|Cute li'l fella|
Lucy Carlesi (Joan Collins) does an act with a dwarf, Hercules (George Claydon), who tries to take liberties with her in her dressing room. When she doesn't comply, he puts a curse on her. The result is that Lucy becomes suspicious of, and terrified by, her adorable baby boy, Nicholas, who is apparently possessed by the still-living Hercules and runs about committing fiendish murders, such as beheading Lucy's doctor (Donald Pleasence) with a shovel! The Devil Within Her is utterly absurd but entertaining, greatly abetted by the very good performances of Collins, Pleasence, John Steiner as a sleazy club owner, Tommy; Ralph Bates [Horror of Frankenstein] as Lucy's husband, Gino; Caroline Munro [The Spy Who Loved Me] as her sister, Mandy; and especially Eileen Atkins [Madame Bovary] as her sister-in-law, Sister Albana. It's Alive, which was made the year before and also featured a killer baby, at least gave its monster fangs and claws and a hideous appearance, but aside from a couple of illusions of the infant resembling the dwarf, this baby is just an adorable little tyke, making the whole project even weirder (the child is so angelic-looking that his gruesome acts seem rather comical). Peter Sasdy also directed Hands of the Ripper and many others. The original title of the film was Sharon's Baby even though the mother is named Lucy. While this film is by no means intellectual, one could claim that it cleverly exploits parents' fears about children and the life/financial changes the little dears bring about. Ray Bradbury once contributed just such a story to an EC horror comic in the fifties.
Verdict: Ridiculous but has a good cast and even some suspense. **1/2.