As I’ve said many times, the whole point of the Drive-in is to find movies that are so wildly over-the-top bad that not only are they best enjoyed with adult beverages, fast food, and snarky friends, but they actually make such gatherings better—a sort of alchemy of awfulness. Sadly, not every bad or mediocre movie rises to this level of sublime terriblocity. Too often a cheap slasher film is just that, a cheap slasher film.
But every now and then there is a Born: A straight-to-DVD horror movie that comes roaring out of the chute tossing eight different kinds of crazy at you.
From opening to close, Born never once lets up with its powerful combination of filmmaking ineptitude; bad acting; cheap effects and make up; and most of all the sort of bat-snot, double-the-voltage, lock-Aunt-Sally-in-the-basement insanity that sets the Drive-in night afire.
Now I’ll be honest with you good people, I watched Born a month or two ago, but it’s taken me that long to just sort of sit with it, feel it, process it, come to grips with it. As a result, I’m left with vague memories—flashes here and there of demonic baby hands coming out of pregnant stomachs… of tan naked blonde bimbo Satanic midwives… of Denise “Tasha Yar” Crosby turning into Louise Fletcher before our eyes… of the kinds of things you’d normally see only at the worst sort of banned-in-28-states carnival midways, or at a the first freshman kegger of the season.
Lest you look at the title and the giant pentagram on the cover and think this is some sort of Dark Baby Einstein DVD, I’m going to drop a little of Born’s plot on you. Let me first consult my notes… “Hulking demon… psychiatrist… virgin… gun-toting ex-military priest… human hearts in a handbag… albino handyman Igor… ‘Baby hungry!’”
That make any sense? Trust me, it makes about as much sense as Born does. There’s this nice girl who gets demonically impregnated in a graveyard, then she has to go out and have sex with drifters and milkmen, but instead of leaving an earring behind she tears out her lovers’ hearts and eats them to feed her growing demon fetus—with a fork and a knife, mind you… she’s a nice girl, she has manners. Glowing with the sort of garish, gaudy lighting that makes you think of only the finest cat houses (cat homes?), the final product looks like Rob Zombie directed Charles Manson’s Guide to Home Birthing.
I’m always curious what one of those Family Film Rating sites would do with a flick like Born. You know where they go into great detail about what parents should know is in a movie, such as language, violence, nekkidness, sex, drugs, blasphemy, poor moral values, and anti-authority attitudes. What do they say for Born? “Well, yeah, everything. All of it. Runs the table. Um, Yahtzee?”
The big name here is Kane Hodder. Most of you are going, “uh, is he some sort of minor-league pro wrassler?” Well, close. Horror fans of course know that Hodder played Jason in the Friday the Thirteenths Seven through 10—so really, the salad years. Here Hodder gets the treatment all cheap horror films do when they have a non-actor playing a big, hulking tough guy (in this case, a demon named Amadeus or Oxymorondias…no wait, Asmodeus): dress him in the sort of dark suit favored by loan sharks, give him some dark wrap-around shades, and have him speak through a reverb box.
The other “big” names on hand are Joan Severance and her fellow faded queen of the late-night Skinemax circuit, Denise Crosby. Severance plays a psychologist that the demon Asthmadeus goes to see to help him with his crippling lack of self worth. No really. For a second you think maybe the filmmakers are trying to be clever and work in some sort of Sopranos riff here, but don’t worry—they quickly abandon the demon-psychiatrist angle and focus on all the nasty things a demonic fetus can get up to while growing in a virgin girl’s belly. Crosby is the girl’s nasty, mean older sister—she gets to do a little Piper Laurie Mom in Carrie, a little Nurse Ratched in Cuckoo’s Nest and then she’s outta there.
The girl herself is played by Alison Brie, who has a reoccurring role on Mad Men as Pete’s wife. Clearly Born was a fine addition to Miss Brie’s performance reel. After all, many TV and film casting directors today are looking high and low for starlets who can run around talking in a demonic baby voice (that’s right, the demon fetus speaks “through” her!) while eating the still-warm hearts of their lovers.
Still, my favorite is Vince Lozano who plays Ivan, the henchman who seems to have been held back a few grades at the School For Evil Assistants. Look out, Legend of the Bog‘s Adam Fogerty: you have some competition for this year’s Tor Johnson Award.
I hope you’re getting the general idea here. Obviously there’s a lot more to Born that I can’t really describe or even cutely allude to on a sorta-family blog. This is a movie so freaky, so silly, so wretched that not only does it compromise the dignity of every actor and crew member involved, but it will make you feel dirty and diminished just for having let it inside your DVD player.
In other words, Born is a Drive-in Must See. If anything I’ve said here has you going, “Oh, heck yeah!” then you are going to want to rent it immediately. It’s several kinds of terrible awesome. But be warned: beer or wine is probably not going to do it for Born. You’re going to want hard liquor. And maybe some animal tranquilizers.