Them babies are NUTS!

It Lives Again

Director: Larry Cohen

USA - 1978

   Hoff! Hoff! Hoff! 


My, what a month for Crazy Baby movies. As we’ve seen so far, it’s not easy to find the perfect Crazy Baby movie; so few of them are truly applicable, so few of them really have a baby with the appropriate craziness, or a crazy with the appropriate babyness. Therefore, when I found that my trusty local independent cult film video store here in Chicago, Darkstar Video on North Lincoln (near Montrose) had not only the exemplary (if serious) Crazy Baby movie It’s Alive, but also the sequel, It Lives Again. One can always rely on the small independents to carry the films that the big chains don’t bother with, and in this line of work, that’s where your golden opportunities are.

The sequel is interesting "These booties will go great with that straitjacket my Mother knitted!"because it not only is written, produced, and directed by Larry Cohen, the creative force behind the original, but it stars some of the same people (not altogether a guaranteed occurrence in B-movies), and seems to feature many of the same Crazy Mutant Baby effects they featured in the first one. We can presume this will be quadrupedal babies with fangs and claws, who cannot walk but who can leap to neck height and rip out arteries. They are further born with extensive knowledge of ninja stealth techniques. There was only one in the first movie, but being a sequel, it’s got to feature more babies this time around. It took five years to get this sequel produced, and I’m surprised it didn’t take longer. I mean, it’s not like the first one really warranted a re-hashing of the subject. But you could say the same about Neverending Story II, and that got some nice money for effects and such, so I guess I’m not cut out to be a Hollywood executive.

So we rent the movie, and we pop it in. Again, as with the first, there are no previews to pad the tape time or soften the blow of the film; it just plunges right into the story.

The opening credits are usually good indicators of what sort of movie you’re going to be seeing. In Star Wars, they do the title and then plunge right into the story. Same thing with Aadams Family Values. These are indications of rapid-fire movies that want to get right to the business of entertaining us. Which is not to say that movies with normal credit sequences aren’t fine; where would we be, as a culture, without the trippy and exploitative openings to just about every Bond film? However, wretched credit sequences are often hallmarks of wretched movies. Which is not to say that the movies should not be watched. After all, isn’t that what we’re doing here? I thought so.

In any case, as the first film opened with stylized flashlight lights, the second starts off with water, lit so the ripples throw shadows, as surrealistic as the first, but in a different way. I do believe they use the exact same music. Hmm. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. I mean, the music was bombastic and blatantly manipulative, but it did fit the story well enough. Oh, well. After the initial few credits, we cross-fade to a similar shot, with water and the shadow of a baby carriage. Ooh, that’s creepy, in its way… Hey, I just saw the credit of John P. Ryan as Frank Davis! Frank Davis was the Peter Lorre looking guy in the first"Hey folks, sorry to crash your party. I'm just here to kick back, enjoy some punch, and notify you that your baby is nuts." film. Turns out John Ryan was in such films as Five Easy Pieces, Futureworld, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Cotton Club, Three O'Clock High, Delta Force 2 & 3, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (voice only), Tall Tale, and Bound. Well, I can’t call him Peter Lorre, since they put his name in the opening credits, and besides, he's done so much else. So it’s Frank. What are the odds that there are two Franks in this crazy, mixed-up Crazy Mutant "Yup, that's definitely the kick of a Crazy Baby."Baby movie? Pretty slim, I’d say. But then again, that’s the nature of these films; how often does James Bond meet another James, or Earl Bassett from Tremors meet another Earl? Doesn’t happen very often.

The actual narrative picks up in Tucson, which is a far cry from the L.A. locale of the first one. It seems to be a baby shower, but it’s co-ed. When my sister got her baby shower, it was a no-men-allowed thing, but this one seems to be much more liberated. Of course, it’s clearly the ‘70s, from the clothing and the hairstyles. You can tell it’s a horror movie, by the cut of the guests’ polyester vests and the stringy wanna-be ‘fro the soon-to-be-daddy is sporting. It gave me the shivers, just like when I saw The Stepford Wives.

