I Don’t Want to Be Born (1975)

Also known as The Devil Within HerThe Monster and Sharon’s Baby, this mid-70’s film plays it so straight that it can’t be anything but a parody of The Exorcist. Yet here it is — screaming in your face, full of bad accents and horrible sex scenes, so earnest that it makes you want to believe that you can’t help but hold it tight and tell it that yes, everything will be OK.

Directed by Peter Sasdy, who also brought us Taste the Blood of Dracula, the Ingrid Pitt starring Countess DraculaHands of the RipperWelcome to Blood City and, of course, The Lonely Lady, this is probably the only film you’ll ever witness where Joan Collins and a little person engage in occult warfare.

Lucy (the lovely Ms. Collins) is a dancer and not the kind that does modern or ballet. Her stage act includes a routine with Hercules, played by George Claydon from Berserk!, a dwarf strongman. She invites him for a drink one evening but he declines, instead feeling like giving her a rubdown in the dressing room. Our heroine feels uncomfortable just as he goes for her breasts, making her scream and bringing in Tommy (John Steiner, Shock and, of course, The Overlord from Yor, Hunter from the Future), the stage manager, who kicks his ass out and then makes sweet, sweet love to Lucy. As she leaves the club that night, the dwarf curses her: “You will have a baby…a monster! An evil monster conceived inside your womb! As big as I am small and possessed by the devil himself!”

If you didn’t say, “Holy shit, I am all in,” after the above paragraph, you have no soul and no sense of what makes a horrible movie worth watching.

Months pass and Lucy has given up the exotic dancing lifestyle, settling down with wealthy Gino (Ralph Bates, The Horror of Frankenstein and Lust for a Vampire), who has set her up in a fancy townhouse. She has a long, arduous and painful delivery of her baby, who weighs in at 12 pounds (.86 stone for the British fans out there). Said baby is also fond of ripping at her with his nails, but Dr. Finch (Donald Pleasence, who never turned down a role ever) assures her that it will all be alright. Tell that to housekeeper Mrs. Hyde (Hilary Mason, Don’t Look Now and Dolls) when the baby almost bites off her finger!

The baby just won’t get along with anyone, a fact that Lucy relates to her galpal Mandy (Caroline Munro, livening up the proceedings) and Gino’s sister Albana (Eileen Atkins, a British stage star who deserves way better), a nun. Despite a series of tests — both religious and medical — the baby will not be stopped, even smashing and drowning his nurse (Janet Key from The Vampire Lovers).

Lucy even tries to talk to Tommy, saying that he may be her son. The baby reacts by punching the gangster in the nose, which makes Lucy happy until her son gets the face of Hercules.

Her husband tries to take her mind off everything with a night of, as they said in the 1970’s, sweet whoopie. After the most unsexual sex scene ever filmed, the baby lures him outside where he’s lynched and stuffed down a storm drain. Oh no, Gino! It gets worse! The infant also beheads Pleasence and stabs Lucy in the heart! Don’t let kids play with scissors, parents!

Albana finally realizes what she must do — rip off the ending of The Exorcist. As she goes through with the rite, Hercules is dancing on stage, but the moment she touches the baby’s head with a crucifix, he dies in front of the audience.

This one is a real crowd pleaser. Seriously, it may be talky and boring in parts, but you have to admire its drive to do anything to shock and surprise you. It keeps trotting out attractive British genre stars only to off them in ludicrous ways, all while Joan Collins screams her head off. Writing about this movie only makes me want to watch it again.

You can get this at Ronin Flix.

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