The Baby (1973) Poster

(1973)

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8/10
Leave your jaw on the floor
iago-628 February 2006
A movie sure to have you staring at the screen in shock, The Baby is guaranteed to turn out to be one of the stranger things you will ever see. Here's the deal: Ann is a social worker who stops by the house of a Mrs. Wadsworth, played by Ruth Roman (who was also in one of my favorite little movies, The Killing Kind, though I don't remember who she was there). Mrs. Wadsworth lives with her two daughters, Germaine and Alba, and her son, whom they all refer to as Baby. Baby is a 21-year-old man who has been in an infantile state apparently since birth. He can neither walk nor speak, or really concentrate on anything. His sisters are also, uh, quite something: Germaine, played with wonderful zest by Marianna Hill, is an extremely strange woman with this massive mane of hair, and tiny, evil eyes. If anyone ever had to cast a woman who is revealed to be a real, evil witch at the end, here's your woman. I actually want to see a lot more of her. She was awesome, and she can preen and glare like nobody's business. Which obviously wins her big points with me.

So Ann the social worker shows up for a case visit, and makes it clear that she is "quite intrigued" by the case. The mother and sisters don't want to let her see Baby, but she insists, and we see him for the first time. He is a fairly cute 21-year-old (looked a little younger to me) guy. Ann the social worker continues to visit, and one is surprised how quickly she adjusts to the fact of this adult acting like a baby, and we start to feel a little freaky when she is almost immediately saying things like "That's my baby! He's a good baby!" It soon becomes apparent that Ann is a little more than just interested in this case, and is actually quite obsessed with Baby. This point is driven home by a scene with her supervisor asking her why she is spending so much time at the Wadsworth home and so little time with her other cases. There is a little discussion about some terrible accident that befell Ann's husband, implying that she's all lonely and sexually frustrated now, and one begins to wonder if her obsession with Baby had somewhat of a sexual edge to it. This is further reinforced when we see Germaine take off her clothes and climb in bed with her infantile brother! The sexual thing gets a further boost from a scene in which one of the babysitters is having a bit of trouble with Baby, and soon enough he is sucking her breast! The movie continues to pile on some disturbing suggestions about female sexuality as the woman is clearly aroused by this and lets it go on—-until the mother comes home and beats the living crapout of her! I tell you, this one's a shock a minute! One of the big strengths of this movie is that you REALLY don't know direction it's going to take. There is tension from every direction. On the one hand you know that this is a horror movie and bad things are going to happen. You have this domineering mother and her creepy and violent daughters—-are they going to start killing everyone who threatens to come between them and Baby? And Baby himself is a grown man—-is he going to get angry and really hurt someone? And that Ann, too, does not seem to have all her screws in place, and seem really, REALLY obsessed with Baby—-is she going to try to kidnap him, or what? It keeps you guessing, and that successfully delivers a lot of tension throughout its running time. I truly did not know what was going to happen—and did not expect what DID happen. And how many movies can you say that for nowadays? In the middle of the film, things progress without really going anywhere, and we have somewhat repetitive scenes in which Ann visits and is obviously not welcome, she plays with Baby in a creepy way, and Mrs. Wadsworth gets ever more bitchy. Still, it's all so interesting that it never gets boring or feels like it's wasting your time. There are quite a few good bitchy lines, like when Ann threatens to turn Mrs. Wadsworth in, and she says "You're a damn bitch!" Also, consider this exchage between Ann and a guy who's coming on to her: "Don't tell me you're a dermatologist?" "No, just a skin freak." This takes place during an awesome 70s party, footage of which, as surely you know, is always welcome.

The other strength of this film is the complicated relationships of power and intricate series of compromises each character makes in order to stay close to baby or not get thrown in jail. Also, the score by Gerald Freed is, if not great, at least unusual. It contains a great deal of unusual instrumentation, including a lot of cello and acoustic guitar, and one long stalking scene seems to contain up to 10 minutes of pure music with no dialogue.

There's no way I would even reveal part of the ending to you, but suffice to say that after the one hour mark there are twists and turns that will take you completely by surprise. As I said, it's unusual just for what the story itself is, and it's very unusual to really have no idea where the story is going to end up. If you like it weird, it's waiting right here for you.

