I Don’t Want to Be Born is a 70s horror movie with Joan Collins. It’s about a woman who gives birth to a demonic baby. The script is weak and boasts too many absurd scenes to mention, but the production benefitted from a capable cast. That’s a big plus that offers some compensation for the movie’s many problems.
Early I Don’t Want to Be Born movie reviews were bad. One early reviewer commented, “Why decent actors like Eileen Atkins and Donald Pleasance allowed themselves to be corralled into a mess like this is enigmatic.”
Despite the movies many failings it proved to be a success with many viewers and I Don’t Want to Be Born is now considered a cult classic. It’s also a movie you will definitely want to see if you are a fan of Joan Collins, Donald Pleasance, or Ralph Bates.
The opening scene is set in a delivery room, where the central character, Lucy Carlesi (Joan Collins), is trying her best to give birth. Lucy has worked up quite a sweat and is screaming in pain while her physician, Dr Finch (Donald Pleasance) is trying his best to assist with the delivery and becoming increasingly perplexed.
“What’s wrong sir?” the nurse (Floella Benjamin) asks. To which Finch replies, “This one doesn’t want to be born.”
In the end, Finch has to use forceps to pull the clingy child away from its mother. Unfortunately, that’s just the start of Lucy’s problems. Her baby boy is unusually large. He is also very strong and shows his violent tendencies early on when he attacks Lucy for trying to give him his first cuddle.
The following close up shots of a cute-looking baby with blood dripping from its fingernails and smeared around its mouth may cause a few viewers to start shaking, but when the shaking starts it will more probably be due to laughter rather than fear.
Lucy’s husband Gino (Ralph Bates) does his best to be supportive, but Lucy finds it hard to bond with their vicious offspring and it doesn’t help matters when baby Nicholas starts trashing his room.
Lucy used to work as an exotic dancer and her act was assisted by a dwarf called Hercules. Lucy tells Mandy she had always suspected the little guy had amorous intentions towards her, but never gave the matter much thought.
On Lucy’s final night working at the club, Hercules entered her dressing room and tried to force his intentions on her. Lucy screamed and the stage manager rushed to her rescue and threw the pint-sized pervert out of the dressing room.
Then—in a move that is supposed to explain Lucy’s present predicament—Hercules cursed her as she was leaving the building. “You will have a baby, a monster—an evil monster conceived in your womb—as big as I am small and possessed by the devil himself.”
As retaliation for a knock-back, it seems like somewhat of an overkill, but the little guy’s words appear to have come true and the fact that the dwarf is called Hercules ties in nicely with the baby’s phenomenal strength.
Baby Nicholas’ behaviour becomes increasingly violent, but Dr Finch assures Gino there is nothing to worry about and Gino continues to try and calm Lucy’s growing fears.
Lucy isn’t the only one who can see what kind of monster she has produced though. The Carlesi’s housekeeper Mrs Hyde (Hilary Mason) is fearful of the blue-eyed terror as well and it soon becomes evident that Gino’s sister, Albana (Eileen Atkins), can also tell something is not right with her nephew. In the end, Albana, who is a nun, does the only thing she can do—she performs an exorcism on the demon baby.
Although the storyline is ludicrous, Director Peter Sasdy (Countess Dracula, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Hands of the Ripper) manages to make I Don’t Want to Be Born a strangely watchable movie. Joan Collins’ character is easily the strongest in the movie, and Donald Pleasance was a good choice to play Dr Finch, but Ralph Bates fails to inject any real power into the character of Gino. However, he does get top marks for persevering with his ongoing struggle to try and speak with a convincing Italian accent.
The main problem with I Don’t Want to Be Born is the demon baby. As far as little terrors go, baby Nicholas fails to deliver the goods. The only time he appears vaguely sinister is when shots of the baby are replaced by shots of Hercules in a yellow romper suit. That’s truly the stuff of nightmares. Dwarfs and romper suits are always a bad mix.
Nicholas also lacks credibility as a killer. He reaches out from his pram and pushes his nanny to her death, decapitates another character by careful use of his adept garden spade swinging skills, and even manages to place a rope around the neck of a full-grown man and pull him up into a tree, hanging him by the neck until dead. Even a demon baby with a history of steroid abuse could never achieve these things. It’s all rather daft, but I Don’t Want to Be Born still has a certain cringe-worthy entertainment value.
If you are searching for a more credible movie about a devilish baby, you’d be better off spending your time watching Rosemary’s Baby. However, if you prefer movies you don’t have to take too seriously, or if you feel warm and fuzzy inside every time you see a dwarf in a romper suit, I Don’t want to be born should be right up your street.