism of the day, everybody knows hes the
father of a Crazy Mutant Baby. As he passes by the receptionist, who looks just like Jane
Curtin, incidentally, calls someone on the phone. Well, thats better than getting on
the PA and calling "Code Blue, Father of the Killer Baby is in the building!"
Peter gets called into his bosss office.
Okay, this is the early seventies. I love watching movies from this period. Smoking
like chimneys indoors, ordering huge amounts of bacon for breakfast, open-necked
But its still before the fashion excesses you witness in movies like The
Stepford Wives and so on. Open references to abortion, just to be topical
saying "I heard you wanted to rap with me
" Recent history can be fun,
kids. Dont limit yourself to older historical references like Gladiator or Rob
or Silverado or Wild Wild West, for that matter. Explore your
recent history, with Attack of the Giant Spiders and Dazed and Confused.
Peter Lorre eventually heads off to take some time off, though its clear to just
about everyone else that his "vacation" is a barely concealed firing, due to the
embarrassment of producing a killer Crazy Mutant Baby. Georges accompaniment in this
endeavor pays off. As Peter Lorre walks out of his public relations firm, she says,
"Youve just been fired. Dont you hate your sperm?"
Okay, for a public relations firm executive, he really cant handle the press.
Okay, sure, the press has been trumpeting the story of his baby going bad (talk about
being born bad), and theyre hounding him more than we usually see in the movies
(well, I guess that depends on the movie, but come on, its not really his fault).
We cut to a crime scene. The lead detective in the Crazy Mutant Baby case stands up
from examining the latest baby-mauled body. "Hunting and killing babies doesnt
seem to be my specialty," he says. Boy, if only more cops could make that claim. He
trades quips with a fat, bald Edward James Olmos, and then goes on.
Back in the Davis household, Mom is sitting in bed with the rent-a-nurse at her side.
The medical professionals in this movie! Talk about tact! "Are you sure you never got
a good look at it? They say it has teeth and claws, did you know that?" This
girls got nothing on Nurse Ratchett
much less Dr. Tactful from the earlier
part of the movie. Oh, but shes a reporter on the side, this nurse! Never should
have admitted that, girl, cost you a job. Pity, really.
Now again, we have Babycam. Apparently, Crazy Mutant Babies are roving hand-held
cameras set up out of focus, so we get this little roving view through a bunch of garden
cover-plants. Babycam occasionally gets a view of the baby himself
and as we get
glimpses, George remarks he looks like the baby form the TV show Dinosaurs! You
know, shes right. Though brown rather than pink, but still full of claws and big
eyes. And even though hes developing fast, on solids and able to leap up to neck
level (though apparently not able to walk, still), he still cant say "Not the
mamma!" Come on, cant you just try?
In all honesty, youd probably think that having the Babycam rolling around and
attacking people and all, it would be more interesting. I mean, they spend a great deal of
time pushing the tension, with music and camera angles. You keep waiting for the shoe to
drop, for it to unfold the way you know it has to. Of course, when you get down to it, the
most interesting part of his murder of the milkman is when all the
milk starts spilling out of the back of the truck, and we start looking for the
there it is, blood and milk. Isnt that a Mongolian drink of some sort?
Or am I just reading too much Transmetropolitan? Anyway, we knew it was going to
happen, we were just surprised that so much milk went out onto the street before it
started to go pink on us.
Oh, somethings happening! The cops are deploying, rolling up in a bunch of
cruisers, scrambling around to the back of a house to the sounds of a baby crying. The
cops ring the suspect, and we get the shots of gun barrels pointing at the camera. The
target? A regular baby looking around, as if confused. He looks like an infant Bruce
Willis, a perplexed expression on his face. Then a cut back to the cops, still aiming.
Could that have been a joke, a stab at humor? Wow. Perhaps this movie isnt so
serious after all. But then again, it probably is just a fluke.
Peter Lorre doesnt seem to be looking like Peter Lorre anymore
hes looking like James Caan. Of course, Im going to call him Peter Lorre,
because Im afraid Peter Lorre is under-represented in modern film.
Okay, some scientists show up and ask Peter Lorre to sign over the rights to the
babys body. Oh, I should mention theres a sub-plot wherein the scientists in
the hospital and such all want to study the Crazy Mutant Baby. To create a race of Mutant
Supermen, soldiers for the war against the Communists? Very likely. Still, those
long-range plans arent exactly explored at this stage of the movie. Perhaps
its just a situation where scientists want to dissect the baby because they can.
