The Suckling (1990)
WRITER: Francis Teri
DIRECTOR: Francis Teri
STARRING: Frank Reeves as Axel
Marie Michaels as ????
Gerald Preger as Sherman
Michael Logan as ????
Lisa Patruno as Girl
Janet Sovey as Big Momma
Tim Martin Crouse as Bill
Susan Brodsky as Sheryl
Natasha Roberts as ????
QUICK CUT: A family makes the hard decision to abort their child, and have to face the consequences of these actions.
THE MORGUE - SIGH. The movie couldn’t be bother to give proper credits, or names, to have their characters. And really, everyone in this movie can be summed up as “horrible”.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! Yesterday was Mother's Day, and it made me change my plans for today's review. I bumped what was gonna be up for today down to the 26th though, so don't worry. I came across this great, bizarre, creature feature called The Suckling, and it is a great flick for Mother's Day. Trust me. Let's dive right into this, shall we and I shall illustrate my point?
The movie opens with a text crawl setting things up that this covers one of the weirdest bits of Brooklyn history, back in 1973, and we are about to watch a recreation of the account from the lone survivor.
But after the credits, we get into things properly, with our lead actress sleeping soundly despite the storm outside, as someone creeps closer and closer. This figures drugs her, carries her off, and takes her to a macabre hospital of horrors.
However, as the surgery begins, she wakes up and IT WAS ALL A DREAM brought on by her anxiety over being pregnant with a child she doesn't want, in an era where abortions are illegal.
The doctors watching over her sleep issues discuss how she survived The Incident, and we flash back to the beginning of those events.
She's arriving at a brothel with her boyfriend, who is pretty much forcing her to get an abortion. He doesn't want the scandal or responsibility, even if she has promised to never tell anyone, and put it up for adoption. For now though, they're just checking things out and see what her abortive options are.
Welcome to Big Momma's Brothel and Abortions! Where you can create and end all your baby needs, in one fell swoop!
As the couple waits, we are shown just how brothely this brothel is, with some shameless sex and boobs. Also, this movie is driving me up the wall already. Yes, please, dub in the sound of every...fan blade...swishing by. That's necessary.
Now, it is important that I stress at this point in the movie, the girl does NOT want an abortion, she's just hear to talk it out and humour her boyfriend. So it's pretty squawking horrific when Big Momma offers her a drink, it knocks her out, and they perform the abortion ANYWAYS at her boyfriend's behest. With a coat hanger, even!
Big Momma tries to talk her into it before the drugging, saying "It ain't human, not yet." And OH HO HO there is THE line of this movie.
Anyways, they take the aborted foetus and flush it down the toilet into the sewers. This...this is the worst possible version of "alligators in NYC sewers" folklore I've ever seen.
The movie could end there, except for toxic waste spilling down into the sewers that transform the foetus into...well, we'll get to that.
And Jesus Fuck these effects are...they are AMAZING. Especially for a movie of this level of sleaze and quality. There’s nothing quite appropriate for giffing, so definitely check this movie out for this stuff alone.
Finally, mommy wakes up and she freaks out over the violation to her body autonomy, and rightly so. Dad steps aside to give her a bit to calm down, running into some confrontation between a hooker and a client. Which ends in her getting pissed off and shooting the client.
Yep, our first real death is because of a pissed off hooker with a gun.
Bertha and Candy hear the cries of the Suckling, so Bertha goes to check the toilet to make sure it's not clogged.
And in what I can only describe as a KILLER UMBILICAL CORD, comes bursting out of the toilet and rips off Bertha's head.
The couple have tried to leave, in the meantime, but can't seem to get the door open. They argue for a bit, and Axel, the...bouncer, for lack of a better term, kicks the door in the most hilarious way possible, until he believes the door is indeed stuck.
He sees this place has windows, so they can clearly shove out anyone they don't want like he’s Bran Stark, or is ready to leave, out that way, so he smashes one open. Hey, those uh, those slide up, you know?
