Ray Bradbury Theater – The Small Assassin (S2E6)

Killer baby!  Always a hit.  No way to screw this up, no sirree!

Pregnant Alice is rushed to the hospital.  In the ambulance, she is screaming, “It’s trying to kill me!”  She is clawing at her belly as if she expects the baby to burst out at any time.

When the new-born baby is brought to her in the hospital, she asks, “Is it alive?”  When told it is, she replies, “Oh, what a shame.”  Hmmmm, I don’t recognize the actress, why does the mother seem so familiar to me?

Husband David comes to see mother and child and everything seems normal.  Back at home, Alice is a wreck.  She says the baby screams and cries whenever David is not at home.

That night, Alice leaves the bedroom and sits on the stairs.  David follows her and she says the baby is trying to keep her awake to make her weak.  It listens to them them talking, waiting for David to leave so it can try to kill Alice.

rbsmallassassinbaby02

One of many baby-eisenstein POV shots.

At work, David receives word Alice tried to smother the baby after it had cried for 3 hours.

She confesses to David she has no love for the baby.  We get a tracking shot and see shadows indicating the baby is on the move.  Alice thinks it is a prowler.  She goes to the baby’s room and is suspicious that he is perspiring.

David is going down stairs to the kitchen when he nearly trips on a teddy bear.  Alice believes the baby put it there to kill him.  David says babies don’t do that.  Alice says maybe he’s a genius.  At this point, it is impossible not to think of Stewie Griffen.  David storms out, the baby starts crying.

Alice tells the doctor she remembers her own birth.  She did not want to be born and resented her mother for birthing her out of that warm place and into the cold, bright world.  She believes her baby was also born with that self-awareness and is taking out his resentment on her.

rbsmallassassinbaby03In the most unlikely occurrence of the episode, the doctor makes a house-call.  He finds David in a heap at the bottom of the stairs where he has fallen and broken his neck.  At the top of the stairs is the toy bear that he almost tripped on earlier.

Seeing a movement upstairs, the doctor goes up looking for Alice.  She has been electrocuted in her bed.  It is not clear how the deed was done.  It involves a safety pin, an electrical cord and possibly the metal frame of the bed.

The doctor looks in the baby’s room and finds an empty cradle.  As he descends the stairs, he locks eyes with the baby and understands that Alice was right.  Knowing what must be done, he pulls out a scalpel and gives him a 4th trimester abortion.

I rate it 5 out of 9 months.

Post-Post Leftovers:

  • The idea of the self-aware baby is great, and because the story was published in 1946, this must have been one of the first killer-babies.
  • Wisely, the baby is never shown roaming the house or making the kills — I can’t imagine any way to do it.  It is all done though shadows, POV shots and a lot of gurgling.
  • David is pretty forgiving and trusting, leaving his wife alone with their baby so soon after she had tried to smother him.
  • Unfortunately, these European productions are killing me.

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