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Article Archive >> Entertainment

Movies From the Black Lagoon: I Don't Want to Be Born

Movies From the Black Lagoon
I Don't Want to Be Born- 1975, Rated R

"Rosemary's Baby" meets "Showgirls" in this swinging 70's take on the "Exorcist" genre that features dangerously high levels of emoting, groan inducing lines, and more London fashion disasters than Austin Powers could shake a stick at.
The film opens with a tight close-up on cinema/literary trash Queen Joan Collins. She wheezes and rolls her eyes while feigning torment. The camera pulls back to reveal she's in a dimly lit operating room suffering the final stage of labor. Her doctor, who failed bedside manner 101, mutters that it doesn't appear that the baby wants to be born and proceeds to yank it out with forceps the size of a Louisville slugger. The pair are hurried off to a recovery room where the infant proceeds to scratch Joan's face leaving bloody tracks a lion would envy.
She's understandably shaken and quite happy to opt for bottle-feeding from now on.
She is shuttled home to be with her newborn boy, Nicholas, and her vaguely Italian husband, Gino. There they are met by the usual parade of well-wishers, which include Mandy (a stripper who worked with Joan), an unpleasant housekeeper, and Gino's sister Albania (a nun who sports a more authentic accent than her brother). The home environment does little to pacify Nicholas who begins terrorizing everyone in sight by trashing his room, scratching more cheeks, and even trying to drown his babysitter in two inches of infant bathwater. Joan is at wits end and soon remembers a precipitating incident in which her former dance partner, a randy dwarf, threatened that she would give birth to the devil because she objected to his clumsy advances.
The situation gets even worse when people start dying. One victim is hung from a rope dangling from the baby's room while another gets his head split open with a shovel. The film's budgetary limitations restrict it from showing Nicholas perform these functions so the film compensates by giving you extreme close-ups of the deeds. It all comes down to a final confrontation between Sister Albania and the evil infant that involves one bottle of holy water, one Bible, and a whole lot of rip off.
This one is a lot of fun if you enjoy rubber necking at a celluloid disaster.
The cast is mostly game and benefits from appearances by notable character actors such as Donald Pleasance (Halloween) and Hilary Mason. The one bump in the thespian road is Hammer Studios veteran Ralph Bates (Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde) who is woefully miscast as Gino and has more trouble with his accent than Paris Hilton working an algebraic equation. The script is full of howlers and offers everyone a chance to over emote but appears to have been missing pages which is substituted by endless shots of people walking around London, at one point we actually watch Gino walk home form his office and even perform two chores on the trip. Other wise this is trashy fun that answers the question of how, in an alternate universe, novelist Harold Robbins would have handled a possession scenario.
Best Line: "How can I tell my doctor that I think my baby's possessed by the devil."

Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: dotyfox@pennswoods.net.

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