Manhattan Baby (1982)

ManhattanBabyCoverThousands of years ago in ancient Egypt a god was worshipped more horrible than any other! His name was something like Hammybooboo and as the centuries passed, the memory of such a terrifying being was all but forgotten! In fact, an expert Egyptologist advises star Christopher Connelly that only two things are still known about Hammy. One was that he was really cruel. And the other? Utter evil!

Thankfully such a deity is confined to the dusty history of that storied land, never again to wreak his otherworldly vengeance on unsuspecting humans. Except that Connelly’s character George Hacker was just over in Egypt exploring his tomb which all the locals wisely avoid!

And even worse, Hacker’s daughter Susie has gone and gotten herself an evil souvenir from a creepy blind chick, a gaudy pendant whose dark powers are rivaled only by its sheer tackiness!

Hammybooboo’s most diabolical scheme of all though isn’t all the cheesy horror gimmicks (killer snakes appearing out of nowhere, messed up x-rays, botched Polaroid pictures) it favors, but takes shape in the form of Susie’s brother, Tommy!

Despite the country of Italy presumably having any number of young boys available at his disposal, director Lucio Fulci was no doubt moved by the foul spirit of Hammybooboo itself when he casts Giovanni Frezza as Tommy!

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Frezza previously tried to steal our soul (or at the very least left us with a serious migraine) as the annoying blonde kid (Bobby) in The House By the Cemetery.

Though his possessed sister is the center of attention here, Tommy is still able to chill the viewer with his goofy haircut all the while the victim of a criminal dub job.

He also refers to Susie as a “lousy lesbian” at one point which is doubly mean because little Susie hadn’t even started evidencing any signs of being controlled by Hammybooboo! He was just mad because she criticized his athletic abilities! But that’s just like a lesbian, isn’t it?

That a little kid’s off-hand homophobic slur against his sibling would be the most memorable moment in the film doesn’t exactly speak well of Hammybooboo and his evilness. He really doesn’t have anyone to blame but himself though.

The final tally on his apocalyptic destruction includes a dude who fell on some spikes in his tomb (and that was surely his own fault for not watching enough Indiana Jones films to avoid such a fate), an obnoxious co-worker of George’s wife, their dimwitted babysitter, a secuirty guard, and a taxidermist! Five thousand years to plot your return to the human world and you can’t come up with anything better than a bunch of stuffed birds pecking a guy?

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To be fair to this dark god, he did manage a really neat bit of rampaging when he shot some blue laser beams into George’s eyes while George was in the tomb.

Once back home, his eye doctor tells George that he’ll regain his sight in maybe a year, but that he’ll have to wear a couple of big gauze patches over them until then. For reasons perhaps only an evil force as old as civilization can fathom, George also went ahead and put his slightly tinted eyeglasses over top of the maxi-pads on his face! If nothing else, Hammybooboo succeeded in making George look like a complete douche!

Those concentrating on the story instead of giving credit to the Hammybooboo for dispatching unpleasant characters will be a bit disappointed since it didn’t really make any sense. The amulet apparently allows the Egyptian god to open up a dimensional gateway between the kids’ bedroom and ancient Egypt. This allows people to be sucked into Egypt and conversely causes mom to have a big mess to clean up in the bedroom when it gets full up of sand!

Sometimes the evil force killed people and sometimes it didn’t. There was no explanation for instance why Tommy was allowed to travel to Egypt through the gateway and return with souvenir statues and be none the worse for wear, while the co-worker just got sucked through the gateway and ended up dead in the desert.

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How or why the taxidermist was able to exorcise the evil spirit from Susie wasn’t addressed. Neither was why when the evil god reanimated the stuffed birds for their climatic attack it couldn’t have done so without the aid of plainly visible strings holding up the birds.

Fulci fans hoping for lots of gory action will likely be disappointed since with the exception of the bird attack there isn’t much in that department. There is a scene of the taxidermist writhing around on the floor of the kids’ bedroom having a fit while his head bleeds, but that’s more gory to whomever has to clean up the carpet than anything else.

Much more gruesome is Fulci’s frequent use of close up shots of people’s eyes. If you study Connelly’s eyes closely, you can almost see him wondering if this was the right career move. He would go on and star in several more Italian junk movies such as Cobra Mission and Jungle Raiders and be dead six years later, the final cruel vengeance of Hammybooboo achieved at last.

© 2015 MonsterHunter

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