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John’s Horror Corner: The Unborn (1991)

August 2, 2012

MY CALL:  Not good. Not bad. But it satisfied my Sunday afternoon bad-horror itch.  It’s endearing looking back at 1991 and seeing how they thought the genomics project and what they loosely call “protein synthesis” would change us into 51-chromosomed mutant-baby-rearing hosts.  IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCH:  The sequel, but I haven’t seen it.  Also, perhaps, It’s Alive (1974 over the 2008 remake).  SIDEBAR:  Other horror movies of the same name include The Unborn (2009; which I saw and recommend) with Gary Oldman and Odette Yustman/Anabel being haunted by a Dibbuk-demon and The Unborn (2004, Thailand; which I have not seen) in which a drug-addict wakes up in a hospital 10 weeks pregnant.

Virginia Marshall (Scream Queen Brooke Adams; 1985’s The Stuff, 1983’s The Dead Zone, 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and her husband Brad (Jeff Hayenga; Center Stage, a lot of small TV roles) visit a fertility clinic for a consultation with the very optimistic Dr. Meyerling (James Karen; The Pursuit of Happyness).  They get right to treatment and then right to baby-making in a surprisingly brief, fully-clothed rockingchair-sex scene.

Virginia becomes emotionally and sexually aggressive, even violent, as her behavior becomes less rational and more psychotic.  Meanwhile, we encounter strange events linked to Dr. Meyerling’s other patients, including his curious work in genomics and several unsolved domestic deaths.  The storytelling, for 80s-ish horror, isn’t bad at all.  Not like the slap-dash, thrown-together style of most (generally cheaper) flicks of the era (e.g., The Nesting, The Sentinel) or the truly campy and trashy (e.g., Breeders, Mutant Hunt).  However, the story is quite simple: couple goes to fertility clinic, weird things start happening, and then come the evil monster babies.  It’s a bit disappointing how there’s really nothing to it.

While she looks disturbed, let’s be real.  They’re “always” cute when they’re yours.

While not quite the over-gross-out gory and nudity-rampant exploitation flicks of the time, The Unborn takes advantage of the sensitivity of pregnancy including attempts at physically traumatic do-it-yourself abortion, images of violent birth through the abdomen, wet fetus attacks, a disturbing-looking murderous premature infant, and kittenicide (the official, legal term for the premeditated murder of a kitten).

This set was clearly chosen to scare women out of abortion.  And, hey, is that Hall & Oats performing the pre-abortion exam?  So that’s what they did to pay the bills when they stopped making records.

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Now THAT is an evil baby!

The best part of the movie had to be the completely random sighting of a triple-amputee dwarf laying down on a skateboard and cruising through an alley, but not without “standing up” for a moment and smiling at our female lead.  Another pleasant surprise was two small roles filled by Kathy Griffin and Lisa Kudrow.

Kathy Griffin driving her prego-partner insane with baby yoga…

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The consequence of pushing baby yoga on someone too hard…

All in all, this was entertaining.  Slow, but with some welcomed grins.

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