MEALS FOR MONSTERS: THE DEVIL WITHIN HER
By Jenny Orosel
So here I sit, pregnant and about a week or so before I’m due to give birth. Sure enough, it puts me in the mood to watch some good baby horror. Something like ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968) would just be a little too scary, and IT’S ALIVE (1974), I’ve seen too many times. And then I discovered a wonderful gem: THE DEVIL WITHIN HER (1975).
Also known as I DON’T WANT TO BE BORN as well as SHARON’S BABY (which makes no sense to me, since there is no character named Sharon, let alone as mother to a baby), THE DEVIL WITHIN HER is a great British flick starring Joan Collins as a former stripper. One day she turned down the advances of her dwarf dance partner who then cursed her, saying her future offspring would be monsters. Fast forward about ten months and Collins’s Lucy is married to a wealthy Italian man, and giving birth to his son. First clue something is wrong—he’s twelve pounds at birth (making this a horror movie to any woman about to go into labor), and within hours he’s scratching away at his mother. Everyone can tell there is something not quite right with the baby—he has seizures when baptized, the people left alone with him have horrible, mysterious “accidents,” and he’s growing at an astronomical rate. Oh, and his face alternates between that of the baby and that of the dwarf. But in true British proper fashion, no one really freaks out, only politely discusses that something isn’t quite right with the boy. Luckily, Collins’ sister-in-law is a nun who knows how to perform exorcisms.
Lord, THE DEVIL WITHIN HER is goofy as can be. But it’s great silly fun and gives you a chance to laugh at pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood without getting yourself completely freaked out. So the meal for this monster is a combination of pregnancy foods and British foods, both of which fit well for this fun little flick.
I won’t be having a cocktail with this meal. Pregnant women are supposed to avoid alcohol and, while this movie may tempt them to have a drink or two, it would be mean to involve one here. Instead, we shall have an appetizer of deep fried pickles.
DEEP FRIED PICKLES
1 cup flour
1 cup corn meal
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
½ tablespoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste, if you like spicy)
Vegetable or canola oil
Have three bowls ready. Put the flour in one, the three eggs, beaten, in the second, and the corn meal in the third. Stir the salt, pepper and cayenne into the corn meal. Fill a nice, deep pot about 1/3 full with the oil. Heat it to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Dunk the pickle slices first in the flour, then the eggs, then the corn meal. Drop in the oil a few at a time for a minute or so, until a light golden brown. Place on a baking sheet with a cooling rack over it, or onto paper towels.
For the main course, I split it between the pregnancy angle and the British angle. It’s a Sheppard’s pie combined with the one thing I’ve had cravings for in the past nine months or so—tacos.
TACO SHEPPARD’S PIE
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 bag frozen corn
1 cup taco sauce
Handful of tortilla chips
1 package instant mashed potatoes, plus whatever the package says to use. Or two cups leftover mashed potatoes.
Brown ground beef with onion. Salt and pepper to taste. Drain the fat and return to pan. Add corn and coat with taco sauce. Pour into square pan. Prepare mashed potatoes and top the meat mixture. If you’re preparing this ahead of time, you can cover at this point and put in the fridge. When it’s time to cook, crush the tortilla chips and sprinkle over the potatoes. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes if refrigerated, 30 if fresh.
We had pickles earlier, and what goes better with pickles than ice cream? For dessert, I present:
ENGLISH TOFFEE ICE CREAM LOAF
1 bag English toffee chips
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 pint chocolate ice cream
Soften the ice cream in the refrigerator for about an hour. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, so it’s easier to get the loaf out later. Spread half the bag of chips on the bottom of the pan. Top chips with the pint of vanilla ice cream, spreading evenly. Put the rest of the chips on top of the vanilla, then spread the chocolate over them. Freeze overnight. When it’s dessert time, cut into slices.
If feeding this meal to an actual pregnant woman, make sure to have Tums handy, as it can lead to a bit of heartburn (but tasty, tasty heartburn).
Yes, this movie is far from scary (other than the notion of giving birth to a 12 pound baby), and some of the scenes (especially when you see the tiny hands come out of the pram and push the nanny into the lake) are downright laughable. But sometimes you need some laughs with your horror……especially when the contractions start.
© Copyright 2011 by Jenny Orosel