Sunday, June 12, 2011
1982, Lucio Fulci
Starring: Christopher Connelly, Martha Taylor, Brigitta Boccoli, Giovanni Frezza
Every once in awhile a film comes along that you know is going to be terrible, but you can’t help but have naively good feelings about. That’s exactly the situation with Il malocchio and me. I thought to myself: it's early ‘80s Fulci, made in the same year as the fabulous New York Ripper, so how could it be anything but wonderful? Apparently I was wrong. And I’m even more of an idiot because I saw it about five years ago at a Fulci all-nighter and it was my nap film. I knew what to expect. But I went at it with mindless enthusiasm at two in the morning and expected to be warmed to the cockles of my heart by all the gore and bad dialogue. And, for the second time in a row, it put me asleep.
Manhattan Baby is basically a decaffeinated cross between The Beyond and Poltergeist. When a family is vacationing in the Middle East, a mysterious old woman gives their little girl a mysterious amulet and she mysteriously turns evil and makes her brother disappear into another dimension. Or does she? Who can say? Probably the most exciting thing that happens is in the first ten minutes of the film, when her father is struck in the eye with a supernatural laser -- please, imagine the special effects -- and goes inexplicably blind. Back in New York his sight conveniently returns, so he can witness the terrible things befalling his children. And by terrible things, I mean nothing actually happens.
It hurts my brain to write this review and sacrifice more time to Manhattan Baby. It is not, strictly speaking, a terrible film the way that Nomads (here's looking at you, Pierce Brosnan) is terrible. Its major failure is the sheer boredom. There is no gore, no action, no plot development, and not even any bad dialogue to laugh at. To make matters worse, it has recycled music from The Beyond, a nonsensical, undramatic script, and actors who don't seem to be sure what they are doing on set. Please don’t watch this, unless you have a friend over that you are trying to put to sleep or get rid of. Or unless you have insomnia. And why the fuck is it called Manhattan Baby? Sure, it mostly takes place in Manhattan, but Susie Hacket (the child in question) looks to be about 10. The actual Italian title translates to “the evil eye,” which is a little more fitting -- but not much, considering it is an amulet that does the dirty work.
If you feel the need to complete your DVD collection or are otherwise a glutton for punishment, there is a remastered region 1 Blue Underground disc available. It comes with the documentary “Beyond the Living Dead.”