Archaelogists open egyptian tomb and release evil spirit. Daughter of one of the professors gets possessed by freed enity and the gorey murders begin. —IMDb
Though more often than not working on a strict budget and a short time line, Lucio Fulci ranked among the masters of blood-soaked Italian horror/fantasies and sexy thrillers. Fulci’s zombie films, beginning with Zombi 2 (1979), a loose sequel of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), are especially prized by genre aficionados for their shocking violence and graphic gore.
According to Fulci, it was the love of a woman, not a passion for cinema, that led him into filmmaking. He met her while studying medicine and working as a part-time art critic. Their affair was brief for she came from a wealthy family who lost their fortune after the war, and so wanted a man with more income. Following the breakup, Fulci spied a newspaper ad announcing the reopening of the Experimental Film Studios. Thinking a filmmaking career might provide him with an impressive income, Fulci decided to apply. The great director Luchino Visconti, impressed by Fulci’s examination, personally admitted the… read more
A magnificent mess. Manhattan Baby is largely uneventful and the writing is entirely cryptic (e.g. "tombs are for the dead"). Even so, to me, Manhattan Baby is somehow as captivating as The Beyond or City of the Living Dead before it were. I'm partial to the suitably enigmatic soundtrack; the super-widescreen photography is implemented as effectively as one would hope too. It is hardly Fulci's worst film at any rate.
By accident, I am going through Fulci's filmography in a large chunk, after acquiring a few with Christmas gift money and vouchers. Zombie Flesh Eaters, the most well known I bought, is good but for his most well known film, it is a minor, weak film in terms of quality for Fulci. Conventional a-to-b plots seem arbitrary for his cinema, always concerned with mood and purposely dissipating logic in favour of atmosphere and the Italian style of dream logic; even his swords and sandals film Conquest, which should be a disaster, is compelling by how off-kilter and fog choked the whole thing is. Manhattan Baby, despite being dismissed, is actually a far more interesting and greater film. The plot is simple - the cursed ancient artefact straight from HP Lovecraft or turn-of-the-century literature like the dangerous monkey's paw - emphasising how Fulci is actually comparable to Dario Argento in terms of his technical craftsmanship and ability to create atmosphere. The plot is clearly minimal to the extreme, but stripping the pointless exposition away and letting the anxieties of the parents as their daughter is being eaten from the inside spiritually take centre stage, it’s a genre film you ‘feel’ rather than merely react to. Even the ridiculous moments, such as a piece of dialogue in a freakish scene involving stuffed birds, fits in a film where sand rains down in a Manhattan department and various pockets of reality, of a inhuman entity that was merely worshiped by an Egyptian cult, disrupt the presumed reality of an urban family life.