Events beyond my control prevented this from being completed on Friday. Saturday is just as great a day though. 🙂
The Suckling [1990/1992(?)]
Directed & Written by: Francis Teri
Featuring: Frank Rivera, Marie Michaels & Gerald Preger
Production: The Suckling Productions/Films Around the World (Distributor)
Category: Toxic Mutant Mayhem
Writer’s Note: this is a German horror movie which deals with the subject of abortion in a very “Troma” way that is intended to shock and disturb. If you have strong beliefs either way and decide to check this one out, just know that going in. I watched it on my Roku TV over at Retromedia TV, a free channel with loads of weird flicks!
Sub-Note: This ended up really long. I’m more apt to go on about a movie if I really liked, or if it made a big impression.
Episode 23 marks another entry wherein I’m writing while watching the movie. Even with all the notes I’ve taken there are just too many insane things going on in this flick for me to worry about having to go back and watch it a second time, but before I get into all that I’m going to list the characters as best as my notes and straining ears were able to piece together. The Suckling suffers some of the worst dialogue audio quality that I’ve ever heard and features the laziest Cast Listing to date:
That’s it. One main character, the folks inside the monster suit, and a bunch of random people who only show up at the end of the film. Sure, the movie tells us straight off that police investigating a back-alley brothel/abortion clinic discover several dead bodies and only one unconscious survivor (I don’t know who called the cops. Welcome to a b-movie!), but to not include any of those people in the credits is just stupid! So IMDb and Wikipedia be damned, let’s put names on these grave markers.
Mary: The closest this film has to a protagonist
Phil: Mary’s boyfriend and the reason for them both coming here
Big Mama: The very Southern madame of our brothel/clinic setting
Bertha: Big Mama’s acting assistant/nurse
Sherman: The mustached Doorman and muscle of Big Mama’s establishment
Axel: Primary asshole, either has a chip on his shoulder or an inferiority complex
Candy: Prostitute with curly blonde hair and a sharp tongue
Tammy (Cami?): Prostitute in the shiny golden dress
Cheryl: Prostitute in the shiny green dress
Mary: Dominatrix who exists for a single joke
Customer: Probably the John with Mary, gets trapped with everyone else
And I believe that covers everyone.
I feel the need to start off proper with the very first thing that appears onscreen. The version of the film that I watched starts with what is probably the most independent film logo I have ever seen, in which a giant cartoon “W” jumps in place while pointing its fingers; The W takes off its cap and bows before turning to point off right-screen like The Fonz, all which circus music is played. This logo somehow never made it onto the internet in any video format which is strange because it’s exactly the kind of thing that creepypastas are made from. I tried recording it from my TV but the color came our horrible. So here’s a clear image from the distributor’s website before I show you:
Awful conversion, right? Even the sound fights me. It was too weird not to include. I’ve already filled quite a bit of room here so let’s opt for the “less is more” style, which is perfect because while my memory is good, my notes are chicken scratch. Well, I’ll try anyway. No promises that I won’t get super into some parts.
It was a dark and stormy night. I’m happy I got to write that, thanks movie. When we first meet Mary she’s having a fitful sleep, unaware of the shadowy figure making their way up the steps to her bedroom, only to be revealed as a doctor with a syringe. Okay, it did mention that she was in a psychiatric ward, it makes sense there would be a doctor in her- bedroom? He then wheels her into a hospital hallway, passing a room where something rather bad must have happened because he’s joined by a topless nurse wielding an axe. Either things have already gone Full-German or something’s up. Mary gets wheeled into a surgical room and is trussed up on the table before the doctor starts cutting into her belly with a scalpel.
Mary screams and wakes up, going into the bathroom to calm down. Aha, a dream! So when the doctor reappears and cuts her throat there shouldn’t be any blinking. Now we really see Mary, restrained in a jacket at the clinic while a doctor and the most uninspired guy to ever play an intern discuss her case. As the Doc tells it, she was, again, the only survivor of a massacre that happened at a back-alley brothel and abortion clinic, but the story she told the police was, well, crazy.
That story starts with Mary and Phil walking up to an imposing and semi-dilapidated old house. Phil keeps trying to calm Mary’s worries while Mary keeps saying that she just wants to “talk about it” while they’re here and that, “I won’t tell anyone that you’re the father.” The movie never does get around to explaining why that would be troubling for Phil. (One of the cast member’s last name is “Preger”, which is so close to “pregger” that I want to believe the director was that on his Pun Game and it wasn’t pure chance.) As the two stand outside and argue over it they’re startled by a man who suddenly makes himself known and asks what they’re doing at Big Mama’s. A quick explanation satisfies Sherman the doorman and the two are led inside after he tells another arriving customer that, “…she’s in room four.”