Hey, there are lot of other reviews of bad and cheesy movies on my website, Cinema de Merde, which you can find through the URL in my email address.
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8/10
Just ... too demented for words, really!
Coventry9 May 2007
What arguments do you use to recommend "The Baby" to any fan of peculiar cult & horror cinema who's convinced that she/he has already seen everything before? Well, let's try this: "The Baby" is horrific without reverting to gory massacres or nauseating make-up effects, it's extremely disturbing even though the premise is far-fetched and totally implausible and – last but definitely not least – there's an unpredictable twist at the end that you simply have to see in order to believe it! This is one of the most original low-budget exploitation movies of the 70's, and it's truly remarkable how writer/director Ted Post managed to make such a fascinating film out of such a demented basic premise! "The Baby" starts out as the portrait of a dysfunctional family, but it gradually transforms into an atypical and thematic horror film with an uncanny atmosphere and frighteningly insane characters. Ann Gentry, a professional social worker in her mid-30's, takes an interest in the odd family situation of the Wadsworths. The mother lives alone with her two adult daughters and … Baby! Baby is a fully-grown 21-year-old male, but his mother and sisters treat him as an infant and claim that he's mentally unable to function as a mature human being. Ann is convinced that the crazy women deliberately prevent Baby from developing normally, presumably because they don't want him to grow like the careless and obnoxious men who abandoned them in the past. She quickly reverts to unorthodox methods in her attempts to rescue Baby and risks losing both her job and her life. Especially considering the cinematic era "The Baby" was made, and also the low-budget production values, the basic concept of the film easily could have resulted in a trashy and ultimately perverted B-movie. Imagine; a grown man in a diaper surrounded by overly protective and deranged women! In the hands of certain other directors, say, Doris Wishman or Russ Meyer, "The Baby" unquestionably would have been a non-stop series of sleazy images and shocking sex-rites, but Ted Post approaches the unusual subject matter very professionally and tasteful. There are only two controversially uncomfortable sequences, one involving a teenage babysitter and the other one being the fabulous climax. Ted Post maintains an ominous atmosphere, the Wadsworth women are downright creepy characters and the whole thing is just delightfully man-unfriendly! Fans of graphic bloodshed and gore may be a bit disappointed, but the horrific themes of the film are definitely unique enough to compensate. Literally ALL the acting performances are splendid, but David Mooney deserves extra praise for his credible and undoubtedly complex depiction of Baby. It may not be Citizen Kane, but I guarantee that The Baby will be one of the most unforgettable and curiously engaging films you'll ever see.
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7/10
Oh Baby!
brefane22 March 2006
Worthwhile,off beat, modern Gothic tale centering on a dysfunctional family that emasculates the only male in the family by keeping him a baby:even though he is fully grown. And lucky "Baby", all the women in the film want him for their own reasons. An unusual premise, with effective performances, efficient direction, and good use of location makes for an enjoyably twisted B movie. The movie drags a bit toward the end, and begins to seem a bit thin, but it remains compelling. A real find on budget DVD.

Comer is well-cast in the lead and Roman's performance is classic. As Roman's daughters, cult figure Marianna Hill (Red Line 7000,Medium Cool, High Plains Drifter,Dead People) and Suzanne Zenor are convincingly creepy. And did I mention Beatrice Manley Blau as Comer's mother-in-law? Now, she's scary!

Slick and sick little film that ends with a nice twist. Shelved by the studio;than given a limited theatrical release. A bit difficult to categorize but, definitely worth seeking out. The DVD, regrettably, has no extras but, the transfer looks good.
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God, I Love The 70s!
Zen Bones8 February 2005
They could never make a film like this today. If they did, it would have an all-star cast, a loud, obtrusive score, and dizzying, roller-coaster camera effects. Back in the 70s they had to get by on talent, imagination and audacity alone. Luckily, they had plenty of that back then. This is not a 'twisted" film, at least anywhere nearly as twisted as say, "Bad Boy Bubby" or "Sonny Boy" (now those movies are reeeeally twisted!), but then what can one expect from Hollywood? This movie is like Diabolique made as a 1970s TV movie-of-the-week with a drive-in sleaze chaser. There's definitely a lack of credibility in this movie's plot - not that a woman couldn't keep her grown son in the mental state of a six-month infant. That's plausible and has happened before, but it's extremely unlikely that the authorities who knew about this kid all those years wouldn't have insisted on special schooling and therapy from day one. But who cares? Here we've got a film with two wicked Barbie Doll sisters who have venom in their veins and just looove to tease men. There's some great bad seventies fashion and a 'wild party' scene (well, wild for the suburbs. Ahh, Hollywood – so out of touch!). And what can you say about Ruth Roman? She's Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine all rolled into one. They just don't make broads like that anymore!

