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Devil Within Her (Katrina’s Nightmare Theater) 
Written by: on August 24th, 2011

Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1975
Director: Peter Sasdy
Writers: Stanley Price, Nato De Angeles
Cast: Joan Collins, Eileen Atkins, Ralph Bates, Donald Pleasence, Caroline Munro, Hilary Mason, John Steiner

DVD released: September 20th, 2011
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: R
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95

Synopsis:A former exotic dancer, a dwarf and a possessed infant.Devil Within Her was directed by Peter Sasdy, who is most known for a trio of films that he directed for Hammer Films, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Countess Dracula and Hands of the Ripper. The eerie score for Devil Within Her was composed by Ron Grainer, a prolific composer that composed the main theme for several BBC series which have gone onto gain cult following’s like Doctor Who, Danger Man, The Prisoner and Steptoe and Son. A few of his more notable films scores include To Sir, With Love and The Omega Man. When released in the U.S. this film’s original title I Don’t Want to be Born was changed to Devil Within Her.

Devil Within Her is an odd slice of demonic possession and exploitation cinema that any red blooded fan of trashy cinema should thoroughly. I mean come on, how can anyone not find an ounce of amusement out of a film which features an abundance of juxtaposition POV / quick cuts between an adorable baby and a sinister looking dwarf. And while these aforementioned juxtaposition POV / quick cuts stand tall on their own, the film adds more fuel to the fire with its absurd flashback sequence in which shows how spurning the sexual advances can lead to a curse being put on your first born child.

Admittedly the characters are generally blank slates that spend most of their time running around and achieving very little, only to end up with the same conclusion they had when they began said journey. So with that being said, let’s just say that this film is more of an experience, than a liner narrative. Seriously, if you going into this film with an inclination of it being a straight forward story about demonic possession, you are going quickly tune out and walk away scratching your head. Sometimes it is best to just turn off your brain and enjoy the chaos.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this production is its cast, who feature many well known faces to cult movie fans like Caroline Munro (Maniac, Star Crash) in role of Lucy’s best friend, John Steiner (Salon Kitty, Tenebre) in the role of Lucy’s former employer and lover and Donald Pleasence (Halloween) in the role of the doctor trying to makes sense of what is going on with Lucy’s child. Cast in the roles of the film’s two leads are Ralph Bates (Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde) in the role of Lucy’s husband and Joan Collins (Quest for Love, Tales from the Crypt) in the role of Lucy. Unfortunately, their lack of chemistry is easily this film’s biggest weakness. Also Ralph Bates ‘faux’ sounding Italian character generally leaves a lot to be desired, while his leading lady Joan Collins performance is simply divine. A few other performances of note include Eileen Atkins (Upstairs, Downstairs) in role of Sister Albana, an Italian nun and George Claydon in the role of Hercules the sinister dwarf, who puts a curse of Lucy’s baby.

The DVD:

Scorpion Releasing presents Devil Within Her in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. This is a strong transfer that was sourced from a clean source and the end result is often remarkable. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels look very good and details look crisp. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement is minimal.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Though the range is rather limited, this audio mix does sound robust enough when it too. The film’s score and more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are also both well represented in this audio mix.

Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 1 second – 4:3 full frame) and a interview with actor John Steiner (15 minutes 48 seconds – 4:3 Full Frame), who briefly touches upon his memories of working on this film, the bulk of this interview is spent with him reminiscing about the various films that he has worked on. Also there are two ways to watch the main feature, ‘Play Movie’ or ‘Play Katarina’s Nightmare Theater’. This second option include comments before and after the main feature from Katarina Leigh Waters, who’s comments are done in a more analytical way as she gives a overall of who all the main players in this production are and she closes with her thoughts on the main feature. Rounding out the extras are trailers for Nothing but the Night, Final Exam, Humongous, The House on Sorority Row, Human Experiments and The Pyx. This release comes with a reversible cover that features the cover art with Katarina Leigh Waters or a second option without her on the cover. Overall Devil Within Her gets a solid release from Scorpion Releasing.

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