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The Curator of Schlock #91 by Jeff Shuster

The Devil Within Her, or 

The Movie Critic who Wants to Claw his Own Eyes Out within Me

DevilA1There’s a rumor going around that your Curator of Schlock went on a megalomaniacal rant after hearing that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen would not be reprising their role of Michelle Tanner on Fuller House, the Netflix original sequel series to the classic ABC TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Funny) situational comedy. Patrons of the Museum of Schlock may have heard me refer to the Olsen Twins along with an expression that ends with “and the horse they rode in on.” Now, I want to rest assure everyone that I’m fine with their decision not to reprise their role and wish them all of the happiness in the world.

Still, one has to wonder what kind of a world we’re living in where such a tragedy can happen. I’ve concluded that the devil is alive and well and spreading his influence over us. Thus, I’ve decided to cancel Halloween in June this year in order to educate my legion of readers on the Prince of Lies. That’s right, it’s Satan month.

We’re going to start out with 1975s The Devil Within Her from director Peter Sasdy. Now, there’s some confusion regarding the title. In the United Kingdom, this movie was called I Don’t Want to Be Born, because The Devil Within Her was the British title for Beyond the Door which I covered on this blog before.

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Incidentally, Beyond the Door II was actually a re-release of Mario Bava’s Shock. Beyond the Door III was also known as Death Train in the United Kingdom which is also the title of a made-for-TV movie based on the Alistair MacLean novel of the same name starring Pierce Bosnan, Patrick Stewart, and Christopher Lee. Why have I not seen this movie!

Anyway, we’re here to talk about…what was the title again? It stars Joan Collins as a former strip–I mean exotic dancer named Lucy. While exotic dancing, she’d flirted with a dwarf named Hercules. A totally standard plot.

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When he gets the brush off, he curses her, saying something about her getting pregnant with a baby that’s “that’s a monster” and “possessed by the devil himself.” She then sleeps with the exotic dancer manager, gets pregnant, marries some wealthy Italian guy named Gino, and moves to Kensington which I guess is in England. She has a hard time giving birth to the baby. Donald Pleasance plays her doctor (obviously) and makes a remark about how the baby doesn’t want to be born.

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After the baby is born, he punches Joan Collins and bites the finger of the housemaid and I think he tries drowning the nanny’s head in the toilet. I may have blacked out a moment.

Suffice to say he’s a monster possessed by the devil himself. I don’t know what theology this movie is operating from. Gino’s sister is a Catholic nun so I guess this gives the film legitimacy. I just don’t understand how the dwarf was able to possess the baby. Was Hercules possessed by Satan first and then he faxed over another copy of his demonic spirit into the body of the baby? Was Hercules just another guy who cried himself to sleep after Joan Collins rejected him, and did he have no idea that the curse would actually work? I’ll let you, my readers, ponder these questions.

Five Things I Learned from The Devil Within Her

  1. Some babies don’t want to be born, and will get revenge for being born. Don’t ask me why? The movie told me so.
  2. If you want to make an old British woman scream, stick a dead rat in her cup of tea. Works every time.
  3. Long meandering conversations between Donald Pleasance and an Italian nun are a “hat grabber” if I’ve ever witnessed one.
  4. If your husband goes missing, it probably means your infant son strung him up before disposing of his body in the sewer.
  5. Netflix doesn’t have a zero stars setting, but it needs one.

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Jeffrey Shuster 3

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida.

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