As mentioned by others, there are lots of twists and turns in the plot, but most anyone can figure them out very early on. But again, who cares? This movie works because of its audacity in the face of its conventionality and well, there is an intelligence at work somewhere in the midst of its drive-in movie formula. Take that whole scene with the babysitter for instance (for those who haven't seen this, you'll just have to see for yourself). I knew what was going to happen, but the way it built up so naturally seemed very honest and real. Which is why it freaked me out so much. Every now and then the film slips that comfort rug out from under you. Freak city! Then it relaxes safely in the realms of convention, but that's okay too because the whole movie has such charming camp appeal. Let's make that clear: this is a camp movie, NOT a horror movie! It's stupidly being marketed as horror, so it's understandable that the kiddies who are looking for lots of gore and boobies are feeling disappointed. Stick with Argento, kids! Oh yeah… huge kudos to David Mooney (Manzy – whatever) who played 'Baby'. He should have become a star.
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Grade "A" gonzo flick! *spoiler-ish*
EyeAskance17 June 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Ruth Roman, once major Hollywood lead and survivor of the ANDREA DORIA disaster, pulls all the stops in the role of Mrs. Wadsworth, a hardened menopausal bitch who has characteristically stultified her adult son into perpetual infancy through cruel behavioral modification practices(with significant help from her two insane, but very foxy, daughters). A young social worker enters the scene, convinced that "Baby" is not the childlike imbecile his family insists that he is, and that there may be an unsettling explanation for his behavior. The Wadsworths, however, are not about to give up their precious "baby" without a fight.

This one's a minor classic of its kind, and with far better performances and production values than anyone would ever expect of such niggling material. Drive-in hyperweirdness with an appropriately bizarre final curtain that must be seen to be believed.

6/10. Recommended.
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7/10
Warped family values
capkronos15 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
There were many 1970s horror films that gleefully deconstructed the family unit (IT'S ALIVE, THE Texas CHAINSAW MASSACRE, THE HILLS HAVE EYES and many others), but nothing quite like this! Compassionate social worker Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) is assigned the case of her career; paying frequent visits to "Baby" Wadsworth (David "Manzy"/ Mooney), a mentally regressed fully grown adult male who wears diapers, crawls around on the ground, cries in an infant voice, sleeps in a crib and sucks on baby bottles (and *cough* other things when he can get his hands on them). Baby lives at home with his domineering, husky-voiced, ball-busting, man-hating mother (Ruth Roman), whose idea of child discipline incorporates an electric cattle prod, and two pretty, but equally strange, grown sisters; Germaine (Marianna Hill) and Alba (Suzanne Zenor). All the kids have different fathers but none of them are anywhere to be found. Neither is Ann's husband; by all indications she lives the life of a widow at the mansion home of her her wealthy mother-in-law Judith (Beatrice Manley Blau, who was the co-founded of the Actor's Workshop in San Francisco). The whole family claim Baby is simply retarded and incapable of improving, but Ann thinks otherwise and the case becomes a personal crusade for her. After frequent visits to the home, she becomes convinced that Baby is actually a fully functioning adult who has been kept in mentally adolescent state by three women who have some serious mental problems of their own.

Beginning as a strange, engrossing, well-made melodrama of one woman's consuming infatuation with her charge and getting through to the family, it turns into a full blown horror movie by the end with multiple kidnappings, bloody knife and hatchet murders and a character being buried alive. Sure it sometimes feels like a mixed bag of silly, tasteless, campy and downright sick ideas, but the performances are good enough to bail it out when it needs it and compensate for the shortcomings. Ruth Roman is especially terrific here. She possesses the same exact effortless campy qualities that made Bette Davis and Joan Crawford seem so at home in the horror genre during their twilight years. There's a memorable scene when she stumbles into the room to see the teen babysitter, uh, doing something she shouldn't be doing with "baby," and she proceeds to beat the living s--t out of her while screeching "You lying bitch!" in her great deep voice. I'm used to seeing Marianna Hill as the lady-in-distress in such films as MESSIAH OF EVIL and BLOOD BEACH, but she's way better here playing it all wide-eyed, aloof and unhinged. Comer does well as the offbeat heroine and David Mooney is excellent in a role that could have come off as a complete joke in someone else's hands. Michael Pataki shows up briefly as Dennis, "one of" Alba's boyfriends during an amusingly gaudily-colored birthday party scene, and Virginia Vincent (the mom from THE HILLS HAVE EYES) is in the movie somewhere. I kept my eyes peeled for her, so she was either cut out completely or was simply an extra during the party scene.