Theyre scientists. Thats what they do.
(Okay, for that, I have to apologize to Liz over at And You Call Yourself A
One of the scientists, as Peter Lorre is signing the papers, says, "Out of every
tragedy, out of every Evil, some good can come if we only apply ourselves."
Peter Lorre doesnt really see it that way. He starts discussing Frankenstein,
how he used to confuse the monster with the scientist, and the identities meld, you think
hes about to make the serious point about which is the real monster, perhaps
relating it to his own situation, with him or his biological creation, when the old
scientist comments "One must not allow ones self to be impressed by escapist
fiction." Talk about squashing the moment. Boy, make up your mind: do you want to
keep it light and surface, or do you want to try and make a deeper point? Of course, the
mere fact that they even bring up the possibility of a deeper point makes them a cut
above. They share that distinction with far too few movies, I have to say. See my comments
on the subject in the review of Dead Alive.
Suzie "Overcompensating" Homemaker Mom bustles herself around, inviting the
two child-body-robbing scientists to dinner. Sure, honey, we just signed away our Crazy
Mutant Babys body to these guys, we might as well feed them, anyway. She
doesnt seem to have the ability to comprehend the words "no, thank you,"
as even when they repeatedly refuse, she continues to sell the pork chop dinner idea. Oh,
gone round the bend so early in life. Sad, really.
This movie is most notable so far not for its Crazy Mutant Baby, but more for its focus
on the degeneration of the normal parents, the pain and horror they are feeling as the
baby continues to scurry around, rat-like, killing its way through the California
population. Thankfully, Crazy Mutant Baby is limiting himself to the dregs of society,
like go-go dancers and milkmen. Wait a minute
Anyway, they spend a lot of time on
the human reactions to the tragedy, and I have to admit, it brings the movie down.
Its not like the early seventies werent depressing enough, now they have to
include a depressing movie about crazy babies. Life isnt as fair as you might think,
Even though they have no guests, Peter Lorre goes down in the basement for some wine.
Uh-oh, the music indicates something is about to happen. This would be a perfect time for a Spring-loaded Cat
wait for it
Piñata! A rabbit piñata inexplicably pops out onto him, and as a
matter of fact, there seems to be a piñata of a bull in the background. Three questions
are raised: 1) what the heck caused the piñata to fall over? 2) what happened to the
Spring-loaded Cat, and why isnt he in the basement, ready for launch? 3) what the
heck are they doing with all these piñatas in the basement? 3a) Are they starting a
One of the scientist guys is seen talking to a large guy with a very strange-looking
beard. Wow, this was the seventies, I know, but since this guy is the representative of
Big Business, from his speech, I find it unlikely that he could get away with such a
silly-looking beard. But then, I suppose it doesnt matter. He does, however, give us
this great line:
"I realize that it is a police problem, but once the thing has killed it becomes a
Okay, back to the movie. Here we go, another police crackdown scene! Are they going
after a Romper Room tot in the grade school? Baby Sister Suzie on the jungle gym? Police
in riot gear, all armed with shotguns, jog through the halls of the school, run up the
and then cut to Peter Lorre, drinking moodily. Wow, Ill bet hes
not a happy drunk. Anyway, the cut is rather jarring, and I really do have to wonder what
the connection is?
Ah, heres the connection. Someone calls for the doctor who left, like, several
hours ago, if its even the same day, and lets him know the Crazy Mutant Baby is
holed up in the school. Young son Chriss school, coincidentally. They dont say
on the phone whether or not the baby has taken hostages, or issued demands, but we can
only presume so. Peter tells Mom hes going out, but doesnt really tell her
Cut to casualties! A bunch of officers are carting someone out of the school. Damn, the
cops are dropping like flies! And they keep a good perimeter, too
doghouse, hen house, and tool shed in a two-mile radius for fanged, clawed babies. Of
course, its relatively easy to make a wall of men around a school, but the question
is whether or not it will help anything. Even money says the baby will slip through the
police cordon without even breaking a sweat. They escort Peter Lorre into the school so he
can talk to the no-baby-hunter-killer detective guy, and leave him in a kindergarten
classroom. Hmm. Guess we can all see whats coming up, yes?
