Manhattan Baby (1982)

This gem is endowed with evil powers. The force that has seized your daughter’s mind is now using her as a medium for its own dark and wicked malefactions. 

What do you mean?

The power within this gem can open the infernal gate of time and space and work miracles of evil beyond all arcane dimensions.

That’s impossible.

Is it really?

This dialogue is just…to me, it’s pure gold. To others, pure cheese. Pure camp.


This is just one of those divisive films for Fulci fans. Most feel it is clueless, dull, and perplexing. But you do have those like me who find all of this fascinating. Do I understand any of this? Mostly, no. There’s a blue-jeweled amulet given to the daughter of a Manhattan archeologist unwisely descending into bowels of a cursed Egyptian pyramid who is blinded by blue lasers fired out of a jewel he eyes after falling down a trap shaft that leaves his assistant impaled on a bed of spikes (of course, this poor guy’s eyeballs stab the spikes in gory fashion). This jewel is part of a wall in the pyramid. Who gave George’s daughter, Suzie, the amulet? An Egyptian woman with white eyes who simply gives Suzie the amulet when the two are alone, Suzie’s mother, Emily, visiting a different part of some ruins. So throughout the film, even though the family returns to Manhattan, New York, Egypt isn’t always so far behind!

There is some graphic violence, but I think I'll say to newcomers really into Fulci's gore classics, prepare for something more outre and challenging. Many who love Fulci DO NOT like this. "Voyages to Egypt" from Manhattan; this alone leaves folks going, "Umm, what is that about?!" 🤔It's the amulet...this is Fulci's chance to go crazy. Not that he ever needed some plot device to do that!

The amulet, to me, is sort of Fulci’s route towards exploring a lot of mystical ideas where he seems freer to be as crazy as he wants. He didn’t seem tethered to destroying people right and left. Luke, a silly prankster who works with Emily, just a lighthearted and goofy employee at a paper, is asked to go to George and Emily’s apartment to assist Jamie Lee in comforting the kids with his humor. Luke’s fate is the case of Fulci getting wacky: Luke “goes on a voyage” to the Egyptian desert, left seemingly dead of fright (or maybe the travel itself killed him?). Suzie and her brother Tommy (BOB!!!) go on these voyages, there and back safely. Suzie eventually sick and in need of hospital (a snake image showing up on her X-ray, which was strange), Bob “seeing red”, asking to punished by the amulet (wow, this is just weird), and seeing blood spray up a wall until babysitter, Jamie Lee, “returns from her voyage” as a decrepit corpse with a rotted arm bursting out. Even an antiquities shop owner (and occultist, I presume), Adrian Mercato, voyages, via through his mind, and takes George to Egypt for a bit, too! Yep, Manhattan to Egypt…that amulet has some serious power!

The snake bite (and POV, even!) to the face of George’s colleague studying a bizarre Polaroid with the amulet necklace taken by Jamie Lee when photographing Suzie, stuffed birds pecking out the flesh of a victim’s face and neck in his store (it’s obvious someone (or crew members) are swinging the birds at the camera sometimes!), and so, so many face zooms and obsessive closeups of eyes. And the odd Marcoto mental battle with the amulet, hoping to take off the curse from a hospitalized Suzie onto himself so she can be free allows Fulci to bathe him in blue light.

I left my review and had a thought at my refrigerator grabbing a Coke Zero...this is probably one of those rare Italian horror films involving Egyptian curses. And, of course, Fulci would direct the story mostly from the setting of his beloved New York. God, what I wouldn't give for a Mummy, equipped with one of those classic zombie growls you typically hear in his movies, bursting out a wall and ripping someone's throat out!


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