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John’s Horror Corner: The Suckling (1990; aka Sewage Baby), a very schlocky, very gory mutant monster baby B-movie.

April 16, 2020

 

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This is a gory, insensitive movie with highly inappropriate imagery
about a mutant monster fetus!
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MY CALL: This movie is highly inappropriate (particularly in the first 20-30 minutes… and I liked it much more than I should have. Definitely an excellent choice for lovers of gory 80s schlock. MOVIES LIKE The Suckling: For more baby horror, try The Unborn (1991), The Unborn II (1994), Grace (2009), The Night Feeder (1988), It’s Alive (1974), It’s Alive II: It Lives Again (1978), It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987), the remake of It’s Alive (2009); and for pregnancy horror go for Rosemary’s Baby (1968), Demon Seed (1977), Inside (2016), Inside (2007), Still/Born (2017) and Good Manners (2017; As Boas Maneiras).

After awakening from a dream including a topless murder-nurse, a surgical abduction and a homicidal doctor, we learn that a young mother-to-be (Lisa Petruno; Troma’s War, Galactic Gigalo) was the sole survivor of a brutal brothel massacre. As her story is recounted, she was planning to give her unborn child up for adoption. But pressure from her boyfriend led her to an illegal abortion business… in of a brothel.

After the procedure, the fetus is literally flushed down the toilet and, like some 80s “alligator in the sewer” fare, the twisted writhing fetus comes into contact with toxic waste. Shortly thereafter, and in the worst possible taste, the woman who performed the operation cleans off her bloody coat hanger of some fleshy morsels and then uses it to hang up her lab coat!

The early monster baby creature reminds of NOES 5: The Dream Child (1989)—and boy do we see a lot of it. In an awesomely gross (and rather uncomfortable) scene, the slimy monster fetus writhes and pulsates like an uncoordinated Pinocchio had just become a real boy and was skinned alive just at the time the Budget-version of the Event Horizon (1997) encountered her farthest reaches of the Universe. As it continues to develop, its digits rot away and flesh is lost—looking more like discount-baby-Frank from Hellraiser (1987). Next thing you know, it’s grown into some demonic beast like The Terror Within (1989), but even cooler in this case!

Once fully formed, this monster looks awesome! As far as rubber monster suits of the 80s, this ranks really high. As if laughing at its own lunacy, this massive monster basically teleports through the household plumbing of its creation to terrorize the brothel inhabitants and pick them off one by one with its hook-like limbs and prehensile umbilical cord. The first death scene is a brutally sloppy decapitation. However humble the budget, the gore and creature effects are ample. And, totally inexplicably, the end scene features a crazy gore-slathered face-melting scene.

Much as in The Unborn (1991), abortion is the real villain of our allegory… or maybe it’s the environmental dangers of improper toxic waste disposal. I guess both were new-on-the-scene hot-button issues back in 1973, the setting of the movie.

I’m really not sure why writer/director Francis Teri never made another movie. As grotesque and inappropriate as it may be, it’s also kind of amazing. Baby horror typically crosses at least some moral lines, but this is more like The Greasy Strangler (2016) of baby horror… only it’s less deliberately funny and not nearly as well-made. Still, I had way too much fun with it.

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