Punctuation & Baby Killers

23 Feb

Cry Baby Killer 1958

I’d never heard of this film till today, but maybe that’s due to the poster’s punctuation?

Does he kill babies who cry, or are they trying to raise a warning about an approaching baby killer? Do they mean he blubbers as he kills?

Wait – are they trying to taunt an infant murderer? (“Baby-killer gonna cry? Cry baby-killer, cry!”)

Whatever the case, at least he’s keeping the mad-dog population down – going from a teenage rebel to an animal control technician may not seem like that great of a film plot, but Corman was working with tight budgets back in the late-’50s.

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4 Responses to “Punctuation & Baby Killers”

  1. Justin Bowes February 23, 2011 at 12:04 #

    The hyphenated compound noun is dying, and it shouldn’t be.

    • JRD Skinner February 23, 2011 at 12:14 #

      I realize it’s often a stylistic choice, but, when it’s a matter of clarity, I’d much rather a little extra-punctuation.

  2. bmj2k February 23, 2011 at 12:41 #

    Cry, baby-killer (a command to cry)
    Cry “baby,” killer (a command to cry the word baby aloud)
    Cry-baby killer (as in the killer is a cry-baby)
    Cry-baby killer (as in the killer of cry-babies)

    The issue is even more confused by the song (it isn’t clear enough to see who sings it) Cry, baby cry. Either it is a command to cry a baby cry or a comma is misssing.

    Of course, this is a Roger Corman film so it will have girls and guns, not grammar.

    • JRD Skinner February 23, 2011 at 12:56 #

      Very nice!

      I suspect there may also be long scenes involving people doing nothing but sitting around and smoking.

      An aside: this was apparently Nicholson’s first film.

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