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  Beast of the Yellow Night Souled Out
Year: 1971
Director: Eddie Romero
Stars: John Ashley, Mary Charlotte Wilcox, Leopoldo Salcedo, Eddie Garcia, Ken Metcalfe, Vic Diaz, Andres Centenera, Ruben Rustia, Don Linman
Genre: Horror, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: One fateful day during the war the Filipino armed forces were out in strength to hunt down a group of fugitives, including Joseph Langdon (John Ashley). He was a deserter, and it looked as though he was about to be gunned down as he charged through the jungle, but there was to be a way out from an unexpected source. As the starving man tried to eat some berries, he spat them out realising too late that they were poisonous, but he did not die. This was because the Devil himself appeared before him and offered him a deal: his soul for the Devil's protection. How could he resist?

From the people who brought you the Filipino Blood Island Trilogy, here was star Ashley in a different role than you might have expected to see him in. Scripted by director Eddie Romero, this was a hard-to-follow (some might say hard to care about) variation on the traditional wolfman movie with a spot of devil worship thrown in for good measure. Once you are aware that our anti-hero has been granted a stay of execution by Satan, played by Vic Diaz, a familiar face in such productions, then you should be able to understand the predicament he has gotten himself into.

However, all that in depth philosophising really drags the movie down, and might well drag your eyelids down as well as the low drone of earnest conversation acts a cinematic sedative. To wake you up a bit there are occasional instances where the Ashley character, now renamed as Philip, falls victim to stress. He doesn't opt for a lie down in a darkened room with a valium tablet, no, he takes the rather drastic measures of turning into a fanged, grey-faced, big-haired monster, the beast of the title, and goes off a-killing of an evening (presumably a yellow evening).

To add a layer of tragedy to this, Philip has a successful business and a doting wife, Julia (Mary Charlotte Wilcox), who is naturally fretful about her husband's strange behaviour. He would like to explain, but it's beyond him, not that this means there's any less chit-chat, and besides the police are closing in, led by Inspector Santos (Leopoldo Salcedo) who unsurprisingly are taking an interest in the amount of half-eaten bodies that tend to appear whenever Philip has one of his turns.

He might try to accept salvation from the other side of the theological divide, but when he attempts to enter a church he, yes, transforms into the beast once more. In fact, the only person who offers any spiritual comfort is a blind man (Andres Centenera) Philip meets while on one of his little rampages, but a fat lot of good that does him. There's introspective and there's downright self-obsessed misery, and the protagonist here leans towards the latter in a film that in spite of its regular bouts of mayhem never takes off and flies. Apparently they wanted us to take a run of the mill trash item deadly seriously, but it never convinces and John Ashley films aren't the place anyone would go to for insight into the human condition or the big questions of good and evil. Music by Nestor Robles.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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