Finally a werewolf movie you can sink your teeth into, no pun intended. The werewolf genre is about as hit and miss as they come for me. I like the original Wolfman a lot, and may one or two others. The vast majority are just not entertaining to me, as no matter how you cut it, they are all the same. Shure you can point of differences, like Ginger Snaps (One I really do like) but for the most part they are all very straightforward. One however is actually very different. It’s a British film made back in 1974 called The Beast Must Die. It’s essentially a mystery movie, with a werewolf being the culprit.
The Beast must Die stars Calvin Lockhart as Tom Newcliffe. Tom is a wealthy man who has a mansion out in the middle of nowhere. He’s also an avid hunter, so avid he has people hunt him down on his estate. Sort of. He is having a new security system installed and decides to test it on himself. He has multiple guards try to capture him and kill him. Don’t worry they use blanks. It’s very reminiscent of A Most Dangerous Game. Tom, along with Pavel, the man who helped design this system need it for more than protection. Tom is convinced that werewolves are real, and invites a group of people to his mansion to find out which of them is a werewolf. See he’s done his homework on these people. Bennington, Jan, and Davina are the first three. It turns out they have been in areas where people have meet a grizzly death. Next is Paul, he’s a normal enough guy he just openly admits to eating human flesh. And rounding out the group is Dr. Lundgren (The Great Peter Cushing) he’s not so much a suspect, he just also believes in werewolves sand studies up on them and the occult.
Now the moon will be full for the next few days so Tom figures, one of them will change and he can then just go and hunt the creature down and bag it on his property. This new security system is loaded with state of the art cameras and motion detectors so he will have no problem tracking it down. Problem is when the creature first turns it doubles back and murders Pavel who was manning the cameras. This makes Tom even more paranoid as he tries to figure out who the werewolf is and now stop it from killing again.
He puts the various guest through “Werewolf Tests” like holding silver, sniffer wolfsbane, butting bullets in their mouth, the usual stuff an insane man would do. But just when you think you have it figured out your wrong. Yes, its actually had to figure out who the creature is. In fact when this played in the theaters it included a “Werewolf Break” when the film stopped for around 30 seconds or so to allow viewers to guess who the werewolf really is. It was a great concept that in my opinion more films should try. If anything they add to the campy fun of films like this.
This is a great film. I absolutely love it. Its played serious but by today’s standards its very campy. Its also very fun. The acting is amazing, especially for a werewolf film. It moves at a good pace, and I have to say the mystery is actually very hard to solve. Like in any who done it film every suspect seems like the obvious choice, but in the case of The Beast Must Die you really cant figure it out until the end, which is not only a surprise, but has a twist to it.
Severin Films has done another fantastic job with this one. The collector slipover is great, and like all of their films the transfer in terms of video and audio look fantastic. But the one thing I think sets it so far apart from other various releases of this over the years is that they included the “Werewolf Break” for the people watching it to try and guess the creature. To me that just put it completely over the top, and made a really good film, a really fun viewing as well. Oh and they also included special features.
· Audio Commentary with Director and Filmmaker
· And Then There Were Werewolves: Audio Essay by Horror Historian
· Directing the Beast: Archival Interview with Director
· Audio Interview Excerpt of on BEAST MUST DIE – Interviewed by
· Audio Interview with Producer – Interviewed by
· Original Theatrical Trailer with Optional Commentary by Genre Scholars &
This is a great film. A very unique take of not only the werewolf genre but the mystery genre as well. Its incredibly well done and a great movie to watch with a bunch of people. Then you can take the werewolf break and make your guess, because you should talk during films. Pick this one up right away.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!