But NOPE, he smashes the window, and it is covered in a substance I am going to assume is placenta or placenta adjacent, and it is horrible. And amazing.
When I first saw the movie, I assumed the ENTIRE building got covered in placenta, because it's over all the doors and windows, but no. There are shots from the outside showing it clearly is only over any points of egress. Which is less cool. I dearly wish the whole building was wrapped up in a giant placenta sac of a womb, for symbolism sake.
I just wanna say, while I make fun of the swooshing fans (EVERY. SINGLE. BLADE...) the sound effects in this movie are HILARIOUS. The movie does whip pans with dramatic SWOOSHES to get everyone's reaction to this situation, and just every bit of foley work is gold.
But for now, we are sitting around for a long time arguing about the doors. We are in the second act slump, I guess.
We do finally get some screaming from Tammy locked in her room after her murdering a client, as the Suckling attacks her. After Axel does some more ineffectual door kicking, Raymond blasts the door's lock off, and they bust in to see her slashed up, bloody body, and just in time to watch the creature slurp down the sink drain.
Everyone regroups back in the living room, argues some more, and reminds you how every single person in this brothel is a horrible human being.
Sherman forces one of the clients to stop his whining and try and chisel out the doorway so they can escape, while he grabs the dad to try and clog the pipes they can clearly hear the creature crawling through. Fuck that! Don't trap it, get the squawking Draino!
The whiny client tries to pass off his hard, hard work to the mom, and he wants to know why it's only him chiseling away? BECAUSE SHE JUST HAD A FORCED ABORTION THAT'S WHY.
Dad decides to shift plans and rig up some weights as a battering ram to smash the door down. While they work on that, Axel comes back into play to wave a gun around and WHAT crawled up his ass??
This movie gets a bit TOO mired in the interpersonal conflicts, but I almost let it slide because they're all bottom feeding scum, save for a scant few. And they are trapped with a creature killing them off raising tensions. I get the whole The Thing type vibe as they turn on each other.
Anyways, Sherman and Axel tussle, Sherman gets the gun from the madman, and before he can end the threat of Axel, the Suckling bursts from the walls and kills him.
Now that Axel has the gun, and Sherman is out of the picture, things start to look pretty bleak for our ragtag band of misfits. In that Axel is the last person who should have a gun, and he wantonly shoots Candy in the head for mouthing off. I love when horror movie characters are their own demise rather than the monster.
But despite this, he comes up with a plan to hunt the creature by going straight to its lair. In the basement. In the boiler room. Oh that will go well, I'm sure.
They actually do find its lair, and Vanessa runs right into it. Axel fires wildly, and they run away like scared children.
Axel reloads and arms up some more, to head back down into the basement and end things. The weasely client tries to weasel out of it, but that just gets him put at the end of one of those leash poles, and directed into the basement to be bait.
They hear a scream and go racing after it, as Dog runs in the opposite direction. They find the Suckling messing with the fuse box, and Axel still can't hit it when it's three inches from him.
He grabs a pipe instead, charges to run it through...and instead the pole goes right into the fuse box, making for some crispy fried Axel.
With nothing better to do, they get back to work on the battering ram, but they hear something breathing, coming closer, and instantly shoot first. Which ends up killing Vanessa who was still alive. Well, at least SOMEone has good aim in this movie.
But the girl that shot Vanessa can't take the guilt or the stress, and kills herself eventually. So much for that.
The door is FINALLY broken down...but they find more obstruction on the other side, that is like...it's like a birth canal out of the house leading up towards the light. ASdfghjkl. It is kitbashed from bits of yarn and doilies and all kinds of detritus, and the symbolism of trying to escape the womb with a view continues.
Weasely dog client heads out the hole, climbs for a bit, and is eventually killed by the Suckling. As his severed hand falling back down the hole and trying to grab his briefcase
Our remaining characters lounge around in despair, until Big Momma decides she has to be with her son Axel to pay her respects. She ends up dead herself pretty quickly when her laundry goes off and the monster pops out of the washer.. Phil hears the screams and says she's definitely dead, he ain't gonna go look!
