Do you ever, after sitting through the viewing experience of a film, ask yourself, “What the f-k did I just watch?!” Well, I can relate after watching this mind-boggling Fulci effort, replete with bizarre images and unusual death sequences. A little girl named Susie(Brigitta Boccoli)is visiting Egypt with her archaeologist father, Professor George Hacker(Christopher Connelly)and mother Emily(Martha Taylor)when a spooky native, with absence of eye color, places in her hand an amulet with this blue eye that is like a gateway of evil which can send the wearer through the unexplored realms of time and space. Yep, sweet, innocent little Susie has been chosen as the portal for “evil eye” to inflict death and destruction to those within her path. Her father decides, of course, to explore an Egyptian tomb, despite warnings from the locals that it contains a curse, unaware that he would trigger a room that opens the evil eye around Susie’s neck with only terror awaiting. Returning to Manhattan, those near Susie find themselves in grave danger and somehow she must remove the evil using her as a method of travel. George, blinded by blue laser blasts which shot from a cryptic symbol in a secret chamber room of the tomb he entered in Egypt, will enlist the aid of a mysterious antiques dealer, Adrian Mercato(Cosimo Cinieri)who might have knowledge as to how to save his little girl before whatever the evil is kills her.
I must say that I was quite impressed with how Fulci uses Egypt in the opening of the film. From what I understand the producers desired this, and I side with them, but Fulci seems hard-pressed in his directorial efforts to use what he had in place with the amulet and it’s evil possession of a little girl, creating quite a baffling supernatural horror flick seemingly treading similar terrain in films such as “The Exorcist” & “Rosemary’s Baby”. The film, in my mind, is a collection of bewildering supernatural occurrences. The amulet actually opens a doorway which sends one poor soul, a clown who works at a newspaper with Emily, from the Manhattan apartment to Egypt! One strange sequence has Susie’s brother Tommy(Giovanni Frezza, whose dubbing never ceases to make me cringe)entering a metaphysical doorway of some sort, with cries for help to his blind father on a mirror going unanswered. He later informs his parents that he has taken a journey, with someone from another realm actually giving him an artifact across a riverbank. There’s a photo taken of Susie, by her baby-sitter Jamie Lee(Cinzia de Ponti), which only displays the ominous amulet worn around her neck. George later gives the photograph to a colleague of his, whose well versed in the mythology and history of Egypt..studying it one night in the library, he’s attacked by a cobra and the photo vanishes, returning to Susie’s hand! There’s an amusing death sequence to a security guard in an elevator. There’s a weird discovery of what exactly happened to Jamie Lee..blood collects on the Hackers’ wall with a corpse’s hand exploding through. The bird attack on Mercato at the end is quite a loony highlight. I found the use of blue light quite exhilarating. and Fulci’s camera-work, despite the crazy plot(s), is as effective as ever(..even if he has a love-affair with the zoom lens). The scene towards the end, where Mercato attempts a transference where the evil would move from Susie’s body into his, as she lies in a hospital in a worsening state, is quite a sight to behold..I particularly found the unusual fluctuating heart murmuring amusing. Nothing can quite top the Egyptian sand found in Susie’s bedroom! Not to mention the scorpion, in a glass container, which appears when Susie opens her desk drawer. Or, the X-ray, taken from Susie in the hopes of finding out what is causing her “sickness”, revealing the image of a cobra!
I can’t say this is one of Fulci’s better efforts, because it is such a mess..many often embrace such incoherency if the director splatters the screen with ridiculous gore, but “Manhattan Baby” lacks this. All you really have is lunacy in abundance, with little sense to make of it all.