The latest social worker to be assigned to the Wadsworth case is a kindly young woman named Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer), who feels that Baby deserves a better life than he's getting at home and who wants to take him to a clinic for therapy, but of course, there's no way Mrs. Wadsworth is going to allow that. In fact, when Ann persists, Mrs. Wadsworth basically kicks her out of the house and tells her never to return. The old lady softens up after some time passes and invites Ann to Baby's birthday party, to which she arrives only to find some very non-kid-friendly activity going on. It turns out that Ann's been set up, however, as she soon finds herself drugged and tied up in the basement of the family home. She makes her escape and makes it out of the house alive, with Baby in tow, and Mrs. Wadsworth soon finds out that there's more to this social worker than she first expected.
Surprisingly sleazy for a PG rated movie, and far darker and considerably more twisted than it probably should have been, The Baby is wrong on so many levels that it's hard to put it into words. First off is the character of Baby himself, played freakishly well by Manzy but frequently dubbed by the sounds of an actual infant crying. Then there's the presence of Ruth Roman, best known for work in more mainstream fare such as Strangers On A Train, here wallowing in exploitation sickness and seemingly all the better for it. Her performance is a determined one, she definitely gives her all and makes a surprisingly believable matronly type, as damaged as she and her children might be. Throw in Marianna Hill and Suzanne Zenor as two well-constructed but ‘off' young ladies and the presence of a pot smoking Micheal Pataki as one of their boy toys and you can easily see how Anjanette Comer's Ann has definitely got her hands full.
The story itself is compellingly tasteless at times, the best example being Ann's trip to a class for mentally handicapped people or the scene where Baby tries to breastfeed one of his babysitters. The film features minor drug use, tends to get violent in spots and definitely gets sadistic in the last half but as trashy as it all is, Post manages to get some great performances out of his cast and to squeeze some genuinely unsettling atmosphere out of the story. The house where most of the action takes place has got some great gothic style to it while the seventies fashions and hairdos combined with a truly odd score from composer Gerald Fried just add to the film's very substantial weird factor.The Blu-ray:
The English language LPCM Mono track is fine. Dialogue is easy to follow and the score sounds good. There aren't any problems with any hiss or distortion and for an older single channel track, there's really nothing to complain about here at all. Optional subtitles are provided in English only.Extras:
Extras on the disc begin with a commentary track from film writer Travis Crawford that offers up a nice mix of his personal thoughts on and experiences with the film and the expected trivia and information about the picture's history.
Arrow also provides three new featurettes, the first of which is the six-minute Family Affair which interviews with actress Marianna Hill about her work on the film. She talks about her excitement to be working with Post after hearing Clint Eastwood talk him up, what her limits were with the film, and her thoughts on some of her co-stars and Post's directing abilities. Up next is a six-minute piece called Nursery Crimes which is an interview with nursery painting creator Stanley Dyrector. He speaks about how he wound up working on this picture and what was involved in his efforts to create the creepy paintings that we see showcased in the film. The third new featurette is a twelve-minute interview with film professor Rebekah McKendry entitled Down Will Come Baby. Here she talks about her thoughts on the film, how she first discovered it, what makes it stand out as much as it does from other genre efforts from the period and a fair bit more.
Carried over from the Severin Films release is the audio interview with the film's director, Ted Post, who is quite honest about his feelings on the script and its overtones and who talks about how he was basically chased down by a few parties and coerced into taking the job directing the film. Also carried over is the audio interview with David Mooney, who is credited in the film as David Manzey. He's more positive about the picture than post. Here he talks about what's he's been up to since he made this movie (he's a teacher!) and how he feels about the picture and how he enjoyed his time working on this movie.
A trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection round out the extra on the disc. Arrow packages their release with some nice reversible cover sleeve art and a full-color insert booklet that features credits for the feature and the disc as well as an essay from Kat Ellinger.Final Thoughts:
A totally twisted mind-f*ck of a movie, The Baby is just as bizarre as you've heard and Arrow Video's Blu-ray release gives the film its finest home video release to date. Highly recommended!