Even though it's well worth checking out, it does go way overboard during the hard-to-swallow finale and note to future filmmakers - Do not put a platinum blonde wig on the stunt double of a redhead. There are no special features on the Geneon DVD I rented, not even scene selection. When you pop it in, it plays. Simple as that. But the quality of the print is excellent.
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6/10
A very odd piece of 70's Horror
imbluzclooby26 November 2005
I first saw "The Baby" on a late night horror show called "Grimsley". It was on TV so of course they had to edit the very few graphic scenes, but it is still nonetheless disturbing. But as a 9 year old kid, watching a man-child in diapers didn't scare me a bit. Monsters scared me. So this movie was just goofy and at the same time interesting. Why would anyone be interested in such a warped conceit as "The Baby". It's just weird and intriguing. But it also has a sweetness to it. The outcome of course is a very eerie twist and touching outlook on love and compassion. Whether or not this film intentionally tried to freak you out or just paint a strangely humanistic picture, it succeeds on the freakish level. But its played with total seriousness. Serious and corny. Don't be surprised if you catch find yourself shaking your head repeatedly at this movie, you will also be surprised at how much it will mesmerize you.
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Weird horror psychodrama with sick ending
thomandybish4 March 2001
I just love horror psychodramas from the early seventies, and this one's one of the best. The story concerns Ann Gentry(Anjanette Comer), a young social worker and recent widow who lives with her mother-in-law. Ann is given the case of the Wadsworth family: raspy-voiced Mrs. Wadsworth(Ruth Roman),her two weird adult daughters(Suzanne Zenor and Mariana Hill), and Baby, an adult man who is literally an infant mentally and developmentally. As Ann comes to know more about the Wadsworths, she decides to rescue Baby from his negligent and abusive family, and the initial battle between this upstanding young woman and these depraved women is underway! After several verbal sparrings with Mrs. Wadsworth, Ann accepts an invitation to Baby's birthday party, unaware that the crazy women have a plan to take her out of the picture! The deranged three give Ann drug-lace punch and attempt to tie her up in the basement, planning to dispose of her later. However, Ann escapes with Baby in tow. But Mama Wadsworth and her girls aren't giving up that easy, and decide to find Ann and take Baby back . . .

The great thing about this film is that there are clues to the ending which, in retrospect, obviously hint at the outcome. What we have here is a battle of wits between two sets of psychos. Mrs. Wadsworth and her daughters are fruitcakes, to be sure, but the ending casts Ann's attempt to rescue Baby--and her reasons behind it--in a disturbing new light . ..

A weird little film with a sick ending that distroys everything you assumed at the beginning. Reccommended.
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9/10
This is the creepiest and most disturbing thing i ever saw in my life.
atinder10 August 2009
The first time I saw this movie, My jaw it hit the floor. The baby is one of the most out of this world movie i have EVER seen, it's just , while you are watching this you will being saying what the hell am i watching!

It a must see as it so bloody crazy!

This movie not about a small baby that goes on killing people (it nothing like it's Alive)

The baby is 21 year old man, who sleep in big cot, overprotected Mother and Dauggter won't let anyone get very friendly with baby, when they walk in on The babysitter breast feeding the baby, The sister attack the babysitter.

Soon Ann Gentry social worker who is hired to provide service for the Wadsworth family soon her and family in have few arguments, which go though out the movie.

I not going tell you anymore but there is shocking twist at the end of this movie that you will never Guss and never forget.

