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  I Don't Want To Be Born Big Bastard Baby
Year: 1975
Director: Peter Sasdy
Stars: Joan Collins, Eileen Atkins, Ralph Bates, Donald Pleasence, Caroline Munro, Hilary Mason, John Steiner, Janet Key, George Claydon, Derek Benfield, Stanley Lebor, Judy Buxton, Andrew Secombe, Susan Richards, Phyllis MacMahon, John Moore, Floella Benjamin
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Lucy Carlesi (Joan Collins) is giving birth to her first child, but it is an arduous process that prompts the doctor to remark, "This one doesn't want to be born!" But born he is, a bouncing baby boy called Nicholas who is oddly different to most infants, as Lucy's Italian husband Gino (Ralph Bates) finds when he goes in to see them both and sees that the baby has scratched his mother across the face. But this is only the beginning of some strange and violent behaviour for one so young; the distressed Lucy isn't sure, but could this be something to do with her spurning Hercules the dwarf (George Claydon) nine months ago?

Could be! And so begins what was yet another rip-off of The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby, here combined to have the Devil's child actually in the world as the film begins, and possessed by dark forces so that all these weird occcurences happen about him. This owed a debt to Larry Cohen's recent hit It's Alive as well, because before long the tiny terror turns murderous, although he doesn't look especially scary, in spite of the cast remarking on how abnormally large he is for his age. In fact, all the supposedly sinister closeups of the child we see make it plain that he is utterly oblivious to the demands of the script.

Which naturally will have most viewers laughing their heads off: the vessel for all this evil is just a cute ickle baby and no matter how the film tries manfully to render this chilling, it hits the snag that many horrors (and not only horrors) discover. That is, to really shock your audience is harder than it seems, and if you're trying too hard at the outrageous imagery then it will inescapably become ludicrous, so before long your audience will be tittering and finally roaring with mirth as your would-be ghastliness falls flat on its gurning face.

It doesn't help that everyone in the cast takes this so seriously, as a wink to those watching that this was intended to be a giggle might have made for a more solid entertainment. As it is, derision is all that it spawns, but what can you expect from such absurdities as Ralph Bates' wavering Italian accent to Joan Collins being groped by the magical dwarf, who is a long way from the frights of The Singing Ringing Tree. We are told to believe that Hercules was so incensed at being turned down by Lucy after what he thought was a genuine come-on while they performed their night club act, that he has invoked Satan himself to inhabit the baby.

Then again, we are also meant to believe that this innocent-looking mite has trashed his bedroom, pushed his nanny into a lake where she dies, and will soon be absolutely massive, all of which, needless to say, is somewhat hard to swallow. Familiar faces here include respected theatrical thesp Dame Eileen Atkins as Gino's sister, an actual sister as she is a nun who might have thought about saving us all a load of trouble and performed an exorcism a lot sooner. In addition, Play School presenter Floella Benjamin makes an appearance as a nurse, man of Italian sleaze John Steiner is Lucy's old boss and ex-boyfriend, and Caroline Munro sounding dubbed as Lucy's best friend offers no assistance other than providing a shoulder to cry on. In this film's aims to be chilling, it is hopeless, but as a comedy, it's funnier than much of the British film industry's attempts in that area from this time. Music by Ron Grainer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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