Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Brood

One of the movies I watched over the weekend was The Brood.

The movie starts off with what looks like a theater performance, of a man going through a difficult psychotherapy session with a doctor. But apparently, this is not a play but a real session at the Somafree Pyschoplasmic Institute run by Dr. Raglan (Oliver Reed). One of Dr. Raglan's patients is Nola Carveth (Samantha Eggar), who has an estranged husband Frank (Art Hindle) and a young daughter Candice (Cindy Hinds). Nola is seriously thinking about getting a divorce and full custody of the daughter, since his wife is crazy. Further, when giving his daughter a bath, he finds welts on her that could only have been dished out by Nola -- Frank would have seen them had they occurred some other time.

Frank asks his mother to look after Candice for a bit, and a funny thing happens. Grandma hears something in the kitchen, and when she goes to investigate there's a little guy who looks like Chucky from Child's Play, wearing the same sort of winter snowsuite that Candice wears. And that little guy beats Grandma to death, with Candice knowing nothing about what's going on!

It's only the first of several murders. When Grandma's ex-husband (Frank's dad) comes to find out what happened, another of those little people comes and murders Grandpa! But this time Frank shows up very shortly after the killing, and the little guy rather strangely doesn't seem to show any interest in going after Frank. (This will be explained later in the movie, in a way that does logically make sense.) He's able to subdue it, and when the police investigate, they find out that this creature doesn't have a navel, a fact which has all sorts of implications.

Frank suspects it has something to do with the "psychoplasmic" training Nora is getting, but any attempt to see Dr. Raglan is met with stonewalling, suggesting that Dr. Raglan knows something that he's not letting on. Sure enough it does, and as the murders pile up, Frank feels the need to investigate further. After all, it's possible his daughter could be at risk. By now you've probably figured out that yes, Nora and her therapy have something to do with the killings, even though she has an alibi in that she's been cooped up at the damned institute during all the killings.

The Brood is entertaining, although as horror movies go, I didn't find it particularly horrifying. I was laughing at the little people and their over the top violence. It's not that it's bad by any means; it's just that there seemed to be something so incongruous about it all. It certainly makes for a fun viewing experience. Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar are listed as the two leads and get top billing. While the two have the showier roles -- especially Eggar -- it's really Hindle who has the biggest role, along with the kid playing the girl.

Ultimately, The Brood is another of those movies that would be better served by being on a cheaper DVD to make it more available to the masses. Thankfully, for those of you who do the streaming stuff, you can watch it that way for the price of the monthly subscription to whatever service you use, or perhaps a modest fee. The Criterion Collection, DVD, however, is very pricey.

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