Inside the school, we see things moving around, as if the baby is playing with them.
Just as I thought. I see a paper-machie head! Thats right, its you! Whos
a naughty mutant? Thats right, you are! Stealthy mutant baby
Okay, Dad freaks out about his personal pain to the cops while the Crazy Mutant Baby is
hiding in the room
and apparently, the kid is not only born with the ability to
kill, its also got a faster learning curve than Frankensteins monster, knowing
English and ninja stealth techniques already.
Again, monsters on film are shown to develop much faster than normal humans. Granted, this
one appeared to have a normal gestation period, but after that, its all advanced. It
really should be walking by this time, or perhaps grown up to nine feet tall and eating
engineers in the bowels of a space ship
no, wait, wrong movie. Which movie, by the
way, is also not really a competitor for a Crazy Baby movie, because the alien
doesnt spend enough time in baby form.
Always be aware that bad things happen when youre in a schoolroom, or any room,
really, with a flashing red neon light visible in the window. What, is this school in
Vegas? But red light on a scene is just asking for a death. Bear that in mind, my friends,
and keep an eye out for red light.
As we get better glimpses of the baby, Im finding it harder and harder to get
enthused about it. The Crazy Zombie Baby of Dead Alive was played for laughs, and
then when it was relatively poorly done, it added to the humor. However, Its
Alive seems to be playing it all straight. How can you play it straight when your main
monster is a giant fanged and clawed baby? It seems to want to make its point seriously,
as if the creation of a Crazy Mutant Baby is a real threat to our existence. There are
very few nods to the ludicrousness of the situation. I think the movie would have gone
down easier if it had not taken itself so seriously.
just got a look in Peter and Suzies freezer, and it appears
that theyve been stocking up! Packed with meat and frozen vegetables. Maybe
theyll have to hole up in the house for several days; maybe thats why
its so packed. Or not
Yet another horror movie cliché: music and camera angles that seem to build tension,
but dont. Were all waiting for the baby to come to the house; its got a
better homing signal than those animals in Incredible Journey. Heck, when we were
led to believe it was watching the car from the bushes outside the hospital, I had the
suspicion it would find its way back to its parents
I thought it was memorizing the
license plates at the time. But is it really here?
Apparently so. Babycam in the house! (sounds like I should be at a club, or a rapper or
something. Baby Cam in da Haaaaa-ouseee!) But its a false alarm, just like the
Spring-loaded Bunny. Nobody actually gets bitten. Of course, its just the family in
the house, so perhaps that has something to do with it. Still Peter Lorre feels it
necessary to go around and check the place out, see if there is anything amiss.
Chriss room is a mess, like its been ransacked by a clumsy thief
Crazy Mutant Baby. The stuffed animal dog is chewed open. But the cat is still around! I
know its a movie rule that you cant kill the dog if you want your movie to be
a success, but cats should be fair game. I mean, its not like theyre not
satanic or something. And as the only non-human resident of the house, he should be first
to go. After all, its not like hes fulfilling his role; we havent seen
him spring inexplicably out from hiding all movie!
Finding nothing conclusive, Peter Lorre goes down to get a drink of milk. Aha! All the
meat and vegetables that were stockpiled are gone! Babys got a big appetite. But
again, that leads to a question: if the babys eating so damn much, where are its
diapers? I mean, like they said in Tremors: "after eating all those sheep,
youd think it would have to take a dump somewhere!" Then again, its not
something thats really covered in most movies. Where are the toilets in Star Trek, for example? Same thing. Perhaps it also
has a Crazy Mutant Metabolism that exercises total matter conversion. That would be cool.
But, anyway. Moms obviously been feeding it: the maternal instinct wins out over
everything, it seems, even murderous, be-fanged and be-clawed monstrosities. Apparently,
its stronger than the grand-maternal instinct, as shown by the Ripley clone in Alien
Resurrection. There, no problem dealing with the mutant. Here, its got to be
Peter Lorre goes through the house, looking for the baby. He enters the darkened
sees something in the crib
snatches off the blanket
What? All that build-up, and not even a Spring-loaded Cat? That Siamese is really falling
down on the job. But no, wait, apparently baby can slam doors, now. If it starts taunting
Peter, a la Freddie Krueger, Im leaving. He comes over to the door
tension is cancelled just by him turning on the light. Bummer.
