TastyBabySyndrome | "Daddy Dagon's Daycare" - Proud Sponsor of the Lit | 06/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Manhattan Baby, considered a failure by many critics that wanted Fulci to conform to the formula of horror that made him successful, was actually one of his more entertaining movies. This was because it did break from the proverbial mould, building more on a storyline and an ever-present, overwhelming scene of doom. Unlike many of his earlier movies (Zombie, The Beyond) that brought this bleak overview with them as well, Lucio decided to try a new avenue in this presentation, one that only briefly sprinkled gore into the cinematic formula, causing much of the fallout experienced. He said that he wanted to present a more metaphysical terror, using a small array of special effects in the process, that would give his film a more Catholicist, "evil can be beaten but not truly destroyed," mentality. Well, mission accomplished.
The storyline, with its Egyptian focal point, deals with the manifestation of an ancient evil that is awaken (and overused) by a little girl after her foolishly curious archeologist father prods at things best left alone. It has some nice scenes with pieces of dark humor mixed together with catchy "manifesations/proofs of the dark forces present," plus some humorously cheap scenes that keep the movie from taking itself too serious. All in all, its fun and a bit dark at the same time, and is a good film for horror lovers/Lucio fans that remember his Sci-fi trials/Westerners and not simply his gore films."
Fulci Misses The Mark
Stanley Runk | Camp North Pines | 03/28/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Italian horror will never be seen as art to the masses. Even the hardcore fans admit to the cheesiness as being part of the attraction to them, but even though it's a trashy kind of genre, you can screw up! Lucio Fulci screwed up here. To people now taking an interest in Fulci, I'm sure this dvd cover has stared out at you from the shelf at the store and beckoned you to take it home . Don't listen to it! Yeah, it's Fulci, and yeah, it's from Anchor Bay, but don't let that fool you. Manhattan Baby is BAD, even for a Fulci film. With most of his horror films you could always guarantee to have a fun viewing experience, but this is actually quite painful. Everything you love about his previous works is nowhere to be found here. Fulci was actually trying to make a real horror film with suspense and stuff. Many directors accomplish this, but Fulci never has, and he certainly doesn't here. Fulci's films excel in atmosphere, music, gore, cheesiness and just downright strangeness. This film has none of that. It's basically a reworking of the Charleton Heston mummy flick, The Awakening-which was no masterpiece, but better than this. The only purpose this dvd will serve is to make your Italian horror dvd collection look bigger, coz it will get only one or maybe two viewings-mark my words! You just may be better off investing in a Kiss Koffin. That will at least get more use."
A by the numbers film-yet still worth a view
Robert Cossaboon | The happy land of Walworth, NY | 07/17/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A complaint that can be made of just about every one of the many horror films out these days is that they have in some way, shape or form ripped off something from their predecessors. Manhattan Baby is no exception. Although I do not get the overt Exorcist connection that most people see in this film, I can definitely see the parallel with Poltergeist. Interestingly, although the film begins in an Egyptian tomb, most of the action takes place within an apartment-and the stylish way he transmits the claustrophobia of a tomb into this apartment for the duration of most of the film is where I think Fulci triumphs the strongest. Things I thought were effective: the actress who played the girl, the photo in the park, the conjured doorway, the body in the wall, the eyeless entity in the beginning of the film, and (I may stand alone on this one) the attack of the birds at the film's end-this scene was so out there, I was taken in nevertheless . . . strings and all."
Not that bad at all !
creatureart | Massachusetts | 09/12/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Lucio Fulci's "MANHATTAN BABY" is not even close to his best effort,but just like "SWEET HOUSE OF HORROR" it has its tiny moments of Fulci's atmospheric & gorey brilliance. A sure shot for Fulci fans! all others should rent before buying!"
Intriguing, but Flawed Experiment
Shaun Anderson | Nottingham/Hereford, England, UK | 12/26/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Manhattan Baby" opens with an excellent prologue set in atmospheric ruins of the Egyptian pyramids. Lucio Fulci seems very at home filming these photogenic sequences which set up a rather daft story about possession via an ancient amulet. Naturally the possessed individual is an irritating child (influences of "The Exorcist"), and Fulci's reliance on his two child actors, and lots of narrative inconsistencies ultimately undoes the promise of this fine opening. Fulci's usually insane editing patterns create an immediate sense of disconnectedness and a filmic space in which time and its ever shifting progress cannot be trusted.
Unfortunately the whole thing goes downhill (as it often does in Fulci's films) when he has to deal with characters and their complex interactions. When the action moves to Manhattan, the clichés begin to pile up, the actors show their limitations and the whole thing collapses into senselessness. But fans of Lucio Fulci, of which I consider myself one don't care about these things. In fact much of the pleasure from Fulci's work derives from this lack of cohesion and sense.
But other things save "Manhattan Baby" from outright disaster. It's clear that this at one time was a very ambitious project, and Fulci struggles to realise the visual ambitions that a limited budget imposed on him. But his efforts are well worth watching. The film is also very self referential, not only too more obvious big budget productions such as "The Exorcist", "The Shining" and "The Awakening", but also too Fulci's own films. The strange alienated and empty landscape of Egypt is oddly evocative of Fulci's vision of hell in "The Beyond".
Fulci's efforts to create atmosphere necessarily lead to a film that is very light on gore (save for a particularly inventive stuffed bird attack), and the director makes little use of the potential of his Manhattan locations. Although the ancient evil which possesses the young girl is never satisfactorily explained, it does provide some nice moments involving snakes and scorpions. In conclusion this is an interesting, intriguing, but ultimately failed experiment which marked the end of Fulci's most creative and successful period. "