I have yet to encounter another person who has even heard of The Suckling. Should I be proud or ashamed? Maybe a little bit of both. More than likely, I’m the only poor sap who has rented this flick from my local video joint. I first saw it 3-4 years ago. The cover art was just too much. I couldn’t help myself! By the by, the cover art featured here is slightly different from what I have on my copy (a prized possession, I tell you). The creature’s head is tilted upwards and the mouth is gaping wide. We get a good look at his monstrous chompers. But I’ll discuss the creature design more in-depth a little later on.
Anyway, the worn, dusted box has sat on that video shelf for a few years now, and I don’t recall it ever being rented out. So far, I think I’ve been the only one pathetic enough to have actually spent money on it. Bearing that in mind, the store still wouldn’t sell it to me. What, would I really be undermining their profits? Is The Suckling a hot commodity? I’m not the most patient human being on this planet, so I just bought it online. You’d think that I wouldn’t want to own a film of this “stature.” Well, you’d be mistaken! It’s so bizarre, obscure, sleazy, and tasteless, that I just had to possess it!
The plot is one of a kind. A girl is pressured by her boyfriend to have an abortion. He takes her out in the middle of nowhere to a brothel that doubles as an abortion clinic. The fetus is removed against the girl’s will via a coathanger (squeamish yet?), and is flushed down the toilet. We follow the aborted fetus as it trickles down into a sewer. Toxic waste intermingles with the discarded bundle of joy’s dead tissue, and it mutates into a carnivorous monster. It proceeds to pick off the whorehouse’s inhabitants, while blanketing the building in a coagulated mucous membrane. In other words, the house is enveloped in a gigantic womb. I’ll just say this – you haven’t lived until you’ve seen someone’s head lobbed off by a huge umbilical cord!
The unique storyline lends itself to sleaze. A brothel; a cheap, dirty abortion clinic; characters such as Big Mama, Bertha, and Candy...I feel thoroughly soiled just typing those words out. The film has a dank, queasy atmosphere. As a matter of fact, watching it felt like eating grass, working myself up for an intense vomiting session. And you do have the urge to clean your stomach out after you’ve sat through this repellent b-movie. The ugly mood appealed to me, though. I could tell that there was some know-how behind the camera. The visuals are caked with grit, and a few inventive camera angles pop up every now and then. As sleazy as this flick is, we aren’t treated to any nudity whatsoever. Ironic, since a third of the cast is nothing but prostitutes. I’m not carping, though. These broads are stretched out, middle-aged alcohol depositories. I’m fucking glad that they kept their clothes on!
The shoestring budget really held this film back. There are a few charming moments of pointless gore, but the blood is thick and orange. Not exactly convincing. Severed limbs materialize in the form of some truly terrible stop-motion effects. Stop-motion “wizardry” is usually fun to giggle at, but this is just pitiful. The acting is equally pitiful. All of the characters are strictly one-dimensional. Big Mama is the closest anyone comes to being fleshed out, but that isn’t saying much...at all. Perhaps The Suckling’s biggest downfall is its horrid cinematography. At first, I thought that it was made in the early ‘70s. Imagine my surprise when I found out that this flick came out in 1990! Jesus, somebody needs to give the film stock a good polish and release it with a proper transfer. The cheap look drags you out of the storyline from time to time.
However, you’re dragged back into the fold once the “fetus fiend” bolts in front of the camera. In spite of the meager budget, this thing looks pretty damn impressive. It’s ever so slightly rubbery, but the creature design is cool enough for you to let the technical indiscretions slide. The opening “mutation” scene, in particular, boasts some nifty, disgusting puppetry that tickled my fancy. Those two adjectives pretty much sum up the entire film. It’s disgusting, yet nifty! The many flaws are undeniable, but I was entertained for 80 minutes. If you have a strong stomach and are hankering for something peculiar to take in on a Saturday night, suck on this!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 10:40 PM