Director: Peter Sasdy
Writer: Stanley Price
Starring: Joan Collins, Ralph Bates, Eileen Atkins, Donald Pleasence, Hilary Mason, Caroline Munro, and John Steiner
The Monster (or I don’t Want to be Born) was supposed to be a terrifying horror film when it was originally released back in 1975. A mix of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, it was supposed to be the next horror classic to chill and terrify. Instead, it was ripped apart by critics and audiences. In the years since the film has found a cult following with people finding the unintentionally funny with it’s horrendous dialogue and beyond absurd moments. It’s now been re-released on Blu Ray for the first time from Network, with new commentary and a booklet written by Adrian Smith.
Joan Collins stars as Lucy, a former stripper who’s found a new high-style life after falling in love and marrying Gino (Ralph Bates). The film starts with an incredibly unconvincing birth scene, where Lucy gives birth to the baby that doesn’t want to be born. He’s heavier and stronger than the average child and after strange incidents where the baby is incredibly violent, it’s not long before Lucy and Gino start to think that that their new-born is possessed by a demon.
The film is completely ridiculous, and it lives in the ‘so bad it’s good’ category of horror films. The premise is interesting, and the first fifteen or so minutes (after the birthing scene) do a good job at setting up the horror. It starts to get strange with a long flashback that involves Lucy being cursed to give birth to a demonic child. From there the film goes completely off the rails and despite its best intentions has some very funny moments.
Joan Collins gives a good performance as Lucy. As good of a performance as possible with the stilted dialogue that was written. It’s the same for every character. Most of the dialogue isn’t natural. There’s still a charm to everything. Even though it’s not scary in the slightest, there’s still a charm to the film that’s found within the unintentional comedy. This is the perfect kind of film to be watched on Halloween with a group of friends.
It would be really spoiling the film to go into the absurd moments of the plot. It is best to go in not knowing what to expect and find it fresh. If you’ve never seen it before then there is fun to be had. If you’ve seen it hundreds of times then the new release is still worth your time, if only because the restoration is really great.
It must be a strange thought for the filmmakers, after trying so earnestly to create a genuine horror film about a demon baby, that where they failed so spectacularly, the following year The Omen would succeed in every way.
The Monster isn’t something to watch to be scared. It’s something that works as a goofy serious-toned comedy. It may not be intentional, but The Monster has enough funny moments to make this enjoyable.
The Monster is available on Blu-ray and DVD 11 October from Network