The party is starting to wrap up, and we are treated to several glimpses of Frank, doing his patented "standing around watching things" routine. Some blonde woman tries to pick him up, but he gently puts her off. However, this draws attention to two things: one, baby showers are second only to supermarkets as places to get dates, and two, the hosts have no idea who he is. This, naturally, puts them in an odd situation. I mean, this is before the advent of home invasions, before the national paranoia of strangers had gotten as deep as it currently is, but it’s still not a normal occurrence to find that a total stranger has been quietly sitting through your little party. Of course, all successful party crashers try to make very few ripples; but then again, they usually bail at the first sign that the party is breaking up, so that they won’t have to talk to anyone. Frank makes himself comfortable on the couch, and waits for the hosts to come to him.

I have to say that he’s aged well. I know this is just five years later, but he’s got some gray streaks and a few more lines on his face. He doesn’t look enough like Peter Lorre anymore for me to continue calling him that, and besides, there are "Hello, Darryl? It's John, I was thinking about getting the band back together." other actors to make fun of. He seems calm, distant… it would be creepy, if he were a serial killer, but he gives off the impression of a crusader of a different type, this time out.

Now the hosts: daddy-to-be resembles Gabe Kaplan, before he bulked up to teaching weight; he’s an attorney by the name of Eugene Scott (played by Fredric Forrest, who was also in Falling Down, and was in Citizen Cohn as Dashiell Hammet). It’s unfortunate that he wasn’t a doctor of some kind, because that would make him Dr. Scott! Janet! Janet! Brad! Brad! Doctor Scott! Rocky! (Audience shouts "Bullwinkle!") Anyway, mommy-to-be looks like That Girl with bad ‘70s hair (i.e. comparatively normal 70’s hair), and her name is Jody, though there is some confusion about that later, as Eugene seems to call her something else entirely (played by Kathleen Lloyd, who was in Best Seller and the T.V. movie and series Equal Justice.)

So, anyway, they are remarkably nice when they confront him, certainly nicer than I would be in that situation. But then I’m a product of the modern age. He avoids responding directly, asking about their baby, and they’re remarkably open. He brings up the Crazy Baby plague that has been sweeping the country, striking every few couples with a Crazy Mutant Baby. That’s when they recognize him from the cover of Time, the special on CBS: he’s the father of the first Crazy Mutant Baby, and has become an activist in the couple of years since his own incident. Boy, when he changes his heart, as he did at the end of the original, it stays changed, you know?

He’s actually there to deliver a warning. Turns out the Gummint is targeting the Crazy Mutant Babies, making sure they get killed at birth, trying to protect the human race from its evolutionary successor. Turns out the ringleader of this illegal Gummint initiative is a guy named Mallory (John Marley, who was in the Godfather trilogy and a whole bunch more TV and film before his death in 1984), who is ineptly watching their house right now. Apparently, Frank’s been doing this sort of thing for some time now; he’s part of an extensive network of Crazy Mutant Baby supporters. Of course, most of these supporters have probably never seen a Crazy Mutant Baby, and if they’re getting killed by CIA doctors at birth, it’s unlikely any are parents who had a chance to bond with their infants. But the point is, the U.S. Gummint is overstepping its bounds, and in that context, I’d probably be a sympathizer with the Crazy Mutant Baby cause, as well.

They start getting down to the nitty-gritty, where Jody and Eugene can’t imagine that their baby is anything but beautiful and normal, and Frank is feeling a tremor in the Force, telling him the truth of it. And I realize with a sick, jarring jerk that once again, they’re going to play it straight. No goofy Crazy Mutant Baby antics, no comedy killings, not even any one-liners or post-kill puns. Of course, a Crazy Mutant Baby’s delivery of "Why don’t you hang around for a while?" to the impaled body of an enemy would come out like "Glah goo goo blagh!"