Young Chris has broken away from the child molester, and has been running home,
apparently for miles, and its taken days, by the way the skys been lightening
and darkening. However, no sweat-stains in his clothes. Upon returning home, he dashes
the basement. Thats right, where every young boy worried about his
parents goes. So, looking around in the basement, he sees the cat!
Finally! The cat gets his! But of course, its necessary to wait for it, until
Chris can be surprised by it. Admittedly, its not spring-loaded, but its the
Jump-cut Dead Cat! Its not even all that well done, but at least the sudden cuts to
it, and the various sudden angles, and the blare of "surprise" music, kind of
make it surprising. Kind of. Well, okay, not really. But they had to do something with the
And now we see the full shot of the Crazy Mutant Babys head. He looks a little
bit like one of those Talosians from the episode of Star Trek with old Captain
Pike, except its gone all vampire. If the baby starts projecting illusions into
peoples heads, Im turning it off! Well, maybe not. Ive come this far.
Peter Lorre charges downstairs, drags his older son to safety, and shoots at the Crazy
Mutant Baby! In my memory, he gives that pistol the little firing "push" that
the gangsters in the movies of the 30s and 40s used to, like that would make
the bullet go faster or something.
Crazy Mutant Baby is still alive! He makes a break for it! Go, Crazy Mutant Baby, go!
Babycam comes up the stairs
and its the family friend, finally caught up with
Chris! Oh, child molester goes down! Thats mighty fast work, Crazy Mutant Baby.
Youre a fast learner.
Okay, wife-slapping time! Shes screaming about protecting both her children,
hes angry because she hid and fed the killer. Sure, shes crazy, and the
slapping doesnt seem to affect her in the least (maybe if it wasnt
stage-slaps, it might be more effective), but still, its something of an unnecessary
scene. He runs up the stairs, to the outside, but the dear child is gone.
Going around, shooting things in his P.J.s
whats Peter Lorre thinking?
Well, the cops eventually show up, and they start trying to track it. The scientist guy
whos been on the case from the very beginning makes the most preposterous claim in
the movie so far. "Its lost a lot of blood, and its my opinion that our
troubles are very nearly over. Shall we go?"
Yeah, as if blood loss could kill it. Do you know how much that thing eats? You think
losing a few pints is all it will take? At the speed of that metabolism, hell have
that blood replaced in a jiffy. I wish I was a Crazy Mutant Baby, sometimes, late at
night, when I lie awake dreaming of what could have been. Dont we all?
Cops are following the trail. Now the ice cream truck with "Stop Children" on
the back! Is this an attempt at levity, at acknowledging how ludicrous this movie is? Like
the standoff with the infant Bruce Willis, its just kind of left there, no
explanation or other notice given. Theyre tracking the Crazy Mutant Babys
blood trail, but apparently they dont have access to good old-fashioned bloodhounds.
Ill give them this: they didnt resort to using orange-red tempera paint for
blood. It really looks like fresh blood when theyre trying to track the babys
blood trail. Of course the true test of fake blood is whether or not it looks real when
its dried, but I dont think theyll be spending enough time with it to be
They head to the sewers. And the parade of cops begins. I havent seen this many
cops running around like they think they know what theyre doing since the Blues
Brothers! They have this shot, up a stairway as the police come pouring down and turn off
into the sewers. They just keep coming. Yeah, right, we get the point.
Down in the sewers, they break out the flashlights. "Baby dont need no
flashlight!" says George, and shes right, once again.
So let me get this straight. Youre going down in the sewers, with all these pipes
that bring a killer baby, one that can already leap up and bite you in the neck, brings it
right up to your chest level. And nobodys got on collars? I dont even see
helmets. So the baby, whos probably figured out human structure now, can just leap
out, sever your spinal cord at the base of the skull, and feed at leisure. Yeah. Real
Flashing red light, from the rotating cop car light, combined with still shots of the
various parties; the police, the Crazy Mutant Baby, the detectives, Peter Lorre. It
actually seems a bit artful. In this movie? I dont know. But does anything come of
it? Unlike the rest of the movie, the appearance of red light doesnt seem to
indicate imminent baby-murder.
