Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Killer Babies AND Lascivious Dwarfs? It's like a chocolate covered candy cane!

Let us hop into our time-traveling Volkswagen (watch your head, tallies) and drive into the recent past. Around a year and half ago, I reviewed a film called The Sinful Dwarf, a gleefully twisted little tale about often nude newlyweds, forced prostitution, sodomy via cane, and the titular and VERY sinful dwarf.
Why now do I mention this slice of ‘70s sleaze? Well today’s Vertically Challenged Villain-filled feature, The Devil Within Her, ALSO features a sinful dwarf, and you know what folks? it saddens me how rarely I get to say that.

But what's even more exciting than a sinful dwarf attempting to seduce Joan Collins as she's clad like a belly dancer? Why, a DOUBLE DOSE review of course! My good pal and incredibly esteemed blogging colleague, The Vicar of VHS, also caught a little devil within him fever today and if you head over to Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies, you can read his most glorious thoughts.

Quick Plot: Joan Collins (whom you all remember so fondly from Empire of the Ants) plays Lucy, a newlywed new mom with an exotic dancing past. As the film opens, Lucy is having a difficult time giving birth to her son, so much so that the process prompts doctor Donald Pleasance to declare “This child doesn’t want to be born!”
Cue the title (sometimes indeed, I Don’t Want to Be Born!).

With ten fingers, ten toes, and a surprisingly sharp set of teeth, Baby Nicky comes home with Lucy and her daft Italian husband Gino. Immediately after, the family (and stuffy British nanny) notice something is amiss. Sure, all babies cry, but not all bite and toss furniture around the nursery.
Around this time, we as loyal horror viewers must try to decipher the culprit to Nicky’s oddness. Taking the time and place in account (1970s, Rosemary Baby/Exorcist ripoffland) we can deduce it probably involves demonic possession. Maybe a polluted water supply or dubious prenatal vitamin for a more earthly explanation?

Nope. Silly ideas, those. Can’t you tell that Nicky was corrupted because mom once spurned the romantic advances of an angry cabaret dwarf named Hercules?
Didn’t see that coming, did you?
Yep. Hercules has somehow wormed his sexy spirit into a cute baby (usually dressed up like a girl, for who knows why). We know this because of two reasons:
1-An extended, hilarious flashback wherein Lucy recounts Hercules’ failed seduction

2-The fact that any time Nicky acts evil, the film is cross-cut with closeups of the middle-aged Hercules dressed in a bonnet.
A dwarf in a bonnet is a beautiful beautiful thing.
Are you now preparing to give up your firstborn dwarf for this movie?
Like Unborn Sin*, The Devil WIthin Her is a terrible, horrible, no good very bad movie. Like Unborn Sins, it’s also funnier than anything Kevin James has ever eaten. Part of that comes from director Peter Sasdy’s stone-cold serious approach. Even when dwarfs are dancing with handkerchiefs and Carline Munro--clad in enough accessories to make an ‘80s era Madonna call it tacky--is talking, The Devil Within Her remains a ‘supernatural drama,’ trying with all its Herculean might to tap into the soul of Rosemary’s Baby.

But Joan Collins is no Mia Farrow, explicit sex scene be damned. Hubby Gino is a lovable goof, and Eileen Atkins out-Italian-accents Sophia Coppola with her heroic nun. Somewhere in the mix, a skinny Donald Pleasance tries to keep a straight face when philosophizing over evil vs. medicine. And a dwarf dances. 

I can’t think of any other way to really make you want to watch this movie.
High Points
Aside from the hilarious babysitter death, wherein a cheerful woman is pushed headfirst into a rocky lake by a wee little baby hand? Um. The fact that Joan Collins’ son is possessed by the soul of a living dwarf named Hercules pretty much does it for me
Low Points
Well you know...there’s no real explanation for how the angry dwarf managed to possess Joan Collins’ son. But he did, and that’s just fine
Lessons Learned
Italians make the best husbands

The great thing about not breastfeeding is that it allows you to drink hard liquor just three days after bringing your baby home
The biggest limitation of the medical profession is that you can’t write a prescription to fight evil
When you suspect your child of being possessed by the soul of an angry dwarf (nope, I really can’t stop saying that), be careful where you walk. You never know where a perfectly tied noose is hiding for for the right opportunity to hang you
If you live in the United States and still haven’t gathered your monthly savings for Netflix, let this be your inspiration. The Devil Within Her is streaming on Instant Watch, and really, your life will be better when you watch it. Sure it boasts the most ridiculous reason for possession ever (you got NOTHING Doll Graveyard) and the easiest exorcism ever. Seriously. The big finale is a frail nun reading Latin over a giggle infant.

It’s so much more amazing than words can ever possibly explain.

*NOTE: Unborn Sins is the film that will come to define our times or at least, February's Month of the Vertically Challenged Villains. It is one of the greatest things I have ever seen put to screen, but time keeps preventing me from giving it the proper photo treatment. You will know what this means when the day comes this month and your mind is blown.


  1. The world really can't have too many people talking about magical sexually frustrated dwarfs at once. It's like Hands Across America, only with horny midgets.

    Excellent review, Emily! I enjoyed this one more than was seemly, as you can probably tell from my gushing over at my place. ;) The baby attacks had me grinning like an idiot throughout, and by the time Ralph Bates met his untimely and completely unforeseeable end, I was holding my side begging for mercy. Even the shovel decap was kind of a let-down after that.

    And wow--how disturbing is that Dr. Herbert West creation some high school art student scribbled on the poster for this flick? I'm sure were they to remake it, there would be a CG hand with baby legs doing all the killing with a pair of scissors.

    Which I'm totally on board for.

    Thanks for having me!

  2. Hands Across Horny Midgets, that is totally the next charity I'm going to donate to. Maybe that will help my tax return.

    I echo your plea for a remake. I think it would be prime material for Lindsay Lohan's comeback. Chris Klein could play her daffy Italian hubby. Bring Nancy Travis out of obscurity to deliver an even worse Italian accent as the nun. CGI baby TO THE EXTREME.

    I. Am. In.

  3. Horny midgets and Joan Collins..
    must see soon.

  4. That baby is just so darn cute, and definitely has a future as an MMA fighter. Joan Collins made some absolute howlers back in her pre-Dynasty days, my queue is now chock full of them. BTW, everything was devil-possessed back in the 70's including bulldozers (Killdozer).

  5. How have I never seen Killdozer? Maybe because Joan Collins isn't in it? That's the only answer but I swear, it ain't a good one. To the queue!

  6. i just watched this ish recently. pretty hilarious!

  7. It will definitely cheer me up on future days when I have the blues!