Now I wasn’t alive during the 70s, but I’m gonna go out on a limb anyway and say that it was all fucking weird. People went around thinking that burnt orange was the shit and that polyester was a good idea and that lapels should be more like hang-gliders, and if none of that is decisive enough proof to you that the entire country was MKUltra-ed into crazy town, just watch basically any movie from that ten year period.
But especially this one.
The Baby is from 1973 and I believe that it was while watching this film that the phrase “I can’t even” was born. There is not a single moment lacking in whatthefuckery and it only gets worse as the plot progresses. It’s the kind of film that makes you feel confused and dirty just for sharing a common ancestor with the director. You have to add another half hour to the runtime just to account for the 30 minutes you’ll have to spend in stunned silence considering how to rebuild your life after this. It’s got all the weird of Zardoz and all the appalling discomfort of Human Centipede, wrapped up in a freaking PG rating. So here we go.
A social worker named Ann is recovering from the guilt of permanently disabling her husband in a car crash when she is assigned to the Wadsworths, a family who needs someone to care for The Baby full-time. Ann soon discovers that The Baby is not actually a baby, but a mentally challenged 21 year old man wearing a onesie and a diaper. Everyone treats him like a baby, and by “like a baby” I mean “like an overprotected and abused baby who will inevitably grow up to skin his mother and wear her as a suit so they will never be apart.” Also his name is Baby.
So that’s the first five minutes of the movie.
Next we get to know Baby’s sisters, one of whom beats him and screams at him, the other of whom sleeps naked with him. This is fine. This is fine and normal. Both daughters, of course, are beaten and screamed at by their mother, who does NOT want anything to happen to Baby. Like anything. Any event of any kind. Baby shall forever remain baby.
Mrs. Wadsworth flips her shit when she discovers that Ann has been trying to treat Baby more like an adult and teach him new things, as she claims that Baby has been like this ever since his father left and that no one is allowed to try to change him because that is also fine and normal. Plus it is made clear to us that Baby can’t actually learn jack shit, possibly connected to the twenty plus years he’s spent being taught to never learn anything ever. Ann decides she must save Baby.
Somewhere in here Ann breastfeeds Baby. Because…….of course. So that happens. The sisters are not impressed and mom is pissed about it.
Next the Wadsworth clan throws a party for some friends. Also somehow they have friends? While Mrs. Wadsworth fixes Ann a drink she explains that she was so hurt when Baby’s father left that she never wanted him to grow up and feel adult feelings and suffer adult rejection. (Because babies, an animal known for shitting everywhere and crying 20 hours a day, clearly have it better.) Ann’s drink is drugged because WHY WOULD YOU DRINK ANYTHING HANDED TO YOU BY THESE PEOPLE so she passes out at the party. She wakes up tied down in the basement and here is where everything gets actually weird.
After this it’s all just a jumble of what the fuck. The sisters are just making out with some random dudes while Ann is tied up, Ann’s mother gets involved somehow, Ann HAS SEX WITH BABY, Baby doesn’t know what the hell is going on, Ann kidnaps Baby, the Wadsworths grab their crazed hillbilly weaponry to get him back, then there is a surprise twist ending that I guess I won’t spoil for you in case this review has somehow made you want to see this movie, which was in no way my intention with writing it. I don’t….have any idea what I’m supposed to say about this one. It’s not really a “horror” movie, per se, and yet it is horrifying. In all the ways.
I guess……TWO HORRORS? Does that make sense? I don’t even know what to do here. I give up. Let’s just move on and pretend this didn’t happen.