Cinema Bizarre: The Baby (1973) and Sonny Boy (1989)

December 13, 2014 | By

Baby1973_poster_mSeverin’s new Blu-ray edition of Ted Post’s The Baby (1973) reminded me of an even more bizarre dramatization of bad parenting / tormented kids – Robert Martin Carroll’s divisive Sonny Boy (1989), which is hard to peg as a drama, a black comedy, or an action film.

One could also argue horror – the core story of a child raised to be an attack dog shifts to a hunt-the-monster finale that’s more than reminiscent of Frankenstein (1931) – but like The Baby, Sonny is a tough film to peg.

Both films aren’t box office material, but whereas The Baby eventually works its way towards a darkly comedic, ironic twist, Sonny Boy starts with a jolt, revealing the wife of a local crime thug to be David Carradine. He’s in drag, his name is Rose, and he makes good dinner vittles. He comforts little Sonny when he’s sad and hungry, but gives in when father Slue decides it’s best for the boy to lose his tongue.

Baby (he has no other name) is a grown man deliberately raised as an infant, or rather stunted to remain an infant, and it’s a strange psycho-sexual suspense-drama that like Sonny Boy boasts strong physical performances by their respective leads.

These divisive films went through the theatrical, cable, and home video venues, but Sonny Boy remains an orphan film, never released on DVD, and never in a version faithful to director Carroll (whom I would love to interview).

Here are two snapshots of the Canadian VHS release:








Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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