Newest Reviews
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
We Need to Do Something
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
East, The
Green Knight, The
Newest Articles
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
  Manhattan Baby Little girl lost in a Fulci fright-fest
Year: 1982
Director: Lucio Fulci
Stars: Christopher Connelly, Martha Taylor, Brigitta Boccole, Giovanni Frezza, Cinzia De Ponti, Laurence Welles, Andrea Bosic, Carlo De Mejo
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: In Egypt, nine year old Suzy Hacker (Brigitta Boccole) stands entranced amidst ancient ruins while an old witch hands her a strange amulet, then disappears. Meanwhile, Suzy’s father, Professor George Hacker (Christopher Connelly) ventures inside a desert tomb. His colleague is impaled upon a nasty, spiked booby-trap and George is blinded by eerie, blue lasers, whereupon wife Emily (Martha Taylor) brings everyone back to New York. Suzy and kid brother Tommy (Giovanni Frezza - the boy who will forever be "Little Bob" from Lucio Fulci's The House By the Cemetery (1981)) seemingly become unwitting pawns of an ancient Egyptian evil as the family are terrorized by snakes, scorpions, desert sands and strange portals to another dimension. Emily’s friend Luke (Carlo De Mejo) and babysitter Jamie Lee (Cinzia De Ponti) are given one-way trips to nowhere. A second zap restores George’s sight, but then Suzy starts wasting away. Doctors (including Fulci in a cameo) can do nothing, so George seeks out a strange cult led by mercurial antiquarian, Adrian Marcato (Laurence Welles; real name: Cosimo Cinieri).

Manhattan Baby doesn’t make a lick of sense, but remains one of Lucio Fulci’s more endearing films. Explicit gore is restricted to a memorably squishy climax involving marauding (stuffed!) birds, yet the bulk of this surreal, hallucinatory movie represents the closest Fulci got to the minimalist wonder of Val Lewton. Hazy, scope photography soaks up the moody, atmospheric Egyptian locales, mirrored in the mystic world of children’s playtime where strange, unsettling fantasies leap out at unsuspecting adults. Here, kids are unfathomable, alien beings with their own rules and games George and Emily must decipher to save Suzy’s soul. The nightmares are quaintly old-fashioned (creaking doors, creepy crawlies, weird noises, sand seeping inside the room), while Fulci indulges in-joke names (Jamie Lee, Adrian Marcato) and bizarre non-sequitor deaths that prove hit and miss. Christopher Connelly and Martha Taylor look understandably lost most of the time.

This film represents the culmination of Fulci’s long-running obsession with eyes. Aside from his trademark eyeball close-ups, they’re gouged out or blinded by laser beams. We have an eye-shaped amulet and a dreamy-eyed performance from Brigitta Boccole, who provides a fine focal point for all the strangeness. Fulci’s steadfast refusal to explain anything inspires and irritates in equal measure. He never shows us what happened to Jamie Lee, although her bloody hand bursts through the wall after Tommy cryptically cries: “Punish me.” Tommy’s part in her downfall is alluded to but never explicitly addressed, as he slowly disappears from the narrative. Similarly, we never figure out why that old hag keeps handing out cursed amulets to little girls. It’s all as shadowy and unfathomable as Marcato’s motivations for helping Suzy.

Yet these weaknesses double as strengths to make Manhattan Baby the fascinating curio that it is. Die-hard gorehounds show it little respect, yet it's a far better film than Fulci's other stateside-lensed horror epic, the risible, mysoginistic The New York Ripper. If you’ve a tolerance for eccentric Italian horror movies, you’ll be lulled by its hypnotic spell.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 4061 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Lucio Fulci  (1927 - 1996)

Italian director whose long career could best be described as patchy, but who was also capable of turning in striking work in the variety of genres he worked in, most notably horror. After working for several years as a screenwriter, he made his debut in 1959 with the comedy The Thieves. Various westerns, musicals and comedies followed, before Fulci courted controversy in his homeland with Beatrice Cenci, a searing attack on the Catholic church.

The 70s and early 80s were marked by slick, hard-hitting thrillers like A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, Don't Torture a Duckling and The Smuggler, while Fulci scored his biggest international success in 1979 with the gruesome Zombie Flesh Eaters. Manhattan Baby, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery were atmospheric, bloody slices of Gothic horror, and The New York Ripper set a new standard in misogynistic violence. Fulci's last notable film was the truly unique A Cat in the Brain in 1990, a semi-autobiographical, relentlessly gory comedy in which he also starred. Died in 1996 from a diabetic fit after several years of ill-health.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: