Baby Blood (1990)
Baby Blood – otherwise known as The Evil Within – was shown as part of The Horror Channel's World Cinema season.
I do believe that it's the first time I've ever seen a French horror film. I'd quite like to see some more! Infused with a dynamic verve all-too-rare in this genre, I rather hope that Baby Blood is a typical – perhaps even “tame” - example of the French horror genre. If so, I would very much like for some kind of expert to give me a list of suggested viewing, as I feel I'm in for a treat. If not – well – Baby Blood was fantastic.
Particular kudos is to be reserved for The Horror Channel for broadcasting the original uncut French version. I've been reading about the dubbed American version. Whilst it features the voice talents of Gary Oldman, by the sounds of it, the cuts effected were so brutal as to have rendered the film unwatchable. It seems that some scenes were spliced mercilessly; their butchered footage spliced willy-nilly into that which remained; with chronology often completely and inexplicably ignored. Having not seen said version, I have no right to describe it as “a mess” or “a shambles”, but I'm ever so grateful to have viewed Baby Blood as it was intended to be viewed.
The plot involves the beautiful and distant Yanka. She lives with her abusive husband in a small caravan and performs as part of a circus's lion-taming.
The circus receives a delivery of a new leopard, who unexpectedly implodes during the night. This is because it was infected with a slimy snake-like parasite, which proceeds to slither into the uterus of the sleeping Yanka.
Yanka is immediately impregnated by this alien parasite which might well be as old as time itself. Wise and sentient even in the womb, it is later revealed that it is part of the advanced race destined to rule the world in humanities stead some five million years down the line. Indeed, the only thing holding it back is the fact that it's never had a proper birth, meaning that it's never been allowed to properly evolve.
In Yanka, however, it finds the perfect host. She's lonely and vulnerable and therefore in a perfect position to be manipulated to this parasite's own devious ends. It needs human blood to survive. It doesn't take much to convince Yanka to carry out the necessary atrocities to satisfy her parasite's blood-lust.
The result is engrossing and tragic. The violence is so over-the-top as to sometimes appear farcical, yet this somehow never distracts from the film's overall gravitas. Yanka can hear her parasite at all times, and it speaks with a disturbing babyish growl on various aspects of the human condition. The result is a film highly reminiscent of Peter Jackson's early work, except with French political musings in the place of Kiwi humour.
It's always very late at night when I watch these films, so I'm always in quite a hazy and suggestive frame of mind. I don't doubt that Baby Blood might appear comparatively underwhelming on a repeat viewing. However, it's been so long since I've been so impressed by any horror film that I'm more than willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and grant it entry into the pantheon of films that demonstrate how these things should be done.