On a side note, when Frank is going over some of the other incidents of Crazy Mutant Baby deaths, he mentions Evans Town, Illinois. Now, I’m familiar with"..and if you put your ear up next to it, you can hear the ocean!" Evanston, that burg immediately to the north of Chicago, close enough to be linked by the El trains, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of Evans Town. Did the pronunciation of Evanston change between 1978 and now? Or is it a situation where Hollywood writers have difficulty with non-Californian city names?

Throughout all this, Eugene proves himself to be overly loud and pretty much just a schlub; perhaps his relatively small stature and mousy looks contribute to his being kind of a jerk. Personally, I wonder how the relatively hot Jody ended up with him. Future dialogue reveals that she really doesn’t know muchHey! Has that been sterilized? about him, which also kind of plays into the relaxed attitudes of the late seventies. But still, it’s like a Pug with a Golden Retriever, or Billy Joel with Christie Brinkley. What sort of voodoo magic did he use to get her to wed him, much less bear his gigantic killer Crazy Mutant Baby?

Sitting in his cheap, sleazy motel room (chosen because it’s got a direct line, no switchboard, which he doesn’t trust), he dials up some friends. I get the same feeling I did near the end of Desperado, when the Mariachi calls up Campa and Quino, to come to town and bring their guitars. But in this case, it’s bring the Mobile Commando Birthing Center, so we can deliver this baby on the move. It’s a smart idea, which I’m sure Knight Rider borrowed and adapted for use with an artificially intelligent car, rather than Crazy Mutant Babies.

Initially, I thought Frank’s role would be a cameo, a brief interlude to create a link with the previous movie and then pass the torch to the new characters. The torch may yet be passed, mind you, but it does seem like he’ll play a much larger role in the film than I had initially expected. This is a good thing, as his quiet determination and low-key acting style create a good counterpoint to the occasionally high-strung delivery of the other leads. Frank projects the air of a man who’s been through his personal hell, and has managed to salvage a bit of peace out of it by trying to help others who may be in the same situation he was in.

Dear God, I’m buying into the seriousness of the movie. Save me, Crazy Zombie Baby from Dead Alive!

Ah, merely thinking about him, my personal paradigm of what a Crazy Baby should be, makes me feel better, all warm and homicidal inside…

Frank stops by the hospital to gaze at the seventies-style rubber babies, and enjoy some flashbacks of his last few moments with his own son. His conversation with the Scotts has already sketched out the other parts of the movie, now we glimpse the climax of the first, clueing us in on how difficult it was for him. I think this is supposed to be a powerful moment, but I’m just waiting to see the fanged, clawed infants. Get on with it!

After a rather disturbing conversation about infanticide, mostly of female children, the Scotts go to turn in, but uh-oh! The baby is early! Where have we heard that one before? That’s right, it was Frank’s wife. Unlike Mrs. Davis, Jody actually seems to be in pain, which is what labor’s all about. Believe me, I’m not looking forwaI'm sorry, sir, but.." Oh wait, I've already used that one...rd to when my lovely George and I begin to spawn. I have this prediction that whatever pain she feels, I’m going to end up feeling, eventually. It makes me very sympathetic to the whole process.

They call Frank’s hotel room, as he asked them to. Unfortunately, he’s out looking over the Mobile Commando Birthing Center, built into the back of a Ryder truck, so he misses the call. That’s the problem with bypassing the switchboard; even though they might listen in, they can also take messages, and this is before answering machine technology had really hit its stride, so you’re basically out of luck, Frank ol’ buddy.