Acting is great 10/10
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7/10
Bizarre Enough to Hold Your Attention
rwint3 September 2001
Bizarre, truly twisted tale of a mother who keeps her grown son in a perpetual infant state. Conflict arises when a social worker tries to intervene. Very low budget and flatly photographed yet it's offbeat enough to keep you going all the way to it's twist ending. There are not too many roles requiring grown men to wear diapers, sleep in a crib, and cry, but if there were Manzy would most certainly win the award. Hill and Zenor, as the two daughters, are sexy enough to create some diversion. Roman and Comer make good adversaries, which they play to the hilt!!
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8/10
Weird......
librachild14 January 2005
Sleaze fest concerning full grown young man still in diapers, inarticulate, and crawling and his psychotic, over protective family and the social worker assigned to assist them. Ruth Roman is great as the unbalanced mom. She's one nasty mother! Kudos to Marianna Hill and Susanne Zenor as the abetting siblings. Anjanette Comer gives a stellar performance as the dedicated social worker that gets personally involved with the Wadsworth family and Baby(Baby does not have a first name, he is merely referred to as Baby). All in all, the story is quite absurd, but if you can get by the premise that a 20 something year old is still in diapers and living in a crib unable to speak, then this is a unique, twisted tale guaranteed to open your eyes. Recommended!
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Morbid, perverse and fascinating
acky30 July 1999
This is a bizarre piece of southern gothic. It's a movie full of bright primary colors and very over-the-top performances. I can't really figure out what it's really about but it's fascinating, morbid, perverse and has one of the most shocking twists at the end of it.
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8/10
Bizarre to say the least.
coldwaterpdh1 March 2012
I went into this one totally blind- I was actually expecting a cheeseball, low budget ripoff of "Rosemary's Baby." Boy was I mistaken.

This movie is totally strange and uniquely disturbing; and I mean that in a good way. The image of the baby playing ball and trying to stand up will be forever burned into my psyche. The day after viewing, I found myself thinking of his awkward movements and his upsetting cries.

Nice little twist at the end- not on the level of some flicks today. but hey for '73, it definitely impressed me.

Recommended for fans of early John Waters, 70's TV horror movies, etc. Would make a good double feature with "Bad Boy Bubby." 8 out of 10, kids.
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6/10
Pleasantly bent
eminges28 November 2001
The Baby joins a select club of really flaky little films from the poofy-hair-on-guys era, early 70's to early 80's; the best of these was Night Warning, William Shatner's wigged-out Impulse is another, the MST'd Touch of Satan is another. The Baby and Impulse even share the services of the wondrous Ruth Roman, who in The Baby looks more than ever like Victor Mature in full drag. All these feature somebody driving around in a Dodge Dart or a Maverick and plot twists that make you ask, "What were these people ON?"

Ted Post was already in his late fifties when he did The Baby, so the lame direction can't be written off as a young director learning his craft. It just plain sucks. Anjanette Comer stands around screeching and flapping her hands for emphasis like she's at a community-theater audition; it's hard to see any of the luminescent Aimee Thanatogenos from The Loved One, just eight years before. And Baby is a hoot - this was pretty much the entire career of the hard-working young actor trying to make us believe he's a teenager operating at a 9-month-old level, but somebody decided to dub in the sounds of a real baby coming from his adult voice-box, and you don't buy the bit for five seconds.

