THE SUCKLING Oozes onto Blu-ray Thanks to Vinegar Syndrome

AKA Teenage Mutant Ninja Fetuses

The Suckling is the most batshit crazy siege film ever committed to celluloid and quite possibly the strangest thing to ride the coattails of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze of the ‘90s. (The film was actually released in 1990, the same year the Turtles finally made their big screen debut.) The lone directorial effort by Francis Teri takes place in Big Mama’s one stop shop brothel/abortion clinic and is a shining example of the less than politically correct films of the late ‘80s.The film often feels like it was cribbed in part from Alien and The Thing by a horny 13-year-old boy high on pixie sticks. The film’s plot goes something like this: when a young woman is tricked by her shady boyfriend into a second trimester abortion, the fetus is then unceremoniously flushed down the toilet. In the sewer it comes into contact with radioactive waste and mutates into a monster. In a very pro-life take on the scenario, after first sealing the building in an impenetrable fleshy membrane, the mutated fetus kills off the brothel/abortion clinic’s workers one by one.

The thing that really redeems(?) its outlandish plot is the gloriously gory over the top kills and the titular disturbing monstrosity, who shows a total disregard for laws of physics. The beast moves through the building dispatching its prey through the plumbing, and not just toilets — sinks are fair game too. I mean it’s definitely creative problem solving on the script side, but it’s pushing an already threadbare suspension of disbelief, especially when the film begins with the “based on a true story” line. I have to say in its defense, if you picked up The Suckling you’re probably not expecting high art, and it delivers plenty of lowbrow fun and laughs, both intentional and unintentional. This of course is in due partly to the script and its flaws and also a cast of non-actors that really feels like they didn’t know exactly what they signed up for. But they do their best, and it makes for the best film you’ve ever seen that takes place at a brothel/abortion clinic.

Vinegar Syndrome has put together another stellar presentation as usual, with a stunning 2K transfer off the original 16mm camera negative. The extras here feature two interviews, one with the writer and director Francis Teri and one with Michael Gingold, who played the creature and was also a writer at Fangoria and Rue Morgue. Francis Teri feels less like a director and more like a used car salesman discussing the film. He doesn’t really shed much light on the hows or the whys here, which is a downright shame. Personally I really enjoyed The Suckling and half expected a deranged madman to be behind this bizarre, sick slice of genre, but sadly he didn’t look much different than the guy who sold me my Ford Fusion. You can tell he just went as outlandish as he possibly could hoping to make a splash on the VHS market, and its odd given the subject matter it didn’t get more of a reputation. But no doubt it will now. I have to thank the folks at Vinegar Syndrome for continuing to release madness like this on a monthly basis.

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