Wow, blind-sided by more walking sequences. Of course, this time, its through the
sewers, and theres a higher level of tension from the possibility of Crazy Mutant
Baby attack, but still, its just people walking around in the sewers, with
oh, wow, its the opening credits! Double blind-sided! Now Im going to have to watch the whole movie over again. George,
wheres that gun?
In some shots, Peter Lorre looks like a taller Dennis Hopper, but of course, at this
point in time, Hopper was whacked out of his gourd, so it cant really be him. And
besides, Im still going to call him Peter Lorre.
Some cops at the parents house lead Mom into a waiting cop car, putting her in
the back. "Youre under arrest for aiding and abetting a gigantic killer mutant
baby," says George. Man, I wish theyd had my wife on Mystery Science Theater.
Maybe then shed be writing for The Simpsons, like Josh Weinstein, and
Id be living pretty in California. Wait, this movie is set in California. Dont
want to live where there are Crazy Mutant Babies in the sewers. Theyd run all the
alligators out of there, and take over. Build a Crazy Mutant Baby kingdom deep under the
surface of the earth, coming out at night to feed, and capture prisoners to sacrifice to
their Crazy Mutant Baby god on the ziggurat temple in the gnawed-out caverns... No, wait,
I think thats C.H.U.D., isnt it? So, never mind.
You know, this baby makes little cries that sound like a Kryat Dragon call. Is that
Obi-wan? And then other times, like here in the sewers, it sounds just like our cat,
Proton Accelerator. Yes, our cat sometimes sounds like a baby crying; people have
commented on that on the phone, and are always amused to hear its just the cat. If
they only had to live with it
In any case, Peter Lorre is on the hunt. Is that the killer there? No, just the
sensitive eyes of a Crazy Mutant Baby. Of course, getting a good look at his gigantic
mutant son is enough to turn his heart. Oh, the paternal instinct! Its his son, and
all through the film, up until just now, youve been arguing to kill him outright,
the pathos, the love. Its enough to turn a reviewers heart. Or
is that my stomach?
Actually, I think he most looks like a fleshier, early seventies version of the
reporter guy from Murphy Brown, the commitment-shy dangerous-living guy.
You know who Im talking about. Except Im still going to call him Peter Lorre.
Okay, anyway. See, now Peter Lorres on the run, as well, protecting his crazy
killer mutant son. Reminds me of his role in M. And the cop cars are driving
through the large sewer pipes
chasing him down! I dont know, guys, its
bad enough you drove a car into an enclosed space like the sewers, do you really want to
run down Peter Lorre as well?
How does it end? Unlike Dead Alive, theres not as much joy in the ending.
Though you would think the cops would be scared off, Tusken-Raider-like, by the
babys screams, they arent. And you wonder how many cops it takes to take down
one gigantic killer cannibalistic Crazy Mutant Baby. Well, it turns out to be well
deserved, as the baby unleashes its secret weapon, Death Blossom! No, wait, thats
the end of The Last Starfighter. Suffice it to say that not all that many people
die, this being a relatively low budget film in the early seventies, and they set up a
sequel. Not starring this particular baby puppet, but still, its a sequel.
My thought was that they really could have done much more with the concept. Im
always a fan of humor, even when its black or grotesque, and certainly this subject
material called for some kind of joke, but besides those I mentioned, I really
couldnt find too much there. Was it deeply hidden satire? Was there more of a subversive message going on there than I realized? I
dont think so; they played it pretty straight the whole way through, and it
didnt seem anyone really enjoyed the sheer absurdity of the extensive manhunt for a
mutant baby. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of movies that just take themselves too
seriously, and this is one of them.
So, is it worth the rental? Well, if youre not expecting too much action, and you
have a brace of friends with quips at the ready, then perhaps this is a good choice.
Its way too light on the Crazy Mutant Babies, but it does have a certain kitsch to
it, and if youre looking for a deep examination of the way a parent deals with a
tragedy, particularly the tragedy of having your baby born as a gigantic cannibalistic
Crazy Mutant Baby, then you could benefit from this movie.
I really do wish the Hoff had been in full force this far back in movie-making history.
If ever there was a Crazy Baby Movie that could have benefited from his inestimable
presence; it would be this one.
Of course, there is a sequel, so perhaps that movie could use it more.
-- Copyright © 2000 by E. Mark Mitchell