Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) is a social worker with a new case, one that she specifically sought. She has been assigned to the Wadsworth family. It consists of a terrifying matriarch (Ruth Roman), sexpot daughters Germaine (Marianna Hill) and Alba (Suzanne Zenor), and Baby (David Mooney, credited as David Manzy), a grown man with, apparently, the mental development of an infant. But Ann suspects Baby is capable of more, and that there is something fundamentally wrong going on at the Wadsworth residence. The Wadsworths, meanwhile, do not take kindly to Ann’s prying, and will stop at nothing to preserve their way of life.
Viewers lured by the promise of the film’s poster (Baby in crib, hatchet in hand) will no doubt be disappointed. This is not a body-count film, and there is very little that is overtly horrific for most of the movie. But make no mistake: this is a horror film. The horror is primarily conceptual, and the more we see of Baby’s life, the more we squirm. The performances are universally strong, and we buy into the characters, no matter how grotesque they are, and believe me, they are grotesque. The climax is exquisitely sick, as only the denouement of a movie made in 1972 can be, and is meticulously set up by everything that came before. This is a screwed-up movie, and I mean that as a term of extremely high praise. Absolutely not to be missed.
The film’s age is most visible in the grain of the opening credits, as is very often the case, but thereafter, the print is in damn-near-perfect condition. The image is sharp, damage non-existent, and the colours strong. The blacks aren’t completely nailed, but again, the original film is more likely to be the reason here, rather than the transfer. The aspect ratio is the original 1.66:1 widescreen, presented anamorphically, so there will be a slight loss of frame information when viewed on a 16×9 TV.
The audio track is the original mono. I’m not generally a fan of stereo remixes, so I certainly don’t miss that here. The mono is warm and clear, and that is really all one could ask for.
Tales from the Crib: (19:59) A phone interview with Ted Post, who makes it clear that it wasn’t easy getting a film with this story made even then. I would imagine it would be damn near impossible to get this into the theatres today.
Baby Talk: (11:46) Another audio interview, this time with Mooney. His audition sounds like it would have been something to behold.
If you are a horror fan, why are you reading this? You should already be watching the film.