Artists Shezad Dawood and Ben Rivers join forces to introduce their choice of influential, genre-bending, lost underground and genuinely leftfield films. This first in a new series features a cult double-bill of Lucio Fulci’s 1982 Egyptian gore-fest Manhattan Baby and a surprise title.
Archaeologist George Hacker is on the verge of making a monumental discovery in Egypt: unearthing a tomb believed to be guarded by a magic curse. While George is at the dig site, his wife Emily escorts their young daughter Susie through the local tourist sites. Susie wanders away from Emily and finds herself confronted by a blind woman who gives her an amulet and the cryptic warning, “tombs are for the dead.” At the same time, her father’s team falls into a hidden room below the tomb. His partner is killed instantly, and as George attempts to decipher the messages written on the walls, he is struck temporarily blind by blue rays of light from an unknown source. The Hackers return home to Manhattan, but George and Emily are unaware that Susie has brought with her the blind woman’s amulet…
A simple explanation of Manhattan Baby’s plot does little to give one a sense of the film’s true essence. Manhattan Baby is conveyed primarily through images, with long stretches of time passing without dialogue and the film as a whole features minimal exposition. It is the most accessible of Fulci’s horror films from this period but among the most restrained in terms of gore. The film’s most terrifying scenes are often bloodless… Manhattan Baby is… a synthesis of Fulci’s two modes of operation, the sublimely surreal and the mercenary, and comes far closer to achieving a balance to these competing concepts than any of his other films (edited from a notcoming.com review).
The surprise film, showing on its original 16mm, is a classic of the US underground, made two years earlier than Manhattan Baby, and a delirious fusion of the mythic and the countercultural.
Thanks to BFI and Argent / Shameless Filmswww.shameless-films.com
Proof of concession or membership to be shown on the doors.