The Horror Honeys: It’s a Dog-Eat-Dog World. Literally.

It’s a Dog-Eat-Dog World. Literally.

The Beast Must Die (1974)

By now you should have read the lovely Zombie Honey's post about upcoming changes. If you haven't, shame on you! Get on that! Just as she will be taking on Mummies and Frankenstein's Monster, I will be adding Vampires and Werewolves to my repertoire. Frankly, I couldn't be happier! Vampires got me started in horror and my love of these bloodsucking fiends knows no bounds. I also have great affection for the lycanthrope. 

Today I bring you something very special. A movie that is not only a movie about werewolves, but an interactive game!

Tom Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart), a millionaire and avid hunter, has a full weekend planned for him and seven friends at his country estate. He is certain one of his guests is a werewolf and intends to find out which one it is and destroy them.

Let’s take a step back to what I said previously about the game. Before the opening scene, an announcer tells you that you must figure out who the werewolf is. Right before the climax of the film there is going to be a “Werewolf Break” where you will have 30 seconds to put your clues together and pick a winner. There really is a 30 second blackout, complete with ticking clock. Gimmicky? Sure it is, but I can’t think of another film that’s pulled this stunt. Now, if you’ve seen the edited version titled Black Werewolf (how awful is that?), you will miss this little interlude. It is only on the complete, uncut version of the movie.

After Tom spills the beans on his plans, we spend the remaining time watching his guests, including veteran actor Michael Gambon, squirm while they participate in juvenile tests, waiting for one of them to turn. Of course, all of the tests prove nothing. Some try to run, some die, even the family dog, yet Tom is no closer to the truth!

Peter Cushing portrays an archaeologist/werewolf specialist, Dr. Lundgren. He is there as a scientific point of reference, although he’s never actually seen a werewolf. I’m so used to the charming, charismatic Cushing. Here he is more of a caricature of himself, although he does sport his signature ascot.

It would be a crime not to bring up the werewolf itself. There are no transformations in this film until the third act. Unfortunately, it’s less of a transformation and more of a still shot of the actor then a still of the beast. Now the beast is actually a German Shepherd wearing a lion’s mane. It really makes no apologies about this. We see the dog quite frequently. I did watch an interview with the director where he mentions how the dog was so friendly they had a hell of a time getting it to attack anyone. Never work with kids or animals…

There are a whole lot of special effects in this film. Aside from the werewolf, there is that orange/red blood, which is so convincing. There is a terrible use of camera filters and it’s obvious that most of the night shots were filmed during the day.

Even I have to admit this is not one of the best offerings from Amicus. It’s like a little 70s time capsule, from the wardrobe to the afros and mustaches. The score is kind of porn-ish and I love it. This movie doesn’t hold up at all, but it kind of doesn’t need to. It’s rather enjoyable to watch in its absurdity.

Supernatural Honey Rating: 5 porn-staches out of 10