Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Baby Blood (1990)

Let me just preface this review by saying, pregnancy scares me…having something growing inside of you for nine months is just a little creepy. Forget about maternal instincts, because I’m not sure I have any. I avoid little kids and their destructive paths at all costs and to think about one growing inside of me…ugh! Heebie jeebies all the way…

Baby Blood is a French movie that just about hits on all these fears. Yanka works in the circus as part of the lion’s tamer show. She is also the circus manager’s girlfriend, and he’s not a very pleasant fellow. He abuses her, both emotionally and physically, and she wants nothing more than to leave her life. One day, a leopard is delivered to the circus from Africa, acting agitated and in turn agitating the other lions and tigers (but no bears, oh my!). The other animals start behaving strangely towards Yanka, and a tiger almost attacks her in practice. That night, the lion tamer finds the leopard completely eviscerated, almost as if it burst from the inside out. Something, in fact, was nesting inside the leopard and the snake-looking thing makes a bee-line for Yanka’s trailer. Asleep inside, Yanka doesn’t realize the creature crawling its way under the bed sheets and up inside to her uterus. The next day, Yanka realizes she is pregnant and leaves the circus, moving into a dilapidated building in the city. Whatever is growing inside of her can talk to her and tells her what to do. This baby needs blood, and urges Yanka to kill to feed it. Yanka develops a love/hate relationship with her “child,” and bloodily murders many a stupid man who crosses her path. Yanka steadily grows in girth as the baby inside her develops, heading toward the blood-drenched delivery and aftermath.

This was a very horrifying film with black comedy elements scattered throughout. Emmanuelle Escourrou plays the conflicted Yanka with truthfulness and believability. Her unconventional and voluptuous beauty is just right for the role. The rest of the cast play unlikable, stupid and horny men, all who are indefinitely disposable to Yanka. The story, while not original, works quite well and in no way feels like a rip-off of other horror films. The interactions between Yanka, her baby and the men that enter (and violently leave) her life are all very entertaining and feel very real. Director Alain Roback does a great job capturing the bloody action and adding flair to the proceedings. The look and techniques used throughout the film are very different from the typical horror movie and set the dark tone of the film.

As for the gore, this film delivers geysers of the red stuff! Yanka violently dispatches men with throat slittings, stabbings, decapitations and oodles of blood splatter. There are some very memorable, very bloody scenes throughout the film.

There has been talk of the film’s feminist leanings in regards to how the men are portrayed – boorish, horny, stupid slobs – but while the film can perhaps be viewed as a feminist commentary, it is never heavy-handed in its approach. I will admit that it was quite amusing to see such low-life, scummy men get their balls handed to them on a platter. Call it cinematic catharsis, but men get their just desserts in this film.

Baby Blood is a little known gem of a horror film, one that has finally been given a wider release by lovely Anchor Bay. It is now presented remastered and uncut, therefore some scenes are still in the original French (with English subtitles) instead of being dubbed. The Anchor Bay release is the only one that will do, as I hear the original 1990 US release (released under the title The Evil Within) is hacked to bits and indecipherable from the original film.

If you want a reason to avoid pregnancy and having kids, pop this bloody little piece of film in! You’ll be sure to be disgusted, repulsed and will definitely lay off that baby talk for good!

Available on Amazon!

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