I’ll make this joke quick: He’s there to see the dominatrix character and when we see him he’s wearing a pin wheel hat and gleefully holding a big dildo. The dominatrix cracks her whip a bunch, making his hat spin and then gets to using the toy on him. An unidentified woman then comes in and tells the Dom that , “Your grandmother’s here to pick you up.” This guy is “Customer”, who we will be seeing later.
Sherman leads Mary and Phil to the waiting area where another of the prostitutes, Candy, and another guy, Axel, are already seated. Candy’s in this part of the house on appointment while Axel is more of a fixture/workman/muscle who Big Mama took in and raised. He practically had “asshole” tattooed on his forehead because of this as he appears to have a serious inferiority complex when it comes to Sherman and no fuse at all where Candy is concerned so you can bet we’ll be seeing a lot of outbursts before this is all over.
Mary and Phil sit on the couch and endure this for a little while, all the while Mary maintains that they’re only going to talk with Big Mama as an option. When it’s finally Mary’s turn Bertha comes out and tells her to come on back. Let me say now that I would never want an operation of any kind performed in the room Big Mama uses. Still, she comes out all welcoming and Southern flourish, offering Mary a cold drink and an ear to listen to her concerns. While Big Mama goes through her sales pitch, Mary gets very disoriented and is soon in the hands of Mama and Bertha. All Mama has to say is that the fetus is, “… (the) biggest second-trimester I ever seen!” before handing it off to Bertha with instructions to “take care of it.” This means flushing it down the toilet.
This begins the horror show of an aborted fetus sliding down a narrow pipe and tumbling into the sewer with the wet “plop”. Something more is needed for there to be anything else to this story, which is handily provided in the form of a barrel of toxic waste in a neighboring yard leaking through the grate and onto the still form. It sure doesn’t stay still for long though as it begins to babble and breath as the toxins drip and ooze over its body. Either that waste is super-charged or this thing has the metabolism of a xenomorph because it grows from a sac with limbs into a hulking, fang-toothed, pincer-clawed monstrosity, which I dubbed “Cronen-Zoidberg”, in almost no time over the next couple scenes.
I still hesitate to actually show it to you, but I did put up that note at the beginning. So:
It’s even more insane in motion. I am not kidding about these practical effects.
Over the course of this transformation, several things have happened back inside the house. Mary has finally regained consciousness back on the couch and quickly realizes what’s happened while she was out. She’s rightly overcome with emotion and upset with Phil who, for his part, doesn’t appear to even care; I’m willing to bet that he even knew how Big Mama would handle it from the beginning. Another of the prostitutes, Tammy, gets angry at another customer over his treatment of her and shots the guy down, getting herself locked in her room while Axel and Sherman deal with the situation.
Meanwhile, Candy has undergone her “procedure” (The accompanying coat hanger visual gag is just awful.) and heads to the bathroom to join Bertha in puzzling over why the toilet lid is bouncing and making strange noises. Bertha thinks she’s finally fixed whatever the issue is and opens the lid. Her efforts are rewarded with a mutant intestine/tentacle wrapping itself around her neck and decapitating her. Candy flips out and runs back to tell everyone else. Axel says her story is bullshit, to which she says, “You wouldn’t know bullshit if you were standing under a bull!” Love it. Her story is quickly proven to be anything but bullshit. Mr. Customer panics and tries to escape but the doors won’t open, so someone tries breaking a window. The glass breaks okay but the strange placental growth covering the opening doesn’t budge. In fact, all the windows have been covered in the toughened, pulsating tissue. The phone is dead, too.
Tammy is also dead. While everyone’s been losing it over Bertha, more intestines and claws shot out from under her bed and she got diced. By the time Sherman and Axel get the door unlocked, the claws have already slipped down the sink drain. My favorite part of this scene are the two prominent peace symbols hung on the wall behind the door. Peaces’ = pieces, get it 😀 ?! Axel chooses this moment to reopen his can of worms with Sherman and pulls a knife on him, so Sherman just knocks him flat-out and leaves him to “sleep” it off.
