The Baby is a 1973 B-movie directed by Ted Post. The film is usually classified as horror, but it is actually more of a psychological drama.
Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) is a social worker whose husband has recently been injured in an accident. She gets assigned to the Wadsworth family which consists of Mrs. Wadsworth (Ruth Roman), her two adult daughters Germaine (Marianna Hill) and Alba (Suzanne Zenor), and "Baby" (David Manzy), a grown man who acts and is treated like a baby. Ann takes on the case because she thinks the Wadsworths have been mistreating Baby, but there is also another reason she is interested in him.
This film provides examples of:
- Beware the Nice Ones: Ann is very nice and pleasant, but don't cross her or you'll end up buried beneath her new pool.
- Big Sister Bully: Alba is shown being much meaner to Baby than her sister and mother, most notably in the scene where she's shocking him with a cattle prod while also mocking him."Babies don't walk! Babies don't talk!"
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Wadsworths.
- Covers Always Lie: At first, you'd think this movie was about a giant killer baby.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Mrs. Wadsworth breaks her legs and is then Buried Alive next to her recently killed daughters.
- Dark Secret/Twist Ending: Ann's husband is also a "baby" (he became brain damaged from the car crash).
- Disappeared Dad: Each Wadsworth kid was fathered by a different man, which is probably why their mother Does Not Like Men.
- Disposing of a Body: Mrs. Wadsworth and her daughters are buried in the Gentrys' backyard and a pool is built on top of them!
- Does Not Like Men: Mrs. Wadsworth and her daughters. Ann believes this is the reason they keep Baby, a baby.
- Evil Matriarch: Mrs. Wadsworth is the primary antagonist of the film and raised her two daughters to keep Baby down.
- False Widow: Ann. At first we assume her husband died, but it turns out he survived. He's just brain damaged and acts like a baby.
- Girlish Pigtails: Alba wears them in a couple scenes.
- His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Baby's actual name is, in fact, Baby.
- Hope Spot: When Ann takes Baby away from his family, she tries to get him some help. After learning that there's nothing actually wrong with his brain (by which he has no congenital mental conditions or learning difficulties), she then tries to teach him how to be an adult. For a while it seems to be working, but after Ann kills Baby's mother and sisters, it's revealed that she instead decided to keep Baby as a playmate for her brain damaged husband.
- Mama Bear: Mrs. Wadsworth. Evil Matriarch tendencies aside, she does seem to genuinely care about Baby, as shown when she shocks Alba with a cattle prod for doing the same to Baby and later scolding her for suggesting that he should've been given to a circus.
- Mind Screw: It's a pretty serious work, aside from the "baby" part.
- Manchild: Baby, because he was Not Allowed to Grow Up. Ann's husband is one too, as a result of his accident.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Alba definitely shows signs of being this since she's shown bullying Baby while hurling childish insults at him. She also doesn't exactly dress like an adult, either.
- The Sociopath: Alba shows signs. The look on her face as she shocks Baby with a cattle prod is one of pure sadistic glee, she says that they should've sold Baby to a circus to be a sideshow attraction (which garners a negative response from both Germaine and Mrs. Wadsworth), and she instructs a guy who tries to flirt with her to burn his hand.
- Screen-to-Stage Adaptation: It was performed in Los Angeles in 2013 and Toronto in 2015.
- Surprisingly Happy Ending: Ann, Ann's mother-in-law, and the two "babies" (Baby and Ann's husband) are all happily playing in their new pool, which was built on top of the dead bodies of Baby's old family!
- You're Insane!: Ann and her mother-in-law got nothing on the Wadsworths.