The Beast must Die
Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky, Robert H. Greenberg (executive) for Amicus Productions
directed by Paul Annett
starring Calvin Lockhart, Peter Cushing, Anton Diffring, Charles Gray, Ciaran Madden, Tom Chadbon, Michael Gambon, Marlene Clark
screenplay by Michael Winder, based on the story There Shall be No Darkness by James Blish, music by Douglas Gamley, special effects by Ted Samuels
Incredibly wealthy black big game hunter Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart) has
one goal in his llife - to hunt down a werewolf, the fiercest creature
of them all ! To this end, he invites some acquaintances to his high
security mansion who have all one thing in common - violent deaths in
their proximity -, knowing one of them is a real life werewolf (how he
knows we are never told) but not knowing who. But as Newcliffe is
British, the first confrontations of the guest with this wicked reality
does take place at the dinnertable, & good manners are kept up at
all costs - even though Newcliffe is insulting almost everyone. But
already the same night, the security system guarding the house (&
controlled by Anton Diffring) pick up first signs of the beast - without
the surveillance cameras revealing the werewolf's identity though. But
while newcliffe goes out hunting, the wolf comes back home, ultimately
killing Anton Diffring & destroying large part of the surveillance
system. Thwe atmosphere between the houseguests turns tense thereafter,
many of them wanting to escape, but none of them successfully. The
second night has 2 more victims, & by the 3rd night, the number of
suspects is shrunk down to a handful, & then ... The WereWolfBreak,
the audience gets 30 seconds to gues who the werewolf is (though no
significant clues have been laid out by the script). & it was ...
Newcliffes girlfriend !?! But wait a little, wasn't she with Newcliffe
when he fought the werewolf ? Yup, so she only was infected by the
werewolf (but has to die anyways), while the real werewolf was Michael
Gambon (who of course has to die too) for some reason or another. But
then he also infected Newcliffe, who now has to kill himself too !
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Peter Cushing (with German accent) is a professor who gives the
pointers but has disappointingly little to do otherwise.
Around the mid-70's, numerous small producers made numerous bizarre
attempts to infuse new blood into the ailing horror genre: Hammer, for
example, tried its hands on a horror-kung fu-mix (The
Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires). Amicus meanwhile made this
rather desperate attempt: It's a mix of werewolf story, action movie,
whodunit, gimmick movie (the stupid & pointless, nevertheless funny
werewolf break) & blaxploitation (not only is the hero black, he
also acts, talks & dresses like straight out of a blaxploitationer,
& some of the music is suitably funky), which works about as well
together as it sounds. Amusing on an unintentional level nevertheless.