Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 12th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1982
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: Elisa Briganti, Dardano Sacchetti
Cast: Christopher Connelly, Martha Taylor, Brigitta Boccoli, Giovanni Frezza, Cinzia de Ponti, Cosimo Cinieri, Andrea Bosic, Carlo De Mejo, Enzo Marino Bellanich, Mario Moretti, Lucio Fulci, Tonino Pulci
BluRay released: October 25th, 2016
Approximate running times: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region Free / Region Free NTSC
Retail Price: $39.98
Manhattan Baby was directed by Lucio Fulci whose notable films include Zombie and The Beyond. The screenplay for Manhattan Baby was written by Elisa Briganti and Dardano Sacchetti who often worked with Lucio Fulci in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Manhattan Baby marked the only time that Lucio Fulci collaborated with cinematographer Guglielmo Mancori (Run, Man, Run, Spasmo, Sister Emanuelle). The score for Manhattan Baby was composed by Fabio Frizzi who uses music cues he composed for Lucio Fulci film’s The Beyond and City of the Living Dead.
The story center’s around a sinister looking woman who gives cursed amulet’s to children. Her origin’s and why she does this in never fully explained. Apparently she has been doing this for awhile as the film’s circular ending alludes to this theory. One of the most hilarious parts of the plot is how Sarah’s parents don’t catch on right away that something weird is happening around them. Don’t expect logic from any of the characters as they all easily walk into danger.
For many Lucio Fulci fans Manhattan Baby is the film that signaled the end of his golden era for horror films. After Manhattan Babymost of Fulci’s film’s suffered from poor scripts, lack of time and minuscule budgets. In many regards Manhattan Baby also suffers from many of the same problems that plagued so many of the films that he made after it. The plot for Manhattan Baby is a poorly constructed story that bears many similarities to films like The Exorcist, Poltergeist and Rosemary’s Baby. There is even a character named Adrian Mercato which also happens to be a name of a character from Rosemary’s Baby. Another one of the films flaws are the poorly constructed and executed special effects.
Even with all these things stacked against this production Lucio Fulci manages create a tremendous amount of atmosphere and visual style throughout. The film opening scenes in Egypt are very effective and beautifully photographed. Once the film shifts from Egypt to New York is when things start to fall apart. One thing that stands out in most Lucio Fulci films is his gory set pieces. Manhattan Baby is one of Lucio Fulci’s more restrained films. Some familiar faces show in the cast Christopher Connelly (1990: The Bronx Warriors) and Giovanni Frezza who is most remembered for his role as Bob in the Lucio Fulci film The House by the Cemetery. All the performances in the film leave a lot to be desired. Ultimately Manhattan Baby is a melting pot of ideas that never fully come together.
Manhattan Baby comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new 2k transfer restored from the film’s original camera negative and the end result is by far and away the best this film has ever looked on home video. Colors look vibrant, black levels remain solid throughout and details look sharp. Also there are no issues with compression and DNR is kept in check.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a DTS-HD mono mix in English. Both audio mixes are in great shape. Dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced and robust when they need too. Also included with this release are three subtitle options, English SDH, French and Spanish.
Extras for this release include, a poster & stills gallery, a trailer for film (3 minutes 11 seconds), “Manhattan Baby Suite” a live studio performance by Fabio Frizzi (8 minutes 35 seconds), Stephen Thrower on Manhattan Baby (12 minutes 42 seconds), an interview with actor Cosimo Cinieri titled For the Birds (8 minutes 51 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with makeup effects artist Maurizio Trani titled 25 Years With Fulci (11 minutes 14 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti titled Beyond The Living Dead (8 minutes 17 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and an interview with composer Fabio Frizzi titled Fulci & I (55 minutes 50 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the interview with Cosimo Cinieri include, his performance and death scene in Manhattan Baby. He also fondly remembers various moments working with Luico Fulci.
Topics discussed in the interview with Maurizio Trani include, FX that he contributed to Manhattan Baby and other Lucio Fulci films he worked on.
Topics discussed Dardano Sacchetti include, trying to come up with a new kind of Horror film for Manhattan Baby, the freedom he had collaborating with Lucio Fulci, how budget cuts drastically altered how Manhattan Baby turned out and how Luico Fulci had a darker side that often mirrored the misogyny and sadism featured in his films.
Topics discussed in the interview with Stephen Thrower include, producer Fabrizio De Angelis and screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti’s last collaboration with Lucio Fulci, difficulties that arose due to optical effects, Fabio Frizzi’s score for the film, Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and how they influenced Manhattan Baby and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Fabio Frizzi include, Lucio Fulci and the film’s their various collaborations.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art option, a CD that contains the score for the film and sixteen-page booklet with cast & crew info, a lengthy essay about the film titled Lucio Fulci’s Egyptian Curse written by Troy Howarth and information about the CD that contains the film’s score. Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall Manhattan Baby makes its way to Blu-Ray via a solid HD upgrade from Blue Underground, highly recommended.