Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Horrorthon 3: Day Five: Baby Blood (Alain Robak, 1990) -- B-
Baby Blood is rife with imagery linking post-adolescent Yanka (Emmanuelle Escourrou) to animalistic behavior, a connection the film will have much deviant pleasure in fulfilling. Yanka is equal part slave/novice, the young wife of a sadistic circus ringleader who beats and bosses her around relentlessly. After an especially brutal “training” session, her body is penetrated by a snake-like creature, borne out of an imported African leopard (eh), which turns her into a blood-thirsty, man-slaying vampire. The amorphous creature is given an androgynous voice, more old woman than anything, and as the film purports during the opening voice over, amidst images of oozing volcanoes and barren terrain (spoken by the absent creature): “For me, only one thing was needed – to be born.” Director Alain Robak apparently has an unchecked fetish for femme fatales tinged with a degree of Biblical dread (he replays Yanka’s seductions numerous times), but his more flagrant, crude sensibilities are diluted by a genuine flair for body horror, that which grows within, internal threats trumping exterior fears. Moreover, after Yanka’s possession, Robak abandons any pretense of reality (or even discourse), opting instead for bizarrely surrealistic Basket Case-inspired repartee between Yanka and the interior beast, the unseen creature often speaking for the deluded, depleted woman. Robak has fun with his creature too, giving it silly dialogue like, “I am not a monster. I talk like a human, I think like a human,” or the ever subtle: “You fuck him and I’ll grab him by the balls.” More affectual than intelligent, Baby Blood blends misogyny and feminism into an almost indecipherable hybrid, grotesque more often than not, but rarely without sense enough to let the blood-spurting absurdity speak for itself.