Thursday, October 3, 2013


Buddha Man takes over with a quick review - have at it, golden lad!

The Devil Within Her (The Rank Organisation, 1975) A solid British cast does their damnedest to put this Satanic horror flick over. Joan Collins (TV's Dynasty) plays an ex stripper about to have a baby with new husband Gino - Ralph Bates (Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde). We open in the delivery room as the doctor ("guest star" Donald Pleasence - Halloween '78) has issues getting the baby out, intoning "this one doesn't want to be born!" (which echoes the film's British title I Don't Want to Be Born!) But Dr. Don's persistent and he soon yanks the 12 lb (!) chugger into the world. But there's something strange about the baby...mom and dad are uneasy around him...his visitors find themselves scratched and bleeding when they get too close...things in his room move around, almost as if he was getting out of his crib... Finally Joan confides to best friend Caroline Munro (The Spy Who Loved Me) that she fears the baby might be possessed...by the DEVIL!

{cue flashback}

A few months earlier, we discover that for some reason Joan's stripper act consisted of her not getting naked onstage and hanging out with a dwarf named Hercules (George Claydon - a former Oompa Loompa!). Joan had incredible popularity in her job, because there's nothing a man likes seeing in his strip show better than a clothed stripper cavorting with a little man. Despite this, Joan is giving up the job, as she has recently married and gotten knocked up - and never you mind in which order. Backstage after her last performance, Joan gets in that one scene from all of her 70's pictures where she briefly runs around in lingerie with a garter belt and black thigh highs (despite that underwear not featuring in the stripper outfit of the previous scene or the street clothes in the next). Hercules joins her and decides this would be a good time to make a move on ol' Joan, you know, after she's wed and pregnant. Weirdly, she turns him down, prompting a big rage from the little man, who then bellows a curse on her unborn child, which promptly works. Too bad he didn't ask for lots of money, or something perhaps more positive to his life...

{end flashback}

    Now the baby gives everybody the heebie-jeebies, including his nanny (Hilary Mason - Dolls), and Gino's sister (Eileen Atkins - Gosford Park), who's also a sister. Nun, that is. And then people start to die; first in what seem to be mysterious accidents, later in full on hunt-and-kill murders involving gardening tools, ropes, and blades. Can anyone get this kid some exorcize?

Joan Collins and Eileen Atkins look over the damage inflicted by
Joan's baby, which Atkins is nun too pleased about. She just hopes
he won't make a habit of it.

Actually, that whole "devil" thing is a tiny bit misleading despite the American title. Because although he invokes Ol' Scratch in his curse - the whole magilla can be blamed on Hercules, as the climax makes very clear. On paper, this seems like it could have been a fairly serious and possibly scary little flick. What ended up on screen is a supremely silly 70's shocker about a baby possessed by a petulant and murderous dwarf. Kudos to every single member of the cast for playing it 100% straight, which makes this flick as watchable as it is. It's crazy goofy, but if all of the actors had been winking and nudging throughout it would have grown completely tiresome rather quickly. It is a good cast too, from the familiar faces of Collins, Bates, Munro and Pleasence (in the movie a good deal for a "guest star") to the lesser lights among the British cast. But it is that quartet who bring this one over the finish line: Collins chews the scenery in her inimitable style; Bates amuses with his weird Italian accent (or is he dubbed?); Munro is gorgeous (of course) and most welcome, and Pleasence lends his usual authority and gets the best and most graphic death scene. Then there's the Baby. He's only shown staring up out of the crib 95% of the time, but the shots are edited well and he does have a (slight) air of menace. Less successful are Joan's visions of the baby turning into Hercules briefly, as the shots of Claydon swaddled in the baby's blankets and leering are pretty damned silly. Thankfully, they never once try to show the baby out of the crib wielding any of the weapons he uses, because that might just have killed me with laughter. Instead, the little tyke's always just offscreen. But you know he's there, a tiny baby swinging a shovel or tying a noose, so it's still pretty funny. So I can't say it's a good movie, but I was thoroughly entertained by it. If it sounds good, maybe you would be too, so give it a look!

Thank you Buddha Man! Until tomorrow's post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Wow...Joan Collins? I wonder what inspired her to be in a movie like this. LOL. Satanic babies are creepy. The kids in The Omen and The Good Son really creeped me out.

    1. Actually, after her 60's TV stuff (Star Trek, Batman) and before her 80's TV stuff (Dynasty) Joan was in a fair number of trashy 70's movies. It paid the bills, I guess. Satanic babies might be creepy - but in this movie the little tyke is mostly silly. Not that there's anything wrong with that!