There is a very odd shot at one point, when Eugene is talking to Dr. Fairchild on the telephone. This is thAll the comforts of homee doctor who Frank warned them was in cahoots with the Gummint to kill their baby. He’ll probably bill them for the procedure, as well. Anyway, they call him, and while Eugene is on the phone with him, the shot takes in Eugene’s head and the huge sword displayed above the fireplace behind him. It wasn’t a convenient shot; it would have been better to focus more closely on Eugene, in order to convey the sense of urgency. Given the nature of how the shot was composed, I can’t help but think the director included the sword intentionally. If so, what could it mean? Danger hangs over Eugene? He’s in a no-win situation? He’s going to get killed? What? If you’re going to try to use symbolism, make it something an average person can understand with some thought. I absolutely encourage as much intelligent symbolism as you can get (cheap symbolism is easy to come by, as anyone can evoke a Christ image for quick shock value, but intelligent symbolism is a bit tougher), as we need more thoughtful genre movies, but for symbolism to be effective, it must be recognized, not mistaken for a goofy shot.

In any case, Frank somehow guesses that they tried to call, so he has a premonition that the baby is due (maybe the disturbance in the Force tipped him off), and heads to the hospital. In the meantime, the ringleader from the Gummint, Mallory, is organizing the police, making sure it’s all going to go down as Mallory wants. The police turn out for riot duty, and it’s reminiscent of The Blues Brothers. If it weren’t set in Tucson, I’d expect to see the river patrol turning out with their gunboats.

So naturally, after being warned about this conspiracy, and driving through the police cordon, Jody and Eugene go ahead and get out of the car. They’re worried when Mallory and the police separate them at the entrance, and wheel Jody away, but they don’t seem to match it up with what Frank told them. Boy, I hope the Crazy Mutant Baby eats them.

On the up side, I’ve been watching this movie for three hours now, and it’s finally getting to the Crazy Baby birthing scene. I’m not so much saying the pacing is slow as I’m watching glaciers get to the point faster. But perhaps I’m just bitter.

Stormtroopers take up guard positions all through the hospital. Lord Vader strides down the hall… no, wait, wrong movie. The nurses are trying to be professional about it, but the doctor, preparing his instruments, puts a revolver on the tray with the baby pliers and all that other stuff. It seems they tried to smother the first baby, in the first movie, and that made him go on his killing spree (it’s always something…), so this time, it’s all about high-velocity lead.

Throughout the birthing room scenes, Jody repeats her mantra: my baby is going to be a normal baby, my baby is going to be a beautiful baby. Since the birthing room scenes take a really long time, this mantra gets a bit old. I find myselfThe inevitable return of Baby-Cam! whispering things like "you wish!" and "that’s what you think!"

Frank just walks in. Turns out a lab coat and a clipboard work pretty much just like Clark Kent’s glasses, preventing the stormtroopers from recognizing him. I want one of those lab coats!

Mallory is in scrubs; apparently, he’s not only the ringleader of the conspiracy, he does his own dirty work on occasion. Jody asks him to please not kill her baby. He’s surprised.

"Somebody informed her before she arrived. I’ll have a word with her husband."

Well, duh. You think they wouldn’t figure it out anyway, Mallory, after the fact? So, anyway, Mallory goes out to have words with Eugene, and Frank walks up… he and Mallory know each other, and seem to be friendly, but that doesn’t stop Frank from pulling a gun on him.

So begins the slowest escape from a hospital I’ve ever seen committed to film.

Busting out the baby, they have to move her onto a stretcher, and damn it, woman, you can stop your mantra now, it’s going to be born. Throughout the seven-hour breakout sequence, Frank remains cool as a cucumber… his Jedi mind techniques are working well. Gotta love it. Only in the 70s can we get away with such rampant terrorism as getting out of a hospital at gunpoint with a huge number of police around. I particularly love some of the things Frank yells to the cops as they go.

"Now, take it easy. No crime has been committed. You have no right to arrest us. We’re protecting this woman’s right to have a baby."

Let’s just skip over that whole "holding the boss hostage at gunpoint" thing, shall we?

