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A woman gives birth to a baby, but this is no ordinary little tyke. The child is seemingly possessed by the spirit of a freak dwarf who the mother once spurned. Cue a spate of strange deaths, the one common factor being the presence of a baby in pram at the scene... Written by
A nightclub stripper (Joan Collins) is cursed by a dwarf (George Claydon) whose attentions she spurned, and she later gives birth to a murderous baby possessed by a demonic spirit.
Clearly inspired by the contemporary vogue for satanic shockers, this slapdash concoction - memorably dismissed by UK journalist Nigel Burrell as a 'crapulous farrago'! - was thrown together by Hungarian director Peter Sasdy, previously responsible for such superior offerings as "Taste the Blood of Dracula" (1969), "Countess Dracula" (1970) and "Hands of the Ripper" (1971). Here, his contempt for the material is obvious in the weak storyline, feeble horror scenes and lackluster staging, and his concessions to the exploitation marketplace (strippers at work, a gory decapitation, etc.) are shoehorned into proceedings with reckless abandon.
Quite apart from its ridiculous premise (unlike the mutant creature in Larry Cohen's similarly-styled IT'S ALIVE, sweet little babies simply aren't frightening, no matter how much filmmakers try to make them seem otherwise!), the movie is further stymied by indifferent performances and half-baked characterizations: Collins runs the gamut from A to B and back again, Donald Pleasence provides little more than marquee value as Collins' doctor, and Ralph Bates (playing the heroine's husband) is a blank slate throughout. Hilary Mason - the blind lady in DON'T LOOK NOW (1973) - plays the wary housekeeper, and Eileen Atkins is Bates' sister, a nun who performs the commercially-dictated climactic exorcism. Support is offered by Caroline Munro as a fellow stripper (though she looks far too glamorous to be playing such a lowbrow Cockney strumpet!) and Euro-favorite John Steiner as one of Collins' former boyfriends. There's enough campery to entertain die-hard fans, but the sloppy production values and leaden pace will certainly limit the film's appeal to anyone else.
Oh, and watch out for abbreviated prints: If you don't see the head come off in the aforementioned decapitation sequence, you're viewing a censored version...
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