Plot: Big Mama (Janet Sovey) runs a popular combination brother and abortion clinic, not the most common business around, but she does a brisk trade and even uses some trickery to increase her clientele. After a young woman is hoodwinked into aborting her baby, the fetus is flushed down the toilet in an unceremonious farewell, though its story doesn’t end there. Once in the depths of the sewers, the aborted fetus is splashed with some toxic waste and soon after, begins to rapidly mutate and turn into a hideous, violent abomination. Meanwhile, those inside Big Mama’s find themselves trapped inside by some strange membrane-like prison, while the fetus prowls around, looking for vengeance. Can anyone survive this abortion turned mutant monster, or will life, uh, find a way to settle the score?
Entertainment Value: A bizarre abortion clinic, a radiated fetus, and a bunch of odd, colorful characters can all be found in The Suckling and that’s just the first few minutes of the movie. I love the premise here, an abortion fails and our lovable fetus is flushed, then mutated, but the movie isn’t quite as off the rails insane as the concept seems, which might disappoint some. So this isn’t the constant stream of deranged madness you might expect and some stretches are even on the slower side, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some b movie fun to be had here. The creature effects are a great fun and while the gore isn’t thrown around in buckets, the violence is over the top and made all the better by the dialed up performances. The movie opens in grand style and shows a lot of promise, but then it tapers off for a slower middle section, before ramping things back up for a wild finale. I wish the middle of the film was as fun as the bookends, as that would have likely elevated The Suckling to the next level of cult cinema status, but it is still a solid b movie. As I said though, the premise is so insane, some might be let down by how restrained the movie is at times. Still recommended to those who like the concept or low rent horror in general.
The movie takes place in Big Mama’s brothel and abortion clinic, but there’s not much as far as sexual content or sleaze to go around. A couple of topless scenes pop up, but that’s about all she wrote. But we have a client who is quite thrilled to wave around a dildo and takes it like a champ, though of course that happens off screen. The blood level is on the low side, but we do have some creature attacks and more human on human violence than you might think. A number of gun based assaults take place, with both homicidal and suicidal intentions covered, which is always nice. Not the splashiest kills, but we do have a head torn off, a shocking head explosion, melting down the the bone, and some other assorted bits of the old violence. Sadly, a lot of the attacks happen off screen, so again, not much crimson present. The dialogue is fun, aided by the cast’s colorful and often ridiculous performances. The film’s sense of humor can be ruthless, which helps provide some memorable and quotable exchanges, all brought to life in over the top, humorous fashion. Not wall to wall outlandish and awkward lines, but some good ones pop in often enough. As unhinged as the premise is, the movie itself doesn’t live up to the promise of pure craziness, though some lunacy is here. The creature effects, weird performances, and some fun oddball moments all combine to put a few points on the insanity scale.
Overall Insanity: 4/10
The Disc: Vinegar Syndrome has graced The Suckling with a new 2k restoration, which means the movie looks fantastic on this Blu-ray release, likely far better than most would ever expect. This new scan was sourced from the original camera negative and in truth, I can’t imagine how the movie could look better. The print looks clean and crisp here, with detail that far surpasses even the previous Blu-ray release, almost like seeing the film for the first time again. A few minor wear signs do creep in, but these are minimal and are rarely seen. No issues with colors either, as hues look natural and contrast is on the mark, with consistent black levels. I am once again amazed at the work Vinegar Syndrome is able to pull off. The extras includes a twelve minute interview with director Francis Teri, an interview with a horror journalist, and a selection of script pages, still photos, and promotional artwork.