Oh, no. I just looked at the VCR time counter. This full day of film seems to have taken only a half-hour of real time. What’s up with that?

In the Mobile Commando Birthing Center, they have a lovely birthing table and a baby incubator with heavy metal bars on it. Gotta love that. And as the baby is born, one of the doctors reveals his doubts as to the wiseness of this procedure. Of course, as he carries the Crazy Mutant Baby to the armored incubator, the baby makes the film speed up so he can reach of the blanket and go ginsu on Dr. Doubting Thomas’s face. Ha! Never beard a Crazy Baby in its own den, Doc! That’ll learn ya.

"Has my eyes?! The hell you say!"Turns out that Babycam remains the same as in the last movie, simply out of focus. You’d think that with that sort of trouble seeing, the babies wouldn’t be able to do the Flying Carotid Leap of Doom, but they do, anyway.

Frank and Mallory are in the front seat, and they drive into a tunnel. At a roadblock at the other end of the tunnel, there’s an exchange between a police captain and a sheriff’s deputy.

"This is the sheriff’s jurisdiction; we’re stopping the truck, hostage or not."

"Do what you God-damn please."

Well, that was easy. If only all jurisdictional conflicts were settled so easily.

"Germany claims Poland as a conquered territory." "Do what you God-damn please."

"We Communists claim Vietnam." "Do what you God-damn please."

"We here at Entertainment Weekly forbid Filmboy from stepping on our turf and reviewing current releases." "Do what you God-damn please."

Of course, you can see the fallacy in that approach. Besides, Filmboy rocks.

So the local law is ready to gun down the Crazy Mutant Baby liberators. But it’s not that easy to capture a Crazy Baby; they’ve switched cars, and the Scott baby is on his way to L.A. Frank is actually looking for his day in court, so he can make all this illegal nonsense public, but Mallory lets him go. Secrecy is more important than the inconvenience that Frank gave him. Besides, Frank and Mallory are friendly. They’re on different sides, with Mallory wanting to protect humans, and Frank preaching acceptance of the new breed of kid, but they’re more like gentleman duelists rather than bitter enemies.

While Jody stays at home with her mother, Eugene and the Kid get Is that a baby or a Sharpei?moved into this mansion, an old academy that was closed after a fatal accident. Turns out the Kid is the third Crazy Mutant Baby they’ve been able to recruit. The other two are Adam and Eve. The scientist in charge of the babies, the one who considers himself something of a father figure, is the same guy from the first movie, the one that disapproved of Frank’s talk of Frankenstein! Wow, bringing back the bit players, now that’s dedication. Eugene isn’t whole-heartedly into the whole thing… and it’s agitating the other babies. Oh, yes, he’s going to be a problem, the big schlub. I’m predicting he’ll be baby food shortly.

We don’t see much of the babies; more’s the pity. We see a couple of glimpses of the papier-mâché baby heads (better done than in the first movie), but that’s about it. We hear them from off-screen as well, but since we know they’re in cages, it’s not so hard to imagine them pacing in their cages, snarling. Frank believes them to be the next step in evolution, the one adapted to the poisonous hellhole that we’re turning Earth into. Makes sense to me, and it backs up what The Mook said back in the first movie.

Jody has been contacted by some local Resistance in Tucson. They’re going to help her sneak away, get to see her son, during a movie. So suddenly, we cut to Bruce Lee! This is probably not a good thing, as it’s generally a bad idea to call into the minds of your audience the images of better movies. Bad strategy. But it’s what they’re doing with this. I think it’s the scene in Enter the Dragon where Bruce is poking around in the underground complex, and comes upon the guards. I didn’t see the nunchaku, so I think it’s just before that… but I’m getting off point. This movie isn’t supposed to be as exciting as Bruce Lee.