SMARTEST CHARACTER IN ANY HORROR MOVIE EVER.
Which leaves only mom and dad and kid, one big happy dysfunctional as shit family! They sit around and listen to their newborn's pitter patter all around the house, until Phil decides to try and get real close so he can't miss with the gun.
Dad fails MISERABLY and gets murdered, which is only fair, since he did try and have the creature aborted.
That leaves us with just the need for a mother and child reunion. The creature looks at mommy, and rushes her. I get the sense that she's ready to be killed by the creature, after everything she's seen, and I think she KNOWS exactly who and what it is staring her down.
But the Suckling rushes her, and instead of giving her the sweet release of death it...asdfghjkl. I can't believe this is where the movie goes.
The creature rushes her. It shrinks. It reverts. AND THEN IT GOES RIGHT BACK INSIDE MOMMY. Dead. DEAD I AM DEAD THIS MOVIE HAS KILLED ME.
We get one last bit of wrap up as we bookend the movie back in the hospital, where mommy is being put back with the rest of the mental cases.
But rather than end on the ambiguous, bizarre note it could go out on here, whether what we just saw really happened, or if she’s lost her mind due to being forced to have an abortion, the movie doesn’t do any of that.
Instead, we decided to class this flick up with a doctor raping the poor woman. Which fortunately ends in the Suckling still inside her murdering him like he deserves.
Video: This looks really good, like most Vinegar Syndrome releases. My only ‘complaint’ is that this does not look for feel like it was made in 1990. Which works in its favour!
Audio: A good mix, with decent audio, although the foley, the fans, nooo!
Sound Bite: You’re a vulgarian!!
Body Count: Hoo! This has a nice body count to it, and by percentage, we almost get a full 100%!
1 - After several fakeout deaths in dreams, 22 minutes in and an unhappy hooker shoots a client to death.
2 - Bertha gets her head removed and sucked down the toilet
3 - Tammy gets sliced up by the murder umbilical
4 - The full grown Suckling bursts out of the wall and kills Sherman.
5 - Axel shoots one of the girls in the back of the head
6 - Vanessa gets knocked over by the monster...but gets shot accidentaly.
7 - Axel electrocutes himself.
8 - Businessman gets chomped on.
9 - Black Girl commits suicide
10 - Big Momma gets sucklinged.
11 - Phil gets killed
12 - Doctor McRapey gets rightly killed
Best Corpse: This is a tough one, since most of the deaths happen really quick and sudden, but I’ll go with Tammy, since we see the after effects, and the attack is pretty cool.
Blood Type - A: There’s a lot of blood here, and like I said, holy shit the effects!
Sex Appeal: So many breasts…
Drink Up!: Every time the monster kills someone.
Video Nasties: A great showcase for the monster and a most deserving death, check out Axel rushing the fuse box!
Movie Review: Hoo. This movie is WEIRD. I love hoe bonkers it gets, and you do NOT see it coming, especially that end scene. And there’s a hidden depth here, if you wanna go looking for it. There’s a message in this movie, and I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not. I’m also not entirely sure if it’s pro or against abortion. The easy answer is against, since everyone is so horrible, and the baby is alive and monstrous. But this is just as much FOR legalised abortions, so backwards illegal flophouses aren’t doing them and this happens. The story is solid, in all its weirdness, it’s shot well, and for something low budget, it’s quite a trip. Four out of five door kicks.
Entertainment Value: I had SUCH a blast with this. The first time I watched it, I was caught off guard by how awesome and visceral the effects were. So unexpected, and so wonderful. The characters are trashy humans and horrible people, but such fun too. The acting is just that right mix of competent and over the top. And when that ending hit, I was cheering. I love this movie. Five out of five mutated foetuses.