HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Beast Must Die, The Ten Little WerewolvesBuy this film here.
Year: 1974
Director: Paul Annett
Stars: Calvin Lockhart, Peter Cushing, Charles Gray, Michael Gambon, Marlene Clark, Anton Diffring, Tom Chadbon, Ciaran Madden
Genre: Horror, Thriller
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 9543 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 do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: