Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Stranger Within, The Baby Doom
Year: 1974
Director: Lee Paterson
Stars: Barbara Eden, George Grizzard, Joyce Van Patten, David Doyle, Nehemiah Persoff
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, TV MovieBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ann Collins (Barbara Eden) is shocked to discover she is pregnant, even though her husband David (George Grizzard) had a vasectomy three years ago. Since suffering a miscarriage, Ann was warned by doctors she could not give birth without endangering her own health yet the foetus is healthy and growing at an alarming rate. Though supportive, David is troubled by the idea his wife has been unfaithful. In desperation, Ann agrees to be put under hypnosis but remains unable to answer any questions about her mysterious pregnancy. She reluctantly agrees to an abortion, but her body is wracked with severe pains that prevent her from going through with it. As months go by, Ann’s behaviour grows increasingly strange. She pours salt on her food, drinks endless pots of coffee and becomes hypersensitive to sound. She devours books on science and sociology, history and politics. Then she returns from the woods bearing strange scratches and pneumonia symptoms that heal themselves within minutes, baffling doctors. Eventually, David’s paranormally-inclined friend Bob (David Doyle) gives hypnosis another try and discovers Ann is carrying a child that is not of this world…

Infamous among Seventies TV horror movie buffs as “the one where I Dream of Jeannie star Barbara Eden births an alien baby”, The Stranger Within actually boasts an excellent pedigree being written by Richard Matheson. Matheson is one of the greatest fantasy novelists of all time. Aside from the many fine screenplays he wrote for Roger Corman, his books were adapted into such memorable movies as The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), the underrated A Stir of Echoes (1999) and What Dreams May Come (1998), and the three misfires: The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971) and I Am Legend (2007) based on his seminal vampire novel.

What could have been a schlocky science fiction riff on Rosemary’s Baby (1968) is instead scripted with subtlety and sensitivity and performed with the utmost sincerity by a marvellous cast. Familiar faces like George Grizzard, David Doyle (that’s right, Bosley from Charlie’s Angels!) and Nehemiah Persoff ground the outlandish premise firmly in believable human drama. Lovely Barbara Eden may sport a fantastically coiffed hairdo but she delivers a compellingly understated and sympathetic performance, gradually hardening her demeanour the more “alien” Ann becomes. Often underrated, Eden undoubtedly relished the chance to show off her range beyond the sexily iconic Jeannie. She was equally impressive in the early TV thriller, A Howling in the Woods (1971) alongside Jeannie co-star Larry Hagman.

Like Rosemary’s Baby, the plot springs from one of the most elemental horror movie ideas: the monster wants your body. Evil wants to be made physical. But is Ann’s baby a menace in the manner of Village of the Damned (1960) or a benign, lost visitor from the stars? Matheson perhaps keeps things too ambiguous for the story’s own good, but makes intriguing allusions to the birth of Christ in a manner more subtle than Larry Cohen managed with God Told Me To (1976). Television veteran Lee Paterson directs with a stylishly ominous touch and resists the urge to throw any clunky UFOs into the climax, which is ambiguous and eerie. Quite what this child means for mankind we never know, but it is hard to share Bob’s belief in its benevolence given its sinister use of Ann. Excellent score by Charles Fox.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 3916 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: