HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Beast Must Die, The Ten Little Werewolves
Year: 1974
Director: Paul Annett
Stars: Calvin Lockhart, Peter Cushing, Charles Gray, Michael Gambon, Marlene Clark, Anton Diffring, Tom Chadbon, Ciaran Madden
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 4 votes)
Review: Amicus were the rival British studio to Hammer and most well known for creepy anthology films such as Asylum and Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors. But they also made single narrative tales, an example of which is their unique entry into the werewolf genre The Beast Must Die. After an opening monologue (more on that later) the story begins with a man on the run, attempting to make his way through a security camera filled forest pursued by armed forces and helicopters, all to the sound of a funky opening theme. Bursting through the undergrowth the man, clad in black, is gunned down, shattering the calm of a group of individuals relaxing in the gardens of an English country estate. However, it turns out that this man is not dead nor was he on the run, he was testing his security systems, as anyone would, well, anyone who aims to hunt down a werewolf! After this shocking welcome multimillionaire businessman and big game hunter Tom Newcliffe informs the astonished guests of his plan and the real reason they were all invited. One of them has an uncontrollable urge to ‘wolf out’ when the moon is full and engage in some unsavoury nocturnal dining habits! As he explains they all have somewhat murky pasts, all linked to various grisly crimes and over the next three days Tom intends to bag himself the greatest prize of all.

So the scene is set for a bizarre horror film that combines elements of Agatha Christie whodunnits with familiar werewolf lore. No doubt influenced by the blaxploitation boom of the time (as evident by the score) black actor Calvin Lockhart was chosen for the lead role. Calvin, who less than two decades later would face an altogether otherworldly kind of beast as King Willie in Predator 2, gives a great scenery chewing performance. He presents Tom as a man who always gets what he wants at any cost and displays his rather single-minded, somewhat obsessive nature to perfection. Even when the bodies start piling up he doesn’t quit from his goal. Bordering on insanity and always chomping on a fine cigar his portrayal is helped by a few comic book style one-liners in the script and a great costume designer, clad in stylish black clobber the blinkered Tom Newcliffe is a pretty memorable character.

The diverse individuals invited to partake in Tom’s bizarre plan are in the main well played. The ever-reliable Peter Cushing is on fine form despite an accent that seems to change nationality throughout the proceedings! As Professor Lundgren, an expert on werewolves, he brings his authoritative serious edge to the movie and in another attempt by the film to give the werewolf legend a more contemporary feel, delivers a slightly more scientific explanation for the phenomenon. Charles Gray is well cast as the snooty ex-UN official Arthur Bennington, investing his character with the right air of aloofness, showing disdain to the other guests as well as the whole proceedings. Michael Gambon is passable, giving a nervous disbelieving touch to his portrayal of pianist Jan Jarmokowski. The remaining performance of note comes from Marlene Clark as Caroline, the long-suffering wife of Tom.

Most of the film is set within the confines of Tom’s lavish mansion and this adds to the claustrophobic nature of the film. At times it’s as if the outside world and its normality don’t exist with Tom putting his guests through various tests to determine which one is the lycanthrope. These scenes, such as the passing of a silver candlestick from suspect to suspect may remind viewers of the blood test moment from John Carpenter’s excellent remake of The Thing made almost a decade later. Indeed The Beast Must Die could have benefited from a bit more distrust between the characters as was evident in the chilly confines of Outpost 31.

As for the FX? The film won’t win any awards on that score as the beast is less a werewolf and more a weredog, well a dog wearing an old fur coat! That said the use of a four-legged beast again reinforces the more realistic mood this film is aiming for. There are also only a couple of gory moments but this doesn’t detract too much from the movie as a whole, neither does some obvious mismatched day for night shooting.

As the tension mounts and all the clues have been put before the audience another original element is added. At the start of the movie a voiceover and onscreen text informs the audience that they are the detective and must work out who is the werewolf. Well, as the film reaches its conclusion we get the ‘werewolf break’. The same narrator puts before us all the suspects and with a clock ticking away much like Countdown we have 30 seconds to decide who is the werewolf in this lycanthropic conundrum. But will you guess correctly? Or does the film have a final twist up its sleeve?

Aiming for originality, which is a rare thing in modern cinema (this film probably wouldn’t get made today) The Beast Must Die is a fun, quirky entry into 70s British horror cinema. Mixing together familiar werewolf chills with plot elements similar to Christie’s Ten Little Indians. Whilst not truly out and out scary it does have a fine cast, great score and enough red herrings to keep you guessing right up until the final reel. Most of all it is a film attempting to put a new spin on to werewolf movie conventions, and just for that alone it deserves to be commended.

Aka: Black Werewolf
Reviewer: Jason Cook

 

This review has been viewed 9736 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Paul Annett  ( - )

British director who made the 1974 Amicus horror favourite The Beast Must Die. Other work has mostly been for TV, on shows such as Tales of the Unexpected, Eastenders and The Gentle Touch.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: