They just don’t come any odder than producer/writer Abe Polsky’s The Baby, which will be getting a Blu-ray push from Arrow Video this coming Sept. 25 — domestic sales and distribution expertise courtesy of MVD Entertainment Group.
Abe Polsky wrote the original script sometime in the late 60s and optioned it off to the production team of Bobby Roberts and Hal Landers, who were responsible for such films as Monte Walsh, The Hot Rock and Death Wish in the early 1970s. At some point the legendary William Castle was attached to the film, but then everyone fell out of love with the project and it got “shelved.”
Polsky, who had, in the meantime, worked on scripts for writer/director Martin B. Cohen’s Rebel Rousers and director Jerry Jameson’s Brute Corps, saw that The Baby wasn’t going to happen, so he did the only sensible thing and bought it back with the idea of producing it himself.
By the spring of 1973 it was ready for releases with Ted Post as the director (busy year for him … The Harrad Experiment and Magnum Force) with a cast that featured Ruth Roman and Anjanette Comer, plus Marianna Hill (who had worked with Ted Post on High Plains Drifter) and Susanne Zenor as the “sisters” Germaine and Alba … and, of course, David Mooney as the title character.
What makes the film particularly creepy is that mom (Ruth Roman) and her two daughters have turned the other sibling (Baby) into a man-child, or better yet, a man-baby, complete with diapers and crib! It all has something to do with collecting welfare for his maintenance, etc., etc. … any attempts by him to assert himself are met with beatings, taunts and the old standby, an electrified cattle prod.
The creepier part — complete with a terrific third act payoff — is the arrival of the social worker, Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer), who suspects that Baby is being abused. A backstory story has her living alone with her mother, Judith (Beatrice Manley), having lost her husband to some unspecified “accident.”
There are hints that something else is going on, but Polsky’s script keeps you focused on the mom and the daughters, so that Ann’s real motives come as a brilliant twist. Swimming, anyone?
Bonus nuggets include commentary from MovieMaker Magazine’s Travis Crawford, a new retrospective titled “Down Will Come Baby” hosted by professor Rebekah McKendry (USC School of Cinematic Arts) and two vintage audio interviews — one featuring Ted Post and the other David Mooney.