Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Monster > The Suckling (1990/Elite Entertainment)

The Suckling (1990/Elite Entertainment)


Picture: B-     Sound: C     Extras: D     Film: B



The late 1980's saw a last gasp of horror films utilizing practical effects to get their scares across to an audience that would soon be changed following the first large-scale application of digital effects in Jurassic Park.  These audiences had their first taste of this new digital style in films such as The Abyss and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and while those movies certainly did not go unseen, they also didn't have the mass appeal or lower rating to bolster their success.  While I don't believe that a film such as The Suckling (1990) has enough dollar signs written on it to warrant having those big budget effects utilized in the manufacture of it; you can see that once those effects-laden films stepped into the arena, genre films that would have relied on outrageous numbers of practical effect shots seem to have simply been stamped out, certainly having yet to make their return - short of considering the zombie film craze of recent years.


Certainly, this film, by writer/director Francis Teri is derivative, and takes many of its cues from much of the horror output of prior decades.  Rather than being considered a total rip-off though, this film was made late enough in the game that you can almost say that it serves as homage to certain earlier creature films.  However, the launching pad for this film's inception seems to have primarily come from Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case films - sequels to which were still being made around the time of this film's release.  Other movies that were clearly borrowed from are Larry Cohen's It's Alive trilogy, though all subtlety those films had were stripped; and even aspects of the subterranean terror found in the Alligator films.  While the two films in that series posed the question of what happens years after a baby gator gets flushed down into the sewage system to meet up with toxic chemicals; we're now presented with a similar scenario in that we have an aborted fetus taken on a trip through the plumbing of a whorehouse to meet a similar fate with other pollutants - which undoubtedly cause mutations of uncalculated proportions, much to the misery of the patrons of these environs.


This seems to have been one of Elite's more prominent offerings, and while it is an interesting curio of horror cinema, they did not lavish it with the special features common to their noteworthy Millennium Edition series of films.  Unfortunately, much of their other output seems to be somewhat low on bonus content - such is certainly the case with this release, which includes only a theatrical trailer and lacks even a commentary track.


The picture and sound quality are average, and while the image is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphically enhanced widescreen, the transfer doesn't come off as exceptional by any means, though it does get the job done.  It is a shame that more care wasn't lavished upon this release - treated properly, this might have garnered more attention from Henenlotter's fan base - which is growing, and with good reason.  Occasionally ham-fisted, this film still manages to ape some of what fans love about his films well enough to place it alongside them in their personal collections.  The Dolby Digital is adequate at best.


The Suckling was definitely an enjoyable movie, but not something that you'll find particularly memorable either.  It clocks in at only 89 minutes long, and the ending is certainly a surprise, leaving things open-ended for a possible sequel that has never materialized.  More could have been explored within that film, painting a picture that could have been much more satisfying to genre fans.  As it stands, this film still presents an interesting, if not beleaguered concept that might've resonated more soundly were it not for a certain dash of hokey moments reminiscent of the content found in many Troma films.  While they're not exceptionally plentiful, these scenes hold the movie back from leaving an enduring impression on the audience, and cut the story's impact in significant ways.



-   David Milchick


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com