Saturday, January 2, 2016

Manhattan Baby

Manhattan Baby (Evil Eye, Eye of the Evil Dead, Possessed) Directed By Lucio Fulci, Starring Christopher Connelly (1982).

The career of Lucio Fulci is such treacherous territory, once you've ventured beyond The Beyond, Zombie, Gates of Hell (which I still have trouble calling City of the Living Dead), it all gets super wonky! I remember thinking "Hey I kind of liked this movie" the first time I watched it, it wasn't so bad, but oh how wrong I was! Sometimes sitting through a Fulci flick is like going into a maggot and broken glass infested funhouse or an insufferable dinner at Waffle House and making it back without severe stomach trauma. That's the deal with this director, most of his later work is trash, but it's very enjoyable for those that can tolerate it. I also had the lowest expectations possible viewing MB so that helped. I'm always fascinated by the scholarly approach to Fulci's career with books like Stephen Thrower's Beyond Terror or the recent Splintered Visions by fellow Monster writer Troy Howarth, how do they make him look so classy? The maggot maven is an extremely fascinating figure more so in my opinion than Argento. I gotta plunk down 30 bucks for each book to see if they try to make some semblance of Dardano Sachetti's nonexistent script.

Heh Heh I'm so high right now

Susie (played by the lifeless Brigitta Boccoli) is the subject of this film and while on vacation in Egypt with her archeologist parents, weird shit starts to run amok. The little girl that plays her is instantly unlikeable and awkwardly smiles a lot in a vacant way. My favorite of most LF's work is the score and I love Fabio Frizzi's funky soothing track complete with chimey magical sounds and Scooby Doo like breakdown. And what the hell, throw in a little Gates Of Hell music while we're at it. Later on the soundtrack basically turns into a best of Frizzi mixtape and it's never a good sign when a current film would rather emphasize the music from his own film catalog (ahem, excluding Tarantino's rampant use of scores ganked from other movies, that's called on homage right)?

A scary looking foreign lady with those uncomfortable scratchy looking white eye contact lenses hands Suze an Osiris medallion in a tomb where all the trouble begins. Meanwhile her dad played by human Gerry Anderson Super Macromation puppet come to life Chris Connelly, veteran of a bazillion 70's TV shows and Raiders of Atlantis, falls into a pit and narrowly evades sharp impaling spikes (his guide was not so lucky)! Connelly has Thunderbirds like features and had more personality in the biker fish flick than he does here.

Fulci obviously hates Egypt and made this film to deter people from visiting there, otherwise why would he make it seem like blue lightning bolts will shoot into your eye sockets and random earthquakes just happen out of nowhere.

Holy Shit! This lasik surgey is oddly very soothing
So, Suzi's Dad (Connelly) goes blind temporarily from the mysterious bolts which is unintentionally hysterical. Don't get too comfy though because shit head Bob (Giovanni Frezza) from House by the Cemetery shows up as the brother! At least that middle aged woman that dubbed his voice is gone and he sort of sounds like he's dubbed by a child.

I'm here for my Geordi La Forge audition

Connolly looks so stupid with Giant white bandages under his glasses and fumbles around for coffee (is he gonna call in "blind" to his job). Suzi's mom Emily (Laura Lenzi, no relation to Umberto) works in an office with Carlo De Mejo the bearded a-froed dude from Terror Express and Gates who must be a clowny fellow because he wears Groucho glasses. The lightning storm that happens as the two kids sleep is a blatant Poltergeist rip off. I like how as the girl walks down the hall, they just throw in the best of Lucio mix tape, making you well aware that his best work behind him.

Will Ferrell back with another wacky comedy nobody wanted

Suzi's eyes light up with blue lasers as her brother messes around with a Rubik's Cube then steps into an ethereal doorway (maybe he's going to the Beetle Juice's waiting room). Even though all this weird shit goes down, none of it is spooky, it all registers as silly and off the wall retarded. Oh yeah and Lucio does one of his Hitchcockian cameos again, playing a guy named Dr. Forester, like the one from MST3K.

I forced TV's Frank to swallow sheep guts too, that's the only way I can feel happiness
A cobra shows up to bite Emily's mom and oh yeah, their closet door teleports to The Egyptian desert, which I guess is some more of that creative Poltergeist theft. I've heard that the Charlton Heston mummy trash flick The Awakening from 1980 may have influenced the director as well, I've never watched it though. The only Spielberg influence I can think of is that Fulci took the "door way into another dimension" aspect and made it a gateway to Egypt, sounds like a Dio song. There's an elevator death scene with an African American actor that reminded me of the one in the Omen 2 (which is better than people give it credit for). The storyline doesn't even make the slightest sense and the whole thing is a train wreck. 
But if you're familiar with Fulci you won't really mind and I've even developed a craving to watch dubbed people be nonsensical for an hour and a half its just entertaining for some illogical reason.




  1. I really disliked this movie at first, but like Bruno Mattei's HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD, I've learned to enjoy it's idiotic charms over the years. Thanks for the great review!

  2. I swear I dug Hell like nobodies business, it's just so clumsy and inept that it was irresistible. Fulci is the only guy that can get away with this kind of atrocity (meaning MB) and I like him way more than Mattei


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