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A Fulci film feels nothing like a Fulci film, “Manhattan Baby” is slow and boring enough to be a baby’s lullaby.

Manhattan Baby

An amulet taken from a tomb in Egypt is brought back to New York by the daughter of an archaeologist and contains an evil spirit. Let’s dig into 1982’s MANHATTAN BABY, directed by Lucio Fulci!

As I See It

At first, I was confused about the terrible title.

Sure, they travel from Egypt to New York City, but I didn’t see the reference. I should have realized they were trying to bank on the success of another horror film, Rosemary’s Baby, but it still doesn’t make sense.

Released in the US by the title Eye of the Evil Dead, as a rip-off of another successful genre film, The Evil Dead, it’s no wonder that Fulci distanced himself from the material. There is a lot of promise with the subject matter, but so little is actually done, reportedly from the producers cutting the budget in half mid-way through production.

Shot between both Cairo and Manhattan, there is a nice mix of real locations and set pieces, especially for the tomb sequences.

But honestly, it never feels like I’m watching a Fulci film. Even the pseudo-Birds climax with the fowl pecking away at Adrian’s (Cosimo Cinieri) face isn’t enough for me to recognize the Italian master’s vision.

Famous Faces

Cosimo Cinieri (Adrian) starred in two other Fulci films, The New York Ripper and a prior Dig, Murder Rock, and the classic cheesy eighties Italian action film Strike Commando directed by Bruno Mattei.

Cinzia de Ponti (Jamie Lee) starred in Fulci’s The New York Ripper and Lamberto Bava’s Devil Fish.

Of Gratuitous Nature

There are so many close-ups of the character’s eyes that either the director of photography had a QT foot fetish-level obsession, or it was the only shot they knew how to pull off. It was as if someone shot an entire film inspired by Canadian super artist Jason Edmiston’s Eyes Without A Face series.

Heartthrob

Seeing real locations and step pyramids in Egypt was a pleasant surprise. I expected everything to be dimly lit set pieces that looked incredibly fake.

Ripe for a Remake

I’m a sucker for cursed trinket films and will always welcome more.

Spawns

No progeny to report.

Where to Watch

There is a 3-disc Blu-Ray that was released by grindhouse experts Blue Underground. You can stream it on AMC+, Shudder, Tubi, Directv, Pluto TV, and Night Flight.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 2


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