Everyone starts coming up with ideas, the first being to chisel through the door with a hammer and screwdriver, two of the few useful items to be had in the place. Mr. Customer gets the tough task, while Phil comes up with the better idea of using Axel’s weights, gym bag, and some rope to create a swinging battering ram, which is actually a really good idea. It’s such a good idea, in fact, that once they’ve got it rigged up to the ceiling and are ready to try it out, Axel comes back down armed with Tammy’s gun and shoots the rope because he’s Admiral Assclown. This earns him another beating but Sherman gets interrupted when Cronen-Zoidberg bursts through the wall and drags him away. Axel assumes command like the prick he is and when Candy mouths off to him, he just shoots her because he’s an asshole.
Axel will be “Asshole” for the remainder of this review. He also spends the rest of the film speaking so low and menacingly (See: “garbled”) that I couldn’t understand most of what he babbled. I consider my TV loud at a volume setting of “30-35” for apartment reasons. I had to crank it up to 70 and even then I could just barely make out his dialogue. Since all the attacks have involved drains (Phil was grabbed by an intestine a bit earlier while the group was checking the kitchen but Sherman managed to chop it off.), it was concluded that the creature uses the pipes to travel around the house. Sherman and Phil had been clogging up the drains in order to trap it down in the boiler room, so Asshole takes Phil and Vanessa, one of the remaining prostitutes, down into the basement to draw out the thing so he can kill it.
This is where the channel I used to watch the movie cuts for a brief commercial break and scares the pants off me since the volume is set to 70.
Do I even need to say that Asshole blows it not once, but twice? The first attempt sees Vanessa dragged off by Cronen-Zoidberg and Asshole emptying the entire clip into the thing and surrounding pipes to no discernible effect. Phil is already long gone up the stairs and in his own retreat, Asshole gets into a fight with the beast and ends up getting his face cooked by one of the steaming pipes. For reasons unknown, it doesn’t try to kill him and Asshole makes it back upstairs. His second attempt involves dragging The Customer down with him and Phil tied to a pole as bait to draw out the creature. Cronen-Zoidberg takes out the basement lights by chomping into the breaker box and when Asshole find it, he drops his loaded gun and picks up a metal pole and swings at the beast but hits the breaker box instead. Then his head explodes. Good.
With him out of the way, the remaining people are able to try out the battering ram method again and this time it works. Only now none of them wants to be the first to go out because the house is now engulfed in a giant placenta/womb/plastic sheeting/rope netting matrix. The Customer Makes a break for it but Cronen-Zoidberg gets to him, I think? There’s a end-credit scene that may or may not explain it a bit more but I’m just as confused and the people involved in it.
Now I’m really tempted to tell you how things continue to spiral and eventually conclude but I started (Weird) Watching with the rule to never spoil the ending to a movie. So far I’ve held to that rule and the way things wrap up is just so bizarre that it would be better to experience it for oneself than for me to give my own take on it.
Favored Ability: STR? Out of the six it’s the only one that feels like it fits, and none of them really do. The Suckling beats you mercilessly about the head with its visuals and stupid characters.
Rating: 4/5 (Above Average) [+3 Monster Maker Bonus, +1 Taboo Topics Modifier]
This was a pretty sick puppy so why did I rate it so high? It’s not out of a love for the controversial, but a need for it. Growing up on monsters and devouring horror in my teens and adulthood, I have become very jaded to what most of the horror genre has been putting out since the early 2000’s. I know what to expect, I’ve seen these people suffer or die like that a hundred times. I’ll enjoy it as a fan and laugh as terrible stuff happens to the characters I’ve been inflicted with for ninety minutes, but there’s no punch.
I want to FEEL. Anything can use music and a “jump-BOO!” and scare you, but I just look forward to that stuff now and need a lot more than that to get really scared. I want to be subjected to something that makes me genuinely squeamish, horrified, angry, sick, upset, or disturbed. The Suckling achieves this by putting an aborted fetus right the fuck in front of me and it’s looking, it’s staring at me and making tormented noises as it grows and mutates while the camera sits on it for far longer than needed. It stops being an awesome practical effect and starts becoming something abhorrent. It’s suffering and I’m pissed off that Big Mama could let it (IT. That’s another good point here, it’s an “it”, rarely a “fetus” and never “baby”.) be subjected to such pain, or that Phil could go along with how she went about it and violate Mary in such a way.
The last movie to punch me that hard was about a month ago when Lucker The Necrophagous aired on the 10 o’clock Saturday Night Terrors, and that’s a flick I wouldn’t show to fucking anybody, holy goddamn. The Suckling is entertaining as a rubber-suit monster movie with a high mortality rate but I wouldn’t show it to just anyone. Make sure that you know your audience and as long as everyone is on the same page, you should be good. Heck, if you’re also a horror fan that needs to feel again, this one could very well give you the jump-start on the way to renewed horror appreciation.