BABY BLOOD a.k.a THE EVIL WITHIN Distributed by: Anchor Bay Entertainment Film Year: 1989 Film Length: 84 minutes Genre: Horror Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 theatrical ratio Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: French 2.0 stereo English 2.0 stereo Subtitles: English Film Rating: not rated Release Date: October 10, 2006. Rating: / Scare Factor: / Emmanuelle Escourrou (Yanka), Christian Sinniger (Lohman), Jean-François Gallotte (Richard), François Frappier (Deliveryman), Roselyne Geslot (Rosette) Written by: Serge Cukier & Alain Robek Directed by: Alain Robek Perrrrfect… Once again, Anchor Bay is releasing a few more horror films for you to sink your teeth into just in time for Halloween. Tagging the film Baby Blood as being “Uncut and fully restored for the first time in the U.S.” This exploitation splatter fest film is a must-have for horror connoisseurs. Known in the U.S. as The Evil Within, this French film follows the present-day life of an unborn creature who has searched the Earth for the perfect host for billions of years. In the form of a parasite, it squirms into the voluptuous Emmanuelle Escourrou (Yanka) as she sleeps - do I need to say by what opening? When she awakens in the filthy room of her lover, the owner at Le Cirque Lohman, (Lohman’s Circus), she soon learns she is impregnated by something unnatural. Feeling sick to her stomach, Yanka flees into the city and her actions become controlled by this evil within her. It speaks to her mind. She can’t kill it because if she attempts to it causes her horrible pain by twisting her innards. Thus, she does what it tells her but it doesn’t control her mind. It becomes a mother-child relationship, although hers is full of both love and hate for this creature. She accepts that she must keep it alive until it is born…and the only thing the baby eats is blood… Yanka is forced to go on a killing rampage of the men she meets in her isolation. With such horrible brutality the blood of her victims literally sprays all over the screen. Covered in the violet fluid from the flesh, she’s appalled as she ingests the blood to feed the baby. …it grows and she kills until the day it is born. Despite being a low budget film, I found the relationship between Yanka and the unborn creature to be amusing. Most of the film is conversation between the two of them and the writers create a sort of sympathy for the creature for wanting to be loved and being afraid of loneliness. It strengthens the depiction of Yanka’s struggle as to what to do with this creature. She wants to kill it but she’s grown fond of the creation inside because it has become a part of her – despite the inhumane killings. Restored in its uncut presentation, fans of exploitation films will find plenty gore and nudity tied hand in hand. The “R-rated” U.S. version apparently is missing most of the gore and has many scenes in a different order. (Source about the R-cut: www.imbd.com). VIDEO QUALITY / Framed slightly under 1.85:1, the widescreen enhanced image is acceptable for large screen viewing. The print has considerable grain but it doesn’t interfere with the viewing. Colours are muted: blood doesn’t always look real, flesh tones can be pale, and a colourful vividness in the surrounding is absent. But one can tell this is because of the film stock used and the DVD presents the film well. On a good note, the image has bright daytime scenes and interior shots such as in Yanka’s run-down apartment complex immediately following her escape from the Circus. They are nicely lit and detailed. Large details aren’t awash by artefacts, but the finest ones are because of compression artefacts. Unfortunately, Anchor Bay just can’t seem to shake the bad compression jobs on their DVDs. It seems all of their titles (at least the ones I keep watching – except for their *big* titles like from the Halloween franchise) are poorly compressed and care isn’t taken to ensure they look good. Maybe they can’t see it on a 20” monitor that is possibly being used by the compressionist, but Anchor Bay should review these titles and QC them on a larger screen too. But then, that’s what I’m for…too bad it’s after the release when nothing else can be done but to provide consistent feedback for future releases. So my note to Anchor Bay: your compression techniques needs BIG improvement!! NOW!! AUDIO QUALITY / Both French and English audio options are available and I chose to listen to the French track and read English subtitles. I can’t stand listening to dubbed movies because the expression of the actors is never the same. It doesn’t carry the same feeling. It’s easy to ignore the subtitles because subconsciously I’m reading them while watching the film. The stereo sound design is ok. It’s mostly midrange with effects and music. The treble isn’t bright, but the spectral balance seems that way because of the lack of bass. Dialogue is mono and is firmly anchored in the middle of the screen between the left and right speakers. I didn’t force the soundtrack in surround by using Dolby Pro-logic II but you could certainly use that option. I enjoyed the soundtrack’s ambient music score that seemed to widen the soundstage a bit. The score really is just creepy music and creepy sounds and nothing more, but still helps carry the bit of suspense. TACTILE FUN!! ZERO / TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: OFF No LFE = no tactile effects. SPECIAL FEATURES / The film’s theatrical trailer is the only feature on this disc. You will also find trailers for The Evil Dead, Cemetery Man, Warning Sign, and Superstition. IN THE END... If a story of a fetus that desires blood is your…er, cup of blood, you won’t be disappointed. Apparently this film has a similar theme as The Unborn and It’s Alive!, two films that I haven’t seen and I can’t vouch for them. I can vouch for Baby Blood as being gruesomely and shockingly entertaining. Mike Osadciw September 23, 2006.