The Baby (1973) Horror Movie Review
Written By: FR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Ted Post
Writer: Abe Polsky
Producers: Abe Polsky, Milton Polsky, Elliott Feinman
Date Released: March 1973
Anjanette Comer as Ann Gentry
Ruth Roman as Mrs. Wadsworth
Marianna Hill as Germaine Wadsworth
Suzanne Zenor as Alba Wadsworth
Tod Andrews as Doctor
Michael Pataki as Dennis
Beatrice Manley Blau as Judith
David Mooney (credited as David Manzy) as Baby
Rating = 1.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
A social worker investigates the eccentric Wadsworth family, consisting of a mother, two daughters and an adult son with apparent mental capacity of an infant. She gets too involved with the family by constantly and intently looking out for the “baby” who is now 21 years old and still living and being treated as an infant. In the process of her investigation, she finds out that there was intentional manipulation of the way the baby was being raised. There was also the question of the previous social worker disappearing while being the case worker of the same family. The film revolves around serving the interest of both sides of the protagonists and the stories behind them.
The film does not have a lot of blood and guts. But there are scenes in which the young man is tortured for walking and speaking by his sisters with a cattle prod is quite disturbing, especially given the fact that they do this to prevent him from maturing. A character is buried alive after having her legs broken. This is more disturbing as the perpetrator of her injuries leaves her alive purposefully for this effect.
The Grave Review
The film was very well acted and well produced during the 70’s. Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) is a social worker who has a keen interest in the Wadsworth family, particularly their son who is simply known as “Baby” (David Mooney). He’s a grown man whose development has been stunted by his abusive mother (Ruth Roman) and sisters (Marianna Hill, Susanne Zenor). If Baby ever gets out of line and even shows hints of cognizance, he’s greeted with a cattle prod and shoved into a closet. It’s pretty easy for Ann to see that something is amiss, so she tries to free Baby from the madhouse.
The Baby (1973) is expectedly bizarre; it’s also a bit more plodding and listless than you would expect as well. It mostly plays as sort of a greasy melodrama involving a heroic social worker fighting against a lowlife Wadsworth trio, who feel like long-lost relatives of the clan. Certainly the most interesting characters the film has to offer, these three are catty and protective of their son and younger brother; they’re also sort of insane and especially don’t appreciate the social worker’s concern for Baby. Once they become obviously threatened by her, the film becomes a cat and mouse game that never feels quite intense enough for much of the running time.
That is, until the final act, which culminates in a bloody, hatchet-filled custody battle that reveals that everyone might be little nuts? At its core, The Baby (1973) is really a film about motherhood and the demented lengths these women will go to experience it. Most of the women just want to be motherly. Both genders seemingly are caught up in a weird, unrealistic world, but the Baby character himself is basically a victim. There might be a message in there about overbearing, insane mothers not allowing their little boys to grow up. But the film has managed to maintain the interest right down to its clever, unexpected twist ending.
Overall, the movie is surprisingly classified as PG with the elements of appallingly ignorant approach to mental handicaps, abuse, incest, hippies, cattle prods, nursing, and, worst of all, AN ADULT BABY.
Because of the above reasons, Grave Reviews give The Baby (1973) one and a half graves out of five graves.
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