So, while a secret bus filled with Resistance sympathizers picks her up and rolls toward L.A., we find out that her mother, who blames Eugene for the Crazy Mutant Baby, has been working for Mallory. Not since the first few episodes of Kindred: T"Ok, you can take the car out tonight. But you best have your crazy butt home by eleven!"he Embraced have we had duplicity on this level! Well, maybe we have. Still.

There’s a tracking device in Jody’s purse, and that’s how the Gummint forces find out the Crazy Babies are in L.A. They call up the detective from the first movie, the one who claimed he just wasn’t any good at hunting and killing babies, and say he’s got the best experience in dealing with these things. So I guess that even if he isn’t any good at it, he’s still the best in the city. At least the best on the force; I’m certain there are others in L.A. who would be better at the job, but not officially.

Back at the mansion, we spend a great deal of time with the degeneration of humans under stress. Between Eugene’s inappropriate actions and Jody’s unwitting tracking, things are just going downhill. It’s also apparently quite hot, and the mansion doesn’t have air conditioning. The kids are all upset, and their current nanny isn’t all that compassionate. Must be the heat.

So there’s about fourteen hours worth of people wandering through the house, looking at the swimming pool in the back yard, and of the cops getting ready to invade. Everybody’s getting all relaxed, just as the tension is supposed to be mounting. Only the Crazy Mutant Babies can sense it, and they’re all agitated. The old scientist wants to help them work off some of their agitation, so he goes to get Adam and put him through the maze (as if they were mice or something; that would be a Steinbeck novel I’d like to see: Of Mice And Crazy Babies). Unfortunately, Adam’s a cranky Crazy Baby. For these tots, colic is fatal to bystanders, as Dr. Old finds out.

So the kids are in the hall, and then up the stairs… the Point of View caOk, now show me "scared"m is being dragged all over the house. Now, I like POV in most instances, but it’s not as fun when all you see are shots of dark shag carpet in disturbing seventies colors.

Crazy Mutant Babies climb like lemurs and swim like hairless otters. Don’t believe me? Witness the Crazy Mutant Baby entering the upper story window while his former unsympathetic nanny is bathing. This scene is, by the way, one of the most horrible in the movie, and nobody wants to see a fleshy, hairy guy dry himself off in front of the room fan. Believe me, if I wanted to see that, I’d set up a mirror in the bedroom.

Regardless, the scene is lit in red, so we know he’s going to die. There is a false start, which is almost as bad as a Spring-loaded Cat (for your newcomers, that’s the Jabootu crew’s term for the fake-out scare, often supplied by a household pet that inexplicably leaps out from hiding at the heroes or at the next sacrificial victim), but then we get baby murder. And by that, I mean murder performed by baby, rather than murder of a baby. One is no challenge, the other can be amusing, but as fits with the rest of the movie, it’s played straight, which means it’s really no fun at all.

We find out a Crazy Mutant Baby’s aquatic capabilities because one goes after Eugene when he’s taking a cooling dip in the pool. Actually, given the way the Crazy Mutant Baby arrows in for the kill on Eugene’s neck, I should have said shark instead of otter. I don’t know too many otters with fangs quite that large… Crazy Underwater Baby! Ain’t you cute? Yes, you are! Yes, you are! On the other hand, I’ve rarely seen something as funny as Eugene splashing around with a baby on his neck.

Jody is getting chased"Sorry, it's too little. We'll have to throw it back." by another one of the babies… having to struggle to keep the door closed on it. Either Jody’s weak, or these babies are crazy strong. But somehow, she still recognizes her own Crazy Mutant Baby, as it sits on her bed, going through her purse. Yes, they are petty thieves, as well. Well, not really, as it was simply sniffing out the transmitter. Turns out Frank, who comes in from… somewhere, I don’t know how, seems to be able to communicate with them. Perhaps he’s just using receptive telepathy, an ability he gets through his attunement with the Force. Anyway, he realizes that it blames its mother for leading the cops to their home, and it’s all Frank can do to calm the Crazy Baby down.

