8 February 2005 | Zen Bones
God, I Love The 70s!
They could never make a film like this today. If they did, it would have an all-star cast, a loud, obtrusive score, and dizzying, roller-coaster camera effects. Back in the 70s they had to get by on talent, imagination and audacity alone. Luckily, they had plenty of that back then. This is not a 'twisted" film, at least anywhere nearly as twisted as say, "Bad Boy Bubby" or "Sonny Boy" (now those movies are reeeeally twisted!), but then what can one expect from Hollywood? This movie is like Diabolique made as a 1970s TV movie-of-the-week with a drive-in sleaze chaser. There's definitely a lack of credibility in this movie's plot - not that a woman couldn't keep her grown son in the mental state of a six-month infant. That's plausible and has happened before, but it's extremely unlikely that the authorities who knew about this kid all those years wouldn't have insisted on special schooling and therapy from day one. But who cares? Here we've got a film with two wicked Barbie Doll sisters who have venom in their veins and just looove to tease men. There's some great bad seventies fashion and a 'wild party' scene (well, wild for the suburbs. Ahh, Hollywood so out of touch!). And what can you say about Ruth Roman? She's Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine all rolled into one. They just don't make broads like that anymore!
As mentioned by others, there are lots of twists and turns in the plot, but most anyone can figure them out very early on. But again, who cares? This movie works because of its audacity in the face of its conventionality and well, there is an intelligence at work somewhere in the midst of its drive-in movie formula. Take that whole scene with the babysitter for instance (for those who haven't seen this, you'll just have to see for yourself). I knew what was going to happen, but the way it built up so naturally seemed very honest and real. Which is why it freaked me out so much. Every now and then the film slips that comfort rug out from under you. Freak city! Then it relaxes safely in the realms of convention, but that's okay too because the whole movie has such charming camp appeal. Let's make that clear: this is a camp movie, NOT a horror movie! It's stupidly being marketed as horror, so it's understandable that the kiddies who are looking for lots of gore and boobies are feeling disappointed. Stick with Argento, kids! Oh yeah
huge kudos to David Mooney (Manzy whatever) who played 'Baby'. He should have become a star.