But there's just enough here to make it worthwhile to stick it out for the snapper ending. Anybody who says they guessed where this was going is lying like a red dog. It's no Night Warning, but if you've seen Night Warning and you need another sip from the same bucket, it'll do.
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8/10
A pleasingly twisted 70's low-budget horror shocker
Woodyanders2 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Dedicated and idealistic social worker Ann Gentry (an excellent performance by Anjanette Comer) is determined to rescue overgrown man-child Baby (a convincing portrayal of fragile innocence by David Manzy) from the evil clutches of wicked and domineering Mrs. Wadsworth (splendidly played with vicious lip-licking relish by Ruth Roman) and her two equally nasty daughters. Director Ted Post and writer Abe Polsky present an utterly chilling depiction of depraved motherhood at its darkest, most controlling, and smothering: Although none too graphic and admirably tasteful and restrained considering the warped premise, this film nonetheless manages to be deeply unsettling due to its horrific subject matter, potent ominous atmosphere, some touches of sick sexual perversity, and a few jolting moments of brutal domestic violence (the scene with Baby being poked with a cattle prod is especially harsh and upsetting). Moreover, Post firmly grounds the premise in a certain thoroughly plausible everyday working class reality which in turn greatly enhances the overall impact and credibility of the piece. Comer and Roman both do sterling work in their juicy parts, Marianne Hill and Suzanne Zenor likewise excel as Baby's crazed sisters Germaine and Alba, Michael Pataki has a small, but memorable role as Alba's sleazy boyfriend Dennis, and Beatrice Manley Blau does well as Gentry's supportive mother-in-law Judith. The violent macabre conclusion packs a ferocious punch and the final twist at the very end is a real doozy. Mark Margulies' stark cinematography gives the picture an effectively plain look. Gerald Fried's shivery lullaby score hits the spine-tingling spot. Highly recommended.
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8/10
Loved it, baby!
GroovyDoom3 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was one of those rare surprises for me, a film previously unknown to me that immediately became one of my favorites. Even more exciting is the fact that it's a bonafide "70s Doom" film that I didn't even know existed! Ann is a social worker who takes on a new, unusual case, that of "Baby". Baby is a 21-year-old man who exists in a state of infantilism, kept in diapers and a crib by his mother and two older sisters. Those around Baby seem to simply accept him in this way, but Ann becomes obsessed with the case. She visits so often that the family becomes suspicious of her intentions, and eventually a rift develops. Ann suggests on moving Baby to a hospital where he could be 'helped', but Mrs. Wadsworth doesn't take kindly to this and has Ann removed from the case. In retaliation, Ann threatens legal action, but what motivations are behind her interest in Baby? It's one of those movies where you probably won't see the ending coming, although there isn't much in this movie that an ordinary person would see coming at all. It's full of bizarre characters and a few uncomfortably shocking moments that keep it on the edge. The actors in it are all uniformly excellent, in their own way. You've really got to see it to understand.

"The Baby" reminds me a lot of sleazy grindhouse psychodramas like "Don't Look In The Basement" and "Daddy's Deadly Darling" (aka "Pigs"). There was a brief moment in the early 70s when insanity was so easily captured on film, and this is one of them. Love it or hate it, you're not likely to see another movie like "The Baby".
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10/10
A forgotten Classic of cult 70's Film making
ashwetherall126 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
They just don't make them like this any more.

And to be honest, I don't think they'd be allowed to. The Baby is one of the strangest most warped, politically incorrect movies ever made. But strangely its made like a TV movie, so it catches the viewer off guard. The plot concerns a social worker Anne Gentry played by Anjanette Corner and her encounter with the Wadsworth family and they're 21 year old Baby,with whom she become obsessed.

Anne believes that Baby is being abused and plans to save baby from the Wadsworth clan. But in this film nothing is what it seems.

The family consists Ma, Played with relish by Ruth Roman. She's a female version of George C Scott, big with a whiskey rasping voice. Her oldest daughter Germaine played by Marianna Hill in a very complex performance. You almost feel sorry for her sadly unhinged character. Then you have Alba, sadistically played by Susanne Zenor, blonde with crazed eyes. The last member of the family is Baby Played by David Mooney who puts in a very carefully measured performance that never becomes parody or comical.

As I said earlier the movie starts out like your usual 1970s TV thriller, even the score by Gerald Fried is slightly sad and melancholy.

But as the film progresses it becomes darker , more twisted even during the lighter moments. The subject matter is twisted, but because the cast plays it straight you find that the film gets under your skin, you have to see it though to the end, and what an end.

There are lots of twists, the last of which is truly jaw dropping. I found myself watching this film many times over the years and I found that none of the twists were their for convenience sake. When the end credits roll you may find your these questions.

1. Why don't they make movies like this anymore. 2. Why didn't the director writer and actors in this movie go on to bigger things instead of making dodgy 70s television shows. 3. I hope they never remake The Baby.

