22
Jun
13

The Beast Must Die (1974)

Tom plays the hunted, just for a little bit...

Tom plays the hunted, just for a little bit…

Clue is one of my favorite movies of all time. I can’t put my finger on why I like it so much, I just do. But in my heart I’ve always felt there’s just one thing missing, one simple addition that would make Clue the best movie in the world: werewolves. Lucky for me, The Beast Must Die is the perfect combination of strangers-called-to-a-giant-house-for-a-strange-purpose and werewolves!

Tom Newcliffe loves a challenge. His house is decorated with carcasses of exotic animals he bested in the hunt. Tom won’t be happy, though, until he can claim to be the first man ever to kill a werewolf. It just so happens that he can narrow down probable werewolves to a group of six acquaintances, all of whom he invites to stay at his house for the weekend.

Tom surveys the grounds for the beast.

Tom surveys the grounds for the beast.

Tom has rigged the grounds surrounding his estate with all manner of surveillance: cameras in the trees, microphones in the ground, you name it. He’s armed with the finest silver bullets and the expertise of the professor of werewolfdom, Dr. Christopher Lundgren (Peter Cushing). Now that he’s collected this suspicious group together, the only thing there is to do is wait for the full moon to bring out the wolf in one of them. The question is: who?

This movie is really enjoyable. It is, of course, a little over the top, but that is a large part of its charm. It directly addresses its audience, asking us: who do YOU think the werewolf is? I take

Could it be... Peter Cushing?

Could it be… Peter Cushing?

pleasure in the fact that I guessed right. I wish I had something deep to say about The Beast Must Die, but… errrrr… I don’t. I suppose I could say something about the negative effect of man’s greedy thirst for power and dominance, but that’s a little too obvious, isn’t it? I guess I could also say it’s interesting that Amicus chose a black man to play the greedy imperialist, (perhaps made all the more interesting by the inclusion of Marlene Clark, aka Ganja of Ganja and Hess fame, as Mrs. Newcliffe), and ponder on what that means. Or, maybe I’ll just ask you to ponder it and go on to write the next post, because I am many movies behind.

This movie’s great. Watch it. That’s all.

 

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