Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Sewage Baby

1990
Dir. Francis Teri

AKA The Suckling

If shoddy, distasteful and dire bargain-bucket horror is your thing, then Sewage Baby will no doubt have you positively convulsing with shameful delight. A monstrously mutated foetus runs amok in a whorehouse and kills its unsavoury inhabitants. Meanwhile, Daily Mail readers across the nation become inconsolably outraged.

A dumb college couple unexpectedly discover that they are going to be parents. Before you can say ‘come to daddy’ he whisks her off to an illegal abortion clinic that also doubles as a brothel. Cue some random and queasy nudity. Sporting a fetching yellow cardigan that must surely belie his virile masculinity, the rather camp boyfriend claims they have no other choice. The girlfriend assertively points out that ‘I’m gonna do, whatever I wanna do.’ She is soon drugged by the domineering and matriarchal ‘Big Momma’, who makes it her business to make an executive decision for the blustering girl. After she performs the termination she proceeds to flush the waste material down the toilet in a most undignified manner.

What she didn’t bargain on was that on encountering some convenient toxic waste in the sewers, the aborted foetus would soon mutate into a gigantic and slobbering beast, complete with claws, fangs and the ability to spin webs of ick, hell bent on revenge. Before long the seedy inhabitants of the clinic/brothel realise they are trapped in the seedy house and are picked off, one by moronic one, by the ghastly mutant-critter that has a tendency to pop up out of sinks, toilets and various other things connected to pipes in the house. You see, they can’t simply open a door or window and leave the house because, well, not only are they all soft-headed goons, but the wayward mutant bairn has also covered the building in a giant placenta. Ick. 



Sewage Baby is the absolute nadir of straight-to-video, nonsensical, mildly-offensive-if-it-wasn’t-so-bloody-awful, depressingly (but highly amusing if you're in the mood) exploitative trash.
If you are in any way sensitive or prone to fits of soap-box outrage regarding the use of a rather taboo subject, such as abortion, as the dodgy central motif of a grimy horror film, maybe this film is not for you. While it could arguably be read as a highly grotesque Pro-Life and karma-centric morality piece, it’s simply too dire and quite frankly, it’s not really an argument I want to present. If it weren’t so woefully inept it would be immensely more offensive than it already is. Pure exploitation for exploitation’s sake, Sewage Baby is grimy, sleazy and more than a tad grotty. Even in admitting I’ve watched it I feel I need to take a shower and make friends with lots of bleach. Bleurgh.



Take away its highly dubious and controversial subject matter and what you’re left with is a bland and goofy old fashioned monster on the rampage movie that borders on being downright entertaining in a so-bad-its-good way.
A guy in a rubber suit (played by Michael Gingold, the editor of Fangoria Magazine) essentially pokes the other actors until they fall down in a squelch of red stuff. Even Troma, who pride themselves on being subversive and deliberately offensive, have never produced a film so politically incorrect or looked so cultivated when compared to something like this. And that’s in no way a disparaging remark aimed at Troma. As you have no doubt gathered, this is no Vera Drake. Tasteless, tacky, wildly incompetent, Sewage Baby, while unintentionally hilarious, is also depressing and a bit dank. Chances are you have probably never seen anything like this before – and most likely never will again. To be honest, this is not a bad thing.



The buffoonery that passes as acting is startlingly inept. This lot probably think ‘charisma’ is a fragrance by Calvin Kline. There’s only so many times we can watch a character ‘lose it’, fling themselves onto the nearest couch and exclaim in a rather over-exasperated and highly melodramatic way that they ‘Don’t Wanna Die’, they ‘Just Can’t Take It Anymore’, ‘Big Momma! What Are We Gonna Do?!’ and that they’ve ‘Got To Get Outta Here. Like, Right Now!’ before it gets a tad boring.

The Chlamydia-ridden residents of the whore house are a sorry looking bunch. The only characterisation afforded them comes courtesy of a couple of scenes revealing what kind of sex they are into, which isn’t as interesting as it sounds. Instead we have a scene featuring a guy wearing a hat with a propeller on top being menaced by a dildo-wielding, dominatrix type. The half-witted, cretinous and thoroughly dislikeable imbeciles that inhabit this preposterous and bird-brained story are breathtakingly incredulous.



The direction of Francis Terri at times makes Ed Wood look nothing short of competent. His enthusiasm for bizarre camera angles and quirky editing are interesting given what he’s languished his efforts on. Teri’s only other credits include a bit part as ‘police’ in the infinitely more interesting sounding Flesh Eating Mothers and as a producer on some straight to video gem called Head Games. Apparently it’s a ‘sci-fi comedy’ and not an adult movie. So there.

You have been warned…

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