Reviewed byDPMayVote: 8/10
You might think that if you've seen one werewolf movie, you've seen them all. Well, that may be largely true, but "The Beast Must Die" differs from most entries in the genre.
For starters it is not centred around the person who is the werewolf, and so dispenses with the usual associated plot lines such as the angst a person goes through knowing that they'll turn into a killer come the next full moon.
No, this film, as it proudly boasts via an opening narration is a whodunit, or (I quote) "a detective story... in which YOU are the detective". In short you have to guess which of the small ensemble team of characters is the werewolf.
The characters are the somewhat unwilling guests of millionaire playboy Tom Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart). Newcliffe's favourite hobby is hunting animals and as he knows one of his guests is a werewolf, he thinks it will be fun to hunt and kill the animal. But which of them is it? Although this film doesn't have a great reputation, it's actually quite good. The cast is small but strong, containing such notable names as Charles Gray, Michael Gambon and that assured veteran of British horror films of this era, Peter Cushing. The werewolf itself is well-handled, coming across as a genuine threat, especially as it is portrayed as a real (and rather large) wolf rather than by an actor in several layers of facial fur. It's fast, it's clever and it even breaks into the house to kill people. I won't spoilt them here, but there are some nice plot twists towards the end, leading to a conclusion which really enforces the fact that the beast MUST die...
The story is well-paced and full of incident. However, I find there are places where it occasionally lacks sufficient depth. How does Newcliffe know for certain that one of his guests is a werewolf? Using his logic, that they have all been present in cities where mysterious killings have taken place, they could ALL be werewolves! Also, why were the guests all so willing to turn up at his house? A little more expansion on them would have helped, particularly as we, the audience, is supposed to be playing detective.
Towards the end of the film we get a 30-second "Werewolf Break" when it's time to guess who the werewolf is. A novel idea, but unfortunately "guess" is the operative word here as there are really no proper clues given within the narrative that single one of the suspects out ahead of all the others. Naturally, being a whodunit, they are all made to look suspicious.
In its fashions and music, the film is very much of its time. The direction is slick for the most part, though there's a lengthy car chase early on when Michael Gambon's character tries to escape, and this looks rather undramatic as action sequences go.
But overall this film has lots to commend it. The negative points can easily be overlooked, leaving you with an imaginative, entertaining romp that's probably different to most other horror films you've seen.
Reviewed byChromium_5Vote: 7/10
One of the good things about the AMC channel is the later you watch it, the weirder the movies get. This one came on at about 1:30 in the morning, and as soon as the creepy narration announced "This is a detective story... where YOU are the detective," I knew I was in for something cool. The narration is followed by an offbeat opening where a black guy (dressed in all black) is running through the woods being chased by a bunch of military types, against a jazz soundtrack. Turns out he's testing out his new security system, and sure enough, there's no way to avoid getting caught on these premises.
After the weird opening, the movie settles down into a pretty straightforward plot. It's really a combination of 'The Most Dangerous Game' and 'Ten Little Indians' (the "guess the culprit" gimmick is practically stolen from the latter movie). A wealthy hunter has gathered a group of guests, one of whom is a werewolf, in order to hunt the ultimate game. But finding out who the werewolf is turns out to be trickier than expected...
The cast is actually quite impressive, and odds are you'll be less interested in figuring out who the werewolf is than figuring out where you've seen all these people before (I'm still racking my brain on Anton Diffring). Of course, every movie like this has at least one unintentionally funny part, and in this one it's Peter Cushing's Dr. Lundgren, the Werewolf Expert. Cushing is a fine actor, but he almost becomes a running joke here, because every time someone asks him about werewolves he goes off on this long spiel describing werewolves in scientific detail that must be heard to be believed. Thanks to this movie, I now know that lycanthropy is caused by a defect in the lymphatic system, and that silver can't harm a werewolf unless there's pollen in the air (?), etc.
This a B-movie, for sure, but a pretty good one. It's well done and suspenseful, and it will keep you interested until the very end. Very much worth watching. 8/10 stars.
Reviewed byshanakinVote: 7/10
First off this was a movie I saw very young, I can still remember seeing it at a neighbors house during the mid 70's on a Saturday afternoon matinée and it scared the s*** out of me. The thing is I never saw it again growing up till about 5 years ago because I had forgotten the name of it. All I could remember was the werewolf break and every time I tried to find the name of it by mentioning it to coworkers they looked at me like I was insane and was making it up. So I set forth on my task on finding a copy just to make sure I didn't dream up the whole thing, checking at a lot of second hand stores looking thru videos for any werewolf movie and reading the synopsis on the back trying to figure out the name to this movie I looked and looked and finally while going thru some video's at a video store came across the title The Beast Must Die. Thinking that's probably not it either till I read the back of the box, look out for the werewolf break. I was ecstatic to say the least I found it awesome. I bought it right then and there took it home made some popcorn and sat down to watch it thinking it might still scare me as it did as when I was younger. As I watched it I felt I was transported back to when I first saw it at a young age. It did not frighten me as it did when I was young but it somehow filled a void in my life for horror movies and how much fun they can be. This was five years ago and this has become one of my all time favorite movies. I give it 10 stars because I think it deserves it the entire cast works well together and from beginning to end the movie is just a lot of fun. Peter Cushing is great in just about everything he's ever done and because of this little gem I just love some of the horror movies from the company that made this, Amicus is there name and there responsible for a lot of the horror anthologies that came out in the early 70's TALES FROM THE CRYPT, THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, ASYLUM. Oh and just to let you know a special edition DVD came out for this title and I highly recommend the DVD it shows the movie in widescreen and even shows a little more blood that was edited out of that old VHS copy I found. I still have it just for keeps though.
Tom Newcliffe, a rich businessman and expert hunter summons six guests to his huge country estate which he has rigged up with video cameras and a high-tech security system. He tells them and his surprised wife that they are all to stay over a weekend and that all of them will be kept on the estate during that weekend. For each guest, dead bodies have followed in their wake and the way that the dead have been murdered means that one of the guest is a werewolf and Tom has summoned his guests here to discover who it is and to hunt it down... The film has a clip at the beginning asking people in the audience to try to identify the werewolf and near the end there is a 30-second "Werewolf Break" for the audience to think over the evidence...