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Devil Within Her, The/ I Don’t Want To Be Born (1975)

I Don’t Want To Be Born (released as The Devil Within Her in the US) begins with Lucy Calesi (Joan Collins) giving birth. During the delivery, Dr Finch (Donald Pleasence) comments that the child doesn’t seem to want to be born.

The child arrives reluctantly and instantly scratches a huge gash on Lucy’s face – with his tiny baby fingernails.

Things escalate when they take the baby home and he tries to bite off the finger of their housemaid, Mrs Hyde (Hilary Mason) – with his toothless tiny baby mouth. During a visit by Lucy’s friend Mandy (the gorgeous Caroline Munro) the infant also somehow manages to trash his room.

Lucy’s sister-in-law (Eileen Atkins with the most atrocious fake Italian accent) is conveniently a nun who senses that something might be wrong with the baby.

Meanwhile, Lucy is troubled by memories of a strange incident that occurred shortly before she married wealthy Italian Gino (Ralph Bates).

Before her marriage, she was a stripper in a strange act that involved a dwarf named Hercules (George Claydon). One night, Hercules tried to feel Lucy up in her dressing room but she is disgusted and sends him away, moments before shagging the producer of the show, Tommy (John Steiner).

As Lucy is leaving the club, Hercules confronts her and screams that she will have a baby “possessed by the devil himself”.

Remembering this prompts Lucy to visit Tommy, fearing the baby may actually be his.

Evil baby, meanwhile, grabs his nursemaid by the hair and holds her head under the water while she tries to give him a bath. Later, while on a walk in the park, he manages to reach out of his baby buggy and shove the nurse into a lake where her head hits a rock, killing her.

But both the doctor and the nun are on the case and soon, Sister Albana decides that she must perform an exorcism.

Clearly inspired by the contemporary vogue for satanic shockers post-Rosemary’s Baby (1968), this slapdash concoction was memorably dismissed by UK journalist Nigel Burrell as a “crapulous farrago”.

Joan Collins overacts with the best of ’em while Donald Pleasence seems to be asleep for much of the film. Unless seeing Joan Collins groped by a dwarf is high on your must-see list then this film offers nothing.

Lucy Carlesi
Joan Collins
Sister Albana
Eileen Atkins
Gino Carlesi
Ralph Bates
Dr Finch
Donald Pleasence
Mandy Gregory
Caroline Munro
Mrs Hyde
Hilary Mason
Tommy Morris
John Steiner
Jill Fletcher
Janet Key
Hercules
George Claydon
Police Inspector
Derek Benfield
Police Sergeant
Stanley Lebor
Sheila
Judy Buxton

Director
Peter Sasdy

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