And finally… 4. I wish they would bring out a re-mastered edition with special features on DVD. Because when it comes to 70s Thrillers. The Baby is in a class of its own.
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8/10
Crib Notes
ferbs5423 March 2009
Although many of us have been guilty of "not acting our age" on occasion, few can be said to be so consistently immature as the character David Manzy plays in the 1973 horror film "The Baby." Manzy's Baby is a 21-year-old man who lives in a crib, wears diapers, gurgles and drools, despite having NO mental disabilities! The youngest member of the Wadsworth clan, Baby lives with his domineering mother and two very strange sisters, but his current living arrangements may soon be changing, as a snoopy young social worker named Ann Gentry--who the viewer soon realizes has a mysterious agenda of her own--has just been assigned to his case.... Anyway, while Manzy brings a convincing wide-eyed and innocent wonder to his manchild, it is the quartet of beautiful and talented actresses on display here that really puts this terrific film over. Anjanette Comer is excellent as the ambiguously motivated Ann, Ruth Roman (pushing 50 here but still quite foxy) is not a little frightening as Baby's whackjob mother, and Suzanne Zenor (who I'd never encountered previously) and Marianna Hill (who I've had a major "thing" for ever since seeing her, over 40 years ago, in the classic "Star Trek" episode "Dagger of the Mind") are both mesmerizing as Baby's very unusual siblings, Alba and Germaine. "The Baby" grows increasingly suspenseful and horrific as it proceeds, culminating in as sick a final 10 minutes as any jaded horror fan could wish for; no wonder the reference book "DVD Delirium" calls the film's ending "unforgettable and absolutely bonkers." Top grades to composer Gerald Fried also, for his freaky, string-laden score. The Geneon DVD that I just watched looks very fine, by the way, but is completely devoid of extras; no chapter stops, even! If ever a film warranted a new deluxe treatment, this would be the one. "The Baby" is a genuine sleeper that deserves the best presentation it can get....
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7/10
Weirdly Wonderful
joshbaileynch6 June 2008
How can you go too far wrong with a film that centres much of its action around a fully grown man in a nappy!

On many levels this is a mess, and yet it's still utterly fascinating, shocking and very very funny. Could be read as an early feminist backlash film given the way that women feature as utterly exploitative and controlling figures who seem to want to do nothing other than mother and infantalise men. Ted Post's direction is typically rough and ready, though you can see a little of the influence of Peckinpah (for who Post was a regular cinematographer) in the over-blown, lurid quality of the film and the way it tends to handle female characters. It also owes a fair bit to Russ Meyers and other exploitation film makers of the late 60s and early 70s. I highly recommend it - I promise you will never have seen anything quite like this before and you certainly won't see it's like again.
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8/10
Bizarre! Very weird!!
roses88810 May 2005
The is the strangest, most bizarre movie I have ever seen. "Baby" is a 21 year old man-child. He is kept in an infancy state by his warped mother and beautiful adult sisters who are still living at home, and all on public assistance. Incest is suggested. Some of the shocking scenes are "Baby" being beaten with a cattle prod & a babysitter is caught breast feeding him. A pretty social service worker visits the family on a regular basis to try to find out why they are keeping an adult man in diapers and a crib. As she snoops around, the mother and sisters become suspicious of her real intentions & interest, and try to end the visits with "Baby", which then leads to a climatic showdown. There is a very shocking twist at the end of the film. All along, there was a personal reason the social service worker was interested in "Baby". This is a very disturbing, perverted, though I hate to say, entertaining film. You won't be able to look away even if you wanted to!
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10/10
Morbid, Intense, and Bizarre
EdYerkeRobins8 December 2001
One of the easiest paths to originality is through total obscurity, and a perfect example of this is through "cult" movies. Sometimes the obscure factors are played off through comedy, in films like DR. STRANGELOVE and BAD TASTE, and other times they are played seriously, often to a quite disturbing effect, such as in THE BABY.

The film wastes no time introducing us to the title character, Baby, a grown man who never mentally advanced past infant state. His mother is an overbearing alcoholic who refuses to let him grow up, and his two older, perverse sisters share the abuse; Alba is a sado-masochist who loves to shock Baby (against her mother's wishes) with a cattle prod, and Germaine sneaks into Baby's nursery at night, and the film implies an incestuous sexual relationship with him. This sick family is challenged by Ann Gentry, a social worker who believes that Baby is capable of intellectual and psychological development but has been reinforced to stay in a regressed state by the abuse of his mother and sisters. The film is an intense battle between the two parties, both of whom will go to any lengths to "win" Baby.

