This film is apparently considered a 70’s cult classic. Why? I’m not entirely sure. Without a doubt, it has the feel and sound of a 70’s horror flick, with its flute solos and grainy glow; but, The Baby is definitely not one of cinema’s finest achievements in any decade. Perhaps it’s the overall strangeness of The Baby that has solidified its place among the reverence of the minority. After all, this is a film about a grown man in a diaper.
Essentially, this movie is your classic screwed up family story. A mad mother, played by Ruth Roman of Strangers on a Train, has decided to take out her mariticidal desires on her only born son. Of course, she doesn’t murder him just for being male like a normal deranged psychopath. No, she damages him to such a degree that he literally never grows out of the mentality of an infant. The result is just as bizarre as you’d except. Basically what you’ve got is a feature length film of adults interacting with another adult as if he is a baby, or at some moments as if he is a pet. And that baby adult spends most of the movie staring with a slack jawed expression, or whimpering in his crib. No less strange are the other girls in the family, or the myriad of babysitters who treat the baby as if nothing is out of the ordinary. Of course, social worker Ann Gentry finds this scenario highly out of ordinary, and sets out to try and saved the abused young man from his insane living situation. I suppose this is where the “horror” of the movie comes in, although I would hardly consider it fitting of the genre. I wouldn’t say The Baby is a drama either. This is one of those exploitation flicks that really just lives in a class of its own.
The Baby has all of the standard endearing drawbacks you’d expect from 70’s cinema. A semi-shotty soundtrack, with clipped off pieces of muzak and disco is a primary draw here. There’s also a really bizarre scene of the film that seems to go on for way to long. The baby’s birthday party turns into some sort of wife-swapping, disco fiesta, meanwhile people are held hostage in another room, and the baby himself is left wander aimlessly about the castle of shag-carpeting. Just in case you think you’ll watch this one, I won’t spoil the ending, but I’ll just tell you that it does indeed get weirder than what I’ve already described here.
I’ll be honest. I just don’t have a great deal to say about The Baby. This movie is weirder than a simile about owl feces, and while it’s totally worth watching just to say “yeah, I HAVE seen a grown man pretend to be a baby for an entire hour and a half;” it’s not exactly worth that hour and a half of your life either. Proceed with caution.