This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
There's a certain malevolence about Donald Pleasence that never fails to amuse me. He's small and bald and beady-eyed, with a mouth that surrenders each word with the greatest reluctance. He always seems to be holding something back - and, somehow, I'd rather not know what.
At the beginning of "The Devil Within Her," he's a doctor assisting at a delivery. A face mask hides everything but his eyes, but they're enough; they look sinister as he says, "This baby doesn't want to be born!" Well, I'd gone expecting a third-rate ripoff of "The Exorcist," but for just a few minutes there I permitted myself some hope. When it comes to trashy horror exploitation movies, the British are about the best - and more often than not, Pleasence is one of the reasons. He plays gravediggers and mad scientists and humble retired soldiers with penchants for voodoo, and he always seems faintly bemused by the terrors he causes. And so I thought maybe he'd bring a little class into "The Devil Within Her" - but, no, it was precisely as I'd feared, a third-rate ripoff of "The Exorcist."
The story involves a nightclub stripper (Joan Collins, who does not, however, go so far as to strip) who rejects the advances of the lustful dwarf who works at the club. He casts a spell on her: May she rot in hell and may her womb be filled with the spawn of the devil, etc., etc., and then she marries a nice Italian-born businessman and nine months later she has the baby who doesn't want to be born.
It's a big kid, 12 pounds or more, and strong. Its first act is to scratch its mother's face. Later on it drowns a nurse, hangs its father, brains the hapless doctor with the side of a spade, knifes its mother and otherwise disqualifies itself for poster child.
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