Blu-ray Review: Baby Blood [Special Edition] | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, July 5th, 2020  

Baby Blood [Special Edition]

Studio: Kino Lorber

Dec 03, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The best "body horror" films tend to be the ones that match their visceral, physical discomfort with a generous dollop of social commentary. It's not for nothing that David Cronenberg is a king in this subgenre: he's imaginative enough to pile on the creepy practical effects, but smart and incisive enough to know that they won't make a great film on their own.

While it may not be destined for the body horror hall of fame, Alain Robak's 1990 gorefest Baby Blood at least plays in the same ballpark as Cronenberg. Yanka (Emmanuelle Escourrou) is a circus performer whose ringleader is also her abusive (forced?) boyfriend. After a bizarre animal delivery turns ugly, an escaped wormlike creature crawls into Yanka through her bathing suit area while she's asleep and impregnates her. The creature inside her starts to talk to her, demanding that she feed on human blood to nourish him. Yanka decides to kill two birds with one stone by providing her largely unwelcome passenger with victims that have harassed or abused her.

Parsing out the messages in Baby Blood is not always a dance around the maypole: though an ostensibly feminist revenge fantasy, what with its abusive men and their concomitant violent comeuppances, the considerable amount of time the shapely Yanka spends trouncing around nude leaves little doubt that the film was made by a cis/het dude. Still, it's enjoyable enough in other ways to make up for this, with no shortage of morbidly satisfying revenge fantasies that could get the right crowd hooting and hollering, not to mention several fine moments of dark slapstick. The special effects are completely reputable for their time, and more unsettling for the fact.

The transfer on this new blu-ray edition looks nice and crisp. The special features are bare-bones, but being a low-budget feature with a very limited theatrical run, there probably just wasn't that much surrounding the film's initial release to share.

Baby Blood offers an imaginative, engaging take on the body horror subgenre, and while there may be reason to question its subtext, it at least seems to have its head in roughly the right place. Failing that, it has enough thrills on hand to look past its shortcomings.


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