Anjanette Comer, who plays Ann, is a very subtle actor. She portrays Ann such that it is clear she is fighting for Baby's best interests, while at the same time it is apparent she wants him for her own mysterious reasons as well. The most interesting acting job, however, is done by David Manzy, who as Baby does an incredible job, appearing to be in a mental haze and even moving slowly and simply at all times throughout the film; unfortunately, noises of a real baby gurgling and crying were dubbed in over him in a soundtrack, making his character strange and comical (particularly since oftentimes he makes no effort to mouth such noises - perhaps he was unaware?).

Besides the acting, this film is driven by its odd use of bright colors that make all scenes, even those with beatings and intense stand-offs, seem bright and happy, like a '70s family-sitcom. This, along with the nondescript atmosphere throughout the film adds an even more disturbing quality since, on the outside, Baby and his family are totally normal people, and are even praised for keeping such a positive attitude through all these years of Baby's condition; none of their neighbors, guests, or public government suspects the sick truth. It's even hard for the audience to believe that such horrible people can exist in such a bright, happy place.

Amazingly enough, THE BABY was released with a PG rating, and has become relatively obscure since its release. The film is unforgettable, and more than troubling, from its initial nonchalant presentation of its subject matter to a shocking twist ending.
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7/10
Low budget but effectively creepy
zmarc31 January 2003
This is a low budget thriller about a bizarre family: a woman and her two grown daughters who are raising ?Baby,? a fully grown man in diapers. Supposedly he's mentally retarded, but a social worker who visits has her doubts. She starts to investigate the family. The film delivers some surprisingly good performances: the looks exchanged between the mom and her daughters and the social worker are terrific, and reveal a lot of creepy subtext. You begin to wonder about the motivations of everyone involved. The ending is a nice little twist that's unexpected and worth the wait. This not high caliber art, but it is fun, and delightfully twisted.
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4/10
THE BABY (Ted Post, 1973) **
Bunuel19768 April 2006
I had noticed this one in the "Drama" section of my local DVD outlet some time ago, but I decided to look it up this week and discovered that it's considered something of a cult item, and a sick one at that - so I just had to go out and rent it sooner rather than later!

Well, as it turned out, it's got one of the silliest premises ever - a full-grown man with the mind of an infant is jealously guarded by his immediate family (mother and two 'normal' sisters), until a female social-worker (played by Anjanette Comer) takes a special interest in the baby and determines to 'cure' him!! The sight of a man in diapers emitting baby-ish sounds - obviously, and unconvincingly, dubbed on the soundtrack by a genuine toddler - is enough to give anyone convulsions of laughter but this is augmented further by the jealous fits of rage displayed by the gorgon-like matriarch (with a scary wig to match!) played in the grand manner of a Joan Crawford (indeed, the film can be considered a late addition to the "Baby Jane"-type of horror films which proliferated in the 60s) by raspy-voiced Ruth Roman who viciously whips a baby-sitter caught breast-feeding her precious 'child' (unbeknownst that one of her own daughters has a tendency to 'sleep' with him)!!

Its open-matte transfer and soft look give THE BABY the flat atmosphere of a TV movie, while the plot is too superficially developed to have any lasting effect; what's more, its 70s attitudes date the film no end (particularly a hilarious party sequence, held by the child's family to celebrate his birthday, featuring a lot of bad hairdos and even worse dancing)! The twist at the end - which sends the film briefly (and very mildly) into 'slasher' territory - is clever enough under the circumstances but, at the same time, it can be seen as just another bizarre idea in a film that is so preposterous that it has to be seen to be believed!
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7/10
Grown Men In Diapers Are Cool...
EVOL66620 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
THE BABY is a bizarro little 70s film that is parts exploit, horror, and drama all rolled into one. Some decent performances and a weird storyline, along with a decent twist ending carry this one.

A social-worker take an interest in a case where a woman and her two daughters have raised her fully grown son...as a baby. As the social-workers interactions with the family deepens, it becomes apparent that the "baby's" family is pretty far out-there, and the social-worker begins to take a more personal interest in the man/child's well-being - but this doesn't sit well with the family, who prefer to keep their personal lives private...

THE BABY starts off strong but starts to drag and falter a bit through the middle. The ending picks up again and has a pretty strong twist to it as well. All of the lead actors, including the social-worker, the mother and daughters, and the baby-man are all pretty damn good for a film of this nature. Definitely worth checking out for fans of strange 70s cinema...7.5/10
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