The Stranger Within (1974)

Richard Matheson took his novelette Trespass, threw in a little science-fiction twist and added no small part of Rosemary’s Baby to make a completely downbeat 70s exploration of the terrors of pregnancy.

Ann and David Collins (Barbara Eden and George Grizzard) didn’t expect to have a baby. After all, she’d had so many issues when they tried before and he’s since had a vasectomy. Even though he’s sure she’s cheated on him, he sticks around but suggests that an abortion might be best. Yet when Ann tries to terminate the pregnancy, she gets in so much pain that the doctor will not perform the procedure.

Things don’t get any more normal from there, as Ann begins painting strange visions of alien planets and gets pregnancy cravings for tons of salt, raw meat and black coffee. She also forces herself into the coldest temperatures, begins to exhibit amazing healing abilities and disappears into the mountains for days at a time.

Only her friend Phyllis (Joyce Van Patten) and a hypnotist named Bob (David Doyle) are able to get to the truth. She has been impregnated by someone else and it’s an alien who gets drunk on coffee and speaks through her. Woah — this movie gets wild and doesn’t let up, as the end has numerous women rising like zombies and carrying their newborn children to an alien where they all leave our world behind.

Lee Phillips also made The Girl Most Likely To… and The Spell, which are also worth looking for if you love TV movies.

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