While Jody and Eugene are captured, and Frank escapes with the remaining Scott child, and the cops kill the other two, they also talk to each other on these huge walkie-talkies. Mallory calls C & C on one, and I swear, it’s as large as his blasted head! That’s one of the joys of watching older movies, not only to make fun of the high tech gadgets they have, but if it’s science fiction that was created way back when, it’s fun to see what they imagined as being state of the art, and when. I can’t remember when Outland, for example, was supposed to be set, but it assumed a mining platform around, what, Jupiter, was it? Never happen in the time frame we currently have. Just goes to show you how some predictions can be simultaneously optimistic and depressing.

While the police begin to have doubts about their mission of destruction ("I could have sworn it was trying to say something…" "Shut up and cover it up."), Frank stumbles through the night for another three days. Finally, though, he’s surprised by a night watchman around the reservoir. What is this, ChinatoIn this picture we have hidden a baby....wn? I do think Chinatown would have been a better movie if it had a couple of Crazy Babies in it. Of course, there were babies and various offspring involved, but not the same way. Regardless, the night watchman in the distance panics the Crazy Mutant Baby, and it freaks out on Frank! Guess your Jedi calm and focus really didn’t help you when the Crazy Mutant Baby gave into his fear and anger and gave in to the Dark Side, did it? Well, regardless, Frank goes down, and the Kid is free in the countryside!

Farewell, Frank. You were a good player in a sequel that gave you no greater laughs than the original. Though the hams around you overacted, you kept your cool, and played your part well. Without you, the Crazy Mutant Babies would have no protector. Now who will step in to take up the torch? Perhaps when the Kid gets older, he will fight for his people and think of you, the man who gave his life to protect you from the night watchman. Wait, he killed you, didn’t he, the Kid. So I guess he won’t think of you much at all, then.

Just like the last movie, there is the occasional side note that doesn’t make all that much sense, and just might be a joke, but it’s hard to determine why Mr. Cohen would bother trying to introduce humor at this late date.

We peek in on a child’s birthday party, one of those where the bratty older sister is being cruel to the pathetic birthday girl. First a sucky present, and now they’re ditching her, making her be "it" in their game of hide and seek. With a Crazy Mutant Baby on the loose? Don’t you kids know anything? You start doing that, next thing you know, Crazy Mutant Baby’s going to want to play, and he don’t play well with others!

You just know the birtUh, is that the baby?hday girl is going to be baby food when she thinks she hears one of her friends in a bush, but they won’t come out. Enraged, she starts beating on the bush with a stick, trying to drive them out… I’m waiting for Crazy Mutant Baby to spring into action, but instead… a rattler! She screams, but then a strong arm pulls her back, and the cop behind her shoots the rattler dead. The whole place is swarming with cops, running the kids back to their homes. We have a brief moment when the big sister, in tears, runs up and hugs the birthday girl; they confess their sisterly love, and then run off. See, there we go. Crazy Mutant Babies, promoting family well being and togetherness. Who says these kids is evil?

Back at home, we see the birthday party has been trashed, and a Crazy Baby handprint is in the cake! Ooh, scary! Or not. Mmm… vanilla.

Babycam shows he’s moving well, evading the police cordon like a pro. Then he hops into his white Bronco… no, he’s not that famous. Still, a high-speed chase could only help things at this point.

Eugene and Jody are now cooperating with the police, acting as bait for the Crazy Mutant Baby. They’re taken to a safe house, and left alone, as the Kid will be able to find them, but would not enter unless he knew they were alone. They’re still fighting, the Scotts, because there’s nothing like a Crazy Baby experience to test a marriage. The Davises grew stronger, while it seems the ScottsPeek-a-Boo! are self-destructing. Still, it brought the sisters closer.

This is, by the way, the first movie I can recall having seen where they show us someone’s nibbled fingernails. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, necessarily, but I am saying it’s a first, so at least you have to give it that.

