directors James Bickert, Randy Hill
James Bickert and Randy Hill’s Dumpster Baby is an out-and-out oddity. Shot on video and distributed by Troma, it’s a dark and somewhat uncategorizable picaresque story of an abandoned baby left in a dumpster and then trading off from person to person along the backside of American culture.
It starts at a sleazy enough place, a crack-den, where an overweight woman gives birth to a baby she didn’t know she was carrying. Her fellow crackhead dumps the baby, who moves from the dumpster to the hands of prostitutes, cheating husbands, an opportunistic young woman, a mentally challenged loner, greedy thugs, child molesters, vigilantes, to a small group of stoners, and eventually to a young girl suffering from depression.
Dark as it is, it’s more a social commentary, the way in which each person or group reacts and what they do when an abandoned baby winds up in their possession, none of whom take it to the police or a hospital and for the most part use or further abandon it on its route through the city’s backside.
Low-budget as hell, the film varies in its technical quality a lot, from decent to terrible. It’s not just technically-challenged but also fluctuates in its aesthetics and ambitions. That said, it’s clear that the filmmakers have aspirations beyond the limitations of the production. And for my money, it is certainly more interesting and effective than I initially assumed it would be.