Manhattan Baby tells the tale of an Egyptologist's daughter, who is given an amulet which causes her to be possessed by an evil spirit. When the family return home, the spirit causes a number of unexplained deaths. That is basically as much plot as I could gather from the numerous times I have sat through this movie. To call it confusing does not do this movie justice. It just seems to be segments that make no sense thrown together to make a feature length movie.
Let me start this review off by saying I am a huge Lucio Fulci fan. City of the Living Dead is one of my top 10 favorite movies. It really is hard to believe that the same man that directed some of the best Italian horror movies out there directed this tame, plotless movie. To say I was disappointed would be one of the biggest understatements ever. Admittedly, some of the shots are beautiful and there is that typical Fulci dreamlike atmosphere, but the plot is so convoluted and confusing that the movie makes no sense at all, and the best scene is at the end of the movie where a stuffed bird comes to life, attacks someone and kills them, but then we find out the bird is a hallucination, but the person who it killed is still dead.
This movie seems to have no spark about it whatsoever. Everything falls flat, from the characters to the atmosphere. While watching this, it appeared to me that Fulci was attempting to confuse his audience deliberately, focusing the camera on objects that had no relation to the story, not explaining why things were happening etc. We do get to see the pimp from Demons fall to an untimely death, but again, there was no suspense, fear or gore to help the scene along, nor was there any reasoning behind his death.
This is certainly not a great example of a Lucio Fulci movie. This, along with Aenigma are certainly the worst films I have seen directed by the Italian Godfather of Gore. I am not sorry I saw it, as I am a completist and will try to watch anything I can by my favorite directors, but I knew there would be a time when a movie Fulci had made would disappoint me, and unfortunately, this seems to be the one. (I viewed Aenigma a while after this). It's a shame that the film makers didn't get the chance to pull off the movie they were trying to create, as there seems to be a nice blend of the supernatural and the hallucinogenic.
I am certainly not the kind of person that needs everything in a movie explained to them. Infact, I enjoy it when a movie leaves questions unanswered or takes a fantastical route. It's just a shame Manhatten Baby throws so much at the viewer with no coherance, confusing and overwhelming anyone watching it.
I love Fulci's westerns such as Four of the Apocalype. I love his Giallo's, such as Lizard in a Womans Skin. His horror movies are some of my favorite movies ever, but I just cannot bring myself to like, or even understand Manhatten Baby. It hasn't changed my opinion on who I consider one of the greatest Italian directors ever, but it goes to show that even the greats are not infallible.