Trashterpiece Theater: The Secret of the Ooze: The Suckling (1990)

The world of trash cinema is glorious and expansive, but even in this den of depravity there are those movies that break the mold. The Suckling (1990) AKA Sewage Baby is one such film, with an absolutely disgusting premise and sleazy atmosphere.

A young couple decide that they aren't ready to be parents yet, and they trek to a back alley abortion clinic that also does double duty as a brothel. The "doctor" in charge, who is known by all as Big Mama, performs the abortion and utilizes her usual fetus disposal method: flushing it down the toilet. The fetus somehow survives this ordeal and gets covered in some sort of toxic goop while in the sewers (yes, this is also the origin for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). After going through a grotesque mutation the industrious embryo decides that it's gonna kill everyone in the abortion clinic and hilarity ensues.

Right off the bat, this movie is off to a great start. The giant fetus has some cool skills including a prehensile umbilical cord it can use to strangle people, vicious looking hook hands, and it uses bits of placenta to seal off the clinic from the outside world so that the inhabitants are trapped inside. I mean, the fetus does have a pretty good reason to hold a grudge, his mother did have him flushed down a toilet. I would be pissed too. The suit made for the creature is absolutely fantastic and is by far the best thing about the film. The filmmakers use the monster quite sparsely until the final act, and every time it shows up you know some crazy shit is about to go down.

While this film is low budget and it shows, the film-making itself is competent and there are a few frightening scenes. The latter half drifts into dream logic territory (which also could be a result of the bad writing as opposed to being intentional) but this adds to the high octane weirdness of the aesthetic. In this day and age, one could definitely read this film as being anti-abortion although the director Francis Teri stated in an interview that he didn't intend for it to be a political statement, he just thought it was a good hook for a trash flick. Be that as it may, when The Suckling first came out they definitely played into the controversial nature of the story even going so far as to making a mini aborted fetus-in-a-jar to give out at screenings. I dunno, if your best argument against abortion is a z-grade exploitation flick about a mutant fetus then you might have some problems.

The Suckling is a strange mixture of sexploitation and horror as the first third of the film focuses on the activities going on in the brothel while the couple waits to be seen by Big Mama. Highlights include a man wearing a propeller hat with a briefcase full of dildos and a customer who gets shot to death by a sex worker he tried to stiff. Said murder is handled with indifference by the staff, apparently this is a regular occurrence in this establishment.

What sets this shlock apart from other films is the high skeeze factor and the general atmosphere of putrid filth. The building they are in is gross and dirty, all the people are fucked up in a variety of ways, and when you add in a nasty ass sticky monster fetus into the mix the combination is magical. That is not to say this movie is a masterpiece, it's actually terrible. The entertainment factor is off the charts though, and if you have a few beers before popping this baby in you will have a damn good time.

--Michelle Kisner