Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 28th, 2008
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
DVD released: March 31st, 2008
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Shameless Films
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £12.99
Synopsis: While on vacation with her family in Egypt a young girl named Susie is given a curse amulet that kills everyone who comes in contact with it.
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 Baby most 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.
Shameless Films presents Manhattan Baby in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors look vibrant and flesh tones look healthy throughout. Details looks sharp and black levels remain strong throughout. Overall Shameless Films transfer looks slightly sharper and the colors look more vivid then the region one DVD releases for Manhattan Baby.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio sounds clean, clear and evenly balanced throughout. Overall the audio sounds very good and there are no audio defects.
Extras for this release are trailers for Manhattan Baby, The New York Ripper, The Black Cat, Night Train Murders, Frightened Woman and Torso. A reversible covert art has been included with this release of the film’s original poster art. Overall Manhattan Baby gets a solid audio/video presentation from Shameless Films that presents the film for the first time ever uncut on DVD in the UK.