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John’s Shamefully Bad Horror Corner: Manhattan Baby (1982), an incomprehensible failure

November 20, 2013

MY CALL:  There isn’t anything to spoil, there’s nothing to the plot, and the movie is basically boring.  This movie almost made me angry.  For real–actually angry.  BETTER LUCIO FULCI MOVIESThe Beyond (1981), Zombie (1979) and City of the Living Dead (1980).

Also released as Eye of the Evil Dead and The Possessed, this is yet another example of how Lucio Fulci (Aenigma, Conquest, The Beyond) is great as getting our attention and awful at storytelling.  He’s also bad at titles.  Why oh why is this called “Manhattan Baby”?  Yes, the girl lives in New York.  But “baby”?  What was this guy smoking when he came up with this?

So, this archaeologist goes spelunking in an Egyptian tomb where he encounters a glowing gemstone that shoots lasers into his eyes, blinding him.  This may sound inexplicably random, but it’s exactly the sort of senselessness I’ve come to expect from Fulci.

His young daughter Susie becomes possessed by some evil spirit inside of an amulet that dad gave her from the expedition.  Because that’s what archaeologists do with ancient Egyptian artifacts recovered during professional expeditions.  They dole them out as gifts to children!  Seems legit.

This movie was awful and its badness really wasn’t even fun at all.  Fulci steered away from his iconic gory shock tactics and tries to strike fear into us with such horrifying images as a cobra on your kitchen floor, being stuck in an elevator, a paranormal investigator’s stupid babble or finding a scorpion in your desk drawer.  If you’re wondering how that would be scary, let me spare you the effort.  It’s not scary.  Not a bit.  It’s just dumb.  I can comfortably say that nothing about this movie was done well.  Not even the X-ray that showed a cobra comfortably residing in Susie’s chest, which by the way, was SUPER DUMB.

One scene made me laugh.  We’ll call it “taxidermy’s revenge.”  A bunch of stuffed birds suspended by strings (which we can clearly see) kill a guy in the one gory scene of the movie.  This was poorly executed, but funny.  Why did the stuffed birds attack?  No clue.  What made them do it?  No clue.  This shitstorm just happened before my eyes as I stared with a stupefied grin.

Bro!?!  A dead bird just LEGIT attacked my face!

I really can’t think of much to write about here.  There isn’t anything to spoil, there’s nothing to the plot, and the movie is basically boring.  This movie almost made me angry.  For real–actually angry.

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