Baby Fever Review

“A popular teen’s dream to be crowned Prom Queen is threatened when she discovers she is pregnant with something even worse than her dumb jock boyfriend’s offspring.”

Monstrous Femme Films’ newest production “BABY FEVER” is more poignant than ever now. A pro-choice prom-night flick. The child of a thruple consisting of Brain Damage, Carrie, and Mean Girls. 

Photo credit: https://monstrousfemmefilms.com/BABY-FEVER-2021

Being very biased, I was super excited to get a chance to see this film- I donated to the Seed and Spark campaign last summer and have been quietly obsessed with Monstrous Femme Films’, well… everything!

“Baby Fever” is no stranger to the nostalgia-laced colorful palettes of MFF- I was instantly hooked by the film’s stunning coloring, lighting, and the opening’s very, very 70’S title sequence. Putting aside all the (amazing) visuals for a second, the cast and crew knocked this film out of the park. It’s incredibly well shot, written, costumed, special-fx’d, and acted.

Photo credit: https://monstrousfemmefilms.com/BABY-FEVER-2021

I got the chance to ask director and co-writer, Hannah May Cumming, a few questions about “BABY FEVER”:

Where/when did you come up with the idea for this film?

“I’m a writer who oftens starts with visuals or a setting first, and then finds a concept through that. I’ve been collecting vintage prom dresses with my mom since high school, and Emma and I really wanted to do something with them. Right after we shot Camp Calypso in summer of 2019, we knew we wanted to do a 70s prom scene but the rest of the story was still TBD. I had been really racking my brain for a way to bring the horror without just remaking Carrie but worse… Funny enough it actually came to me when we were seeing a new movie by a highly celebrated director that was really not doing it for me. I was so bored by the second hour that I just sort of tuned out and started brainstorming. I got to thinking about the fears and anxieties of being a teenage girl. What is the scariest thing that can happen to you at 17? Easy. Getting pregnant. Having your entire future altered in an instant…the fear of telling your parents, friends, teachers, the father…it’s something that every young woman/person with a uterus can relate to, and it’s really fucking scary, especially when our government is actively trying to make it harder for us.”

What was the inspiration to write this film alongside co-writer Alex Hartwig? 

“Alex and I became friends and collaborators during the making of Camp Calypso, which he and Emma were associate producers on. We were both at Portland State studying film, and he had made a tech horror short film that really spoke to me called I Love My Computer (link: https://vimeo.com/316494600) and he had seen my film FANATICO (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaxIt-PVL0k) and really loved it. I think we immediately knew we could be compatible as co-writers (I say “could” because it didn’t come easily, we really had to find a workflow and process that worked for us, and we’re both really passionate and fiesty so it was not without its challenges). Eventually we really found something that worked for us, and the writing process was actually my favorite part. It was all very collaborative with our Producer Emma Cogan and SFX Head Carlo Mery, and together we were all developing the look and feel of the film from the very beginning which I think helped it feel very cohesive and well rounded in the end.”

Did you have any idea how relevant the topic would be upon release?

“We really had no idea. We started writing this film three years ago, and of course the anxieties around the future of our reproductive rights were always there, and with the Right gaining control of the Supreme Court, we could sense something was coming…but it was just chance that the release coincided with the overturning of Roe V Wade. The film takes place in 1972, a year we chose because it’s right before the 1973 Roe V Wade decision. We knew the story wouldn’t work if Donna had access to safe and legal abortions…sadly now it could just be a modern story. I am really grateful that the response to the film has been overwhelmingly positive so far, because it definitely hits harder now than it did when we were writing/making it.”

What was the filming experience like, especially mid-pandemic?

“It was really challenging, but we were a very covid conscious set. Masks required, PCR and rapid testing provided for every cast and crew member, covid check ins daily (shout out to our amazing co-producer Sam Wolf for facilitating those every single morning!). We conducted testing before and throughout the shoot. I think what was most challenging for us was deciding how many extras we could ethically and morally cramp together in a small space. I mean, we were essentially having a PROM and I don’t think high schools are even doing real proms right now during the pandemic, so that was definitely complicated. One positive result could shut down your entire project and affect the health of your entire team, so it really is something to take seriously.”

What film/films would you pair with “BABY FEVER” for a movie marathon or double feature?

“BABY FEVER is inspired by so many horror films, and it has several easter egg references to a lot of our favorites, so I think it could work with quite a few. It would pair really nicely with Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2, or maybe Brain Damage?”

Where can people catch “BABY FEVER” next? What’s coming up for Monstrous Femme Films in the future?

“BABY FEVER is having its Los Angeles premiere at Screamfest LA this October! It will be playing at the Chinese Theatres, which is seriously a dream come true for us and we can’t wait to meet so many of our LA horror friends and hopefully make some new ones! It will hopefully be playing at both horror and non-horror festivals all over the world over the next two years, and then we hope to find it a permanent home on a streaming service. Up next for Monstrous Femme, we currently have another short film called Penny & the Poppies about a ’60s girl group in development, which will be directed by my longtime collaborator/Baby Fever producer Emma Cogan, and Alex and I are also working on a few feature scripts. I’m really hoping MFF can start to move into that territory soon…although we do want to continue to make shorts, since a shorts anthology was the original idea for MFF in the first place! I am really grateful to the horror community for really opening its arms to us when we started creating in this space four years ago. I can’t tell you what it means to me to have this sense of community and support behind my work, and to just have people to share our similar passions with. I hope every horror fan who gets to see BABY FEVER knows that it was made for them with so much love and appreciation from all of us.”

Photo credit: https://monstrousfemmefilms.com/BABY-FEVER-2021

Check out Hannah’s list of films that inspired “BABY FEVER” here:

https://letterboxd.com/hannahmayfilms/list/baby-fever-inspo/

Check out “BABY FEVER” on Letterboxd:

https://letterboxd.com/film/baby-fever-2022/

Find out more about Monstorus Femme Films:

https://monstrousfemmefilms.com/

Written by: Gee Stewart

http://www.geestewart.com/

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