They were all in my living room last night thanks to a trashy 1975 movie called The Devil Within Her, a tacky ripoff of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist starring the inimitable Joan Collins.
The London-set film starts with Joan having trouble popping out her baby, who is pried out of her and turns out to be a 12-pound creature who promptly bites and scratches mama and slurps the blood.
Soon, we learn how this aberration happened via flashbacks:
See, Joan worked as a sleazy dancer in a dive bar, doing a stage routine as Esmeralda opposite the Quasimodo of a dwarf named Hercules (George Claydon).
When the little guy started rubbing her titties backstage, Joan rebuked him, and he put a furious curse on her, turning her future spawn into the devil’s as well.
Happens all the time!
That leads to the large baby’s demonic antics, including the pushing death of a nurse, the beheading of a doctor (Donald Pleasence), the hanging and dropping into a hole of Joan’s husband, and worst of all, a rat put in the coffee of the maid!
And Joan still doesn’t know what the fuck is going on–though she looks fabulous, even in a too-tight wig, a patterned ascot, and an expression of constant concern over the fact that people seem to suddenly be missing.
Fortunately, her hubby’s sister–a nun played by Eileen Atkins with an Italian accent that sounds vaguely Transylvanian–figures it all out and exorcises the evil out of the baby, causing the dwarf to die (while cavorting with strippers memorably played by Lopez and Susie Lightining) and the baby to finally crack a smile.
The movie has no suspense, cheesy music, and that bad wig, but it’s still trashtastically magical, as you’d expect from the award-winning director Peter Sasdy.
(Yes, he’s award winning. He won a Razzie for The Lonely Lady)
One of the film’s alternate titles is Sharon’s Baby, which is extremely odd since Joan’s character is named Lucy.
Another one is I Don’t Want To Be Born, but I’m glad I was whenever fab fromage like this lights up my life.
Thanks to shock rocker Kenyon Phillips for the movie.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 23, 2012