There’s still a cop with a conscience wandering around behind Mallory and the detective with baby experience, Perkins. "We’d be better off finding the cause of it… pollution, drugs… instead of just killing it." Yeah, well. You’re speaking to the guy who has a personal grudge against the Crazy Mutant Babies… better off saving your breath, buddy.

We do have much better shots of the baby puppet this time. Fake baby technology has come a long, long way in the intervening five years. However, it’s still taken us two months of watching this film to get to this point, so perhaps the technology involved in pacing the film was not developing equally well.

The Scotts hear a noise in the crawlspace, the attic… Jody is supposed to call the cops, but can’t. Meanwhile, Eugene, being the man, goes up there… into the dark… without a flashlight… bite his hand off, Kid! Bite him! No, wait, it’s just a bird! Flying around like it got dumped on a set suddenly… silly bird, don’t you know there’s a Crazy Baby around here? Get away! Yeah, through the window! But what’s that throug"Alright everyone, the birthday baby gets the first..uh..clawful."h the broken window? It’s the Crazy Baby! Yay! The end is soon!

As this is a sequel, you should know that parental instincts are always a strong theme in these kinds of serious Crazy Baby movies. Parents rarely want to kill their babies, but even when they’re monstrous murderers, it seems that in Hollywood (and Tucson), they’ll love and accept them anyway, and set a big plate of raw meat down on the floor for them. I’m all in favor of accepting those children who are different, for no fault of their own, but I’m not particularly sold on the whole "killer" thing. And don’t get me started on the raw meat.

So how does this end? Again, like with the first movie, it’s not as flashy as it would be if it were made today. The body count is noticeably small, and there aren’t any clear-cut villains that you can cheer about getting impaled, crushed, and blown up simultaneously. No, wait, that’s a ‘90s action movie convention. Still, there are some good touches, and it does require a bit of fast action. Donald Trump is taken backThe giant killer Crazy Mutant Baby works its relationship magic, and then, right at the end, we see a reversal of roles and can rewind the tape knowing that the song remains the same, and I’m not talking about the music over the credits.

It took a whole year, but I’m done with this movie.

We do have far too few moments of comedy in this film, just like its predecessor. Memo to movie executives: when your main villain crawls and makes yowling/crying noises, it does not pay to treat it as a serious threat. Tortured psychological dramas over ludicrous health developments don’t go over well these days, if they e"Yeah, my kid might've played on a swingset just like this. That is, if he wasn't crazy."ver did. I’m not saying you should stop making Crazy Mutant Baby pictures, but put some levity into it! Booby-trapped baby carriages! Police decoys made up of nannies and raw meat! Something, at least!

I did like the continuity with the first film, and done only with a single flashback that I can recall. So much was built on the first, and at the events hinted at right at the end of the first, it was refreshing to see that attention was paid to what came before. Too many films (hello, Darkman series, hello, Robocop series, hello, Men In Black cartoon) reinvent their history to suit the needs of whatever flimsy plot they’ve gotten the room full of monkeys to hammer out. This took the previous movie as gospel.

I also like the way they alluded to Frank’s notoriety right at the beginning. Like in Tremors 2, that little bit of authenticity (interpreted here as "I could believe that would happen") was rewarding.

"One more crack about him having my eyes and you're gonna be sleeping on the damn couch!"


These are the times of which to cherish...


- Ultra-cool Frank chills in the Scott home as Eugene and Jody try to figure out who the hell he is.

- The Kid goes Speedy Gonzales with his good right claw! Go, Kid, go! Rip up that doctor!


Crazy Aquatic Baby!

- The reunion of the sisters. Never has the arrival of a baby brought a family so close, particularly a Crazy Baby.

- Eugene’s tearful reunion with his creepy bigheaded killer mutant son.


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   Farewell, Frank...


-- Copyright © 2000 by E. Mark Mitchell


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