Monday, September 24, 2012
Sharon's Baby (1975) Horror Evil Baby
Sharon's Baby (1975) - Out the year before the The Omen, this is not the birth of the antichrist but a much smaller story. In this English horror film Joan Collins is Sharon Carlesi who gives birth to a large 12 pound baby boy. Still not actually as evil as the It's Alive (1974) baby which came out the year before or the absolute evil of Rosemary's Baby(1968) The opening scene is Sharon in labor and it is a difficult one. Difficult to watch as she thrashes and moans like she is feeling something between pain and pleasure. I am not saying that Collins can't pull the scene off I am just guessing that maybe the original script had the conception scene in it and she got confused when doing this one. The doctor makes a point of saying this was one of the strangest births he had ever done. Like the baby didn't want to be born. It is not long before the baby is brought into the room so she can hold it. Born with a set of claws the hours old boy mauls her face in what can only be seen as retaliation for her acting in the scene prior. Also the fact she is in her early forties and playing a first time Mother makes this a strange start.
Husband Gino (Ralph Bates) reassures her that everything is going to be fine and the couple head home after the mandatory hospital stay. Back in those days when a woman gave birth they didn't rinse the baby and send the people on their way. Instead there was rest and bonding and breast feeding. So Sharon's face is remarkably healed when they arrive back at there townhouse. Since they were not into the concept of the family bed the boy "Little Nicky" was immediately caged in a separate room and a nanny was hired to make sure it did not starve or die of rashes from shitting itself. Apparently the little boy did not like this because it wasn't long before they had put him down for a nap and heard noises coming from the room. Reentering they found the place trashed and the little guy looking as cute as ever in it's crib. This is the warning the parents needed to hear. How did the room get trashed? Who was in the room? This is where this film started losing me. There was never a question from any of the characters about how the room got wrecked. Not one, no police report about a vandalism, no just a vague notion that there was something strange about little Nicky. Instead of following the logical course when you think someone is invading your home the couple goes back to the doctor who brought the baby into the world. Now I love Donald Pleasence as much as the next person, but he has no answers. He can just say the baby is healthy and seems normal.
Mostly this film is a slow churn, never gaining the heat needed to make it a burn, with some laugh out loud kills in it. A back-story plot that is so ridiculous that it really is quite disappointing. Through Sharon's ditzie friend Mandy Gregory (The beautiful Caroline Munro) we learn that Sharon is a former stripper. We get to see her in action although while dancing she never actually takes off her clothes. She does a show with a dancing midget name Hercules (George Claydon) who makes a small pass at her in the dressing room. Sharon for her part is not a little bit interested and spurns him. While leaving the club he pops out of the shadows and curses her. " You will have the Devil's baby." Oh the power of a midget's curse to make her have a devil baby. Well not quite but you get the picture here.
Surprisingly there is quite a bit of nudity in this film in particular during the flashback to Sharon's stripping days. Of course none of the nudity includes Collins who was star enough at the making of the film to avoid it. Then there is also the murders which are hilarious but worth the time. Each time little Nicky kills he is shown directly afterwards looking like the cutest baby in the world. No little monster baby here, no sense of dread, just an adorable little child who can't even crawl. When the nanny is pushed into the water to her death we see his little baby hand come up and push, so cute. As the story goes on, the baby is stronger and takes to hiding in the tree outside his second floor bedroom, that is after breaking through the bars (wooden) on the window. Killing Mommy and Daddy will be easy for this kid.
BUT There is the catch of Sister Albana (Eileen Atkins) who catches on and comes to perform an exorcism on the child. Will she be successful? How many people will die before the final scenes? Will Sharon win back the soul of her child? All questions that will be answered before the end. I do have to say though I feel really bad for poor Sister Albana, she really does get the short end of the stick.
There are some themes that are in this film that should at least be mentioned. The first is the stereotype of the evil midget. Sure the was spurned by Sharon but the theme that small people are devious, lecherous and evil is really quite persistent in our culture. It is undeserved and it really is ridiculous to think that a curse said in anger by a little person could make a woman have an evil little baby. The hallucination Sharon has where the face of her child turns into the midget are just laugh out loud great.
Another is the idea that the wealthy are less than loving parents. I really do not think this is true but in movies you see it over and over again. The separate room for the baby, the lack of breast feeding, the nanny to care for the child.When are we going to see involved loving parents who have wealth? You would think they don't exist.
Overall I did not really dig the film but did get some some unexpected laughs. I don't think the movie intended the laughs but they were there. The evil child was not monstrous enough, the parents not likable, the premise thin and in the end no one wins.
Rating ( 3.7) 5.0 and up are recommended, some more recommended than others